Adam-12 is a television police procedural drama that follows Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers Pete Malloy and Jim Reed as they ride the streets of Los Angeles in their patrol unit 1-Adam-12.
Adam-12 title screen, season 4
R. A. Cinader|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||7|
|No. of episodes||174 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Jack Webb|
|Running time||30 Minutes|
Mark VII Limited|
|Distributor||NBCUniversal Television Distribution (current)|
|Original release||September 21, 1968– May 20, 1975|
The series was created by Robert A. Cinader and Jack Webb, the latter of whom also created Dragnet. It starred Martin Milner and Kent McCord and purported to realistically capture a typical day in the life of police officers. The show ran from September 21, 1968 through May 20, 1975 and helped to introduce police procedures and jargon to the general public in the United States.
Adam-12 featured the year-old LAPD Rampart Division station at 2710 West Temple Street as the setting for the series. However, according to the radio call sign of the unit "1-Adam-12", the patrol area was within the Central Division (Division One), which serves Downtown Los Angeles, rather than Rampart (Division Two). Many of the filming locations were in the San Fernando Valley, and the garage used tow trucks from the North Hollywood Division, close to Universal Studios, which co-produced the show with Mark VII Limited. The Temple Street building was closed in 2008, as a newer and larger station now houses the Rampart Division; the old building is being renovated to serve as headquarters for LAPD's Metro Division, an elite reserve unit that includes counterterrorism and SWAT platoons.
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The designation "1-Adam-12" is a combination of three elements. The first element indicates the unit's LAPD division. The second element indicates the type of unit. The third element identifies the patrol car's number. The one in 1-Adam-12 means the patrol car operates in Division 1 (Central Division). LAPD assigns two-person units the letter "A". In the LAPD phonetic alphabet, the letter "A" is spoken as "Adam". The third element is the last two numbers of the patrol car's full unit number. In the program, 1-Adam-12 typically operated in the Rampart Division, Division 2, not the Central Division, Division 1, meaning the unit's call sign should have technically been 2-Adam-12. There was never an actual patrol car with the call sign of 1-Adam-12.
Adam-12 was a realistic police drama which followed two officers of the Los Angeles Police Department: veteran Police Officer II (P-2) Pete Malloy, Badge 744 (Martin Milner), and his rookie partner, probationary Police Officer I (P-1) Jim Reed, Badge 2430 (Kent McCord). Each episode of the series was based on actual cases, with names changed to protect the innocent, and covered a variety of incidents that the officers encountered during a shift, from the tragic to the trivial. The series' first episode was filmed in September 1967, a year before the pilot was picked up. It was directed by Jack Webb.
In episode 1, Reed is less than a week out of the prestigious Los Angeles Police Academy and is eager to begin his career. Three weeks earlier, Malloy's patrol partner and friend had been killed apprehending an armed robbery suspect; Malloy is deeply saddened, to the extent that he plans to resign from the force. (This situation was revisited in the Emmy Award–nominated episode "Elegy for a Pig".) Watch commander Lieutenant Moore (Art Gilmore) was Malloy's first training officer seven years earlier, and he assigns Malloy to take Reed the rookie out for his first patrol on Malloy's final shift. Reed shows tremendous potential on his first night on the job, but Malloy realizes that his new partner has plenty to learn, and the veteran officer decides to stay on the job and guide Reed during his nine-month probationary period.
Reed's probationary period is played out during the first and second seasons, after which he is promoted to a full officer. Reed and Malloy remain partners. In later seasons, Malloy and Reed began patrolling other beats of Los Angeles, including the Los Angeles International Airport, the Los Angeles Harbor, the Foothill District, the West Valley area, Venice, Van Nuys, Hollywood, Rampart, and North Hollywood. Several episodes featured the officers working with other rookie officers, with guest actors playing these one-time characters. Some episodes had Reed serving as the training officer, whereas Malloy had been promoted to the rank of a Senior Lead Officer (P-3+1) who coordinates patrols in many neighborhoods and works as the acting shift supervisor.
Malloy displays a "Distinguished Expert" shooting medal, Reed displays a "Sharpshooter" medal.
Malloy and Reed reported to Shift Supervisor (Sergeant 1) William "Mac" MacDonald (William Boyett), who occasionally took a black-and-white command cruiser (a Plymouth station wagon carrying extra police equipment) with the call sign 1-L-20 into the field. Reed once questioned why Malloy had not taken the sergeant's exam, as he would have rated higher than Mac did. Malloy related he preferred working patrol on the street to supervision. Malloy later showed he could supervise when Mac was ill, and Malloy filled in.
Several of their fellow officers were recurring characters; the most frequent were Jerry Woods (Fred Stromsoe), Ed Wells (Gary Crosby), Detective Sgt Jerry Miller (Jack Hogan), and Officer Brinkman (Claude Johnson). Shaaron Claridge voiced the dispatcher and was a dispatcher for the LAPD in real life.
The personal lives of Malloy and Reed came up on occasion and were always tied in to their duties. Malloy is a bachelor who has at least two girlfriends during the course of the series (the last being Judy (Aneta Corsaut)), while Reed is married to a woman named Jean (played by several actresses, including Kristin Nelson); in later seasons he becomes a father.
The police vehicles were central characters in that "mobile patrol units [became] associated with the black and white units made famous in such television shows as Adam-12". It was one of the shows that portrayed "the professionalism of the officers and police departments". Ronald Wayne Rodman pointed out that the theme of Adam-12 referred to a "military style topic while portraying a sense of contemporary action". Douglas Rushkoff noted, "Adam-12 also marked [the] last gasp of the righteous style of cop TV." Their set was not a squad room or an office, but the actors "watched the changes in American culture through the windshield of their squad car".
Other notable actors and actressesEdit
Episode 10, "Log 132: Producer", stars Karen Black (Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, Airport 1975, Dogtown) and James McEachin (DJ in Play Misty for Me). McEachin also appeared in five additional episodes, each time in a different role, as well as several episodes of Emergency! as a Sheriff's Detective.
Episode 16, "Log 62: Grand Theft Horse?", guest stars Tim Matheson as a horse thief.
Episode 25, "Log 92: Tell Him He Pushed Back a Little Too Hard" guest stars Dick Sargent (Darrin Stephens #2 of Bewitched) and Jacqueline Scott (who played Donna Taft, the sister of Dr. Richard Kimble, in four episodes of The Fugitive).
Episode 26, "Log 22: So This Little Guy Goes into This Bar, and..." guest stars Harry Dean Stanton as a welfare hustler.
Episode 58, "Log 55: Missing Child" guests stars Jodie Foster as the playmate of a missing child.
Episode 66, "Log 115: Gang War" guests stars Trini Lopez as a local Latino priest who tries to help the officers prevent a rumble between two Latino gangs. Lopez would also appear the following year as "Steve Hernandez" in Episode 95, :"The Parole Violator".
Episode 77, "Log 88 - Reason to Run" guest stars Randolph Mantooth as "Neil Williams"; and in an Emergency! cross-over episode as paramedic "John Gage", Episode 106, "Lost and Found" This episode also guest starred Linda Kaye Henning of Petticoat Junction.
Episode 98, "Sub-Station" guest starred Frank Sinatra, Jr., protraying a disturbed man who takes a stewardess hostage and demands a meeting with a Hollywood director.
Episode 137, "Northwest Division" guest stars Johnny Whitaker of Family Affair as a juvenile on a minibike. In addition, Martin Milner's real-life son Andrew played Whitaker's stunt double in the minibike chase scene.
Episode 150, "Clinic on Eighteenth Street" guest stars Sharon Gless, later of Cagney & Lacey fame and most recently co-star of Burn Notice on USA Network and Frank Sinatra Jr. in his third role on the show.
Episode 158, "X-Force" guest stars Paul Gleason as a father of a kidnapped girl. Gleason guest-starred in other various roles throughout the series.
Episode 164, "Victim of the Crime" features Martin Milner's real-life daughter Amy Milner as Debbie McMahon, the shopkeeper's daughter.
Episode 170, "Operation Action" features Kent McCord's real-life daughter Kristen McCord as a child named Debra, who is playing hopscotch when Reed pulls up behind Malloy's abandoned car.
The production of the program involved showing all aspects of correct police procedures, and "Webb wanted the vehicle itself to be considered a character." The show specifically centered on police radio cars and helped reinforce "the sound of radio as an anti-crime technology." The police vehicles used in the production of show were purchased from local dealerships and outfitted by the prop department to LAPD cruiser specs.
- 1967 Plymouth Belvedere - pilot 
- 1968 Plymouth Belvedere - season one 
- 1969 Plymouth Belvedere - seasons two and three 
- 1971 Plymouth Satellite - season four 
- 1972 and 1973 AMC Matador - seasons five through seven 
In seasons two and three, there were many instances where Reed and Malloy would be seen driving a 1969 Plymouth one minute, then with a camera or scene change, they would be in a 1968. The two years were very similar, with only minor differences between them.
Connections to other Mark VII showsEdit
Dragnet, Adam-12, and Emergency! take place in the same universe and depict different aspects of the public safety infrastructure of Los Angeles, California. There are several "crossover" episodes on each series with characters from other Mark VII shows.
Officers Pete Malloy and Jim Reed appear on the Dragnet episode "Internal Affairs: DR-20", The D.A. episode "The People vs. Saydo" (the conclusion to a crossover that begins on "The Radical") and the Emergency! pilot movie, "The Wedsworth-Townsend Act". Sergeant MacDonald appears on the Dragnet episode "Personnel: The Shooting". The episode "Lost And Found" was set at Rampart General Hospital and featured the Emergency! cast. However, during an Emergency! episode, Adam-12 is shown as a TV show that the paramedics like to watch, causing somewhat of a paradox between the shows. Several years after Adam-12 was cancelled, Kent McCord was signed to appear in a planned third series of Dragnet playing Sgt. Friday's partner, but the project was cancelled due to Jack Webb's sudden death in 1982; since none of the scripts Webb wrote for the project were ever produced or released, it is not clear if he intended McCord to play a different character or to revive the Jim Reed character.
Universal Studios Home Entertainment released Season 1 of Adam 12 on DVD in Region 1 on August 23, 2005.
In fall 2008, Shout! Factory acquired the distribution rights through an agreement with Universal. They have subsequently released the remaining 6 seasons, with season 7 packaging titled "The Final Season."
In Region 4, Umbrella Entertainment has released the first two seasons on DVD in Australia.
|DVD name||Ep #||Release date|
|Region 1||Region 4|
|Season 1||26||August 23, 2005
February 13, 2018 (re-release)
|May 11, 2011|
|Season 2||26||September 30, 2008||August 3, 2011|
|Season 3||26||August 11, 2009||TBA|
|Season 4||24||February 23, 2010||TBA|
|Season 5||24||August 10, 2010||TBA|
|Season 6||24||January 17, 2012||TBA|
|Season 7||24||April 10, 2012||TBA|
As of January 5, 2015, episodes of Adam-12 air on Cozi TV. The series had been airing on Me-TV from May 2013 until January 1, 2015, when its place in the network's weekday afternoon line up was taken by Adventures of Superman. Adam-12 previously aired on Me-TV's competitor Antenna TV until April 2013, and on Retro Television Network before that.
Episodes from Adam-12's first four seasons are available for on-line streaming on Hulu in some regions. Amazon and Apple's iTunes Store offer only Season 1 as available for sale as permanent downloadable files.
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