TV classics: Adam 12
USA 1968-75, 7 seasons, 174 episodes, approximately 25 minutes each, NBC, color. Created by: Jack Webb. Cast: Martin Milner, Kent McCord
Plot summary: Police officers Pete Malloy and Jim Reed are patrolling the streets of L.A. and are confronted with many different situations each day, often dramatic but also harmless ones.
Review: Adam 12 was a half hour procedural police drama, created by Dragnet originator Jack Webb. Although not a typical spin-off, the character Jim Reed was already introduced in Webb’s preceding hit show. As a rookie, he was teamed up with veteran policeman Pete Malloy who had previously lost his partner. Belonging to the 1 Adam 12 unit, the duo patrolled the streets of Los Angeles and was confronted with a wide range of cases ranging from dramatic encounters to harmless incidents.
Like its “sister show”, Adam 12 offered a realistic approach to police work and the often harsh routine of police officers. The show depicted a lot of teenage problems and cases, always walking a fine line between punishment and support. The TV series also featured a lot of renowned guest stars in unlikely roles, including two of my favorites in the below displayed sample episode “Pick Up” from 1971, Barbara Hale and hubby Bill Williams.
Adam 12 was a suspenseful and entertaining show with a touch of desired realism that attracted a lot of young people to crime fighting professions in the 1970s. Today, it is not only a great example of one of the first TV police procedurals, but also a mirror of its time when drug abuse (as one example) was on the rise not only amongst youngsters. In the new millennium, it is still a fascinating and gripping show with a decent cast of characters and interesting cases, all of which fit into a mere half hour of good storytelling.
Available on DVD and Hulu. Adam 12 season 4 episode 13 “Pick Up” sample episode