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Efrem Zimbalist Jr.,
Cases, based on real FBI files, were handled by Inspector Lewis Erskine and several coworkers over the years. Erskine reported to Arthur Ward, assistant to the director of the FBI. Written by
J.E. McKillop <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Not that much of a TV classic but still an interesting curio from the 60s-70s
As a young kid, I remember watching The F.B.I. on Sunday nights at 8:00pm eastern time on ABC. No matter which episode I saw, it was always clear who were the good guys and who were the bad guys.
As of this posting, I am having some fun watching various episodes of The F.B.I. on AOL's IN2TV website. Even though the show lasted for 9 seasons (1965-1974) and the actual F.B.I. did play a part in the production of the TV series, I have to admit that the show is nothing more than a typical crime drama. When it came to crimes and crime solving, there were no gray areas. The lead characters were rather robotic with no personal lives whatsoever. There was an attempt in the first season to humanize Erskine (Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.) whose partner was dating his daughter but that clumsy story line was dropped very quickly.
Just like with many television shows from past decades, I am always amazed seeing actors who paid their dues acting in TV shows before becoming famous or infamous. From the shows I viewed, I noticed future Academy Award winners including Diane Keaton, Gene Hackman, Jessica Tandy, Robert Duvall, Michael Douglas and Ron Howard (as Ronny Howard).
Some actors who became famous in other TV shows including Hal Linden (Barney Miller), Nicholas Colasanto (Cheers), William Shatner (Star Trek, TJ Hooker and Boston Legal among others) and Donna Mills (Knots Landing).
In the infamous category, there are appearances by Robert Blake and Claudine Longet. Then again, the ultimate infamous person indirectly associated with the show was the late F.B.I. director J. Edgar Hoover. Check out their IMDb biography pages for more information.
Since the Ford Motor Company sponsored the show, all you tended to see were cars by Ford. The Ford logo was prominent during the opening credits from seasons 1-5. I still find the abrupt edit rather humorous. Is Ford unwilling to put up the cash to show off their now classic cars?
When I look at past and present crime shows like Hill Street Blues, Law and Order and CSI (all editions), it reminds me how The F.B.I. (the show) was more of a dinosaur. Despite changing cultural and creative values, the program did not change with the times. It was a rather bland and sometimes not very challenging show, despite a few episodes that did kept my interest. And although it's always nice to see future stars, overall, The F.B.I. was just a standard crime drama. Competent but not a classic.
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