Studio: Shout Factory
Cast: Sam Melville, Kate Jackson, Georg Stanford Brown, Michael Ontkean, Gerald S. O'Loughlin
Release Date: August 07, 2012
Rating: Not Rated for (Adult themes)
Run Time: 18h:30m:20s
Genre(s): television, crime, drama
"In a hit series, the audience has to like the continuing characters. Our guys are likable." - Leonard Goldberg (Producer)
The Rookies was a memorable series from the middle Seventies that both well-written and well-acted. Its second season include many intriguing plot lines and guest stars like Don Johnson, Nick Nolte, Strother Martin, John Travolta and Jim Nabors.
Movie Grade: B
DVD Grade: B+
The Rookies is an American crime drama series from producers Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg that aired on ABC in the middle Seventies and followed the exploits of three rookie police officers in an unidentified city for the fictitious Southern California Police Department (SCPD). The show was created by Rita Lakin, who was one of the pioneer women script writers in Hollywood television. She worked on shows such as Dr. Kildare, Peyton Place, Mod Squad & Dynasty and also created Flamingo Road and Nightingales. William Blinn, was a co-creator of the show, also created Starsky and Hutch, another Spelling/Goldberg production. He was the dominate creative force in the second season of The Rookies as producer and writer.
The pilot for the series appeared as a ABC Movie of the Week in 1972 and built on the popularity of the writings of Joseph Wambaugh and the popular series like The Mod Squad and Adam-12. The show's formula brought together realistic storytelling of the typical uniformed police officer against the backdrop of social ills and modern crime. The details of police procedures took a back seat to the psychology and effects of crime and its victims. The Rookies tried to humanize the character of police officers with the struggles of younger men and women faced in their jobs as law enforcement personnel sworn to serve and protect the public. The 'new breed' cop was a significant theme in the first two years of the series and often modern methods of police investigation were contrasted with traditional police methods.
The show centered around three rookie officers, Mike Danko (Sam Melville), Terry Webster (Georg Stanford Brown), and Willie Gillis (Michael Ontkean), and their superior officer/mentor, Lt. Ryker (Gerald S. O'Loughlin). The show was produced by Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg. Each episode showcased highly dramatized versions of police cases and activities, often intertwined with the off-duty lives of the officers and their significant others. Mike Danko was the only rookie in the series who was married and his wife was portrayed by Kate Jackson. The characters on the show were populated by television acting veterans and exciting newcomers.
Many of the episodes benefit from the earnest acting and crisp crisp writing that presented more thoughtful, humane approaches to crime and justice. Social issues became an important part of the storylines with returning Vietnam veterans, rape victims, juvenile deliquents and terminally ill people part of the tapestry of the show. The show often ventured into "messages" but usually not too far and these moments were balanced with good suspense and action.
After the second season, the character of Willie Gillis was replaced when Michael Ontkean left the show over complaints in the story writing and went on to make a memorable hockey player in Slap Shot, appear in one of the first mainstream gay movies in Making Love and then he was Sheriff Harry S. Truman on the quirky series Twin Peaks. Kate Jackson came from the gothic soap Dark Shadows and would go on to star in Charlie's Angels and Scarecrow and Mrs. King. Sam Melville had guest appearances in many series following The Rookies and was reunited with Jackson in Scarecrow and Mrs. King for seven episodes as Mrs. King's ex-husband and father of her children. Georg Stanford Brown has been a fixture on American television for 40 years with dozens of guest appearances on various series and a memorable performance in the mini-series Roots. has directed episodes of Dynasty, Cagney & Lacey, Hill Street Blues and Charlie's Angels. Gerald S. O'Loughlin is one of the most familiar character actors in television history with nearly 100 guest appearance on dozens of shows in the Sixties, Seventies, Eighties and Nineties.
This season's guest stars will include: John Saxon, Don Johnson, Nick Nolte, Strother Martin, John Travolta, Brad Davis, Scott Jacoby, Joseph Campanella, Claude Akins, Joan Blondell, Pat Harrington, James Olson, Mark Slade, Jim Nabors, Richard Hatch, Leif Erickson, Sissy Spacek, Tyne Daly, Bridgette Hanley, Anthony Zerbe.
The episode list for The Rookies Complete Second Season includes:
1. Cauldron - Willie and Terry are kidnapped and abandoned out in the desert. (John Saxon, James Sikking)
2. Margin for Error - A veteran officer blames Mike for his partner's death. (Claude Akins, Robert Walden, Jean Allison)
3. Deadly Cage - Terry goes under cover as a prison inmate. (Robert Hooks, Victor French, Richard Yniguez)
4. Frozen smoke - Willie on on juvenile detail. (Annette O’Toole, John Travolta, Scott Jacoby)
5. Get Ryker - Jill becomes a target. (Joseph Campanella)
6. Cry Wolf - Will and Terry ignore a call from an elderly woman. (Joan Blondell, Pat Harrington Jr., Shelley Morrison)
7. A Matter of Justice a.k.a. "Justice for Jill Danko"- A man wounds Jill but is not prosecuted because of his brain tumor. (James Olson, Joseph Bernard, Claudia Bryar)
8. Blood Brother - A bitter Vietnam veteran involved in a robbery plan. (Herbert Jefferson Jr., Mitzi Hoag, Glynn Turman)
9. Code 261 - Rape victim struggles with difficulties in the justice system. (Jan Shepard, Terry Lumley, Boyd ‘Red’ Morgan)
10. Prayers Unanswered, Prayers Unheard- A priest is murdered and a nun is beaten. (Johnny Brown, Wende Wagner, Wayne Heffley)
11. Down Home Boy - A country singer is harassed. (Jim Nabors, David Canary, Marty Ingels, Billy Green Bush)
12. Lots of Trees and a Running Stream - Jill's former boyfriend returns to terrorize Jill while Mike is away. (Richard Hatch, Annette O’Toole, Sam Edwards)
13. Another Beginning for Ben Fuller - Ben Fuller annoys Lt. Ryker in an investigation. (Charles Lane, Leif Ericson,Michael Christian)
14. Sound of Silence - Willie's girlfriend struggles with her illness. (Sissy Spacek, Jean Byron, Jared Martin)
15. Trial by Doubt - The murder of a police officers causes tensions. (Malcolm Atterbury, Fionnula Flanagan, Barry Cahill)
16. The Authentic Death of Billy Stomper - Terry is the decoy to trap a killer. (Ester Anderson, Steve Sandor)
17. The Late Mr. Brent - Mike and Jill feel the strain of his job. (William Smithers, Matt Clark, Darlene Carr)
18. The Teacher - An ex-convict runs a group of young thieves. (Don Johnson, Strother Martin, Nick Nolte, Jamie Smith-Jackson)
19. Eyewitness - A man's schizophrenia causes problems. (Don ‘Red’ Barry, Wendell Burton, Lurene Tuttle)
20. Something Less Than a Man - An alcoholic former officer is framed for the murder. (Dane Clark, Don Gordon, Paul Pepper)
21. Rolling Thunder - Terry and a recruit are kidnapped by a fugitive. (Lorraine Gary, Andrew Parks, James Luisi)
22. Time Lock - A felon holds Terry and three women hostage in a bank vault. (Tyne Daly, Wanda Bailey, Sari Price, Robert Walden, Lee de Broux)
23. Death watch - Willie becomes infected with meningitis. (Anthony Zerbe, Susan Brown)
Posted by: Joseph Burke - July 22, 2012, 12:50 pm - DVD Review
Keywords: television, crime, police