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Best TV crime shows


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On 3/16/2018 at 5:30 AM, TopBilled said:

Glad you mentioned Naked City. It seemed to work better in the hour-format. The half-hour episodes from the first season don't go as in-depth. So many excellent guest stars, quite a few "before they were famous." 

I actually liked the half hour episodes better, they were a bit tighter and had more New York-eese stuff like the sidewalk fishermen. The longer episodes were more interiors and exposition.

My list

Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer

Alfred Hitchcock Presents 

Naked City

The Fugitive

The Outsider

The Rockford Files

Coronet Blue 

 

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bravo, Uncle Joe. In a highly over-saturated field, (America has the highest crime rate in the world, in television) my list (cop shows!) is fairly short

  • Police Story
  • Hill Street Blues
  • Barney Miller

Ha! You Sopranos fans, I've never seen a single episode! I wouldnt sully my eyeballs with it. Seriously that show caused devastation in New York. More actual crime from that series than it was worth. Deaths and pain and injuries. Mafia admiration is just wrong.

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  • 5 months later...

Naked City and Peter Gunn were great. I also liked Columbo and The Rockford Files. Mission Impossible was very good.

The noirish style of the 50's and early 60's seemed to be gone by the 70's. Probably after color took over. The jazz music (Peter Gunn) and realism (Naked City) made them special to me. 

To me Peter Gunn episodes were like short noir films. I think it was the best detective series ever made for television. The episodes were about 26 minutes long and the pace was extremely fast. A lot of action packed into each episode.

 

 

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12 hours ago, FloydDBarber said:

Naked City and Peter Gunn were great. I also liked Columbo and The Rockford Files. Mission Impossible was very good.

The noirish style of the 50's and early 60's seemed to be gone by the 70's. Probably after color took over. The jazz music (Peter Gunn) and realism (Naked City) made them special to me. 

To me Peter Gunn episodes were like short noir films. I think it was the best detective series ever made for television. The episodes were about 26 minutes long and the pace was extremely fast. A lot of action packed into each episode.

 

 

I haven't seen much of Naked City,  but I have seen a lot of Peter Gunn, when Decades showed the series.

It is great to see jazz musicians I admire, and whose albums I have,  on the show and Henry Mancini's background score is as solid as they come.    Dark, moody and with that fine jazz music; what is not to love!

 

    

 

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  • 1 month later...

I liked many of them, but my all-time favorite remains "The Streets of San Fransisco", so much so that when I first started watching this show on TV, I said to myself "I have to visit this city, no question about it!" I booked a flight and I spent three wonderful weeks there (great restaurants). And, by the way, not just for the city itself, but also for Karl Malden (what a superb actor he is: "On the Waterfront"), also for movies I love such as Vertigo , The Birds, Bullitt, the Dirty Harry series, Basic Instinct...  

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On 3/15/2019 at 4:27 PM, cigarjoe said:

I actually liked the half hour episodes better, they were a bit tighter and had more New York-eese stuff like the sidewalk fishermen. The longer episodes were more interiors and exposition.

My list

Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer

Alfred Hitchcock Presents 

Naked City

The Fugitive

The Outsider

The Rockford Files

Coronet Blue 

 

I was a little boy when "The Naked City" was being featured on TV. I hardly remember anything about it, except for the fact that Paul Burke was in it.

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On 11/6/2019 at 7:10 PM, John Louis Gerdes said:

I liked many of them, but my all-time favorite remains "The Streets of San Fransisco", so much so that when I first started watching this show on TV, I said to myself "I have to visit this city, no question about it!" I booked a flight and I spent three wonderful weeks there (great restaurants). And, by the way, not just for the city itself, but also for Karl Malden (what a superb actor he is: "On the Waterfront"), also for movies I love such as Vertigo , The Birds, Bullitt, the Dirty Harry series, Basic Instinct...  

Great anecdote. Yes, it certainly helped that the show was filmed on location each week. It has a bit more authenticity than other crime dramas.

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  • 10 months later...

Law and Order SVU   The FBI  Mannix   Hill Street Blues  Cagney and Lacy  Police Woman  The Streets of San Francisco  Kojak  Barney Miller Criminal Minds Columbo  Crime Scene Investigation  In Plain Sight  McMillan and Wife  The Fugitive  Mod Squad  Starsky and Hutch  Chicago Pd  Hawaii  Five O  Police Story These are my top twenty police shows. Honorable mention  The Rockford Files  Ironside  Canon

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12 hours ago, cinemaman said:

Law and Order SVU   The FBI  Mannix   Hill Street Blues  Cagney and Lacy  Police Woman  The Streets of San Francisco  Kojak  Barney Miller Criminal Minds Columbo  Crime Scene Investigation  In Plain Sight  McMillan and Wife  The Fugitive  Mod Squad  Starsky and Hutch  Chicago Pd  Hawaii  Five O  Police Story These are my top twenty police shows. Honorable mention  The Rockford Files  Ironside  Canon

Nice list!

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  • 2 weeks later...

21-Jump Street. (Favorite Episodes: Mike's POV, Swallowed Alive, Blinded by the Thousand Points of Light, Loc'd Out part 1 and 2, The Dragon and the Angel, 2245...to name a few.)

The Untouchables (seasons 1-3)

Matlock

 

Will give Streets of San Francisco and Hunter a try on YouTube. Hunter's weird in that I remember the theme song from seeing it all the time in the 80s, but I never watched the show.

 

 

 

 

 

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On 10/13/2020 at 9:06 PM, 540SciFi said:

21-Jump Street. (Favorite Episodes: Mike's POV, Swallowed Alive, Blinded by the Thousand Points of Light, Loc'd Out part 1 and 2, The Dragon and the Angel, 2245...to name a few.)

The Untouchables (seasons 1-3)

Matlock

 

Will give Streets of San Francisco and Hunter a try on YouTube. Hunter's weird in that I remember the theme song from seeing it all the time in the 80s, but I never watched the show.

I've never seen any episodes of 21 Jump Street. But I have seen an episode of Booker, the short-lived spinoff.

Let us know what you think about Hunter

I highly recommend these episodes:

"City of Passion"...a three-part story from season 4
"Heir of Neglect"...season 5 opener, some very shocking murders take place.
"The Pit"...also from season 5
"City Under Siege"...another great three-part story from season 5
"Shillelagh"...from season 6, probably my favorite episode...the murder weapon is very unusual
"Fatal Obsession"...a two-parter from season 7 that has a very unusual villain

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On 10/15/2020 at 1:53 AM, TopBilled said:

I've never seen any episodes of 21 Jump Street. But I have seen an episode of Booker, the short-lived spinoff.

Let us know what you think about Hunter

I highly recommend these episodes:

"City of Passion"...a three-part story from season 4
"Heir of Neglect"...season 5 opener, some very shocking murders take place.
"The Pit"...also from season 5
"City Under Siege"...another great three-part story from season 5
"Shillelagh"...from season 6, probably my favorite episode...the murder weapon is very unusual
"Fatal Obsession"...a two-parter from season 7 that has a very unusual villain

I watched the pilot episode of Hunter. It felt very familiar to the point that I could recall watching some Hunter episodes as a kid. I liked the episode and the two main characters. Much more brutal than A-Team, Jump Street, and some of the other Stephen J Cannell shows. Will watch more episodes later. Have to stick with Streets of San Francisco first. Saw one episode, and I'm sold. The main characters, music, cinematography, and the whole 70s presentation of the city are pretty cool.

Booker was an alright character on Jump Street for his short stint. They should have tried bringing him back after Johnny Depp quit the show. I have the Booker DVD set and watched it once a few years ago, but I haven't wanted to revisit it since. Didn't get into the series back in '89/'90 either. As for 21 Jump Street, the episodes Loc'd out 1 and 2 and Draw the Line make up a very strong 3-part arc. It's about a gang war and it's pretty dark, so anyone that doesn't like the show's premise of undercover cops in high schools/colleges can get into this storyline. The rationale behind the gang war is really, really deep, especially considering the audience the show was going for.

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  • 1 month later...
On 3/17/2018 at 3:00 PM, Thenryb said:

I consider this the best Sherlock Holmes series ever, movies or television. Jeremy Brett was terrific and I also like Edward Hardwicke as Dr. Watson (not "buffony" like Nigel Bruce).

I love this series too. It's on Britbox and I watch it often. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

The Endeavour series on PBS is a show I like. It’s very specific, with it’s Oxford England setting and the 1960s period.   Placing a crime drama in an historic university town is quite original.  Shaun Evans as Inspector Endeavour Morse, and his partner, Roger Allam as Fred Thursday, make for a wonderful cop pairing. Their relationship is complex: father-son like, but at times threatened by jealousy, age and cultural differences. Yet there is also love, as was demonstrated in the latest series finale.

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Like everyone else I liked Peter Gunn. I was also a fan of 77 Sunset Strip, the original Hawaii Five O, Mannix and The Untouchables.  I still like detective shows even today.  My wife thinks I have an unhealthy obsession with stories about serial killers. Not that I want to be one, it's just fascinating watching profilers and detectives work together to catch them. I watch Zodiac every time it's on TV.  The fact that they never caught him intrigues me.  

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  • 4 weeks later...

I just discovered "Decoy" yesterday while surfing Roku offerings for old or offbeat movies and TV shows. My eyes fell on a frame of Beverly Garland looking quite seductive, as Beverly often did, so I clicked.

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From the first episode, I saw familiar faces, but none I'd ever seen so young. Every episode I've seen so far has one or two. I watch and ask myself, "Where did I see her before? Isn't that the guy from that 70s movie?" There is a teenage-looking Joanne Linville. An almost svelt Ed Asner. Frank Sutton, before he was Gomer's drill sergeant. Nicholas Colosanto as a gun runner, 25 years before he was the concussed, stock stupid guy on "Cheers." Then others I can't name but I recognize from later work, like that shady character who would wander into Mayberry, and the guy who managed Lonnegan's Chicago operation in The Sting. They just keep showing up. They were then just young New York actors, but many went on to steady careers in supporting roles, if not stardom.

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The series was shot on location in the New York streets, a year before "Naked City." The first shot in the first episode features Beverly in a stole, and she's a drop-dead honey, lighting a cigarette on a bridge with the Chrysler building towering in the background. The street scenes were shot Ed Wood style with no permit. They just set up the camera and rolled. Those are not extras walking into and out of the shots. They are New Yorkers. A sharp eye will notice some passersby looking at the camera. 

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As fun as the familiar faces and the cityscapes are, it is Beverly Garland's show. She plays Casey Jones, a New York City police woman who is often called upon to work under cover, and she is eminently watchable. She has an expressiveness in her face and her movement that is natural and magnetic. At the end of each episode, you even get some face time with her, when she speaks to the camera. Still photos don't capture her allure quite as well as seeing her move and hearing her speak, but I loaded some anyway.

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Why haven't I seen this before? 39 episodes were aired from October 14, 1957, to July 7, 1958. I've read a few items about it and learned that it was sold into syndication before production began, so it had no real network support. One reviewer said it never even aired in New York City, which I'm guessing would have helped it's chances. 

Does anyone remember it from back then? How did it go over? 

All episodes are available without charge on The Roku Channel, Tubi, and The Archive, or on Amazon Prime for $1 per episode. If none of those are an option for you, YouTube has many episodes.

What the hell. I've used up this much space, what's a little more? Here's the opener. 

 

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16 hours ago, TopBilled said:

Probably we can say that Angie Dickinson's show owes a debt to this one.

I could have said much more but wanted to keep it under 500 words. I don't know "Police Woman" well enough to draw comparisons, and I don't think I agree with those who make a big thing  of "Decoy" featuring a female lead. I do think that the show that is most comparable is "Dragnet" (of course the 50s iteration, not the corny 60s version we know better - though even that has it's charm). In fact. I can imagine the producers pitching "Decoy" by framing it as "Dragnet, but with a woman cop." 

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4 minutes ago, LuckyDan said:

I could have said much more but wanted to keep it under 500 words. I don't know "Police Woman" well enough to draw comparisons, and I don't think I agree with those who make a big thing  of "Decoy" featuring a female lead. I do think that the show that is most comparable is "Dragnet" (of course the 50s iteration, not the corny 60s version we know better - though even that has it's charm). In fact. I can imagine the producers pitching "Decoy" by framing it as "Dragnet, but with a woman cop." 

Yes, probably.

I was thinking there is probably some sort of TV lineage though. 

Decoy - Police Woman - Cagney & Lacey (that time we get two women detectives!)

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2 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

Yes, probably.

I was thinking there is probably some sort of TV lineage though. 

Decoy - Police Woman - Cagney & Lacey (that time we get two women detectives!)

Add Honey West. 

All these titles can be delineated, sure, and "Decoy" does indeed make much of the fact that there are police women, but it just seems to have come and gone - in a single season - without any notice at all. I read several Beverly Garland interviews looking for her thoughts on it. I found nothing. It's like this never happened so I doubt anyone was looking to build on it. If the episodes were not now in public domain, I doubt I would have found it myself. 

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2 minutes ago, LuckyDan said:

Add Honey West. 

All these titles can be delineated, sure, and "Decoy" does indeed make much of the fact that there are police women, but it just seems to have come and gone - in a single season - without any notice at all. I read several Beverly Garland interviews looking for her thoughts on it. I found nothing. It's like this never happened so I doubt anyone was looking to build on it. If the episodes were not now in public domain, I doubt I would have found it myself. 

Most people likely remember her from the final seasons of My Three Sons though personally, I remember her as Kate Jackson's mother in Scarecrow & Mrs. King since I was a child of the 80s and watched her for four seasons on that program.

I think Jackson, who was a feminist and had played a lady detective on Charlie's Angels was a fan of Garland and hand-picked Garland to play her mom. Even if Decoy had only produced 39 episodes, it was not exactly forgotten. It made sense that if the police woman in Decoy had a daughter, that daughter would grow up to be suburban spy Amanda King.

On Scarecrow & Mrs. King Garland was used mainly for comic relief and the "B" plots, though occasionally the writers did focus the main plot around her character with her daughter Amanda and Amanda's coworker turned love interest Lee Stetson (Bruce Boxleitner) saving her from a dangerous man-- usually a KGB operative.

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45 minutes ago, LuckyDan said:

Add Honey West. 

All these titles can be delineated, sure, and "Decoy" does indeed make much of the fact that there are police women, but it just seems to have come and gone - in a single season - without any notice at all. I read several Beverly Garland interviews looking for her thoughts on it. I found nothing. It's like this never happened so I doubt anyone was looking to build on it. If the episodes were not now in public domain, I doubt I would have found it myself. 

I'm a friend of Gloria Fickling,  who wrote the series of Honey West books with her husband Skip.    Fun lady with lots of good stories to tell (just don't ask her about Aaron Spelling,  who she says canceled the T.V. show after a year because he didn't wish to pay them,  and then stole their concept and came up with Charlie Angel's).  

I didn't know about Decoy.   I guess I could ask Gloria if her husband and her got the idea for Honey West from that series:   No,,,, I haven't the guts!  

Here is Gloria and Skip on You Bet Your Life.  

 

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Just now, jamesjazzguitar said:

I'm a friend of Gloria Fickling,  who wrote the series of Honey West books with her husband Skip.    Fun lady with lots of good stories to tell (just don't ask her about Aaron Spelling,  who she says canceled the T.V. show after a year because he didn't wish to pay them,  and then stole their concept and came up with Charlie Angel's).  

I didn't know about Decoy.   I guess I could ask Gloria if her husband and her got the idea for Honey West from that series:   No,,,, I haven't the guts!  

 

That's cool as hell. Ask her though what she remembers of it. I'd love to hear someone who was actually there talk about it. 

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44 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

I think Jackson, who was a feminist and had played a lady detective on Charlie's Angels was a fan of Garland and hand-picked Garland to play her mom. Even if Decoy had only produced 39 episodes, it was not exactly forgotten. It made sense that if the police woman in Decoy had a daughter, that daughter would grow up to be suburban spy Amanda King.

I think it was forgotten. I'd say unnoticed.

The feminist angle pops up a lot in what writing there is about "Decoy," with observations like "It was too ahead of it's time" and "America wasn't ready for it." And this from people who weren't there. That seems facile. Lazy. Like summarizing the 1920s by saying everybody drank bathtub gin and danced the Charleston.

But since you mention "Scarecrow" I found that Beverly's character was named Dotty West. Maybe Anne Francis wasn't available. 

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