The first show on television to realistically portray the daily routines of police officers (at least as much as the censors would allow), Adam-12 arrived in the late 60s and quickly won over millions of fans who tuned in each week to watch officers Reed and Malloy help keep the citizens of Los Angeles safe from crime and other calamities.

Adam-12 was the brainchild of prolific no-nonsense producer writer and actor Jack Webb, who found enormous success with his previous police detective offering, Dragnet, and would later hit gold again with the show Emergency! which focused on paramedics. As a result, Reed and Malloy appeared occasionally on Dragnet, as well as with the firefighters from Emergency!

Working out of the LAPD Rampart division, Officer Jim Malloy was a veteran officer who was considering retirement after his previous partner was killed on duty. Instead he was partnered with rookie Jim Reed, fresh out of the academy. Often with an annoyed look on his face, Malloy mentored his new partner on the job as they traversed the streets of LA, dealing with everything from muggers and drug dealers to little old ladies and precocious kids.

The officers were most often seen in Their black and white police cruiser, a Plymouth Belvedere, which carried the numerical designation “Adam-12″ on its roof. Back at the station, they reported to shift supervisor, William “Mac” McDonald, but the show focused mostly on the officer’s interaction with each other in the car, and with the citizens they swore to protect and serve.

Adam-12 debuted in 1968 and ran for a respectable seven seasons. Kent McCord and Martin Milner (respectively) portrayed officers Reed and Malloy. A number of current and future celebrities made appearances on the show during its run, including Jodie Foster, Ozzie Nelson, Mark Harmon, Barry Williams and David Cassidy.

So popular was Adam-12 that it can still occasionally be found airing in syndication to this day. While the show is certainly dated, sometimes humorously so, it also provides an interesting look at how two good and upstanding police officers dealt with a changing society in that turbulent transition the nation made from the 60s to the 70s.

Did you grow up watching Reed and Malloy patrol the streets on Adam-12? Or, did you discover the show through reruns and syndication? We hope you’ll take a moment to share all of your memories of this beloved series with us in our comments section below.

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