But far more crucially. they were armed to the teeth with killer catch- phrases. No suspect could fail to fall into Peter Falk’s trap. having been lulled into a false sense of security as Columbo shambled out the door after a stiff bout of interrogation. only to shamble back in with the immortal phrase: ‘just one more thing . . .’
Telly Savalas‘s Theo Kojak. meanwhile. was the bald legal eagle who growled ‘pussycat‘ and ‘who loves ya baby‘ in between arguing with his brother Stavros and drag- ging partner Frank into line. Every week he had the criminals licked as adeptly as one of his lollies.
Then there was the ironic twist of fate which brought Raymond Burr to world acclaim. Previous to his role as Ironside. he had terrorised the chair- bound Jimmy Stewart in Hitchcock‘s sadistic Rear Window. lrons'ltle can also be blamed for bringing the likes of Harrison Ford and Anne Archer to public attention.
Added to this holy trinity were the equally cool and lasting likes of Quincy. The Streets Of San Francisco. The Rockford Files. Harry 0. Charlie's Angels and Stars/(y Ami Hutch. But how many of you can recall Petrocelli. Barney Miller. McMillan And Wife. 'I'eNa/ly. Baretta and Banacek‘.’
As the decade wore on and the sceptre of Reaganomics loomed. the cop shows got dangerous. dirtier. darker and. well. less nice. Replacing the wheels. lollipops and macs were claustrophobic and smelly police cells. twisted (and sometimes equally pungent) cops and a system which was often brutal in its pursuit ofjus- tice. ‘
Steven Bochco can be regarded as largely responsible for this detour into degradation with the classic Hill Street Blues where the private lives of the law-enforcers were exposed under the watchful eye of a hand- held camera amid the sounds of busy corridors and the smell of freshly brewed joe.
Bochco followed up this ground- breaking success with a string of grit— ty hits in LA. Law. Doogie Hou'ser M. 1).. N.Y.P.l). Blue and lWll)‘(l(‘l' ()ne. Outwith the Bochco empire. even the no—socked likes of Miami Vice‘s Crockett and Tubbs masked only brieﬂy the real sleaze and vice afoot in Florida. And when the brutal Brooklyn South eventually makes it to our terrestrial screens. it won't only be the street gangs who‘ll know what’s hit them.
Despite all this. Kojak. Columbo and lronside had a chivalry and class which may be gone. but it‘s far from forgotten. We loved them. baby.
Watching The Detectives consists of episodes of Columbo, Kojak and Ironside, and is released on video on Mon 8 Nov, priced £9.99 each.
Top of the; gaps
affairs. Cop shows are no exception but how do Britain's telly hobbies shape up to their Stateside counterparts? Words: um Robertson.
Starsky And Hutch vs The Professionals
5/ ' The original masters of the I v art, Dave and Ken, as they were never known, com- bined cutting edge fashion sense (the horse cardigan, the brown leather jacket) with a sensitive side, mak- ing them the ﬁrst loveable TV cops. Neck and neck in ~ 3.. the ﬂash car stakes, pitch- “ ing their Ford Capri against Starsky’s Ford Torino, Bodie and Doyle had a grumpier boss in Gordon Jackson as Cowley, but lost out in the fashion sense when Bodie insisted in chasing wrong-doers down the street dressed in a tight, navy blue tracksuit.
. ’ a Streets Of San I " - Francisco vs The Sweeney
Malden and Michael Douglas, it was said that the third star of The Streets was the city itself, lending itself to spectacular car chases and Golden Gate stand-offs._In TheSweeney,
Granadas, the Swearing,
and the shouting (-‘shaat it!’) that gave it it’s
distinctive Laahndan ﬂavOur. You could have brought Malden home to catch whoever bur— gled your grandmother’s house; Regan and Carter would solve the mystery too, but they’d probably beat your gran up ﬁrst.
Hart~To Hart vs Dempsey And Makepeace '
‘Here’s Mrs H, she’s goigous,’ slobbered the Hart’s errant sidekick Max as way of introduction to the only crime ﬁghting
foiling of a jevivel heist. Surely eccentric million- aires could spend their time ' more wisely than this? Dempsey, meanwhile, was all swarthy, rugged jawed ﬂirting to Makepeace’s exasperated gasps and frowns. Her oversized peroxide bar- net and penchant for ﬂouncy blouses and bow ties ensured they followed in that British tra- dition of undercover cops looking like arses.
After rubber—nosed Karl’
it was’ more the Ford
couple who would take ' 'their dog (Freeway) to the;
Kojak vs Taggart ‘
Both renowned users of a catchphrase, but ‘there’s been a murdur!’ hardly competes with the classy ‘who loves ya baby!’ Slaphead Savalas played the lollipop-sucking, hard- boiled New York ’tec with ‘my way or the highway’ gusto. As Taggart, Mark McManus, applied a simi- lar single-minded, rule book out the window school of thought. He showed his mastery of the hang dog expression, uncommunicative grunts and overcoats to make Peter Falk balk; except all done in a Weegie drawl.
Shaft vs Hamish Macbeth
From the original soul brother to the original
Shaft travelled from“ large to small screen losing many of those qualities that made him a ‘bad mutha’. He got to womanise and'kick peo- , ple down stairs,- but that was pretty much itIHamish was, in comparison, more ‘ of a wild card, wandering the wilds of "the Highlands, spliff inhand,'wee Jock the dog trotting behind and leaving a trail of ravishing young ladies in his wake. He even had the time to be a policeman too.
ﬁrst spunky female copper
:chokeyjf’évVith ‘ that-53W,
Scottish doobie brother,“
_ Police woman vs a . PrimerSuspect j, Pepper" Anderson. die-i?" I on the mack, strutting: ' around. LA,Z usually, in,;V§17f' ’,
'. little clothing. v 0n $511167; . undercover bust or: thsti; ~
Coast’s most. Helén‘r ,Li Mitren’s; "TenhYSOﬁi'3rdid‘é-foﬁt "’aﬁti'tai ' what Pepper .did. for she hﬁhtcd QOW‘tliéimtttriiiii detous‘ ézfér.-::‘<erid;é§i wide.~ Despite - .- boss shé .stillimanas‘ ' " '
get into all-‘the- good scrapes:-and7,refots}_ 573,-: A " '. ' . '~“‘iv"‘vrlt'ec.;<il¥é kept-WSW“. °'°-"““.-°‘."xrs :‘r, . ~' j 1'. ,' ' .-.
i ' ' 1 f’ '
4—18 Nov 1999 THE "ST 19