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Hill Street Blues

Hill Street Blues

is a serial police drama that was first aired on NBC in 1981 and ran for 146 episodes on primetime into 1987. It is currently being aired on AmericanLife TV Network on Sunday nights in the United States, and on weekday afternoons on digital network More 4 in the United Kingdom.

 Chronicling the lives of the staff of a police precinct in an unnamed American city, the show received high critical acclaim and its innovations proved highly influential on serious dramatic television series produced in North America. Its debut season was honoured with eight Emmy awards, a debut season record surpassed only by The West Wing, and the show received a total of 98 Emmy Award nominations during its run.

MTM Enterprises developed the series on behalf of NBC, appointing Steven Bochco and Michael Kozoll as series writers. The writers were allowed considerable creative freedom, and created a series which brought together for the first time a number of emerging ideas in TV drama.
Each episode features a number of intertwined storylines, some of which are resolved within the episode, with others developing over a number of episodes throughout a season.
Much play is made of the conflicts between the work and private lives of the individuals. In the workplace there is also a strong focus on the struggle between doing "what was right" and "what worked" in situations.
The camera is held close in, action cut rapidly between stories, and there is much use of overheard or off-screen dialogue, giving a "documentary" feel to the action.
Rather than studio (floor) cameras, hand-held Arriflexes are used to add to the "documentary" feel.
The show deals with "real-life" issues, and uses "real-life" language to a greater extent than had been seen before.
Almost every episode began with a pre-credits sequence consisting of "roll call" at the beginning of the day shift. Many episodes are written to take place over the course of a single day, a concept later used in the NBC series L.A. Law.

Hill Street Blues Cast, circa 1986
Though filmed in Los Angeles (both on location and at CBS Studio Center in Studio City), the series is set in a generic location with a feel of a Northern United States Chicago-esque urban centre.
The program's focus on failure and those at the bottom of the social scale is pronounced, and very much in contrast to Bochco's later project L. A. Law. It has been described as Barney Miller out of doors the focus on the bitter realities of 1980s urban living was revolutionary for its time. Later seasons are accused of becoming formulaic (a shift that some believe to have begun after the death from cancer of Michael Conrad midway through the fourth season, which led to the replacement of the beloved Sgt. Esterhaus by Sgt. Stan Jablonski, played by Robert Prosky) and the series that broke the established rules of television ultimately failed to break its own rules. Nonetheless it is a landmark piece of television programming, the influence of which is still seen in such series as NYPD Blue and ER. In 1982, St. Elsewhere was hyped as "Hill Street Blues" in a hospital. The quality work done by MTM led to the appointment of Grant Tinker as NBC chairman in 1982.
In season seven, producers got scripts from acclaimed writers outside of television: Bob Woodward and David Mamet.
There is also a short-lived Dennis Franz spinoff called Beverly Hills Buntz, in which Franz's dismissed Lt. Buntz character moves from the Hill to Los Angeles to become a private eye, taking along "Sid the Snitch" Thurston (Peter Jurasik) as his sidekick.
The series had cable runs on TV Land, Bravo, and currently, AmericanLife TV.

 Police Officers (listed by rank)
Officers are listed by the rank they held at first appearance on the programme - some officers later held higher ranks
Chief of Police
Chief of Police Fletcher P. Daniels (1981-1987) (historically, was Captain at 23rd Precinct) Jon Cypher
Deputy Chief of Police
Deputy Chief Dennis Mahoney (1981-1982) Ron Parady
Deputy Chief Warren Briscoe (1983-1987) Andy Romano
Commander (later Deputy Chief) David (Dave) Swanson (1981-1982) George Dickerson
Commander 'Buck' Remington (Head of the EAT) George Murdock
Commander William Lakeland (Dated Bates) J. Patrick McNamara
Captain Francis Xavier (Frank) Furillo (Hill Street Precinct) (1981-1987) Daniel J. Travanti
Captain Jerry Fuchs (1981-1984) (Special Narcotics) Vincent Lucchesi
Captain Roger MacPherson (Midtown Precinct) (1981-1982) Andy Romano (on promotion to Deputy Chief, Romano's character inexplicably changed his name to Warren Briscoe)
Captain Lewis 'Lou' Hogan (Jefferson Heights Precinct) Robert Hogan
Captain Leder Charles Cyphers
Lieutenant (later Captain) Ray Calletano (1981-1987) René Enríquez
Lieutenant Norman Buntz (1985-1987) Dennis Franz
Lieutenant (later Captain) (later Commander) Ozzie Cleveland (1982-1985) (Midtown Precinct - he resigned upon election as Mayor) J. A. Preston
Lieutenant Emil Schneider (Homicide) Dolph Sweet
Lieutenant Shipman (1983-1987) (Internal Affairs) Arthur Taxier
Sergeant (later promoted to Lieutenant, later demoted to Sergeant, later promoted back to Lieutenant) Howard Hunter (EAT commander) (1981-1987) James B. Sikking
Sergeant (later Lieutenant) Henry Goldblume (Negotiator) (historically, was a patrol officer at Jefferson Heights)(1981-1987) Joe Spano
Sergeant (later Lieutenant) Alf Chesley (Detective) (1981-1982) Gerry Black
Sergeant Philip Freemason (Phil) Esterhaus (1981-1984) Michael Conrad
Sergeant Michael (Mick) Belker (Undercover Detective) (1981-1987) Bruce Weitz
Sergeant Neil Washington (LaRue's partner) Taurean Blacque
Sergeant Stan Jablonski (1984-1987) (historically, spent 22 years at Polk Avenue Precinct) Robert Prosky
Sergeant Jenkins (1985-1987) (Night-shift sergeant) Lawrence Tierney (has final line of final episode)
Sergeant Ralph Macafee (Corrupt cop) Dan Hedaya
Corporal Schmeltzer (EAT) Actor unknown
Officer or Detective
Officer (later Sergeant) Lucille (Lucy) Bates (1981-1987) Betty Thomas
Officer (later Corporal) Jock Buchanan (1981-1987) Actor unknown
Officer Joe Coffey (Bates' partner) (1981-1986) Ed Marinaro
Officer Robert Eugene (Bobby) Hill (historically, was a patrol officer at Jefferson Heights) (1981-1987) Michael Warren
Officer Andrew Jackson (Andy) Renko (Hill's partner) (1981-1987) Charles Haid
Officer Patrick Flaherty (1986-1987) Robert Clohessy
Officer Tina Russo (1986-1987) Megan Gallagher
Officer Leo Schnitz (1981-1985) Robert Hirschfeld
Officer Mike Perez (1981-1985) Tony Perez
Officer Robin Tataglia (1982-1987) Lisa Sutton
Officer 'Pete' Dorsey (rookie with Tataglia) (murdered in episode 48) Peter Lownds
Officer 'Nate' Crawford (rookie with Tataglia) Franklyn Seales
Officer Ron Garfield (1983-1986) Mykelti Williamson
Officer Marvin Oliver (Marv) Box (1981) (Phone technician of season 1) Actor unknown
Officer Santini (series 1) Jeff Seymour
Officer Bernard (Bern) Harris (series 1) Mark Metcalf
Officer Cooper (Perez's partner in season 1) James Remar
Officer Ellis (Perez's partner in season 2) Leonard Lightfoot
Officer Gerald (Gerry) Nash (season 2) (historically, was a patrol officer at Jefferson Heights with Hill) Stephen McHattie
Officer Estella Sanchez (season 2) Livia Genise
Officer Lyle (season 2) Phil Peters
Officer Clara Pilsky (1984-1985) Jane Kaczmarek
Officer Archie Pfiezer (1984-1985) Barry Tubb
Officer Ann Schwitzer (1984) Caroline McWilliams
Officer Randall Buttman (1984) Michael Biehn
Officer Rudy Davis (1984) Harold Sylvester
Officer Arthur 'Art' Delgado (season 2) Jerome Thor [7]
Officer Jack Halloran (killed in season 2) Actor unknown
Officer Wallace 'Wally' Tubbs Arnold Johnson
Officer Coley (1981-1982) Robin Coleman
Officer Wallins (Property Dept.) (season 2) Ben Slack
Officer Webster (EAT) (1981-?) (one of Hunter's key assistants) Tom Babson (season 1) / Dwyane McGee (from season 2 onwards)
Officer Jack Ballantine (EAT) (1981-1987) (one of Hunter's key assistants) Gary Miller
Officer Brunswick (EAT) (1981-1982) Wesley Thompson
Detective John (J. D.) LaRue Kiel Martin
Detective Sal Benedetto (1983) Dennis Franz
Detective Patsy Mayo (1984-1985) Mimi Kuzyk
Detective Harry Garibaldi (1984-1985) Ken Olin
Detective John Walsh (1981-1982) John Brandon
Detective Ben Lambert (1981-1982) Charles Guardino
Detective Virgil Pattison Brooks (1981-1982) (Belker's fellow undercover cop, murdered in episode 20) Nathan Cook
Detective Michael Benedict (1984-1987) Gerald Castillo
[edit] Other characters
Fay Furillo (Capt Furillo's ex-wife) (1981-1986) Barbara Bosson
Joyce Davenport (Public Defender) Veronica Hamel
Mayor Ozzie Cleveland (1982-1985) J. A. Preston
Grace Gardner (1981-1985) Barbara Babcock
Asst. D.A. Irwin Bernstein (1982-1987) George Wyner
Sidney (Sid the Snitch) Thurston (Belker's informant; later Buntz's paid informant) (1985-1987) Peter Jurasik
Jesus Martinez (Gang leader-turned community activist) Trinidad Silva
Tommy Mann (Leader of the Shamrocks gang) (1981-1983) - David Caruso
Judge Alan Wachtel Jeffrey Tambor
Judge Maurice Schiller Allan Rich
Coroner Wally Nydorf Pat Corley
Celeste Patterson (1985-1986) Judith Hansen
Eddie Gregg (1982-1986) Charles Levin
James Logan (the tall, bald pickpocket, frequently caught by Det. Belker. His real name is only discovered in his final appearance) Nick Savage
Rosa Calletano (Ray Calletano's wife) Irena Du Barry
Rachel Goldblume (Henry Goldblume's wife) Rosanna Huffman
Harvey (Fay Furillo's boyfriend) Philip G Schultz
Debbie Kaplan (Belker's girlfriend in early seasons) Gela Jacobson
Jill Thomas (Washington's girlfriend in seasons 1 & 2) Lynn Whitfield
Cindy Spooner (Esterhaus's fiancee) Lisa Lindgren
John Renko (father of Andrew Renko) Morgan Woodward
Tommy Renko (brother of Andrew Renko) David Haid
Tracy Renko (sister of Andrew Renko) Alley Mills
Daryl Ann Renko (girlfriend, later wife, of Andrew Renko) Deborah Richter
Vivian DeWitt (Fabian's mother) Beverly Hope Atkinson
Fabian DeWitt (youth adopted by Bates) Zero Hubbard
Bailiff (1981-1987) Dean Wein
"Buck Naked" (recurring flasher) Lee Weaver
Prunella Ashton-Wilkes (refined English dog-loving girlfriend of Hunter) Elizabeth Huddle