Martin Milner, who starred on the 1960s hit television shows “Route 66” and “Adam 12” passed away on Sunday. He was 83.
I have never seen “Route 66”, but I’ve seen most of the Adam-12 episodes which ran on NBC from 1968 to 1975.
I consider “Adam-12” to be a groundbreaking show because to the best of my knowledge a television show never showed at length what it was like to be an ordinary beat cop. Milner played Pete Malloy, a veteran Los Angeles police officer. He is paired with Officer Jim Reed (Kent McCord), who when the show started, was right out of the police academy.
The show was produced by Jack Webb who was known for “just the facts maam” on “Dragnet.” He didn’t allow Dragnet’s scripts or the show’s actors much leeway in showing that police officers were human beings just like the rest of us. “Adam-12” was different. We saw Reed and Malloy react both to the good and bad of the job.
The following are my 10 favorite episodes listed by season.
“Log 1: The Impossible Mission” — This was the pilot episode. Malloy’s partner was recently killed and he is quitting being a police officer after one more shift. He is paired with Reed who is just out of the police academy. At the end of the episode, he decides to stay on and teach Reed what he knows just like someone did for him.
“Log 101: Someone Stole My Lawn” — It wasn’t high drama all the time on “Adam-12.” A humorous plot in this episode was Malloy and Reed investigating the theft of a lawn from somebody’s home.
“Log 103: A Sound Like Thunder” — Malloy takes his date and Reed takes his pregnant wife to a ghost town and they find themselves in trouble when a motorcycle gang arives ready to raise hell.
“Log 63: Baby” — It’s a lighter episode. Reed reports to work while his wife is in labor. Big mistake.
Log 105: “Elegy For A Pig” — It’s the show’s best episode and I consider it one of the best pieces of episodic television in the history of the medium. The only dialogue is the narration of Milner in character as Malloy. He tells the story of how he and his best friend Tom Porter (Mark Goddard of “Lost in Space”) joined the police department, went through the rigors of the police academy and worked together at times while on duty including one night that ended in tragedy.
“Ambush” — Reed and Malloy are away from their station and immediate help as they transport a prisoner from Malibu back to Los Angeles. Two men want that prisoner dead and ambush Adam-12. Malloy escapes with the prisoner, but Reed is taken hostage and there’s no police radio reception in Malibu Canyon.
“The Wednesday Warrior” — Reed’s friend goes on duty as a reserve police officer. He is paired with overbearing Officer Ed Wells (Gary Crosby) and doesn’t appear to be cut out for police work. But at the end, he surprises everybody.
“L.A International” — Later in “Adam-12”, especialy in Season 6, Reed and Malloy were sent to work in different places in the Los Angles area. They return to the airport for a shift and this, like many episodes, were filmed right on location. Hard-core classic TV fans will recognize Tina Cole of “My Three Sons” fame as an airline ticket agent that helps Reed and Malloy solve a crime.
“Dana Hall” — Malloy is shift commander and Reed is training officer for the day for LAPD’s first female officer (Jo Ann Pflug). Scriptwriters can make things so easy. : ). All kidding aside, this is a well-done episode. It’s not a question whether Officer Hall can handle the job. She proves that. But does she go overboard with excessive force to prove how tough she is?
“Something Worth Dying For, Parts 1 and 2” — These would be the last two episodes of the series and the show ended on a strong note. it’s been seven years since Reed and Malloy were paired together and Reed starts thinking of moving out of the squad car and of perhaps detective work. He joins the narcotics squad to get a taste of that life. It’s a job that’s much harder than being a patrol officer ever was and it has a negative affect on him. He saves Malloy’s life during a drug raid. At the end, we know Reed and Malloy will be all right.
UNTIL NEXT TIME. . .