Classic anthology series, which details the personal lives of the men and women of the Los Angeles Police Department. The stories ranged from highly dramatic to extremely funny. Even though there weren’t any real regulars, Don Meredith and Tony LoBianco were often seen throughout the run of the show as detectives Bert Jameson and Tony Calabrese respectively. 


Police Story was a bold and innovative concept for television police drama. It was perhaps the first police drama to portray cops as real humans with human frailties. There was not a smooth script with the sense that everything was under control. There was always an edge that something might go wrong and be irreparable by the end of the show. Its strengths were the revolving collection of actors from week to week. It often took well known type casted actors such as Martin Milnor as Pete Malloy, Hugh O’Brien and played them against type as the so clean appearing cops they were used to playing.

Police Story was an ensemble series more akin to later shows such as St. Elsewhere and Hill Street Blues that deliberately sometimes knocked off likeable leads and there were so many recurring leads that one did not get sick of them every week. The show was unpredictable, not Mission Impossible or other gimmick shows such as McGyver where you always knew the good guys would win. The most similar current shows are Deep Space Nine or Law and Order, which are not afraid to knock off a major character for the sake of the story. There were so many Police Stories, and I have forgotten most of them; if they ever were rerun, I did not see them again. Two of the most memorable ones were, one where the hero was undercover and went to Tijuana to track down a drug shipment but the buy went wrong.

The DVD comes with a video interview and commentary from the series creator. Plus, you get the original pilot movie that helped launch the series. Joseph Wambaugh also issues an essay about the creation of the series and about how his time as a police officer helped influence it. The A/V Quality is strong enough for a show of its age, but there is a persistent haze throughout the transfer. I’d recommend a rental.



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