Adam-12: On The Beat With L.A. Cops In Changing Times

By Torya Primrose
Kent McCord as Officer James A. Reed, and Martin Milner as Officer Peter J. Malloy in the TV show Adam 12 (ran 1968-1975). Undated. Source: Bettmann/Getty

On the TV police drama Adam-12, Martin Milner and Kent McCord played two beat cops in Los Angeles in the late '60s and early '70s. The series purported to be a dramatic recounting of actual cases investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). The show chronicled the daily shifts of Officers Pete Malloy (Milner) and Jim Reed (McCord) as they served to protect the city's streets in their patrol unit, 1-Adam-12.

The show was one of the last to depict uniformed cops as its central good guys. Televised police dramas in the years since have focused on special units, undercover work, detectives, and other specialized law enforcement officers -- regular policemen driving black-and-white patrol cars on the beat, responding to local crimes or emergencies, seemed less interesting as audiences hungered for mystery or psychological plot elements.