Variations on the N.Y. cop show

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.

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Scene News from Variety