As CBS/Paramount gets closer to releasing the last of the original Hawaii Five-O series on DVD, some of us find ourselves questioning life. “What,” the quaintly-queer queries go, “will I do to pass the time once the very last episode of one of the greatest cop shows ever is finally put out on home video? And how will I take care of my Jack Lord fix after that?” Well, the answer is simple: you simply find one of the other great cop shows out there — one that has an equally-superior star as Jack Lord.
Impossible? Surprisingly, it isn’t. In 1973, NBC aired a daring new television series entitled Police Story, created by cop-turned-writer Joseph Wambaugh (who also penned The New Centurions The Blue Knight and The Onion Field). The revolutionary aspect of this anthology series was that — in addition to ignoring the typical procedural formula most cop shows followed and focusing on the lives of the officers themselves — it had no regular cast. There was no Jack Lord, Telly Savalas or Robert Blake at the helm; instead there was more. Much more.
And now, thanks to the dedicated folks at Shout! Factory, Police Story: Season One is available for you to add in your collection right next to all of those (if not directly on top of) Hawaii Five-O DVDs. Each episode focused on an entirely different officer, veteran or rookie in the LAPD, beginning with the original feature-length pilot, “Slow Boy” starring the late great Vic Morrow (who would return in a two-parter, “Countdown” later in this same season). From there, we dive into different aspects of how the job of keeping the peace affects various law enforcement officers from agents, beat cops, detectives and newbies alike.
Among the incredible array of star power here are John Saxon, James Farentino, John Forsythe, Pedro Armendáriz Jr., Jan-Michael Vincent, Cameron Mitchell, Ed Asner, Hugh O’Brian, Pernell Roberts, Tony Lo Bianco (who stars in two episodes here and would go on to star in two more), Claude Akins, Clifton Davis, Martin Balsam, Edmund O’Brien, Donnelly Rhodes, Clu Gulager, Bert Convy, James Gregory and more. Supporting roles are played by greats such as Patty McCormack, Kim Hunter, Mel Ferrer, Sid Haig, Frankie Avalon (as a “kid” from the street), Dean Stockwell and Jerry Lee Lewis (as a pair of psycho hick thrill-killers), Sal Mineo (as a pimp!), Jackie Cooper, Tim Matheson, Albert Paulsen and Mary Ann Mobley.