Adam-12 – An Original Crime Fighting Series

Entertainment | July 18, 2018

'Clear with a Civilian' Episode 14 -- Aired 01/10/1973 -- Pictured: (l-r) Kent McCord as Officer Jim Reed, Martin Milner as Officer Peter J. Malloy. ( Photo by: Bob Nese/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images)

If you were a young person in the 60s and 70s you probably remember the television series, Adam-12. The show was a dramatic recounting of actual cases investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). The show chronicled the daily shifts of Officers Pete Malloy and Jim Reed as they served to protect the city's streets in their patrol unit, 1-Adam-12.

Martin Milner and Kent McCord were cast as Officers Pete Malloy and Jim Reed, respectively.

Jack Webb, co-creator with Robert Cinader, and actor of Dragnet, another similar crime show series, created Adam-12. The series aired after Dragnet and had a similar theme. The theme being that the stories were based on actual occurrences but, “the names were changed to protect the innocent.” Adam-12 first aired in 1968 and ran through mid-1975.

Adam-12 was created and intended to introduce the general population to police jargon and procedure.

Officers Malloy and Reed were cast as LAPD police officers to give a real face and personal connection to police forces all over the United States. The show attempted to have viewers make a connection with law enforcement and introduce the public to police procedures and jargon. It was among the first of its kind.

Adam-12 was introduced in the groovy era. Was it a coincidence? I think not!

The 60s and 70s in the United States were also known as the counterculture and/or groovy era. It was a time of social upheaval and attempted reformation. Police forces were front and center in the media at all sorts of political/civil rights matters and started to be seen in a negative light, to some. Adam-12 was an attempt to humanize the day to day lives of police officers; American men and women just trying to do their jobs.

The distinction of the unit No. (Adam-12) on the popular series is actually a combination of 3 separate elements. The “1” stood for Division 1 of the LAPD; "Adam" was the call word of the letter “A” which was the unit; and, "12" was representative of the last 2 digits of the patrol car number. In the case of Adam-12, on the series, Officers Malloy and Reed worked the “Rampart Division,” if you remember the program. In actuality, the Rampart Division was Division 2, meaning that the Adam-12 unit should have been known as 2-Adam-12. This may have been done for purposes of the television series because there was reportedly never an actual patrol unit known as 1-Adam-12.

The unit number of Adam-12 is not the only discrepancy in the hit crime series.

As with any television series, if you pay extra careful attention, you will most definitely be able to spot some discrepancies and/or goofs. Below are some fun facts about Adam-12 from a fun facts website. Check them out when you have time!

Season 2 Episode 1: Log 15: Exactly One Hundred Yards: “When Officer Reed is showing the kids the inside of the police car at the school, the kids call him ‘Bill’ twice, instead of Jim.”

Season 2 Episode 19: Log 94: Vengeance: “When Malloy and Reed are passing Pop's Liquor Store, the shot with Dairy Queen in it was clearly shot around dusk, but every other shot is bright, indicating midday.”

Season 2 Episode 13: Log 34: Astro: “During the motorcycle chase scene, the shadow of the car carrying the camera can be seen briefly at the bottom of the screen while it is being followed by the motorcycle.”

Season 2 Episode 12: Log 43: Hostage: “While requesting Code 7, Reed mistakenly refers to Duke's Longhorn Cafe as "Duke's Roundup Cafe"

Season 2 Episode 2: Log 153: Find Me A Needle: “When Malloy and Reed bring in a rape suspect, while he's being processed, Malloy asks what they should do with the suspect's car, which was still on the side of the road. Sgt. MacDonald tells them to leave it up on the road, that the suspect may be driving it home. Normally, the car would be hauled in and forensics would go over the car for more evidence since there was sufficient probable cause already to make an arrest on suspicion.”

Although crime shows have evolved throughout the years, it is still interesting to note that there is always room for human error; both in real life and in filming.

Tags: TV In The 1960s | TV In The 1970s | Adam 12

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Torya Primrose


Torya spends her free time listening to music, reading great romance novels, and exploring Southern California. She loves hiking, beaches, and cold Canadian winter days.