Without a doubt, Police Story (1973) was the best police anthology series of it's time.
The entire series was chock filled with many stars from various backgrounds. Each show gave the viewer an inside look of the hardships, difficult issues and stresses police officers face on a daily basis.
As a retired police officer of over thirty years of service, I can personally say this series inspired me to choose a career in law enforcement.
Created by ex-cop-turned-author Joseph Wambaugh (The Onion Field), Police Story is an anthology series detailing the lives of LAPD officers in a collection of realistic and gritty accounts of what it meant to be a cop in 1970s Los Angeles. The series became the archetype for many critically acclaimed shows that followed, including Hill Street Blues, NYPD Blue and Homicide: Life On The Street.
The series distinguished itself from its predecessors by a multidimensional portrayal of its protagonists - these cops were flawed, not cartoonlike heroes. From week to week, gripping episodes addressed difficult issues such as police corruption and the stresses and hell that can come with leading a cop's life.
With no regular cast, the show featured different stars each week, as well as a rotating acting ensemble including James Farentino (Jesus Of Nazareth), Tony Lo Bianco (The French Connection), Don Meredith (NFL Monday Night Football), Laraine Stephens (Matt Helm) and Vic Morrow (Combat!). Season One stars included Ed Asner, Lloyd Bridges, Angie Dickinson, Dean Stockwell and Kurt Russell.
Shout! Factory only released season one back in Sept 2011 with no intension of releasing the other seasons on DVD.
Great News: Heroes & Icons Channel is now showing the first season of Police Story.
Here is a short clip from the pilot episode that may spark some memories that some of you may have forgotten.
You can also view the full pilot episode on YouTube here