Gotham streets protected by 'Kojak,' 'Serpico,' 'Cagney & Lacey'
Few TV staples have been as reliable, or as compelling, as the police show set in New York City. A look back over four decades:
“Naked City” (1958-63, ABC): Classic tagline: “There are 8 million stories in the Naked City. This has been one of them.” James Franciscus and John McIntire were in the original half-hour version, Paul Burke and Gena Rowlands in the better-remembered hour-long one. Atmospheric NYC location shooting, thoughtful scripts.
“Brenner” (1959, CBS): Forgotten half-hour about father-and-son cops shot on location in N.Y. James Broderick played the rookie.
“The Detectives” (1959-62, ABC/NBC): Movie star Robert Taylor moved to the small screen for this hour drama. A pre-“Batman” Adam West was on for one season.
“Car 54, Where Are You?” (1961-63, NBC): Ooh! Ooh! Joe E. Ross and Fred Gwynne as Toody and Muldoon in the first sitcom about police officers. Shot in N.Y. by “Bilko” producer Nat Hiken.
“87th Precinct” (1961-62, NBC): Ed McBain’s mystery novels served as the basis for this hour starring Robert Lansing and Norman Fell.
“Hawk” (1966, ABC): Years later, Burt Reynolds would poke fun at his first starring role as a full-blooded Iroquois Indian in the N.Y. DA’s office. Lensed in Gotham, mostly at night.
“N.Y.P.D.” (1967-69, ABC): Shot on location with hand-held 16mm cameras, the streets of New York were as much a character as the fine cast of this gritty half-hour, which might have served as the prototype for all serious cop shows in its wake. Jack Warden, Frank Converse and Robert Hooks toplined.
“McCloud” (1970-77, NBC): Dennis Weaver played a New Mexico marshal on assignment in Manhattan in this long-running element of NBC’s “Mystery Movie” franchise.
“Madigan” (1972-73, NBC): Richard Widmark reprised his tough-cop film role.
“Kojak” (1973-78, CBS): Who loves ya, baby? Telly Savalas starred as the lollipop-sucking detective who made bald beautiful. Started in L.A. but shifted to Big Apple locations in ’76.
“Barney Miller” (1975-82, ABC): Hal Linden headed uproarious cast of 12th Precinct detectives in Danny Arnold intelligently written sitcom.
“Serpico” (1976-77, NBC): David Birney reprises Al Pacino’s big-screen title role as the real-life whistle-blowing cop Frank Serpico.
“Eischied” (1979-80): Joe Don Baker as unorthodox NYC chief of detectives in violent hour.
“Cagney & Lacey” (1982-88, CBS): First crime show whose central characters were female. Together, Sharon Gless and Tyne Daly won six acting Emmys as detective partners.
“Brooklyn South” (1997-98, CBS): Steven Bochco’s ensemble cop show lasted just one season.