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Susan Saint James
Tony Baretta is a street-smart, maverick undercover cop with the NYPD, who won't hesitate for a second to toss the rule book out the window if it stands between himself and taking some bad guy off the street. His unconventional methods often land him in hot water with his boss (Inspector Schiller, later Lt. Brubaker), but as long as Baretta was getting the job done, there wasn't much they could do. Ex-cop Billy and Huggy Bear-wannabe Rooster were Baretta's main men on the street, and Fred was his pet cockatoo. Written by
Marty McKee <email@example.com>
As with most police dramas that were on television during the 1970's,this was one of those shows they threw the overall police procedure out the window and the main character was a maverick detective who was working for the police department who went by his own set of rules. Most of the time he wore disguises on the job either by dressing up as a nun,an old lady or some lowlife who used unorthodox methods to capture the baddies and bring them to justice. "Baretta" was that show.
"Baretta" was the brainchild of producers Stephen J. Cannell and Roy Huggins,the same ones who were behind the critically acclaim short-lived police drama "Toma",which ran for one season when "Baretta" came in as the mid-season replacement in January of 1975. "Baretta" was the milder version of "Toma" with much of the violent content tone down for good measure. And just like "Toma",the reviews that "Baretta" got during its first season were minimum. But the public loved it and this is why the series ran for three seasons on ABC-TV,producing 82 episodes from January 17,1975 until May 18,1978,under Roy Huggins' production company Public Arts Productions in association with Universal Television. Say what you want about this upbeat crime drama/police story series with Robert Blake in the title role as Tony Baretta.
Baretta was an police detective/unorthodox plainclothes cop who lives with Fred,his pet cockatoo in a rundown apartment on the mean streets of New York. Like his model David Toma,Baretta wore many disguises on the job,but the way he used those methods to catch the lowlifes and scums of the city were impressive,and without the violent content. And just like Toma,Baretta had a gun he used for measure when necessary,but never fired it. Each episode followed the same formula,and it became quite the format that went with the standard basic cop show routine that dominated much of the 1970's.
With a great supporting cast that included Tom Ewell,along with Michael D. Roberts, Dana Elcar, Edward Glover, John Ward, Chino Williams, and Ron Thompson,"Baretta" became one of the most popular cop shows of its day. The episodes were interesting as well as creative and the plots interesting to watch to see what Robert Blake's character would come up with next. Not to mention one of the greatest cop theme song ever made sung by the great Sammy Davis,Jr. One of the best from that era.
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