Tuesday, 31 August 2010

MY HIT LIST#5 Hill Street Blues

Hill Street Blues was first shown in January 1981 on NBC in the US; it ran for seven seasons ending in 1987. Unusually for it’s time it was loosely based around numerous major characters and a number of returning minor characters. This idea was frowned upon by TV executives at the time but has been adopted by quality dramas such as The Wire and The Sopranos since. It was slow to develop a following but by series three the tone had begun to change and it headed in a more dramatic direction. At this point its popularity soared. Hill Street revised the concept of police dramas by introducing continuing story lines, giving individuals starring roles and having believable and compelling story lines.
HSB Theme

The brain child of Steven Bochco and Michael Kozoll, the Hill depicted 'day to day' events in an honest way that had not really been seen on TV cop shows before. Every other TV Police Drama owes a debt to The Hill.

It’s hard to quantify the importance of this show, from it’s depth of characters, to its poignant and iconic theme tune. A sketch of some of the characters that defined the show are;

Capt. Frank Furillo
the Captain of Hill Street and the glue who held everyone together. Many a management style is characterised by the question "how would Frank handle this?"

Joyce Davenport
Public Defender Joyce, was also Furillo's girlfriend and wife an adversary and confidante.

Sgt. Lucy Bates
a tough street wise cop, with a gentler flip side.

Fay Furillo
Frank’s wife and mother to his son Frank Jr. Frequent visitor and agitator.

Det. John (J.D.) LaRue
Recovering alcoholic, chancer and ladies man 'JD' was partnered with Neal Washington. Beneath his habitual mistakes there lay a great cop.

Det. Neal Washington
The cool cop who was nearly always right about things. JDs conscience and a real cops cop

Sgt Phil Esterhaus
His 'roll call' spawned the immortal catchphrase "Let's be careful out there."

Capt. Ray Calletano
the Latin Lieutenant struggled to balance his inter turmoil with his leadership but became more radical.

Det. Sal Benedetto/ Lt. Norman Buntz
Dennis Franz has a distinction in the show as he played Sal Benedetto, in the first series and later returned playing Lt. Buntz. A great character (both times)

Officer Andy Renko
The tough red neck with a temper, eager to judge a situation, he often made mistakes but underneath the tough exterior was a decent guy.

Officer Robert 'Bobby' Hill
'Cowboy' Renko’s partner, the two had an enduring relationship with many ups and downs.

Officer Joe Coffey
Super cop and compulsive gambler in a dramatic storyline he loses his life when he stumbles on a robbery

Lt. Howard Hunter
Howard 'heads up' the EAT (Emergency Action Team) Squad this former military man is always ready with a tactical solution.

Lt. Henry Goldblume
The flip side of Howard Hunter. A sensitive and deeply dedicated community affairs officer. None more scrupulous

Det. Mick Belker
The perfect undercover cop, he is one of the most memorable characters in a show full of them.

The show also had a number of 'future stars' appearing in minor roles and their quality is what added to the overall depth of the show. some of those actors; Wesley Snipes,Forest Whittaker,David Caruso, Lyndsey Cruise, Jennifer Tilly, Danny Glover, Andy Garcia, James Remar,Michael Biehn and Tim Robbins to name a few

There’s two kinds of Cop shows on TV; those before Hill Street Blues and those after.

Link to 4OD full length versions
I would advise starting around season 3/4

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having said that;