The original "ensemble drama," this is the story of an overworked, under-staffed police precinct in an anonymous inner city patterned after Chicago. We follow the lives of many characters, from the lowly beat and traffic cops to the captain of the precinct himself. This is the show that blazed the trail followed later by such notable ensemble dramas as "St. Elsewhere" and "L.A. Law." Written by
Originally, Hill and Renko were supposed to die in the shooting in the drug house in the first episode. When it was decided that the series needed more uniformed cops to justify its title, several finished or in-production episodes were reworked to show that they had survived and to bring them back; other uniforms' parts were expanded as well. See more »
During the opening credits when the police cars pull out of the garage, one of them has the overhead light bar on backwards. You can see that the others have the siren speakers between the lights facing front, while one has it facing to the trunk. See more »
In the days of E.R and NYPD Blue, it's hard to remember just how ground-breaking a show HSB was. Nothing like it had ever been seen before. The quality of the acting and writing, the documentary look and feel, the seedy broken down environment, the brutally frank situations and language (for the time), the fact that the "bad" guys got away with it as often as not, the huge ensemble cast, the long one-take scenes, the unhappy endings etc. etc.
Needless to say, the American people wanted nothing to do with such quality at first - until it won a record number of Emmys and they couldn't ignore it anymore. If nothing else, this series proved to the networks that quality can sell soap after all.
If you like your E.R. think a kind thought for Hill Street Blues - the series that made it all possible.
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