Hill Street Blues was a serial police drama that first aired on NBC in 1981 and ran on primetime into 1987. It received high critical acclaim but audience figures were never more than acceptable

MTM Enterprises (home of The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Lou Grant) developed the series on behalf of NBC, appointing Steven Bochco and Michael Kozoll as series writers. The writers were allowed considerable creative freedom, and created a series which brought together for the first time a number of emerging ideas in TV drama.

  • Each episode featured a number of intertwined storylines, some of which were resolved within the episode, with others developing over a number of episodes.
  • Much play was made of the conflicts between the work and private lives of the individuals. In the workplace there was also a strong focus on the struggle between doing "what was right" and "what worked".
  • The camera was held close in, action cut rapidly between stories, much use of made of overheard, or off-screen dialogue, giving a "documentary" feel to the action.
  • The show dealt with "real-life" issues, and used "real-life" language to a greater extent than had been seen before.

Though filmed in Los Angeles, the series was set in a generic location with a feel of a Northern urban centre, with many exterior shots being filmed in Chicago.

Its influence may still be seen in such series as NYPD Blue and ER.

Main Characters:

Capt. Frank Furillo         Daniel J. Travanti 
Fay Furillo                 Barbara Bosson
Sgt. Phil Esterhaus         Michael Conrad 
Officer Bobby Hill          Michael Warren 
Officer Andy Renko          Charles Haid 
Joyce Davenport             Veronica Hamel 
Det. Mick Belker            Bruce Weitz 
Lt. Ray Calletano           Rene Enriquez 
Det. Johnny (J.D.) LaRue    Kiel Martin 
Det. Neal Washington        Taurean Blaque 
Lt. Howard Hunter           James Sikking 
Sgt./Lt. Henry Goldblume    Joe Spano 
Officer/Sgt. Lucille Bates  Betty Thomas 

The distinctive theme tune was written by Mike Post.