Amos Burke was a Los Angeles chief of detectives who was also a millionaire with a chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce, a mansion, and a high-wheeling lifestyle. The hallmarks of this series were ... See full summary »
Ben Gazzara plays a successful lawyer who is told by his doctor in the first episode that he will die in one to two years. He decides to do all of the things he has never had time for. The ... See full summary »
Through a combination of re-enactments and actual footage, sensational true crimes are followed from their commission, through the investigation and apprehension of the suspected criminal, ... See full summary »
David Koster is an obsessive New York City assistant district attorney who gets into trouble because of his passion for justice. His boss, Anthony Celese, tries to keep him under control ... See full summary »
Howard Da Silva,
Legendary entertainer Bob Hope hosted, and occasionally starred in, one of the last major anthology series on network TV. Both dramatic and comedy shows were presented, featuring many of ... See full summary »
When Dick Wolf created Law & Order (1990), he claims he was unaware that a quarter-century earlier "Arrest & Trial" had also used an arrest-followed-by-trial procedural format (and failed). A Universal Studio exec pointed out the similarity. To Wolf, however, a key difference was that the "real heroes" of "Law & Order" were not the defense attorneys who got the bad guys off (as in "Arrest & Trial") but the prosecutors who put them away and were paid a fraction of what their criminal defense counterparts earned. See more »
Sometimes melodramatic, but intelligent and very well acted early 1960s U.S. TV series, that obviously served as the inspiration for "Law & Order".
Like "L & O" this is divided into 2 parts; "Arrest" where cop Ben Gazzara tracks down the person seemingly guilty of that week's crime and "Trial" where Chuck Connors defends them.
Having the 2nd half be from the defense point-of-view, not the prosecutor's makes the show different than "Law and Order", and arguably more interesting. It makes blatant how much of the legal system exists in shades of gray.
It's not surprising that Ben Gazzara is very, very good as cop Nick Anderson, making him more complex and interesting than your basic TV detective of the era. What caught me off- guard was that Connors as successful attorney John Egan, just about matches him. Unlike Gazzara, Connors was never taken that seriously as an actor,. But he shows a lot here as a top notch, somewhat cynical lawyer. Beyond the two leads, the guest casts were often very strong as well.
It's partly because these were 90 minutes episodes on TV, so each show runs about 75 minutes of screen time, as opposed to the standard TV drama that runs an hour, which means about 45-60 minutes of actual story. With the extra time, the writers fleshed out the characters, both regulars and guests, much more fully than on most non-serialized dramas.
So even if there are plot or logic holes (like charging a man with 1st degree murder, instead of a much more logical 2nd degree or manslaughter, so the trial can be about the issue of "intent" ) it feels more like you're watching a solid, well acted B-film each episode, instead of an early TV series. And the series has a nice mix of dark edginess and humanism.
Yes, the score can be painfully over-the-top, and some of the resolutions are too neat, but I'd still say this holds up favorably to a lot of the modern U.S. character cop and/or lawyer shows of today.
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