Arguably the finest cop show ever made, certainly the one without which we wouldn’t have Murder One, NYPD Blue and The Wire, Hill Street Blues was not only one of the lowest-rated TV pilots to ever get picked up, but a critical hit in spite of the best efforts of its network. Today, 25 years after the show initially aired, one thing the eight cast members reunited here all agree on is that talent and class won out in the end. Indeed, the 17 episodes in this first season are a testament to great writing. And, of course, an exemplary ensemble including Daniel J Travanti’s laconic Captain Furillo, Veronica Hammel’s sexy lawyer Joyce Davenport, Bruce Weitz’s growling Wolverine Sgt Belker and uniforms-of-the-people Bobby Hill (Michael Warren) and Andy Renko (Charles Haid).
Centred around the goings-on at the eponymous inner city precinct, Blues was a show ahead of its time, setting the template for non-linear storytelling and multi-cast TV drama that’s still used today. While the programme’s legendary grit may seem a little less crunchy now, it remains tough, uncompromising, compelling viewing.
BEST BIT: When, at the beginning of each episode, Sgt Phil Esterhaus (Michael Conrad) turns to the police people of Hill Street Station and sends them out with the same piece of salutary advice: “Hey, let’s be careful out there...”