A group of new police recruits takes to patrolling the streets of Los Angeles. Rookie Roy Fehler (Stacy Keach) is a law student with a family and has joined the LAPD until he can complete his degree.
He’s partnered with veteran patrolman Andy Kilvinski (George C. Scott) and they soon develop a good rapport. On the street, the policemen are exposed to the seedier side of life but Kilvinski is a fair cop and a good teacher.
Fehler grows to love his work as a cop and both his family and his studies fall by the wayside.
Kilvinski retires and Fehler loses his way, drinking heavily. His wife leaves him and he soon hits bottom. Just as he begins to get his life in order, fate intervenes.
Portraying policemen as victims of physical and psychological violence who are lucky to reach retirement alive – and sane – the movie is melodramatic and occasionally overwrought. Yet, it’s also well made, with excellent long-lens photography by Ralph Woolsey capturing the soulless textures of Los Angeles in a way that accentuates the desensitising grind of police patrols.
The movie was re-titled Precinct 45: Los Angeles Police for its British release.
George C. Scott
Beverly Hope Atkinson