One of the most successful police dramas to ever come out of the 1970's "The Rookies" was one of the many police dramas that came from the production factory of producers Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg that premiered on March 7, 1972 as the 90-minute pilot episode for "The ABC Movie Of The Week" which became a colossal hit. Then ABC greenlighted it as a weekly series that premiered the following fall of that year. From the first three seasons of the series(1972-1974) it aired on Monday nights where it faced competition from CBS' Gunsmoke and NBC's Laugh-In among other shows that were on prime time Monday nights. The fourth and final season saw the series moved from Monday nights to Tuesday nights where it went opposite the strong competition with NBC's Police Story, and two CBS powerhouse comedies "One Day At A Time", and "M*A*S*H" during the 1975-1976 season.
The Rookies came on the success of Joesph Wambaugh's book "The New Centurions", as well as the huge ratings success on television with Jack Webb's "Adam-12" sparked interest in depth about the realistic depiction and storytelling of the typical police officer and the situations these brave men and women faced everyday on the streets to uphold the law and to serve and protect the public gain virtual interest. The Rookies was the story of young police officers(Georg Stanford-Brown, Micheal Ontkean, and Sam Melville) straight out of the academy taking on their first assignment in the fictional community of Santa Clara under the moral authority and guidance of the Lieutenant(Gerald S. O'Laughlin) who took these young rookies under his wing and taught them to be good cops.
Out of the 94 episodes that this series produced this was indeed one of the most intense and action packed police dramas of the era...so successful that it spawn a spin-off S.W.A.T that was successful too. "The Rookies" launched the careers of Micheal Ontkean, Georg Stanford-Brown and Kate Jackson. Notable guest stars ranging from Claude Akins, Ned Beatty, Joesph Campanella, Tyne Daly, Susan Dey, Sissy Spacek, Martin Sheen, Don Gordon, Louis Gossett Jr., Roddy McDowell, Cameron Mitchell, John Saxon, Jim Nabors, John Ritter, Della Reese, David Soul, Steve Forrest, Mark Slade, Nick Nolte, Stefanie Powers, William Shatner, Don Stroud, Cleavon Little, Amy Irving, Earl Holliman and many more were among the guest stars of the series that lasted four seasons and 94 color episodes ending it's run on March 30, 1976.
The Rookies were not your average supercops or over the top showoffs neither. These young men made mistakes out there and they were inexperienced with some of the training they received fresh out of the academy. Those mistakes became the basis of several great storylines as well as several great episodes that stood out. But it was under the wing of the Lieutenant that taught these Rookies right from wrong and any other situations that many occur on the streets and how to handle them became one of the great cop shows of the 1970's.
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