Home Television Drama Petrocelli


1 9 7 4 – 1 9 7 6 (USA)
46 x 60 minute episodes

This NBC crime drama series – which debuted on Wednesday 11 September 1974 – revolved around the cases of young lawyer Tony Petrocelli (Barry Newman), who had graduated from Harvard but decided to set up his legal practice in the middle of wide-open cattle country, near the fictional Arizona cow town of San Remo.

Petrocelli hired a local cowboy and ex-cop called Pete Ritter (Albert Salmi) as his investigator and set about taking on cases whether or not his clients could afford his services.

This made it hard for him and his wife, Maggie (Susan Howard) to make ends meet – hence why they lived in a camper while he tried to build their own house.


Local police Lieutenant Ponce (David Huddleston) – a good friend of Tony’s despite the fact that they found themselves in adversarial positions in the courtroom – was often involved in investigating the cases Tony was working on.

Petrocelli was fiercely proud of his Italian-American heritage and invariably corrected people who mispronounced his name – “Your honour, that’s -chelli, Petrochelli”.

An interesting technique used in this series was showing the actual crime in flashbacks from the perspectives of the various people involved.

The flashbacks, naturally, differed depending on whose recollections were being shown.

Barry Newman created the role of Petrocelli in a 1970 movie called The Lawyer, which, in turn, was loosely based on the Sam Sheppard murder case.

Anthony Petrocelli 
Barry Newman
Maggie Petrocelli 

Susan Howard
Pete Ritter 

Albert Salmi
Lt John Ponce 

David Huddleston