One ADAM-12, One ADAM-12!

by Michael Ugulini
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The dispatcher's opening remarks to Officers Pete Malloy and Jim Reed were a beckon to action on the streets of Los Angeles and its environs in the 1960's and into the 1970's.

This TV show, which began on September 21, 1968, was a half-hour drama which carried us along in the backseat with these two officers, played by Martin Milner and Kent McCord.

Each week we came to know the Los Angeles area of the sixties almost as well as their fictional characters did. They portrayed the operations of the LAPD in a realistic manner, showing the day-to-day routine of policemen on the beat.

A typical show would center on various calls dispatched to these men throughout the day – from a simple traffic violation, to a domestic dispute threatening to get ugly, to full-blown murder and mayhem in the seedier sections of the sun-drenched metropolis of the City of Angels.

Pepper-sprayed throughout these episodes were actors and actresses in the beginnings of their careers who later would become household names in the 70's and 80's.

The likes of Cloris Leachman, Karen Black, Barry Williams, and Harry Dean Stanton appeared in Season One of the show.

The show was produced by Jack Webb who also produced Dragnet and the 1970's show Emergency.

The episodes of Adam-12 were based on actual files from the Los Angeles Police Department so this lent the show its aura of authenticity and realism.

The show would interweave background details about the officers' lives with the police procedural plots so that we came to know the two policemen as everyday citizens as well as professionals upholding the law.

The repartee between Malloy and Reed was formulated so that we came to understand them as partners who cared for each other beyond their prescribed work shifts.

The two actors were an excellent fit onscreen and have remained friends to this day off-screen.

Who can forget the in-and-of-itself boring image of the police car radio mike hung on the front dash of the car as a monotone voice announced the next incident for the officers to investigate.

It's an image that spoke of the matter-of-fact nature of the show, and police work in general on a day-to-day basis.

One ADAM-12, one ADAM-12 is certainly one show for the ages.

With Season One currently available on DVD we can all roll along down the highways and byways of L.A. with Officers' Pete Malloy and Jim Reed as our guides.

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