14 January 2010 | rcj5365
The short-lived series Eischied was NBC's answer to Kojak that lasted one season
Working for the New York City Police Department could harden anyone,and nobody was more hardened than Chief of Detectives Earl Eischied. "Eischied" was one of the next to last of the gritty,and sometimes violent cop shows that emerged out of the 1970's. However,the short-lived series "Eischied" was one of the best of the short-lived police/crime drama/detective shows that ran for one season on NBC-TV from September 21,1979 until January 20,1980 producing 13 episodes. This may have been a blessing for NBC at the time this cop series premiered since "Eischied" was the network's answer to "Kojak",which at the time this show premiered in 1979,"Kojak" was already off the air by 1978,and this show premiered a year after Telly Savalas' most famous show ended its astounding five-year run. The show did however had some great episodes,but in the long run the ratings that this series received didn't help none in the Nielsens since "Eischied" was on Friday nights where it was opposite the CBS powerhouse soap opera "Dallas" which clobbered it in the ratings.
Getting back to this short-lived crime drama/police series,it was based on the starring role that Joe Don Baker had from the 1978-miniseries "To Kill A Cop",that was based on the novel by Robert Daley. Joe Don Baker however,continued this role as Chief of Detectives Earl Eischied. A tough and dedicated member of the New York Police Department and one of the toughest cops on the force,Eischied knew the rule book on police procedures and how to get around it when necessary to break a case or solve a mystery. However,Eischied's methods worried politically ambitious,"by-the-book" Deputy Commissioner Kimbrough(played the great Alan Fudge),but fortunately Earl's friend,Chief Inspector Ed Parks(Eddie Egan)serves as a buffer between them in handling the most gruesome murders or despicable crimes. Carol Wright(Suzanne Lederer),and Rick Alessi(Vincent Bufano)were two members of a special squad that reported directly to Eischied,as was his trusted friend and colleague Captain Finnerty(Alan Oppenheimer)who also assisted in solving murders and crimes and other acts throughout the city.
Joe Don Baker was great in a lot of brilliant roles,most favorable was his breathtaking critical acclaim performance as Sheriff Buford Pusser in the original "Walking Tall" movies as well starring in several James Bond movies where he was either the villain or the adversary. Some of the episodes are good overall,but here is where "Eischied" fail with its audience. Baker,with his inimitable Southern drawl was way out of place here,and to think that the producers of this series thought Joe Don Baker was the next Kojak,they thought wrong. Joe Don Baker was great in a lot of roles,but he was no Telly Savalas with a Southerner using a accent that was totally out of place in this series,especially in New York. It had a great premise as well as potential to be a major hit,using the gritty streets and location shots throughout the boroughs of Greater Manhattan,Queens,The Bronx,Yonkers,and other sections of New York City as its backdrop.
Also to point,the same producers who were behind Telly Savalas' hit series(Abby Mann and Matthew Rapf)served as producers on this series under executive producer David Gerber. Some of the episodes had great writing within the stories coming from not only Robert Daley,but also from Ernest Tidyman(the original writer who was responsible for "Shaft" based on his novels and also from the motion picture of the same title) Some of the episodes this this series had were impressive that included the two-part pilot episode "Only The Pretty Girls Die"(which NBC had taken from the miniseries "To Kill A Cop" the following year),along with other great episodes including "Angels of Terror","Do They Really Have To Die?","The Dancer","The Accused","The U.N. Connection","Powder Burn",and the final episode of the series "The Buddy System".
Speaking of the guest stars,it had some of Hollywood's best including Raymond Burr(of "Perry Mason",and "Ironside"),Tom Ewell("Baretta"), David Hubbard("James at 15"),Ben Gazzara("Run For Your Life"),along with Joe Estevez,and Cesare Danova. When "Eischied" ended it run,NBC repeated all 13 episodes in its original Friday night time slot during the summer of 1983 which included three original episodes that never aired during its original broadcast.