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 <email@example.com>
For this series, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., was provided with an FBI identification card that had a recent photograph of him, fingerprints from his Army service, and an identification number that was only one digit less than a genuine number. See more »
This show is appropriate for the post-9/11 generation
For years, this show ran opposite the Disney show and "Bonanza," yet I personally preferred watching this one because it seemed more realistic. Years later, it is clear this show is still VERY watchable. Watergate, the loss of faith in government it caused and the resulting trauma led to the show being canceled in 1974.
Never mind what went on in J. Edgar Hoover's life. The show is acted with a genuine sincerity, and reflects the decency of the majority of the FBI agents in the field. The acting is very good, and one can also see many interesting guest stars. Just seeing Efrem Zimbalist Jr. alone is a delight. Indeed, it took over the mantle for "The Twilight Zone," as a show where so many performers could show their work. Harrison Ford and Michael Douglas did early performances, and it also had such seasoned performers as Gene Tierney and Jessica Tandy.
This was one show that may not have had the flash of "Batman," "The Avengers" or "The Smothers Brothers Show," but it had enough staying power to last nine years. And for a time, it was the longest-running crime drama on TV.
The first season focused more on the human element. While the late Stephen Brooks was a good actor, I loved what William Reynolds did as SAC Tom Colby from 1967 to 1973. Shelly Novack also did a great job, proving the show did not "jump the shark." Incidentally, Messrs. Zimbalist and Reynolds and Lynn Loring (who played Inspector Erskine's daughter, Barbara) are, as of 2012, the surviving lead cast members.
If the show itself did not fully reflect the reality of the Bureau, the stories told and the acting make up for it. It is a fun piece of film making from the 1960s and '70s. And I am glad to see the series coming on DVD.
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