26 October 2007 | bkoganbing
A Transitional Cop Show
After his contract with MGM ran its course, Robert Taylor like a lot of the stars of the studio system, was not getting a whole lot of good film offers, mainly because fewer films were being made. What work was to be had was in television for a lot of stars and that trend would become more pronounced as time went on.
Taylor tried his hand at the small screen and the result was two very successful television series, The Detectives and Death Valley Days. His work in television in the last decade of his life was probably better than most of the films he was doing.
I recently saw a few episodes of The Detectives and it was nice to recollect what a quality show that was. The men on Taylor's squad were three dimensional people, you did get to see them and their immediate families and circle of friends. Tige Andrews and Mark Goddard who later went on to The Mod Squad and Lost in Space respectively were on the squad as was radio actor Russell Thorsen.
Taylor was Captain Matt Holbrook, a tough no-nonsense commander, who went by the book. I was fortunate to see some episodes with Ursula Thiess as a reporter who was Taylor's lady friend. They seem to have a Marshal Dillon/Kitty Russell relationship, nice to see a little romance for mature folks. As Mr.&Mrs. Taylor never worked together on the big screen, these episodes of The Detectives were a real treat.
The Detectives seemed very much a transitional show between shows like the documentary style Dragnet and a show like NYPD Blue where we got to know all the members of the 15th precinct squad as three dimensional characters. Sad it didn't run longer than three years, but I understand Taylor was tired of the weekly grind of turning out over 30 episodes a season. Half that constitutes a season today.
Catch the show if any of the cable channels run it.