Home Television Drama Serpico


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

This NBC crime drama series was based on the 1973 hit film of the same name (starring Al Pacino), which in turn was based on the exploits of the real-life Frank Serpico.

The TV series saw Frank Serpico (badge number 21049) once again battling crime and corruption in the 22nd Police Precinct in New York.

Frank (David Birney, graduating from Bridget Loves Bernie to the hard stuff) had a scraggly beard, wore hippie clothes, lived in Greenwich Village, played the guitar, ate health foods, spoke five languages, rode a motorcycle, smoked a pipe, loved opera and ballet and mused about existential questions.

He also trusted nobody – least of all other cops, although the show differed from the movie in that it downplayed corruption in the NYPD itself, in favour of more acceptable prime-time villainry.

Frank operated undercover – impersonating a truck driver to infiltrate a corrupt union, or posing as an ex-con and taking part in a bank robbery to nail a brutal holdup man.

Tom Sullivan (Tom Atkins) was another undercover agent who worked with Frank and was his contact with the police when he was on an assignment.

Frank Serpico
David Birney
Lt Tom Sullivan 

Tom Atkins