Brenner (TV series)

Brenner is an American crime drama of the 1950s and 1960s.[1] The series was filmed in New York City focusing on Lieutenant Roy Brenner, a 20-year veteran of the Internal Affairs Department of the NYPD, and his son Ernie, a rookie detective, who travel around the city solving various crimes.[2] The series starred Edward Binns and James Broderick as Lt. Roy Brenner and Det. Ernie Brenner, respectively. Brenner, a perennial summer replacement series, aired new episodes on CBS from June 6, 1959–September 19, 1959 and again from May 17–July 19, 1964. Reruns plus two previously unaired episodes were seen during the summer of 1961, an additional summer of reruns in 1962 and a final set of new and repeat broadcasts from July 26–September 13, 1964.

GenreCrime drama
Created byHerbert Brodkin
Written byAlvin Boretz
George Bellak
Directed byGerald Mayer
Herman Hoffman
StarringEdward Binns
James Broderick
Dick O'Neill
Walter Greaza
Sydney Pollack
Crahan Denton
Gene Hackman
Theme music composerFrank Lewin
Composer(s)Sydney Pollack
Laurence Rosenthal
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes26
Executive producer(s)Herbert Brodkin
Producer(s)Arthur Lewis
Production location(s)New York City, U.S.
CinematographyMaurice Hartzband
George Jacobson
Editor(s)Sidney Katz
Arline Garson
Earl Booth
Alvin Boretz
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)Plautus Productions
DistributorViacom (1971-2006)
CBS Paramount Domestic Television (2006-2007)
CBS Television Distribution (2007-present)
Original networkCBS
Original releaseJune 6, 1959 (1959-06-06) –
July 19, 1964 (1964-07-19)
Preceded byPlayhouse 90
Related showsNaked City


The show was centered around the careers of the Brenners, Roy and his son Ernie. Roy (Edward Binns) is a street hardened lieutenant of the Internal Affairs Department of the NYPD. He has been a part of the NYPD for twenty years. His son Ernie (James Broderick) is an idealistic rookie detective also working for the NYPD. Together, the two face, fight and solve crime, as well as face police corruption and all its ugliness, and try to learn from their different views of life, death, and work.[3]

It was somewhat of a challenge for the two to portray a convincing father-and-son duo with Binns only 11 years older than Broderick.



The series was created by producer Herbert Brodkin, who had already made himself a household name with producing credits on The Philco Television Playhouse, Goodyear Television Playhouse and The Alcoa Hour for NBC, and Studio One and Playhouse 90 for CBS. Brodkin later produced several other well-well-known television series including The Defenders and The Nurses.

Brenner was a transitional project for Brodkin. It was his first independent production, his first series to be shot on film, and (aside from his first producing assignment, CBS's live Charlie Wild, Private Detective) his initial concession to the reality that programs with running characters were quickly supplanting the anthology drama. Like The Defenders and The Nurses, Brenner was based on a one-shot anthology show from Brodkin's catalog, a January 15, 1959 telecast of Playhouse 90 entitled "The Blue Men". Intriguingly, Alvin Boretz, who wrote The Blue Men, is not credited as the creator of Brenner, although he did contribute scripts to the series.[4]

Season 1 (1959-1961)Edit

Brenner premiered on Saturday June 6, 1959 on the CBS Television Network. Ratings were poor from the beginning and after fourteen episodes aired, on September 19, 1959, Brenner was cancelled. Two new episodes produced in 1960 aired in June and September 1961.

Season 2 (1964)Edit

Sixteen episodes of Brenner aired on CBS between June 6, 1959 and September 11, 1961. Ten addition episodes that were produced between 1959 and 1960 had never aired on television. With reruns airing during the summers of 1961 and 1962, CBS decided that during the summer of 1964, they would air the remaining episodes five years after the initial cancellation and three years after new episodes of the series had last aired. The last of those ten episodes aired on Sunday July 19, 1964 with reruns airing until September 13.[5]

According to the Classic Television Archive (CTVA)[6] a total of 25 episodes of Brenner aired on CBS between June 6, 1959 and July 19, 1964.[7]


  • Lieutenant Roy Brenner - portrayed by Edward Binns. Lt. Brenner, commonly referred to as just Brenner, is the police lieutenant of the Confidential Squad. Lt. Brenner is a street hardened veteran, as he has been working for the NYPD for twenty years.
  • Patrolman Ernie Brenner - portrayed by James Broderick. Ernie Brenner, commonly referred to as Officer Brenner, is an idealistic rookie plainclothesman for the NYPD. He, along with his father Roy, travel around New York City solving crimes.*
  • Detective Steve Mason - portrayed by Dick O'Neill
  • Inspector Spaud - portrayed by Walter Greaza
  • Detective Al Dunn - portrayed by Sydney Pollack
  • Detective Tom Cleary - portrayed by Crahan Denton
  • Officer Richard Clayburn - portrayed by Gene Hackman°

* In real life, Binns was only 10 years older than his TV son portrayed by Broderick.
° Hackman was not credited for the three appearances as Officer Clayburn.


Season 1 (1959-1961)Edit

No. in
No. in
Title Original air date
11"False Witness"June 6, 1959 (1959-06-06)
Officer Ernie Brenner is put under pressure by the District Attorney to change his testimony in a weak case. The young cop's father, Detective Lt. Roy Brenner, has to take action to stop it.
22"Record of Arrest"June 13, 1959 (1959-06-13)
A man is supplying guns to teenagers, and Ernie and another officer named Frank set out to track the criminal down.
33"Family Man"June 20, 1959 (1959-06-20)
Detective Brenner is providing police protection for Arnold Joplin, a key witness in a case. Joplin's daughter is also getting lots of attention, only from Ernie.
44"Blind Spot"June 27, 1959 (1959-06-27)
Lt. Brenner forgets all the codes of conduct he demands others to follow when his son Ernie is shot in the line of duty.
55"Loan Shark"July 4, 1959 (1959-07-04)
Brenner has begun surveillance on a furniture store suspected of being a front for loan-sharks. A more disturbing fact is that police officers have been seen regularly going in and out of the store.
66"Word of Honor"July 11, 1959 (1959-07-11)
Officers Paul Harris and Ernie Brenner round up and arrest a group of young hoodlums when an accidental discharge from Harris' gun kills one of the young men. Since the youth was not armed, a vendetta from the newspapers screams of police brutality.
77"I, Executioner"July 18, 1959 (1959-07-18)
Ernie has just had to do what all police officers hope they never will; he has killed a man in the line of duty. Now so bothered by the fact that he's taken a life, he doesn't know if he'll be able to use a gun again and fears his career in law enforcement is over.
88"The Bluff"July 25, 1959 (1959-07-25)
A woman yells for a police officer's help, only to have him turn and walk away. Detective Brenner now has the job of finding the cop who turned his back on his duty.
99"Small Take"August 1, 1959 (1959-08-01)
Detective Brenner is investigating one case, while son Ernie, a patrol officer, is sent to another case, yet they both end up with the same criminals: counterfeiters.
1010"One of Our Own"August 8, 1959 (1959-08-08)
1111"Man in the Middle"August 15, 1959 (1959-08-15)
Lt. Brenner runs across an old flame, as he delves into the arrest of a group of young men for trivial offenses, who appear to be covering up their real criminal activities.
1212"Thin Ice"August 22, 1959 (1959-08-22)
Brenner sets out to investigate a rash of calls concerning school children who, instead of eating, are spending their lunch money playing on a pinball machine in a nearby candy store.
1313"Crime Wave"August 29, 1959 (1959-08-29)
A wave of criminal activity is seemingly running rampant in a certain part of town. Detective Lt. Roy Brenner leads a task force to see why that is, and why the local precinct is not able to stop it.
1414"Monopoly On Fear"September 19, 1959 (1959-09-19)
Police officer Morgan is about to retire to sunny Florida, complete with a government pension. Feeling kind hearted, he lets a crook go, but the crook is not feeling so generous.
1515"Good Friend"September 11, 1961 (1961-09-11)
A man who attempts a fur heist looks a lot like Robbie Matthews, one of Ernie's best friends since childhood. Ernie can't believe his buddy would do something like that, but learns Robbie may be in trouble with loan sharks.

Season 2 (1964)Edit

No. in
No. in
Title Original air date
116"The Long Reach"May 17, 1964 (1964-05-17)
217"Laney's Boy"May 24, 1964 (1964-05-24)
Police Captain Laney's son Ben has had run-ins with the law before. Brenner discovers a long-held secret: that the officers in Captain Laney's precinct have kept his son's escapades under wraps, and this has led to Ben planning a serious offense.
318"The Vigilantes"May 31, 1964 (1964-05-31)
After a crime spree, the citizens of a small neighborhood decide to take matters into their own hands even though Brenner has the precinct working around the clock to catch the criminals.
419"Departmental Trial"June 7, 1964 (1964-06-07)
520"Point Of Law"June 14, 1964 (1964-06-14)
Away from his job, Brenner tries to help out underprivileged youths by coaching a basketball team. Only one of his best players is now wanted for being involved in a brutal armed robbery.
621"The Thin Line"June 21, 1964 (1964-06-21)
Detective Lt. Roy Brenner comes up with a scheme to bust a numbers outfit, and his son, Officer Ernie Brenner, goes undercover to infiltrate the gambling ring.
722"Unwritten Law"July 5, 1964 (1964-07-05)
Brenner is assigned to find the missing chauffeur of a murdered mobster, which leads right to the door of a decorated police officer, the son of the murdered man.
823"The Plain Truth"July 12, 1964 (1964-07-12)
Brenner looks into the case of a veteran cop who was convicted of a hit-and-run, even though he swore he didn't do it. As evidence begins to support his story, the trail leads back home, apparently to his wife's lover as the driver.
924"Crisis"July 19, 1964 (1964-07-19)
Detective Lt. Brenner is in love with Laura Hagen and wants to make her his bride. However, she is hesitant about marrying a police officer.
1025"Charlie Paradise: The Tragic Flute"N/A
Brenner enlists the help of an old friend, Charlie Paradise, who is known as the Mayor of Greenwich Village, after an old blind woman and an artist are murdered in that area of New York.

Broadcast historyEdit

NOTE: The most frequent time slot for the series is in bold text.

  • Saturday at 9:00-9:30 pm on CBS: June 6 -September 19, 1959
  • Monday at 9:00-9:30 pm on CBS: June 19 -September 11, 1961
  • Sunday at 9:00-9:30 pm on CBS: May 17 - July 19, 1964


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Edward Binns (Actor) Brenner". Retrieved April 3, 2015.
  3. ^ Brenner at
  4. ^ "Corrections Department #3: Notes on Brenner". Retrieved April 3, 2015.
  5. ^ "A TV Series Review by Ted Fitzgerald: BRENNER (CBS; 1959-64)". Retrieved April 3, 2015.
  6. ^ Classic Television Archive (CTVA)
  7. ^ "CTVA US Crime Series - Brenner (1959)". The Classic Television Archive. Retrieved April 3, 2015.

External linksEdit