Open main menu

Petrocelli is an American legal drama which ran for two seasons on NBC from September 11, 1974 to March 31, 1976.[1]

Barry Newman Petrocelli 1974.JPG
Barry Newman as Tony Petrocelli.
Created byHarold Buchman
Sidney J. Furie
Directed byIrving J. Moore
StarringBarry Newman
Susan Howard
Albert Salmi
David Huddleston
Composer(s)Lalo Schifrin (pilot, 2.2)
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes44 (3 unaired) (and 1 pilot movie) (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)Edward K. Milkis
Thomas L. Miller
Producer(s)Leonard Katzman
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time48 minutes
Production company(s)Miller-Milkis Productions
Paramount Network Television
DistributorCBS Television Distribution
Original networkNBC
Original releaseSeptember 11, 1974 (1974-09-11) – March 31, 1976 (1976-03-31)



Tony Petrocelli was an Italian-American Harvard-educated lawyer who grew up in South Boston and gave up the big money and frenetic pace of major-metropolitan life to practice in a sleepy city in Arizona called San Remo (filmed in Tucson, Arizona). He and his wife Maggie lived in a house trailer in the country while waiting for their new home to be built (it was never completed over the course of the series). Tony drove a beat-up old pickup truck, always a little too fast. Petrocelli hired Pete Ritter, a local cowboy and ex-cop, as his investigator.


Petrocelli worked as a defense lawyer, and each episode followed a similar format, with the client apparently certain to be convicted of a crime of which they were innocent until a late-emerging piece of evidence allowed the protagonist to suggest to the jury an alternative possibility. These alternatives were never established as absolute fact, and the trial of the person onto whom Petrocelli turned the accusation never occurred, but the doubt raised was sufficient to secure the release of his client.

A technique used in the TV series was showing the actual crime in flashbacks from the perspective of various people involved. The flashbacks, naturally, differed depending on whose recollections were being shown. To maximize the drama, the prosecution's version was always the first flashback shown (i.e. what supposedly happened), then the client's version was presented (what the client remembered happening), then, finally, after finishing his investigation, Petrocelli presented his version (generally meant to be what in fact occurred). This final flashback always contained elements of the prosecution's and his client's versions, but with his new-found evidence, it would show both the client's innocence and an explanation as to how and why the prosecution and client's versions differed. In other words, neither side was ever meant to be corrupt or lying, rather, without Petrocelli's new information, both previous versions appeared to be accurate from their respective points of view.


Newman created the role of Petrocelli in a 1970 movie, The Lawyer, which was loosely based on the Sam Sheppard murder case. Diana Muldaur co-starred as his wife Maggie in the 1970 feature film. Petrocelli was produced by Leonard Katzman. In the NBC TV series, Susan Howard played the wife of Tony Petrocelli. Howard was later cast as Donna Culver Krebbs in Katzman's prime-time soap opera Dallas.


Actor Role
Barry Newman Anthony J. Petrocelli
Susan Howard Maggie Petrocelli
Albert Salmi Pete Ritter
David Huddleston Lt. John Ponce


Pilot (1974)Edit

A 90-minute TV-movie aired as a pilot on March 16, 1974.[2][3]

TitleOriginal air date
Night GamesMarch 16, 1974 (March 16, 1974)

Season 1 (1974–75)Edit

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
11"The Golden Cage"Joseph PevneyTeleplay by: Dan Ullman
Story by: Eric Bercovici
September 11, 1974 (1974-09-11)
22"Music to Die By"Paul StanleyOliver CrawfordSeptember 18, 1974 (1974-09-18)
33"By Reason of Madness"James SheldonWilliam KelleySeptember 25, 1974 (1974-09-25)
44"Edge of Evil"Irving J. MooreTeleplay by: Dan Ullman
Story by: Mel Goldberg
October 2, 1974 (1974-10-02)
55"A Life for a Life"Allen ReisnerWilliam D. Gordon & James DohertyOctober 9, 1974 (1974-10-09)
66"Death in High Places"Richard DonnerLeo PipkinOctober 23, 1974 (1974-10-23)
77"The Double Negative"TBATBAOctober 30, 1974 (1974-10-30)
88"Mirror, Mirror on the Wall..."Irving J. MooreLeonard KatzmanNovember 6, 1974 (1974-11-06)
99"An Act of Love"Paul StanleyLeonard KatzmanNovember 13, 1974 (1974-11-13)
1010"A Very Lonely Lady"Vincent McEveetyRobert StullNovember 27, 1974 (1974-11-27)
1111"Counterploy"James SheldonEdward J. LaksoDecember 4, 1974 (1974-12-04)
1212"A Covenant with Evil"James SheldonTeleplay by: Bob Green & Bill Harley & William Kelley
Story by: Bob Green & Bill Harley
December 18, 1974 (1974-12-18)
1313"The Sleep of Reason"Irving J. MooreWilliam KelleyJanuary 15, 1975 (1975-01-15)
1414"A Fallen Idol"Herb WallersteinLeonard KatzmanJanuary 22, 1975 (1975-01-22)
1515"Once Upon a Victim"TBATBAJanuary 29, 1975 (1975-01-29)
1616"The Kidnapping"TBATBAFebruary 5, 1975 (1975-02-05)
1717"A Lonely Victim"TBATBAFebruary 19, 1975 (1975-02-19)
1818"The Outsiders"TBATBAFebruary 26, 1975 (1975-02-26)
1919"Vengeance in White"TBATBAMarch 5, 1975 (1975-03-05)
2020"Four the Hard Way"TBATBAMarch 13, 1975 (1975-03-13)
2121"Death in Small Doses"TBATBAMarch 27, 1975 (1975-03-27)
2222"A Night of Terror"TBATBAApril 2, 1975 (1975-04-02)

Season 2 (1975–76)Edit

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
231"Death Ride"TBATBASeptember 10, 1975 (1975-09-10)
242"Mark of Cain"TBATBASeptember 17, 1975 (1975-09-17)
253"Five Yards of Trouble"TBATBASeptember 24, 1975 (1975-09-24)
264"Shadow of Fear"TBATBAOctober 1, 1975 (1975-10-01)
275"Chain of Command"TBATBAOctober 8, 1975 (1975-10-08)
286"To See No Evil"TBATBAOctober 29, 1975 (1975-10-29)
297"Terror on Wheels"TBATBANovember 5, 1975 (1975-11-05)
308"The Gamblers"TBATBANovember 12, 1975 (1975-11-12)
319"Terror by the Book"Irving J. MooreTeleplay by: Jeff Myrow
Story by: Deena Silver-Kramer
December 10, 1975 (1975-12-10)
3210"Face of Evil"Irving J. MooreThomas L. MillerDecember 17, 1975 (1975-12-17)
3311"Too Many Alibis"TBATBADecember 24, 1975 (1975-12-24)
3412"A Deadly Vow"TBATBADecember 31, 1975 (1975-12-31)
3513"The Falling Star"TBATBAJanuary 21, 1976 (1976-01-21)
3614"Survival"TBATBAJanuary 28, 1976 (1976-01-28)
3715"The Night Visitor"TBATBAFebruary 4, 1976 (1976-02-04)
3816"Blood Money"TBATBAFebruary 11, 1976 (1976-02-11)
3917"Any Number Can Die"TBATBAFebruary 18, 1976 (1976-02-18)
4018"Six Strings of Guilt"TBATBAFebruary 25, 1976 (1976-02-25)
4119"Deadly Journey"TBATBAMarch 3, 1976 (1976-03-03)
4220"The Pay Off"TBATBAUnaired[3] (Unaired[3])
4321"Shadow of a Doubt"TBATBAUnaired[3] (Unaired[3])
4422"Jubilee Jones"TBATBAUnaired[3] (Unaired[3])

Guest starsEdit

Home mediaEdit

Visual Entertainment released the complete series on DVD in Region 1 on December 16, 2016.[4]

Books about the seriesEdit

Book: "Petrocelli: San Remo Justice: An Episode Guide and Much More," by Sandra Grabman, published 2018 by BearManor Media. ISBN 978-1-62933-205-5.


External linksEdit