TV’s Greatest Hits: Adam 12


Patrolling the streets of Los Angeles is a tough job, but someone’s got to do it. Thankfully, Senior Officer Pete Malloy and his rookie partner, Jim Reed, are up for the challenge.

Adam-12 was a realistic and thoughtful portrayal of the day-to-day activities of L.A.’s men in blue. Premiering in the fall of 1968, Adam-12 was an immediate ratings winner, particularly with younger audiences. The success of the show can be largely attributed to producer Jack Webb’s strict attention to detail. Authentic police uniforms, stations and vehicles were used to lend credibility to the program. Webb employed a real police dispatcher to read the show’s signature “One Adam-12….” radio announcements. Webb also helped developed the “tow shot” to shoot driving scenes instead of using a soundstage and projected background shots. With a three-camera rig mounted on the hood of the vehicle, the cameras could shoot from the front and sides as the car was actually towed down the streets of Los Angeles to film the patrol scenes.

At the start of the Dragnet spinoff’s seven-season run, Officer Malloy is disillusioned by the death of his longtime partner, and is contemplating retirement. When paired with rookie cop Jim Reed, Malloy’s interest in his work is reignited as he rises above his malaise to assist in training one of L.A.’s finest. As time goes on, the two form a lasting partnership and become role models for fellow officers.

Aside from being an action-packed and engrossing drama, Adam-12was also a fabulous springboard for new talent with an array of guest spots. Needing a variety of new victims and villains every week, the casting department of Adam-12 was always on its toes looking for fresh faces to fill the temporary roles. The guest star list reads like a “Who’s Who” of television with one-off performances by actors from Jodie Foster and Dick Clark to David Cassidy and Barry Williams.

MARTIN MILNER as Officer Pete Molloy / KENT McCORD as Officer Jim Reed / WILLIAM BOYETT as Sgt McDonald / GARY CROSBY as Officer Ed Wells / SHARON CLARIDGE as Dispatcher’s Voice / WILLIAM STEVENS as Officer Jerry Walters (1968-69) / JACK HOGAN as Sgt Jerry Miller (1969) / MIKKI JAMISON as Jean Reed (1969) / CLAUDE JOHNSON as Officer Norm Green (1970-71) / FRED STROMSOE as Officer Woods (1974-75) / WILLIAM ELLIOTT as Officer Grant (1974-75)

production credits

NBC/Universal/Jack Webb / 150×30 minute episodes / 1968-75

Creators: Jack Webb, Robert Cinader / Producer: James Doherty