Features

Just The Facts: Hill Street Blues (NBC 1980-1987)

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“Hey, lets be careful out there”

All time great crime drama series Hill Street Blues told cases of the hard working cops based at Hill Street Police Station. Hill Street was incredibly popular with both critics and audiences alike garnering the kind of acclaim that these days is the province of non network shows like Game of Thrones or House of Cards.

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ORIGINAL TITLE
The pilot was a 1981 NBC TV movie called Hill Street Station but the Network wanted something catchier for the series  and considered a number of names, including The Blue Zoo. Finally, the producers compromised with Hill Street Blues.

EMMYS WON
Total of 18, including a record 8 for it’s first season in 1982, all of the nominees for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series were from Hill Street Blues. Michael Conrad won.

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CASTING NOTES
Before joining the cast as Lieutenant Buntz in 1985, Dennis Farina appeared in several episodes of Hill Street as the sadistically depraved Det. Sgt Benedetto.

PRESCIENT CASTING
Ken Olin, who would later find fame on thirtysomething, had a supporting role as Det Harry Garibaldi during Hill Street’s 1984-85 season. David Caruso who got white hot on NYPD Blue, appeared as an Irish gang leader early in it’s run.

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LITERARY CAMEO
Such was the prestige of Hill Street Blues that playwright David Mamet agreed to write an episode during the last season.

ART IMITATES LIFE
Charles Haid (Officer Renko) was the real life husband of Debi Richter, who played Renko’s trashy wife. Barbara Bosson was the real life wife of the top banana on Hill Street – producer Steven Bochco.

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WHO BROUGHT THE BLUES TO HILL STREET
Composer Mike Post wrote the beautiful jazz piano score that became the show’s signature. It appeared briefly on the pop charts in 1981.