18 out of 18 people found the following review useful:
A cop turned priest, one of the great far-out premises
27 July 2006
Detective Sergeant Samuel Cavanaugh resigns from the force when his
wife (lovely Diane Baker) is murdered. Sarge enters the priesthood and
is assigned to lead a San Diego parish near where he had served as a
cop. Somehow Sarge keeps getting involved in solving crimes, even
though he is no longer a cop.
This was a brilliant, audacious concept for a detective series that
didn't apologize for the melodrama or for stretching credibility. The
premise was so weird and original that the show could well have become
Casting the lead must have been daunting. Who could believably fill the
role of a cop turned priest? David Janssen, Vic Morrow, Chuck Connors,
Martin Landau, Anthony Quinn, Glenn Ford, Ben Gazzara, Richard Kiley,
James Whitmore, Robert Lansing, Roy Thinnes? The producers found the
perfect choice in George Kennedy. Kennedy had served many years as a
soldier/officer in the army and eventually made the career switch to
character actor and finally to quasi-leading man. Kennedy was very
convincing and charismatic as the career-changing Sarge.
The supporting cast was also first rate with pretty Sallie Shockley as
his live-in housekeeper, Harold Sakata ("Odd Job") as his laconic but
martial arts skilled cook, and Ramon Bieri as the chief of detectives
who was an old friend of Sarge.
Emmy winning producer David Levinson ("The Senator") did a fine job of
coming up with intriguing, well written crime dramas for Sarge to
investigate. Directors included John Badham, Richard Donner and Jeannot
Szwarc. Guest stars included Vic Morrow, Martin Sheen, Jack Cassidy,
Leslie Nielsen, Don Johnson and Carol Lawrence.
TV Guide critic Clevland Amory said the show failed because viewers
couldn't believe in that priestly a cop or that coply a priest. But
George Kennedy was totally believable. The real problem was the brutal
time slot. "Sarge" was on opposite "Hawaii 5-0" and the "ABC Tuesday
Movie of the Week". NBC should have given "Sarge" a second chance with
a slot on the mystery wheel with "Columbo".
Sarge was a terrific character, superbly embodied by Kennedy. Sarge
could have been a great cultural icon, on a par with Perry Mason,
Paladin or Sergeant Saunders.
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