Watch Hill Street Blues
- 7 Seasons
Hill Street Blues was an American cop-drama television series that premiered on NBC in 1981. It was created by Steven Bochco and Michael Kozoll and was set in an unnamed fictional city in the United States, which was depicted as a gritty urban metropolis with a high crime rate. The show revolved around the lives of the police officers who worked at the Hill Street Station, and it offered a realistic portrayal of the stresses and demands of their job.
At the heart of Hill Street Blues was the character of Captain Frank Furillo, played by Daniel J. Travanti. Furillo was a no-nonsense, dedicated police captain who struggled to maintain order in his precinct while dealing with his own personal demons. Taurean Blacque played Sgt. Neal Washington, Furillo's trusted right-hand man, who was tough but fair and always willing to do whatever it took to protect the citizens of the city.
The show also featured a talented ensemble cast of supporting characters, including Bruce Weitz as Mick Belker, a scrappy plainclothes officer with a penchant for biting suspects; Joe Spano as Lt. Henry Goldblume, a compassionate officer who often found himself empathizing with the very criminals he was trying to catch; Kiel Martin as Det. J.D. LaRue, a womanizing and impulsive detective who showed occasional flashes of brilliance; and Betty Thomas as Officer Lucille Bates, who balanced her tough exterior with a deep empathy for the victims of crime.
Other notable cast members included Charles Haid as Officer Andy Renko, Veronica Hamel as public defender Joyce Davenport, Michael Warren as Officer Bobby Hill, James Sikking as Lt. Howard Hunter, Ed Marinaro as Officer Joe Coffey, and Barbara Bosson as Furillo's ex-wife and local councilwoman, Fay Furillo.
One of the defining features of Hill Street Blues was its innovative use of multiple plotlines and overlapping dialogue, which gave the show a sense of chaos and authenticity that was unprecedented on television at the time. The show was also not afraid to tackle controversial subjects such as racism, police brutality, drug addiction, and political corruption.
Over the course of its seven-season run, Hill Street Blues received critical acclaim and numerous accolades, including 26 Emmy Awards (out of a staggering 98 nominations). It was particularly noteworthy for its realistic portrayal of police work and for its unflinching examination of the toll that the job takes on the officers who perform it.
Although the show was praised for its groundbreaking storytelling and unorthodox format, it was not always a ratings hit. In fact, it was frequently on the brink of cancellation, and its final season was notably shorter than the others. Nevertheless, it remains one of the most influential and important shows in the history of television, and it helped pave the way for a new era of complex, character-driven dramas.
In addition to its talented cast and groundbreaking storytelling, Hill Street Blues also had a memorable theme song, composed by Mike Post and featuring a distinctive brass riff that became synonymous with the show. Its legacy can be seen in the many cop dramas that have followed in its wake, from NYPD Blue to The Wire to Breaking Bad.
In summary, Hill Street Blues was a landmark television series that broke new ground in storytelling and characterization. With its talented cast, realistic portrayal of police work, and innovative format, it remains a classic example of the best that television can offer.
Hill Street Blues is a series that is currently running and has 7 seasons (217 episodes). The series first aired on January 15, 1981.