Growing up as a child of the ’70s, you were either an “Emergency!” person or an “Adam-12″ person. My allegiances lay with “Emergency!” “ after all, it had the purr-rific Julie London “ but there’s nothing wrong with “Adam-12.” Both were created by Jack Webb, and set in his “Dragnet” world.
With its third season now on DVD, “Adam-12″ plays like an early template of the now de rigueur buddy cop formula. Like everything Webb touched, however, the relationship is played straight, so don’t go looking for Murtaugh-and-Riggs-style antics.
Martin Milner and Kent McCord (the latter looking like he just surfed off the beach) play LAPD officers Malloy and Reed, mismatched partners who somehow bring out the best in one another. Through these 26 half-hour (rare for a drama in these times) “logs” on four DVDs, their procedural investigations were based upon real-life cases, streamlined for episodic economy.
Check out “Elegy for a Pig,” in which Malloy rather touchingly tells of a fallen fellow officer. On the other end of the spectrum, “Vice Versa” forces a switcheroo in drivers when Malloy unknowingly lets his license lapse.
The officers’ “ and by extension, Webb’s “ stickler nature for the rules keep “Adam-12″ less dated than it otherwise would be, and the natural rapport between the leads keeps the long-running series from going stale.