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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>
I don't think it was an accident that The FBI came to television when it did and left when it did. If J. Edgar Hoover was one thing it was that he was conscious of the image of his agency. He really did personally supervise films like The Street With No Name, The House On 92nd Street, and The FBI Story, anything where the Bureau was involved. And it was never shown in a bad light.
But in 1965 we had just lost a president through assassination and while the FBI does not have direct responsibility for presidential protection, the rumblings about Hoover's relationship with the Kennedys were being heard. I think Hoover felt that the FBI needed some good publicity so this show was aired.
It wasn't a bad show, it wasn't the best police action adventure show on television, but it had its share of well acted episodes. Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. was a stalwart defender of law and order and he was ably assisted first by Stephen Brooks and later William Reynolds for most of the show's run and then Shelley Novack. Take a look at the cat list, a whole lot of people who later became prominent appeared in this show.
Hoover died in 1972, rather suddenly and the FBI then became a casualty of the Watergate Scandal. It was put forth in that film The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover that if Hoover had lived a few more years, Watergate would never have seen the light of day. I think there's some truth to that. In any event acting director L. Patrick Gray was forced to resign in the whole Watergate mess and a show about The FBI just wasn't a big item any more for television.
Indirectly I think the show was a casualty of Watergate as well though it was probably nearing its end in any event. No coincidence it ended in the year Richard Nixon resigned as president.
Still The FBI is both a reflection of the times and it somehow stood outside the changes that were going on in America during its run.
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