The F.B.I. (TV series)
From left: Stephen Brooks, Lynn Loring and Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., 1965.
|Starring||Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||9|
|No. of episodes||241 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Quinn Martin
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Production company(s)||QM Productions (1965–74)
Warner Bros. Television (1965–67; 1970–74)
Warner Bros.- Seven Arts Television (1967–70)
|Original release||September 19, 1965 – April 28, 1974|
|Related shows||Today's F.B.I.|
The F.B.I. is an American television series broadcast on ABC from 1965–74. It was sponsored by the Ford Motor Company, and the characters almost always drove Ford vehicles in the series. Alcoa and American Tobacco Company co-sponsored the first season only with Ford.
Produced by Quinn Martin and based in part on concepts from the 1959 Warner Bros. theatrical film The FBI Story, the series was an authentic telling of or fictionalized accounts of actual F.B.I. cases, with fictitious main characters carrying the stories. Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. played Inspector Lewis Erskine, a widower whose wife died as a result of an ambush that was meant for him. Philip Abbott played Arthur Ward, assistant director to F.B.I. chief J. Edgar Hoover. Although Hoover served as series consultant until his death in 1972, he was never seen in the series.
Stephen Brooks played Inspector Erskine's assistant, Special Agent Jim Rhodes, for the first two seasons. Lynn Loring played Inspector Erskine's daughter and Rhodes' love interest, Barbara, in the first few episodes of the show. Although the couple was soon engaged on the show, that romantic angle was soon dropped.
In 1967, Brooks was replaced by veteran actor William Reynolds, who played Special Agent Tom Colby until 1973. The series would enjoy its highest ratings during this time, peaking at No. 10 in the 1970–1971 season. For the final season, Shelly Novack played Special Agent Chris Daniels.
Some episodes ended with a "most wanted" segment hosted by Zimbalist, noting the F.B.I.'s most wanted criminals of the day (this was decades before the Fox Network aired America's Most Wanted). The most famous instance during the series' run came following the April 21, 1968 episode, when Zimbalist asked for information about fugitive James Earl Ray, who was being sought in the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The series aired on ABC at 8 p.m. Sunday from 1965 to 1973, when it was moved up to 7:30 p.m. for the final season. The series was a co-production of Quinn Martin Productions and Warner Bros. Television, as Warner Bros. held the television and theatrical rights to any project based on The FBI Story. It was the longest running of all of Quinn Martin's television series, having aired nine seasons.
|Season||Episodes||First aired||Last aired|
|1||32||September 19, 1965||May 8, 1966|
|2||29||September 18, 1966||April 16, 1967|
|3||27||September 17, 1967||April 28, 1968|
|4||26||September 22, 1968||March 30, 1969|
|5||26||September 14, 1969||March 8, 1970|
|6||26||September 20, 1970||March 21, 1971|
|7||26||September 12, 1971||March 19, 1972|
|8||26||September 17, 1972||April 1, 1973|
|9||23||September 16, 1973||April 28, 1974|
- Season 1: Not in Top 30
- Season 2: #29, 20.2
- Season 3: #22, 21.2
- Season 4: #18, 21.7
- Season 5: #24, 20.6
- Season 6: #10, 23.0
- Season 7: #17, 22.4
- Season 8: #29, 19.2
- Season 9: Not in Top 30
An updated and revamped version of the series, Today's FBI, executive produced by David Gerber for Columbia Pictures Television, aired on ABC from October 1981 through April 1982 in the same Sunday 8 p.m. time slot as its predecessor. A remake of the original series, produced by Ron Howard's Imagine Entertainment for Fox, was set for air in Fall 2008; however, that series has yet to air.
Warner Bros. (under the Warner Home Video label) has released all nine seasons of The F.B.I. on DVD in region 1 via their Warner Archive Collection. These are Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) releases and are available through Warner's online store and Amazon.com. The ninth and final season was released on September 23, 2014.
|DVD Name||Ep #||Release Date|
|The First Season, Part 1||16||May 24, 2011|
|The First Season, Part 2||16||August 2, 2011|
|The Second Season, Part 1||16||February 14, 2012|
|The Second Season, Part 2||13||February 14, 2012|
|The Third Season, Part 1||16||September 11, 2012|
|The Third Season, Part 2||11||September 11, 2012|
|The Fourth Season, Part 1||13||February 26, 2013|
|The Fourth Season, Part 2||13||February 26, 2013|
|The Fifth Season, Part 1||13||June 4, 2013|
|The Fifth Season, Part 2||13||June 4, 2013|
|The Sixth Season||26||October 15, 2013|
|The Seventh Season||26||February 25, 2014|
|The Eighth Season||26||June 10, 2014|
|The Ninth Season||23||September 23, 2014|
- "Philip Saltzman, Producer of 'Barnaby Jones'". Los Angeles Times. August 21, 2009. Retrieved August 23, 2009.
- "The F.B.I. - DVDs for 'The 1st Season, Part 1' Announced: Date, Package, Cost and More!".
- "The F.B.I. - Warner Archive Completes the Rookie Year with Today's 'The 1st Season, Part 2' on DVD".
- "The F.B.I. - Box Art, Contents and More for Today's Archive Sets of 'The 2nd Season, Part 1' and 'Part 2'".
- "The F.B.I. - 'The 3rd Season, Part 1' and 'Part 2' are BOTH Now on DVD!".
- The F.B.I. - Package Art Pics for Warner Archives DVDs of 'The 4th Season'
- The F.B.I. – 'The 5th Season' is Now Available from the Warner Archive
- The 9th and Final Season is Now Available on DVD!
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