Police Story: Season One

Police Story: Season One
Considering the current lack of effort put into cop shows on TV, where they're simply franchised into a new location repeatedly, it's hard to imagine a time when there was an attempt to do something innovative and unique. But that's exactly what Police Story did when it first aired back in 1973. Created by former detective turned author Joseph Wambaugh, Police Story aimed to show a more realistic portrayal of LAPD police officers. Cops were shown as being flawed, having to make tough decision, where everything doesn't end up all neat and tidy, even making mistakes and having to deal with the consequences. It was most notable for the fact that it was an anthology series with no regular cast, although some characters did show up in several episodes, and that gave the writers unique options. There could be consequences for every character in the show and they could even die without having an impact on the rest of the season. Thankfully, that particular device wasn't overused. This all translates into a surprisingly compelling show, thanks to some top-notch writing and performances, including appearances by Don Meredith, Ed Asner, Kurt Russell and Dean Stockwell. Within every self-contained episode there are enough plot and character developments to put any episode of CSI to shame. One episode, "The Gamble," starring Angie Dickinson, even served as a pilot for the show Police Woman, but the standout is original pilot "Slow Boy." Exactly why this show isn't playing in syndication on some cable channel is beyond me because its obvious influence on the likes of Hill Street Blues and The Wire is huge. Really great stuff. The show looks decent enough considering its age and, with a generous, near-20 hours of playing time, it would be worth picking up even without any extras. And that's a good thing because the only extra is an interview with Wambaugh about what he was trying to do with the show. (Shout! Factory)