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Barney Ruditsky is a New York City police officer in the Roaring '20s who fights organized crime. The show was loosely based on the real life Rudisky who was a New York police officer during the period. Written by
J.E. McKillop <firstname.lastname@example.org>
a tough but honest cop (James Gregory) fights organized crime in the roaring twenties.
Sometimes the magic happens, sometimes it doesn't. Consider this basic plot for a TV series: Back in the roaring twenties, a a tough but honest cop gathers around him an elite force and sets out to stop organized crime in a major American city. Sound familiar? Sure . . . it's The Untouchables, which premiered in 1959 on ABC with Robert Stack as Eliot Ness. Also, though, it's The Lawless Years, which began that same autumn week on 'another network.' James Gregory played Barney Ruditsky, a New York City (The Untouchables was based in Chicago) cop who likewise puts together a task force to take on the mob. But the magic didn't quite happen, because very few people watched, even as The Untouchables became an instantaneous hit. Maybe it's that the fine character actor Gregory (catch him as Angela Lasnbury's pathetic husband in THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE - no, not the abysmal remake, the original!) didn't exude the charisma and sex appeal of a born star like Stack. Maybe the members of his team weren't as interesting and/or diverse. Maybe they didn't have as strong character actors playing as intriguing villains (like Neville Brand and Bruce Gordon as Al Capone and Frank Nitti on the ABC show). Certainly, they did try to capture the tenor of the times and the atmosphere, including excellent music by Max Steiner, was terrific. Maybe it was the lack of Walter Winchell as the narrator, or the fact that at half an hour they couldn't develop as interesting situations. Any way you cut it, this show - which survived for two years - is one of those forgotten exercises in crime drama on the small screen.
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