Hill Street BluesHill Street Blues
was a serial police drama that first aired on NBC
in 1981 and ran on primetime into 1987. It received high critical acclaim but audience figures were never more than acceptable
MTM Enterprises (home of The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Lou Grant) 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 featured a number of intertwined storylines, some of which were resolved within the episode, with others developing over a number of episodes.
- Much play was made of the conflicts between the work and private lives of the individuals. In the workplace there was also a strong focus on the struggle between doing "what was right" and "what worked".
- The camera was held close in, action cut rapidly between stories, much use of made of overheard, or off-screen dialogue, giving a "documentary" feel to the action.
- The show dealt with "real-life" issues, and used "real-life" language to a greater extent than had been seen before.
Though filmed in Los Angeles
, the series was set in a generic location with a feel of a Northern urban centre, with many exterior shots being filmed in Chicago.
Its influence may still be seen in such series as NYPD Blue and ER.
Capt. Frank Furillo Daniel J. Travanti
Fay Furillo Barbara Bosson
Sgt. Phil Esterhaus Michael Conrad
Officer Bobby Hill Michael Warren
Officer Andy Renko Charles Haid
Joyce Davenport Veronica Hamel
Det. Mick Belker Bruce Weitz
Lt. Ray Calletano Rene Enriquez
Det. Johnny (J.D.) LaRue Kiel Martin
Det. Neal Washington Taurean Blaque
Lt. Howard Hunter James Sikking
Sgt./Lt. Henry Goldblume Joe Spano
Officer/Sgt. Lucille Bates Betty Thomas
The distinctive theme tune was written by Mike Post.