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Premiered on September 12, 1966 the television series "Felony Squad"
was the created brainchild of two producers that were associated with
Quinn Martin even though the series was not associated with Quinn
Martin Productions but through a different company. Two of the
producers of this series consisted of Walter Grauman(who was a producer
and director of several Quinn Martin produced shows like "The New
Breed", "The Fugitive", "Twelve O'Clock High", "The FBI",and "The
Invaders" to name a few),and producer Phillip Saltzman(who was one of
the writers for several Quinn Martin produced shows),along with creator
Richard Murphy who also served as executive producer of this series
along with Walter Grauman and Richard Newton, the police crime drama
series "Felony Squad" was a half-hour television cop show that
premiered on ABC's Prime-Time schedule that lasted three seasons and
produced 73 episodes in color until January 31,1969. For the first two
seasons of the show's run it aired in Prime-Time on Monday nights with
30 episodes each for both Seasons 1 and 2. For its first season, the
series aired at the 9:00 eastern/8:00 central time slot where it
preceded "The Rat Patrol" and before "Peyton Place" and went opposite
against "The Andy Griffith Show" and "The Perry Como Kraft Music Hall".
The second season also went opposite "The Andy Griffith Show" and "The
Danny Thomas Comedy Hour" where it preceded "The Rat Patrol",and
"Peyton Place". In the fall of 1968, ABC moved the series from Monday
nights to Friday nights, a move that proved disastrous where it
scheduled to the 8:30 eastern/7:30 central time slot where it preceded
"Operation:Entertainment",and before the short-lived "The Don Rickles
Show" and it was opposite "The Name of the Game",and "Gomer Pyle, USMC"
that killed it in the ratings that produced 13 episodes in its final
season until January 31, 1969.
This crime drama series starred Howard Duff(as Sergeant Sam Stone),and Dennis Cole(as Detective Jim Briggs)as investigators in a major crimes unit based on modern-day mid-1960's Los Angeles that were associated with the Los Angeles Police Department. Howard Duff's character was the veteran who was teaching his younger partner the facets of police work while teaching him the life lessons of detective work within the police department. Another main character was the desk sergeant Dan Briggs(portrayed by former "Dragnet" actor Ben Alexander)who was the father of Dennis Cole's character. The cases the squad handles deals with the regular procedures that they encounter while on the beat which gave way to some great episodes this series had even though it lasted a half-hour. Big name directors like George McCowan, Allen Reisner, Lawrence Dobkin, Robert Butler, Lee H. Katzin, Gene Nelson, Tom Gries, to Richard Donner, Gerd Oswald, Laslo Benedek, Vincent McEveety, Jud Taylor, Walter Grauman, William Hale and even Howard Duff contribute to some of the excellent episodes.
Big name writers from Richard Murphy, Don Brinkley, Franklin Barton, Harold Gast, Robert Heverly, Phillip Saltzman, Mark Rodgers, Jack Turley, Lee Erwin, Howard Gast, Ellis Kadison, John Kneubuhl, to Don Tait. Big name guest stars ranging from Barney Phillips, Kevin McCarthy, James Daly, Harold J. Stone, Lynda Day George, Vic Tayback, Joe Don Baker, Roddy McDowell, Ricardo Montalban, James Best, Lloyd Haynes, Darren McGavin, Kevin Hagen, Patricia Barry, Beau Bridges, Ed Asner, to Marj Dusay, Fritz Weaver, Robert Duvall, Cleavon Little, Martin Milner, Simon Oakland, Gerald S. O'Laughlin, Brock Peters, Pat Hingle, Harold Gould, Lana Wood, Scott Brady, Mark Lenard, Jack Hogan, Will Kuluva, to Carl Betz, Diana Muldaur, Joanne Linville, Rodolfo Hoyos, Jr., Ellen Corby, Beah Richards, Paul Mantee, George Takei, Eric Shea, Susan Flannery, Ivan Dixon, Cicely Tyson, Joanna Moore, Russell Johnson, to Joan Van Ark, Richard Dreyfuss, Andrew Prine, Roy Jenson and Michael Callan.
The best episodes that came from this short-lived police drama series let me started with the show's pilot episode "The Streets Are Paved With Quicksand" to the two-part episodes "The Night of the Shark", "An Arrangement With Death", "The Flip Side of Fear", "The Nowhere Man" to "A Conspiracy of Power". Other great episodes from "Felony Squad" were "Target!", "A Blueprint for Dying", "The Immaculate Killer", "Let Him Die!", "The 30-Gram Kill", "A Date With Terror",and "The Law and Order Blues" When this series was abruptly canceled in early-1969 the series was replaced by two comedies that were placed on ABC's Friday Night schedule that included the short-lived "Mr. Deeds Goes To Town" and by the winter of 1970 was replaced by "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir."....even though it lasted three seasons and 73 episodes the short-lived "Felony Squad" was a great cop show with excellent episodes and great acting even though it remains one of the "under-rated" of the astounding police dramas of the mid-1960's on the eve of its 50th anniversary.
First of all the pace of this show is perfect and precedes Adam 12, a
more serious dramatic police show by a few years. It's easy to see that
many later humorous attempts at police stories were probably born as a
result of Felony Squad, especially Police Squad.
The stories are riddled with interesting criminal characters and tough talking cops that really skirt the law to obtain confessions and catch the bad guys. The campy feel of this show is very familiar when one realizes the production crew is also shared with Batman, a series which aired during the same time period. The theme music and the urgency of all involved represent a fun time in television.
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