The 1970s were a time of social change. It was the decade that saw the end of the Vietnam War, and it also ushered in a new era of television programming. Crime shows became popular during this time period, with many 1970s cop shows becoming iconic franchises. How many of these classics did you watch?
The Streets of San Francisco
This police drama followed two cops who patrolled different beats on opposite coasts but teamed up to solve crimes when needed. It starred Karl Malden as Inspector Mike Stone (later Lt. Michael Stone) and Michael Douglas as Detective Steve Keller (later Lt.-Detective). Both actors won Emmy Awards for their roles on this show!
This 1970s police drama followed detective Lieutenant Theo Kojak (later Captain), a hard-living, loose cannon cop who relentlessly pursued criminals. It starred Telly Savalas as Detective Inspector Alex Michael “Big Al” Kojak and David Caruso as Detective John Kelly. Kojak’s trademark lollipop and bald head remain iconic symbols of the 70s. Who loves ya baby?
Starsky & Hutch
This 1970s crime drama followed two cops who patrolled the streets of Bay City, California. Starsky was a street-smart detective while Hutch provided the brains to solve their cases and combat criminals; they were partners in both work and play. The show starred David Soul as Detective Ken “Hutch” Hutchinson (later Lieutenant) and Paul Michael Glaser as Detective Dave “Dave Starsky” Starsky.
This 1970s police drama revolved around two California Highway Patrol motorcycle officers and best friends, Francis “Ponch” Poncherello (Erik Estrada) and Jonathan “Jonny” Baker (Larry Wilcox), as they protected the roads from crime.
In this 1970s mystery crime drama, Banacek was a crotchety but brilliant private investigator in Boston who solved cases that the local law enforcement agencies couldn’t. He would often take on those jobs for which he refused to accept payment because they had been too challenging or interesting, and helped solve them anyway. The show starred George Peppard as the title character.
Kolchak: The Night Stalker
In 1970s, this horror drama followed journalist Carl Kolchak as he investigated murders that seemed to have paranormal connections. The title character had a background in science and used his knowledge of chemistry and physics to solve crimes with the help from reporter Tony Vincenzo (Tony Anthony) and police detective Lt. Bill McClain (John Karlen), who was often annoyed by Kolchak’s unorthodox methods and mind-set.
This 1970s police drama followed a fictional New York City Police Department (NYPD) precinct, Barneys Mill. The show was set in Greenwich Village and starred Hal Linden as Captain Barney Miller, Jack Soo as Detective Yosh Kojima, Abe Vigoda as Detective Phil Fish and Ron Glass as Officer Stan Jablonski.
Detective Steve McGarrett heads the state’s law enforcement agency, working alongside his partner and father figure Dan Williams (played by Jack Lord). The show is primarily set on the island of Oahu. Hawaii Five-O got a reboot in 2010.
This show followed a New York City cop in the 1970s, as he deals with his personal problems and investigates crimes that cross state lines. It starred William Conrad as Detective Lieutenant Frank Cannon. The opening credits of the show have a 1970’s disco style music.
McCloud followed a 1970s cop, who was on the trail of both criminals and corruption. It starred Dennis Weaver as Detective Lieutenant Sam McCloud, with Joe Don Baker co-starring in some episodes. McCloud ran from 1970-77.
The Mod Squad
The premise is about three young undercover police officers who are sent to infiltrate countercultural groups in Los Angeles, California. They were named Julie Barnes (played by Peggy Lipton), Linc Hayes (played by Clarence Williams III) and Pete Cochran (played by Michael Cole).
The Rockford Files
The Rockford Files starred James Garner’s a Jim Rockford, who is a 1970s private investigator in California. He often takes cases that involve finding lost loved ones and frequently receives assistance from informant Angel Martin (played by Joe Santos).