Hill Street Blues

Watch Hill Street Blues

  • TV-14
  • 1981
  • 7 Seasons
  • 8.2  (10,388)

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.

Hill Street Blues
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It Ain't Over Till It's Over
22. It Ain't Over Till It's Over
May 12, 1987
A nighttime fire sweeps through the station. Buntz experiences fear for the first time when he is suspended on charges of stealing cocaine.
A Pound of Flesh
21. A Pound of Flesh
May 5, 1987
Hunter is rescued after being buried alive for eleven days and is advised by Furillo to avoid any references to the Donner party.
The Runner Stumbles
20. The Runner Stumbles
April 7, 1987
A football star gets caught in a Hill Street hooker sweep, and Prunella returns to look for the missing Hunter.
Days of Swine and Roses
19. Days of Swine and Roses
March 31, 1987
Renko attempts a reconciliation with his wife, Belker returns and Hunter gathers the troops for a hostage siege.
Dogbreath Afternoon
18. Dogbreath Afternoon
March 17, 1987
Buntz tracks down Belker's snitch as the whole station house works to find out who shot Mick. Renko is forced to be honest with Daryl Ann by a blackmailing hooker.
The Cookie Crumbles
17. The Cookie Crumbles
March 10, 1987
Renko erupts in jealousy over Daryl Ann's business partner, and Flaherty allows his feelings for Russo to interfere in a bust.
Sorry, Wrong Number
16. Sorry, Wrong Number
March 3, 1987
Goldblume and Furillo clash over using a former gang member to obtain evidence against a gang leader in a murder case. Renko's mounting problems affect his work.
Norman Conquest
15. Norman Conquest
February 10, 1987
During his day in station command, Buntz mounts a campaign to confiscate $130,000 worth of illegal substances, while Belker busts a tough kid who runs drugs.
Der Roachenkavalier
14. Der Roachenkavalier
February 3, 1987
Buntz worries over the state of Furillo's marriage, while LaRue and Washington get lots of help in their quest for a prize winning cockroach and Belker pursues a purse-snatching dog.
City of Refuse
13. City of Refuse
January 20, 1987
A sanitation workers' strike causes problems for some of the men, especially Hill. Russo and Flaherty become friends.
A Wasted Weekend
12. A Wasted Weekend
January 13, 1987
Buntz reassures Officer McBride about her shooting of an armed robber, while Goldblume is kidnapped while trying to start a short, much-needed vacation.
She's So Fein
11. She's So Fein
January 6, 1987
Joyce Davenport is taken hostage by a desperate suspect who holes up in a market with her and a wounded victim. Belker wrecks a car belonging to LaRue's brother-in-law.
More Skinned Against Than Skinning
10. More Skinned Against Than Skinning
December 23, 1986
Racial tensions rise when a white undercover officer shoots his black partner, and a temporarily blind Buntz goes undercover with Belker as a beggar.
Fathers and Guns
9. Fathers and Guns
December 9, 1986
Furillo faces a moral and emotional dilemma when his father is shot, while Belker has nightmares about nuclear destruction.
Falling from Grace
8. Falling from Grace
December 2, 1986
Daniels pushes Furillo to drop the Wade investigation, while a literary agent offers Goldblume a chance to write his memoirs.
Amazing Grace
7. Amazing Grace
November 27, 1986
Grace Gardner, the highly sexual former flame of Sgt Esterhaus, returns to the police station as Sister Chastity, a nun who now seeks Furillo's help.
Say Uncle
6. Say Uncle
November 13, 1986
Renko worries all day when a gypsy places a curse on him, while Larue is giddy about the glory he will get when a suspect he arrests admits to more than a dozen murders.
I Come on My Knees
5. I Come on My Knees
November 6, 1986
It's the odd couple revisited when Buntz lets 'Sid the Snitch' bunk in his apartment to hide from a vengeful ex-con.
Bald Ambition
4. Bald Ambition
October 30, 1986
Furillo is asked to help a proud Calletano head off a mutiny when his precinct officers are on the verge of a racial war among themselves.
The Best Defense
3. The Best Defense
October 16, 1986
After the public defenders walk out, the blues have to use discretion in making borderline arrests as the station overflows with suspects.
A Case of Klapp
2. A Case of Klapp
October 9, 1986
Hunter shoots a boy caught robbing a convenience store, while Belker struggles to protect senior citizens from a violent mugger.
The Suitcase
1. The Suitcase
October 2, 1986
Goldblume investigates a suspected case of aspirin tampering, while Belker works undercover looking into a scam.
Where to Watch Hill Street Blues
Hill Street Blues is available for streaming on the NBC website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch Hill Street Blues on demand at Amazon, Vudu, Google Play and Apple TV.
  • Premiere Date
    January 15, 1981
  • IMDB Rating
    8.2  (10,388)