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Hill Street Blues 

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The lives and work of the staff of an inner city police precinct.
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7   6   5   4   3   2   1  
1987   1986   1985   1984   1983   1982   … See all »
Won 3 Golden Globes. Another 56 wins & 109 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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Robert Hirschfeld ...
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 Irwin Bernstein 58 episodes, 1982-1987
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Storyline

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 Afterburner <aburner@erols.com>

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Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

TV-14 | See all certifications »
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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

15 January 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hill Street Station  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(146 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

4:3
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A hallmark in the development of television drama, this was the first straight drama to incorporate multi-episode story arcs and sweeping narrative, which had heretofore only been used in soap operas. Now all dramas use this technique, from Game of Thrones (2011) to Pretty Little Liars (2010), and this can all be traced back to this series. See more »

Goofs

When the various characters speak into the radio microphone in their patrol cars, they seldom press the "transmit" switch, and Andy Renko is occasionally seen speaking into the back of the microphone. See more »

Quotes

[repeated line]
Belker: Grrrrrrrrrrrrr!
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Crazy Credits

After the credits it shows the MTM kitten wearing a policeman's hat to match this show. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Realistic, ground-breaking police drama
26 August 1999 | by See all my reviews

When Hill Street Blues was being made, here in the UK it didn't get networked. Instead, my local commercial station (Central) picked it up and showed it on a Friday night at 11pm. My opinion of the show can be judged from the fact that I used to get home early from the pub to watch it.

It might be a cliche, but this really was a ground-breaking series. Compare it to its forbears, series like Kojak and Starsky & Hutch. Instead of there being three or four central characters, and a single plotline per episode, HSB had a couple of dozen characters and five or six plotlines, each interwoven and often continuing from week to week.

It brought an extra level of realism, too. In previous series, if cops got into a fist fight then they'd remain standing, although maybe with a bloody mouth. If someone got shot, odds on it was the bad guy, with the cops not receiving a scratch.

HSB changed all that. Fights looked real; policemen got shot; the bad guys often got away. And it went beyond that, including police corruption; politics interfering with the job; the way the police reached compromise deals with people like Jesus Martinez, even though he was a gang leader and notionally a 'bad guy'.

You cared about the characters, too. When Joe Coffey got shot, when Esterhaus died, any of a dozen others, they felt like they meant something. This wasn't a show that you watched, then forgot about.

Stephen Bochco went on to series like LA Law, NYPD Blue, Murder One and ER, all of which owe a lot to the style of HSB. It really did break the mould of TV drama; its influence is still clear, even today.


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