This was one of the great police dramas in television history. This was one of the few cop shows of that era that dealt with the day to day activities of the average policeman and they weren't portrayal as your run-of-the-mill "good" cop nor that they weren't portrayed as average "superheroes". These were the men and women who risk their lives in order to wear the badge and to protect the citizens of the city. "Police Story" was that show and during its five-year run it was one of the highest rated series on television. "Police Story" portrayed a sheer dose of realism of the average cop and it went as far as going beyond the psychological concepts of the police officer whether on the job and the relationships that they faced on the street and at home. "Police Story" dealt with good cops and the cops that were corrupt and hostile behind the badge.
"Police Story" was an anthology television crime drama that was brainchild of former author and former Los Angeles Police Officer Joesph Wambaugh and represented a major step forward in the realistic depiction of police work and it featured some of the best acting ever depicted for network television. Creator Joesph Wambaugh along with producers Mel Swope and David Gerber(who serves as executive producer) brought along intense and sometimes riveting stories about previously untouched issues confronting police officers with issues such as job related stress,marriage,break-up,alcoholism,retirement,partner conflicts and even push the envelope for what was the boundaries for what was shown on network television like suicide and drug abuse. So many police dramas in later years like "Hill Street Blues","Cagney and Lacey","NYPD Blue","Law and Order",and even "The Shield" owe their roots to the ground breaking plots ans solid scripts that were the backbone of "Police Story". This series dealt with cops as real people with real problems that was added on with a mix of humor and reality in some of the episodes.
"Police Story" originally aired on NBC-TV for 95 episodes airing from its premiere episode on September 25,1973 until the series finale on May 28,1978 for five astounding seasons. Out of the 95 episodes that were produced,the series consisted of 84 hour long episodes,3 episodes that were 90 minutes in length,and 8 two hour episodes totaling 95 episodes in all in color. The setting for this series was in Los Angeles with most of the characters working under or one of the branches of the Los Angeles Police Department. The anthology format allowed the show to try out characters and settings for series development,and during its broadcast run,"Police Story" generated three spin-offs. An episode from Season 1,"The Gamble"(March 26,1974),starring Angie Dickinson,became the pilot for the successful "Police Woman" television series(also produced by David Gerber),that run on NBC for four seasons from 1974 to 1978. An episode from Season 2,"The Return of Joe Forrester"(which was a 90-minute episode that aired on May 6,1975),was developed into a weekly series starring Lloyd Bridges that aired from 1975 to 1977. Finally,an episode from Season 5,"A Chance To Live"(which was a two hour episode that aired on May 28,1978),was spun off into the short-lived series "Man Undercover" starring David Cassidy.
"Police Story" brought along some of the finest writers for this series ranging from Rick Husky to Donald Bellsario, Ivan Goff, Ben Roberts,Don Ingalls, Sy Salkowitz, Mark Rodgers, E. Jack Neuman, Robert L. Collins,to Ed Waters,Jerrold L. Ludwig, Stanley Kallis, Kenneth Pettus, Allan Balter, William Woodfield, Jonathan Christie, and Michael Mann.
Not to mention the best directors in Hollywood ranging from Virgil W. Vogel,Barry Crane, Richard Benedict,Gary Nelson,Barry Shear,David Friedkin, Leo Penn, E.W. Swickhamer, Joesph Pevney to other directors like Paul Wendkos, Oscar Rudolph, Jack Smight, Richard Donner, Ivan Dixon, Ralph Senesky, Alf Kjellin,Seymour Robbie,Don McDougall,to Corey Allen, Charles S. Dubin, Christian Nyby, and Lee H. Katzin along with future Hollywood director John Badham contribute to some of the astounding episodes.
This anthology series attracted the cream of Hollywood for their episodes and featured several stars depicting several different characters. The dynamic actors that appeared here ranged from Darren McGavin,Vic Morrow,Claude Akins,Tony LaBianco,Ralph Meeker,Ricardo Montalban,Mike Connors,along with Joe Santos,Glenn Corbett,Chuck Connors,Diane Baker,Michael Ansara,Norman Fell,Pernell Roberts,Tina Louise,Robert Stack,Robert Vaughn,Christopher George,Kim Darby,to Alex Rocco,Jan Michael-Vincent,William Shatner,Edward Asner,Robert Conrad,Gary Collins,Ina Balin to Sal Mineo,and even appearances from soul legends Issac Hayes and William "Smokey" Robinson in several episodes along with newcomers like James Woods,Harvey Keitel,Clifton Davis,Sylvester Stallone,and regulars like Don Meredith(at the height of his Monday Night Football Career),Scott Brady and John Forsythe. Even dramatic appearances from Frankie Avalon,Alex Rocco,Fred Williamson,Brock Peters,Eddie Egan,Bernie Casey,Eddie Albert,Robert Culp,James Gregory,Joe Santos,Howard Duff,Bo Svenson and James Farentino along with Earl Holliman.
The best episodes from Season 1: "Slow Boy","Requiem for an Informer", "The Ho Chi Minh Trail","Chain of Command","Countdown"(parts 1 and 2), "Cop In The Middle","The Wyatt Earp Syndrome","Chief","The Gamble".
The best episodes from Season 2: "Requiem for C.Z Smith","Robbery:48 Hours","Captain Hook"," A World Full Of Hurt","Explosion","Year of the Dragon"(parts 1 and 2),"Sniper","The Execution","Man In The Shadows","War Games","The Witness","The Return of Joe Forrester".
The best episodes from Season 3: "Odyssey of Death"(parts 1 and 2),"Breaking Point","Fifty Cents,First Half Hour-One Dollar and Seventy Five Cents All Day","The Other Side of the Fence","Vice: 24 Hours","Open City",and "The Test of Brotherhood".
The best episodes from Season 4: "Three Days To Thirty","The Other Side of the Badge","Nightmare on a Sunday Morning","Monster Manor","Spitfire","One of Our Cops Is Crazy","The Jar"(parts 1 and 2),and "Two Frogs On A Mongoose","Hard Rock Brown",and "The Malflores".
The best episodes from it's final season:"Pressure Point","Stigma", "Day of Terror,Night of Fear","The Broken Badge","No Margin for Error", "A Chance To Live","A Cry For Justice","Confessions of a Lady Cop",along with the explosive "River of Promises" and one of the most riveting episodes of the final season "Gladiator School"