Ironside is confined to a wheel chair (an attempted assassination left him paralyzed). With his former assistants Brown and Whitfield (later Belding) and former delinquent (and later lawyer) Mark, he combats crime for the San Francisco police from his mobile office (a van) while leaving a pot of chili cooking back at headquarters. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
I mentioned this before on a review of a third series that Raymond Burr had after Perry Mason and Ironside, that most actors are lucky to have one successful series let alone two of them back to back. Burr did it with two very different kinds of characters.
Perry Mason was cool and calculating until he sprung a trap in court that nailed the real murderer and/or the helpless prosecutor be it Hamilton Burger or someone else. But Robert Ironside had already faced his life crisis when that bullet severed his spinal cord. With that kind of baptism of fire nothing ever fazed the Chief. He was hostage a couple of times during the course of the show and he faced some unusual life threatening situations that were more stressful because of his paralysis, but he always kept a cool head.
I loved the position he was in as the head of that special squad. He had a picked team in Don Galloway, Barbara Anderson, and Don Mitchell. He worked only the most important cases or something that interested him. I worked for NYS Crime Victims Board and believe me I always looked for interesting cases where people filed claims. So much is dull and routine. Burr had the dull and routine out of his life.
Barbara Anderson did not go the full run of the series, but Elizabeth Baur came in and moved seamlessly into the team Ironside.
Beneath all the gruffness and the demands on his people that work be finished yesterday, the Chief had a good heart and was an inspiration to all around him. I suspect to many viewers as well.
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