Burke’s Law (ABC 1963-1966 and 1994-1995, Gene Barry)

Burke’s Law focused on Los Angeles chief of detectives, Amos Burke, who also was a millioniare. The character of Amos Burke was first seen two seasons earlier in a Dick Powell Theatre presentation – “Who Killed Julia Greer?”

Burke was high-living, witty and charming but could be tough when needed. He lived in a palatial estate and arrived at the scene of a crime in a Rolls-Royce driven by his chauffeur, Henry. Burke also had a strong passion for beautiful women and interrupted his romances only for interesting homicide cases. His partners were: Det. Tim Tilson, a smart, young college guy; Det. Les Hart, a seasoned veteran of the force and, in 1964-65, Sgt. Ames, a pretty policewoman.

A change in the format and title was made in September 1965. Glamour and sophistication remained the series’ trademark but Amos Burke severed his connection with the police and became a debonair, globe-trotting secret agent for a United States intelligence agency. His only contact at the agency was known simply as “The Man.” The title of the series was changed to Amos Burke – Secret Agent.

Title card for the new version of the series, cashing in on the then vogue for all things espionage.

Almost three decades after the original series left the air, Burke’s Law returned to television. Gene Barry reprised his role as the suave, debonair cop, now chief of homicide for the L.A.P.D. During the previous years, Burke had been married and had a son, Peter. Peter had inherited his father’s good looks, charm, wit and love of the law. He was now a homicide detective solving cases with his dad. Peter was more impulsive and less patient than his father – together they made an effective team.

Other cast members included: Henry, Amos’s loyal and trusted chauffeur (still driving the Rolls Royce!); Lily, the forensics expert and Vinnie, Amos’s friend and gourmet chef who appeard in almost every episode.

The new Burke’s Law looked a little like a docked version of the Love Boat. The dialogue was corny and every episode was inundated with celebrity guests long past their prime! They included: Anne Francis, Connie Stevens, Eva Gabor, John Astin, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Don Knotts, Edd Byrnes, Tanya Roberts, Polly Bergen, Milton Berle, Audrey Meadows, Bonnie Franklin, Carol Channing, George Segal, Florence Henderson, Jack Carter, Ed McMahon and Roddy McDowall.

Amos Burke was highly promoted during its first season and featured several Hollywood stars such as: Sir Cedric Hardwicke and Annette Funicello. 63 stars appeared in the first eight episodes alone!

production details
USA / ABC / x50 minute episodes / Broadcast 20 September 1963 – September 1965

Gene Barry as Amos Burke
Gary Conway as Tim Tillson
Regis Toomey as Lester Hart
Leon Lontoc as Henry
Eileen O’Neill as Sergeant Ames

Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.