McCloud (1970–1977)
3 user 1 critic

Portrait of a Dead Girl 

A marshal from New Mexico travels to New York City to deliver a witness who is supposed to testify in a murder trial. However, the witness is soon kidnapped from his custody, and in trying ... See full summary »


Richard A. Colla


Stanford Whitmore (teleplay), Richard Levinson (teleplay) | 2 more credits »

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Dennis Weaver ... Sam McCloud
Craig Stevens ... Del Whitman
Peter Mark Richman ... Peter B. Clifford (as Mark Richman)
Diana Muldaur ... Chris Coughlin
Terry Carter ... Sgt. Joe Broadhurst
Mario Alcalde Mario Alcalde ... Carlos Peralta
Raul Julia ... Father Augusto Nieves (as Raúl Juliá)
Shelly Novack Shelly Novack ... James Waldron
Julie Newmar ... Adrienne Redman
Michael Bow Michael Bow ... Billy
Nefti Millet Nefti Millet ... Luis Ramos
Kathy Stritch Kathy Stritch ... Merri Ann Coleman
Albert Popwell ... Guard
Ira Cook Ira Cook ... 2nd Reporter
Gregory Sierra ... 1st Deputy


A marshal from New Mexico travels to New York City to deliver a witness who is supposed to testify in a murder trial. However, the witness is soon kidnapped from his custody, and in trying to get him back, the marshal finds that the case involves Puerto Rican nationalists, a lady novelist and a dead beauty queen, and a possible frame-up. Written by

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

17 February 1970 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Portrait of a Dead Girl See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The original title was "McCloud: Who Killed Miss USA" See more »


Chris Coughlin: The, eh, teargas blew, the witness flew and not a shot was fired.
Sam McCloud: Sounds like something you'd sing around a camp fire.
Chris Coughlin: By golly, you're right. 'The Ballad of James Otis Waldron'.
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Another Way
Music by David Shire
Lyrics by Richard Maltby Jr.
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User Reviews

OK but a bit too slow and baggy
20 November 2005 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

New Mexico Marshall Sam McCloud captures fugitive James Waldron in the desert only to be told that he has to escort the man to New York to testify in front of the grand jury in the case of Ramos and the murder of a beauty queen. However on arrival in New York he is meet by a police escort who turn out not to be who they claim – kidnapping Waldron and leaving McCloud handcuffed around a pole by the roadside. The New York police want McCloud gone but he hangs around and starts doing his own digging in the disappearance of Walden and the actual Ramos case itself.

I vaguely remember seeing some the McCloud series when I was very young but it is no more than a distant memory so I decided to take a look back by watching the pilot episode. Opening with a scene in the desert that does a lot to set up the character and approach of McCloud in a few moments we then go right to New York and into the mystery. From here on the film trades on the gentle humour of McCloud a bit too much but still have enough of a plot to keep things moving on. Director Colla doesn't really help things by having far too many wide shots of McCloud walking round the city streets like a mix between Columbo and Midnight Cowboy; he doesn't even really use the locations well he just seems to feel like he has to keep highlighting that this cowboy is in New York, like we haven't got it already.

Weaver is comfortable in the role although he is a bit too simplistic and swaggering for my liking; I know it is just a pilot but I would have liked more depth because as it is his character does come off as being pretty superficial. He is the main reason to come though because the supporting cast are only average – nobody bad as such but they would be mostly forgettable were it not for the familiar faces of Newmar, Julia and Richman.

Overall this is an OK pilot to a TV show that I can't remember well enough to comment on, but I'm not sure if this film did enough for me to bother trying to see more. The story is pretty good but the location drags the energy and pace out of it making the delivery nearly as slow and pokey and Weaver's "good ol' boy" delivery. OK but there are better detectives out there if you are into the genre.

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