T.V. Sets: Crime and Punishment [DVD]

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Overview

Synopsis

One week after the 2-hour pilot film for Streets of San Francisco was aired on ABC, the series proper launched its first season on the same network's Saturday night schedule. The season opener set the precedent for all to follow: It was entirely location filmed in and around the San Francisco Bay area; Karl Malden and Michael Douglas are respectively starred as hard-nosed veteran SFPD homicide detecitve Mike Stone and his idealistic 28-year-old partner, Inspector Steve Keller; and the episode, which deals with the murder of a cop just before his retirement after 30 years on the force, is distinguished by the guest appearance of two top Hollywood actors, in this case Edmond O'Brien (as the cop) and Eileen Heckart (as his grieving wife). Subsequent episodes made good use of such powerhouse talents as Janice Rule, playing a endangered prostitute; William Windom as a victimized conventioneer; Nehemiah Persoff as an embittered Greek patriarch; Stuart Whitman as a dapper retired hit man; Barry Sullivan as a ruthless newspaper columnist; Lew Ayres as a menacing recluse; Roscoe Lee Browne as a flamboyant "beat" poet; Carl Betz as a high-profile blackmail victim; Leslie Nielsen as a skid-row derelict; Stefanie Powers in a difficult dual role; and in the first of her two series appearances, Michael Douglas' then-girlfriend Brenda Vaccaro as a fearless rookie cop. And as in future seasons, the series provided a fine showcase for several stars in the making, notably Peter Strauss, David Soul and Paul Michael Glaser--the latter two appearing in separate episodes, four years before being teamed on their own cop drama, Starsky and Hutch. Finally, Darleen Carr makes the first of several recurring appearances as the widower Mike Stone's college-coed daughter Jeannie. Despite the one-two punch of The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Bob Newhart Show on rival network CBS, Streets of San Francisco managed to hold its own during its maiden season, earning not only a renewal for a second season, but also a more advantageous Thursday-night timeslot. ~ Hal Erickson

Cast & Crew

  • Karl Malden - Det. Lt. Mike Stone
  • Michael Douglas - Insp. Steve Keller
  • Richard Hatch - Insp. Dan Robbins
  • Lee Harris - Lt. Lessing
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