I was never a fan of westerns growing up, but began watching them a few years ago. One of them was Lawman. As a retired police officer, I can relate to some of the things seen on the show. Having watched both early and late episodes of Gunsmoke, I prefer Lawman from a crime/police show perspective. I now have all of the episodes on my DVR, and have watched the series from start to the end. I wish it would be released on DVD.
The relationships between both Dan and Lilly as well as Dan and Johnny were excellent. I recall an episode where Lilly in not very subtle terms hinted to Dan about being married. Dan's comeback was priceless. Johnny always treated Dan with respect, calling him Mr. Troop.
Dan was a no-nonsense lawman and as such often a man of few words. Preventing an ambush outside the hotel, Dan walked up, snatched the gun out of the would-be killers hand, and simply said "Let's get on over to that jail." At the same time, his sense of right and wrong and respect for the law were obvious in his actions. He did not arrest every criminal, often just talking to them. He also would not give in to a mob mentality, instead upholding the law.
Some episodes of this show are indeed timeless. In one, Dan and Johnny investigate a murder and the way they do so is similar to modern crime dramas. In another, Dan gives a speech about civic responsibility (jury duty and the law) that still holds true today. In a third, he tells a visiting federal bureaucrat that complained about guns in town "When a man that has business with a gun comes to town, taking everyone else's just makes his job easier." I recall seeing an episode of Gunsmoke where in the opening "Boot Hill" monologue Matt Dillon wanted all guns taken away.
One of my favorite episodes was "The Long Gun" with John Dehner as burned out Marshal Ben Wyatt looking to ambush some killers. The conversation between Dan and Ben was really good dialog as to the stress of being a lawman after 20 to 30 years of service.
The only negative criticism I have involved Lilly's attempts at singing. As others have noted, Peggy Castle was a beautiful woman, but her singing voice was not nearly as beautiful.
It's sad that so many people on this show died at a relatively young age. I would have liked to have seen a closure episode as well, but just as with modern shows I'm sure cancellations can be unexpected.
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