1 9 7 2 – 1 9 7 6 (USA)
92 x episodes
In contrast to producers’ Spelling and Goldberg’s violent S.W.A.T series, more humane methods of law enforcement were emphasised in The Rookies.
Three rookie cops attached to Station Number 7 of the Southern California Police Department provided the focus of this series.
Willie Gillis (Michael Ontkean) was fresh out of college; Terry Webster (Georg Stanford Brown) came from the ghetto via a government social programme, and Mike Danko (Sam Melville) – the eldest of the three – came fresh from the Air Force and was married to a nurse (Kate Jackson).
The trio were reluctant to use firearms and dedicated to new, more humane law enforcement methods, often putting them at odds with their hard-nosed mentor, Lieutenant Ryker (Gerald S. O’Loughlin, although Darren McGavin played the role in the pilot episode).
The combination of their youthful enthusiasm and Ryker’s experienced guidance helped mould them into effective officers.
Though constantly at odds with their hard-boiled superior, the three wet-behind-the-ears recruits proved there was more to being a good cop than toting a gun.
Jill Danko (Kate Jackson) was Michael’s wife, a nurse at Memorial Hospital; Kim Owens (Season Hubley) was Chris’s sister; Amanda (Elinor Donahue) was Jill’s sister, and Tori (Kamme Hartling) was Jill’s niece. In 1974 a cast change occurred with Willie replaced by Chris Owens, a new recruit.
Elmer Bernstein composed The Rookies theme.
Officer Terry Webster
Georg Stanford Brown
Officer Mike Danko
Officer Willie Gillis
Officer Chris Owens
Lt. Ed Ryker
Gerald S. O’Loughlin
Darlyn Ann Lindley