Norman Buntz, the gruff (and somewhat ethically questionable) detective from "Hill Street Blues" (1981) leaves the anonymous inner city and heads to the sunny climes of Southern California ... See full summary »
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
Gregory Hoblit says he was 'struck dumb' by the power of the award-winning documentary The Police Tapes (1977). A few major elements of the documentary were later included in 'Hill Street Blues'. 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 »
Tough cops are everywhere!! This series did not officially designate a city in which it took place, but, all indications point to "Hill Street Blues" being set in the city of Chicago!! The Old Style beer sign outside one of the bars that the television audience saw during the introduction of the show sort of gave it away!! I loved this show, the cast was a big reason!! Daniel Travanti was extremely likable just by virtue of the fact that he was very faulted!! Veronica Hamel, was the hard working feminist D. A. who attempted to dissect reality, it then became a moot question as to whether or not she would be able to stomach it!! Ed Marinaro was terrific as a Chicago cop, this is absolutely remarkable considering the fact that he was a professional football player from New York!! Betty Thomas was the ideal prototype for a lady cop!! Kiel Martin was perfect as the sleaze ball working on the right side of the law!! Last but not least, Bruce Wietz, "Grrrrrrrr!!" he added an astutely hilarious perspective to the series through his portrayal as the undercover guy!! One time, Kathy Bates played his sister, she also made the noise "Grrrrrrrr!!" and used the term "dog breath". "Hill Street Blues" was enormously popular throughout the entire eighties decade because, it depicted tragedy in a manner which portrayed it as something that does not simply disappear!! Part of NBC's powerful Thursday night line-up, it always highlighted the bothersome travesties which afflicted a precinct in a poverty ridden section of the city!! So many ideas seemed complicated, until the figureheads of the law came to grips with the fact that there was no solution to most crimes, just aspects of mollification to them!! The prevailing circumstances of adversity on this program are what gave all of the characters in the show "Hill Street Blues" a tailor made invitation to seek amelioration for their actions!! Many situations that are very sad remain that way for both sides!! Victims of their environment turned criminals by default, as well as the detectives and policemen, all seem to be making deals with the devil!! Before "Law and Order", before "L A Law", there was "Hill Street Blues"... Reality is nauseating, reality is humorous, reality is perverse, reality has a definite monotony, and, in this case, reality for effective television programming was "Hill Street Blues". I thought this television show was one of the best ever!! I wish there could be more shows like "Hill Street Blues" on prime time television today!! "Hill Street Blues" was a definite winner!!
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