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McClain's Law is an American crime drama television series that aired on NBC during the 1981-1982 season. New episodes ended on March 20, and rebroadcasts continued until August 24, 1982.

McClain's Law
McClain's Law Cast.jpg
GenreCrime drama
Created byEric Bercovici
Written byFrank Abatemarco
Eric Bercovici
Walter Dallenbach
Stephen Downing
Allison Hock
Mark Rodgers
Frank Telford
Gerald Sanford
Directed byCorey Allen
Kerry Feltham
Bruce Kessler
Vincent McEveety
Gary Nelson
James Sheldon
StarringJames Arness
George DiCenzo
Marshall Colt
Composer(s)James Di Pasquale (all other episodes and theme)
Michael Melvoin ("A Time of Peril")
Angela Morley (four: 1.6, 1.10, 1.12, 1.14)
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes16
Executive producer(s)Eric Bercovici
Richard R. St. Johns
Producer(s)Robert H. Justman
Mark Rodgers
Running time44 minutes
Production company(s)Eric Bercovici Productions
MGM Television
DistributorWarner Bros. Television (current)
Original networkNBC
Original releaseNovember 20, 1981 (1981-11-20) –
August 24, 1982 (1982-08-24)



The series starred former Gunsmoke lead James Arness in a rare non-western role as Jim McClain, a former police detective who was medically retired after being wounded in the leg in a gun battle in the line of duty. He returns to duty thirteen years later to avenge the murder and robbery of a friend, and ends up coming out of retirement in order to share his expertise with a younger generation of police officers.[1]

At first, his request to be returned to active duty is met with resistance by police department supervisors. McClain is made to undergo physical fitness tests and a requalification and training program at the police academy. He handily passes all tests and is returned to active duty on the department at his former rank of detective. McClain is tough but compassionate. He is regarded by his colleagues as being an "Old School" cop. He carries a Smith & Wesson .44 caliber revolver when most of his fellow officers carry .38 Special caliber sidearms. His new coworkers come to respect McClain as a consummate professional of unyielding courage. McClain's Law, like several other series from this period, was criticized for its level of violence. The co-stars were Marshall Colt and George DiCenzo. This was Arness' final TV series; hereafter he primarily appeared in a series of made-for-TV movies reprising Gunsmoke.


Actor Role
James Arness Detective Jim McClain
George DiCenzo Lieutenant Edward DeNisco
Marshall Colt Detective Harry Gates
Conchata Ferrell Vangie Cruise
Carl Franklin Detective Jerry Cross

Notable guest starsEdit


No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date
"Pilot"TBATBANovember 20, 1981 (1981-11-20)
3"Requiem for a Narc"TBATBANovember 27, 1981 (1981-11-27)
4"A Time of Peril"TBATBADecember 4, 1981 (1981-12-04)
5"Let the Victims Beware"TBATBADecember 11, 1981 (1981-12-11)
6"Portrait of a Playmate"TBATBADecember 18, 1981 (1981-12-18)
7"To Save the Queen"TBATBAJanuary 8, 1982 (1982-01-08)
8"A Matter of Honor"TBATBAJanuary 15, 1982 (1982-01-15)
9"The Sign of the Beast: Part 1"TBATBAJanuary 22, 1982 (1982-01-22)
10"The Sign of the Beast: Part 2"TBATBAJanuary 29, 1982 (1982-01-29)
11"What Patric Doesn't Know"TBATBAFebruary 5, 1982 (1982-02-05)
12"Green Light"TBATBAFebruary 12, 1982 (1982-02-12)
13"Use of Deadly Force"TBATBAFebruary 19, 1982 (1982-02-19)
14"Takeover"TBATBAMarch 6, 1982 (1982-03-06)
15"From the Mouths of Babes"TBATBAMarch 13, 1982 (1982-03-13)
16"The Last Hero"TBATBAMarch 20, 1982 (1982-03-20)

DVD releaseEdit

On June 21, 2016, Warner Archive Collection released McClain's Law - The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1 for the very first time.[2] This is a manufacture-on-demand (MOD) release, available exclusively through Warner's online store and


  1. ^ Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh, The Comprehensive Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows 1946-Present, New York: Ballantine Publishers, 1992, p. 570
  2. ^ Official 'The Complete Series' on DVD: Date, Cost, Package Art Archived 2016-05-30 at the Wayback Machine

External linksEdit