One of the most iconic police shows ever to air on television was Adam-12. Showing the life of two LAPD patrol officers, the show set a benchmark for all other police shows to follow. On September 6th, one of the stars of the show, Martin Milner, passed away in California after a long battle with heart conditions. He was 83 years old.
It was 1968 when NBC broadcast a new kind of police show for their television audiences – [easyazon_link identifier=”B0009UC80Q” locale=”US” tag=”bluesheecom-20″]Adam-12[/easyazon_link]. The concept of the show was amazingly similar to the wildly popular Cops series of the 1990’s to present. Using the most advanced camera technology of the time, [easyazon_link identifier=”B001B187C0″ locale=”US” tag=”bluesheecom-20″]Adam-12[/easyazon_link] followed two Los Angeles Police Department street cops around on the myriad of calls mimicking what real LAPD officers were facing at the time. The popular show ran until 1975.
The Right Show, at The Right Time!
The 1960’s was perhaps the most tumultuous time period in United States history. There were the Vietnam war protests, the Civil Rights Movement, anti-establishment movements, riots, and rising crime. Yet during this same time, [easyazon_link identifier=”B0028S1100″ locale=”US” tag=”bluesheecom-20″]Adam-12[/easyazon_link] presented the public an inside view of the daily lives of professional police officers. In particular, Adam-12 followed the 2-officer unit pairing seasoned officer Pete Malloy (Milner), with rookie officer Jim Reed (Kent McCord).
[easyazon_link identifier=”B002OOWKVM” locale=”US” tag=”bluesheecom-20″]Adam-12[/easyazon_link] used advanced camera technology to follow the actors driving an actual patrol car through real traffic. These views were ground-breaking at the time, and made the feel of the show all that more real. In addition, the show tackled some of the most difficult calls facing law enforcement. These issues were so spot on they could be taken from the call load of today’s police officer as well. The show was filmed on the streets of Los Angeles, predominantly in the North Hollywood area.
The Adam-12 Officers Calls Included:
- The emotional toll with an officer-involved shooting
- Police and race-related issues
- Ambushes on police officers
- Citizens following officers with cameras
- How police families were affected by the job
- Misperceptions concerning in-custody injuries
- Gang crime and warfare
- Anti-police sentiment and movements
- Line-of-duty deaths
- Excessive force
- Frustration with the pace and inefficiencies of the criminal justice system
- Derogatory terms towards police
- Difficulties with fellow officers and supervisors.
In addition, the show also showed the lighter side of police work. Everything from the most incredible events that make you scratch your head, to the funny situations and stories that all cops have.
Perhaps the most enduring element of [easyazon_link identifier=”B003IRUFB6″ locale=”US” tag=”bluesheecom-20″]Adam-12[/easyazon_link] was the focus of the close bonds between police partners. Good cops know that the bond shared between police brothers and sisters runs very deep, sometimes even stronger than family or other friends. Adam-12 highlighted this bond, and spotlighted one of the profession’s most special characteristics – that officers get to know each other’s moves, finish each other’s sentences, watch each other’s backs, and will place themselves in harm’s way to protect each other and the community – even laying down their lives for one another.
Unlike most previous and even current police shows, Milner and McCord actually trained for their roles at the Los Angeles Police Academy and spent many shifts riding along with LAPD cops on actual calls for service.
Milner and McCord were outspoken champions of the police cause and supported officers long after the show went off the air. Both actors have received citations and awards from the Los Angeles Police Department and departments around the country. Police officers have recognized Milner and McCord for their portrayal of hardworking, ethical, professional, by-the-book cops who held the job of a police officer to a high standard.
Malloy and Reed became the benchmark that police officers throughout the country strived to emulate in their own careers. Don’t make the mistake and think the show was all Hollywood. The Adam-12 officers faced many tough situations just like today. American police today could learn a lot from [easyazon_link identifier=”B005SQRYQY” locale=”US” tag=”bluesheecom-20″]Adam-12[/easyazon_link] about bringing the community and police together, to inspire officers to do their best, and encourage dedicated citizens to join our ranks.
LAPD Honors Milner as One of Their Own
The funeral of Martin Milner was attended by police officers from numerous agencies. The LAPD Honor Guard participated in the memorial service in Oceanside, California, and a rendition of “Amazing Grace” was performed by the LAPD Pipes and Drum band.
Milner and McCord inspired a generation of men and women to pursue careers in law enforcement, and to many they exemplified the ideal police professional. There are many current officers that don’t even know about Adam-12, or Dirty Harry for that matter, but the influence of this show can still be felt in police shows and movies today.
The Close Bond of Police
One of the main reasons for the success of [easyazon_link identifier=”B006UKX63W” locale=”US” tag=”bluesheecom-20″]Adam-12[/easyazon_link] was the close bond formed by Officers Malloy and Reed. This bond was not just a movie set rehearsal, but an actual reflection of a close friendship between Milner and McCord. The two actors became very close friends during the show, and that friendship played out on the screens of American televisions.
Even after the show ended in 1975 the two remained close friends long. Kent McCord reflected on the community of police officers all over the country that had reacted to Milner’s loss. There has been an outpouring of respect and gratitude for his portrayal of Officer Pete Malloy in a manner usually reserved for only one of their own.
In 2010 Kent McCord told American Police Beat in order for the show to become a hit “we had to capture the audience who didn’t like the police … Adam-12 allowed the public to see the police as human beings.” This same need is remarkably important in today’s hostile and electrically charged atmosphere towards police.
Adam-12 aired from 1968 to 1975 and is currently available on DVD.
The BlueSheepDog Crew want to express our condolences to Milner’s family. “Officer Malloy” your watch is over. We thank you for all you’ve done for the law enforcement profession.