Monday, November 7, 2016

Classic TV: The Detectives (1959)

The producing tririmvurate of Jules Levy, Arthur Gardner, & Arnold Laven might be best known for Westerns such as The Big Valley & The Rifleman, but they also gave Four Star a crime drama that might've been worthy of being in the same pantheon as, say for example, Dragnet, if it lasted more than three years.

The Detectives was a star vehicle for film star Robert Taylor, who was cast as Captain Matt Holbrook, the head of a detective bureau in an unnamed major metropolitan city. The series ran for the first two years on ABC, then shifted to NBC for the final season.

The ensemble seemed to be always in flux. Mark Goddard, later of Lost in Space, joined the show in season 2 as Sgt. Chris Ballard. Future Batman Adam West signed on the next year when the series moved to NBC and expanded to an hour, playing Detective Steve Nelson. Having seen at least one of West's episodes when the series aired on TV Land several years ago, I can tell you that his range wasn't any different from his more iconic role.

Let's take a look at a sample season 2 episode. Barney Phillips (ex-Dragnet) appears as police psychiatrist John Keller.

Tige Andrews would later resurface on The Mod Squad, which would be his last series. Taylor moved on to host the Western anthology series, Death Valley Days, until his passing in 1969.

Rating: A.

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