When Tony Musante agreed to do the series, he refused to commit to more than one full season. He would continue in the role only if the second season was shortened to 10 episodes, or six 90-minute 'wheel' episodes, as was used on the The NBC Tuesday Mystery Movie (1971). Producers were certain Musante would change his mind, and return for a full second season, so they agreed to the unusual contract. But when the producers tried to renegotiate with Musante after the first season, he still refused, and quit the series. The producers wanted Robert Blake to take over the role. But when Blake balked at taking over an established role, the series was retooled as Baretta (1975). See more »
"Toma" was based on the real-life exploits of Newark, NJ narcotics detective Dave Toma, who in the late 1960's and early 70's, made a name for himself by using unorthodox techniques to get the goods on criminals. He would often dress up as a nun, rabbi, homeless person or any other average citizen in order to blend in and get the drop on pushers.
This TV series started off with good intentions and was a hard-hitting, realistic urban police drama. But star Tony Musante was worried it was going to go the route of every other cop show and just become formulaic. When he pushed for creative changes, producers pushed back and the show ended after just one season. The concept re-emerged the following year as "Beretta" starring Robert Blake and turned into just the kind of light-weight formulaic show Musante wanted no part of.
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