“Adam-12” was another of Jack Webb’s television hits which ran from 1968 to 1975.
What made “Adam-12” unique was the main characters were uniformed patrol officers. They were stars of the show unlike other programs where the detectives swooped in to solve the crime.
It starred Martin Milner as Officer Pete Malloy and Kent McCord as Officer Jim Reed. The pilot episode showed Reed during his first day on the job as a Los Angeles police officer. Malloy was his training officer. Later, the two stayed together as partners.
What made “Adam-12” a good program was that it was unlike other police shows. Other programs made police work appear as the most glamorous and exciting job in the world. Adam-12 tried to be as realistic as possible which was Webb’s top goal for his shows.
What I consider its finest episode aired during Adam-12’s third season. The episode was called “Elegy for a Pig.” Elegy, according to Webster’s New World College Dictionary, means “a poem or song of lament and praise for the dead.” The word pig as a slur against policemen gained use in the 1960s.
The usual format was scrapped. There were simple opening and closing credits and Milner narrated it. There was no other spoken dialogue. It opens with Malloy running into an alley to find that his best friend on the force had been shot and killed during a foot chase.
The episode then turned to how Malloy and his friend, Officer Tom Porter (Mark Goddard of “Lost In Space” fame) became police officers, going through the police academy together and how their careers and lives unfolded.
The episode ends with Porter’s funeral and leaves the viewer with a greater appreciation of how tough being a police officer can be.
Well-written and directed, it shows how television can get across a message and tell real-life stories.
Adam-12 episodes can be found on youtube.com and like “Dragnet” is shown on Me-TV.
Until next time. . . .