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style="font-size:125%; background:Template:Television colour; color: #000; text-align:center;" colspan="2" | Adam-12
Adam-12 title screen
Format Police procedural
Starring Martin Milner
Kent McCord
Country of origin Template:USA
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 7
No. of episodes 175
style="font-size: 100%; background: Template:Television colour; text-align: center;" colspan="2" | Production
Jack Webb
Running time 30 minutes
style="font-size: 100%; background: Template:Television colour; text-align: center;" colspan="2" | Broadcast
Original channel NBC
Picture format NTSC
Audio format Monaural sound
Original run September 21, 1968 – May 20, 1975
style="font-size: 100%; background: Template:Television colour; text-align: center;" colspan="2" | External links
IMDb profile summary

Adam-12 is an American television drama which originally aired from September 21, 1968 to August 30, 1975 on NBC for 175 episodes. The show was produced by Jack Webb's Mark VII Limited, which also produced Dragnet and Emergency!. The series was nominally considered a spin-off of Webb's Dragnet 1967, and the Reed and Malloy characters appeared on episodes of the parent program.


The program followed the daily activities of a pair of Los Angeles police patrol officers -- seven-year veteran officer Pete Malloy (Martin Milner) and rookie officer Jim Reed (Kent McCord) -- and to a lesser extent Sergeant William "Mac" MacDonald (William Boyett). Much like Dragnet, the episodes were based on true incidents culled from LAPD case files.

Story settings

Kent McCord (left) and Martin Milner as Officers Reed and Malloy

In the pilot episode, Malloy is planning to resign from the police department following the death of his partner, who was killed in the line of duty while trying to foil an armed robbery. Malloy is persuaded to stay on and train a new partner: rookie officer Jim Reed, fresh out of the police academy and a two-year stint in the Army. Reed has a lot of potential, but is green and overeager. At the end of the pilot episode, Reed disobeys Malloy's direct order, but succeeds in safely arresting several armed persons. Malloy dresses him down; however, the Division's Watch Commander, Malloy's one-time training officer (Art Gilmore, who also narrated the openings to the 1955–59 TV series Highway Patrol), reminds Malloy that the latter was also once an eager young rookie, much like Reed. Malloy takes it on himself to mold Reed into one of Los Angeles' "finest," at which, as evidenced by later episodes, he succeeds.

Adam-12 episodes centers on Malloy and Reed's relationship as patrol partners, their shared experiences, and Reed's professional maturation. Both officers would be wounded in the line of duty, kidnapped and held hostage (separately and together), and face disciplinary actions for their mistakes. Car chases and shoot-outs occurred, but with less frequency than in other TV cop series. A typical episode involved Reed and Malloy encountering people and places on their daily patrol beat, with incidents ranging from humorous to profoundly serious. Sometimes a common incident or theme was explored throughout the episode, while other times multiple incidents occurred. Some episodes focused on mistakes of the rookie officer, and sometimes on the mistakes of more experienced officers.

A memorable 1970 episode, Elegy for a Pig, detailed Pete Malloy's earlier relationship with his best friend from the police academy (Officer Tom Porter, played by Mark Goddard), starting from the stormy night that Porter was killed in the line of duty, and going back to their shared experiences as LAPD cadets in the early 1960s, before ending with Tom Porter's full-LAPD-honors funeral. Among some of the one-time-only features of this episode were that it used relatively little background music, especially over the opening credits (which included a voiceover by Jack Webb) and end credits. There was also no on-screen dialogue in the half-hour episode, except for Pete Malloy's narration.

During the second season in 1970, Reed completed his probationary period, and was granted regular LAPD Officer status. Shortly thereafter, during Season Four in 1971, Malloy was promoted to "Officer-3"/Senior Lead Officer (ranking one step below Sergeant, as noted by the two chevrons/star patch on his shirt-sleeves). The duo also became members of their division's SWAT team (a then-relatively new concept pioneered by the LAPD) and were shown in that capacity for a handful of episodes.

In the latter part of the seventh and final season it is strongly implied that Malloy will become the Division's new Patrol Sergeant/Watch Commander (after he fills in for an ailing Sgt. Mac on at least two episodes), and Reed will attain Detective status, after a successful plainclothes stint in LAPD's Narcotics Division as detailed in the final two episodes.

Production history

The officers worked out of the Central Division of the LAPD, but the show used situations from real LAPD case files and thus was not set in any one area of the city. The title of the show is derived from the radio car unit number of the duo, 1 (for Central Division, though Rampart Division was actually used as the location), Adam (to designate it as a two man patrol), and 12 (to designate their patrol area). However, the moniker was generally thought to refer to the number of their "black and white" patrol car, and in recognition of this, beginning in 1971 the vehicles used were marked with the number 012. In reality, the LAPD patrol cars are marked with a unique five-digit shop number, with the last three on the top of each car (for rapid identification by police helicopters), and a two-digit number on the trunk representing the originating division.

The outdoor filming was done primarily in the North Hollywood, Toluca Lake, Studio City, and Hollywood Hills sections of Los Angeles (and close to Universal Studios and the infamous studio backlot itself, which was heavily used during the first two seasons), although the exteriors of the station house were actually of the newly completed Rampart Division station of the Los Angeles Police Department. However, in the pilot episode, shot in late 1967, the station shown is North Hollywood Division.

As with Dragnet, Adam-12 episodes were based on incidents in the actual case files from the LAPD. At the end of each episode the "names have been changed..." statement was shown (but not narrated) at the start of the ending credits.

Adam 12 was writer Stephen J. Cannell's first permanent job; he served as head writer and story editor during the fourth season. Jack Webb also wrote several episodes under the pseudonym John Randolph.[1] Ozzie Nelson was a frequent director for the series. Nelson is best known for playing himself on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. Harry Morgan, who appeared on the 1960s incarnation of Dragnet and several other Mark VII shows, also directed an episode.

Two of Martin Milner's children appeared in episodes of Adam-12. Andrew Milner was a minibike stunt rider for Johnny Whitaker in the episode "Northeast Division" (1973). Amy Milner appeared in the episode "Victim of the Crime" (1975). Kent McCord's teenage daughter also appeared as a kidnapping witness in the seventh season episode "Operation Action" (1975).

The firefighter/paramedics John Gage and Roy DeSoto, Dr. Kelly Brackett and Dr. Joe Early, and Nursing Supervisor Dixie McCall from Emergency!, another Jack Webb creation that first aired on NBC-TV in early 1972, crossed over onto Adam-12 in an episode, "Lost And Found," in which Malloy and Reed assist on a hospital's telephone hotline (they try to locate and stop a distressed caller from committing suicide), and locate a diabetic boy who had run away from the hospital. This crossover conflicts with an episode of Emergency! in which the paramedics and firefighters watch an Adam-12 episode on television. Confusingly, Reed and Malloy also appear in two scenes at Rampart General Hospital's emergency room/trauma center (as it was in 1972) in the pilot/TV movie of Emergency!

The police radio used (the Motorola Motrac/Motran series) is an actual radio used by the LAPD in the 1960s and 1970s, with the call sign KMA-367. Dragnet 1967/1970 also used this same radio. The dispatcher was also a real-life LAPD dispatcher, Shaaron Claridge. Claridge's typical page to Reed and Malloy of "One-Adam-12, One-Adam-12, see the [man/lady/victim] at [address] about a [crime/incident]," along with the response of "One-Adam-12, Roger," became a catch phrase ingrained in American culture, and these same radio procedures are still in use at the LAPD today. Badges used on the show were actual LAPD shields — LAPD Badge numbers 744 for Malloy and 2430 for Reed — which were lent (with technical assistance supported by the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners) by the Office of the Chief of Police, a practice that began when Dragnet was on television in the 1950s and 1960s. With both series, the badges were brought to the studio each morning by the officer assigned as technical advisor, then returned each night after shooting was completed. This was reported by Gene Roddenberry, who was assigned as liaison between Webb and LAPD during 1950s' production of Dragnet.


Jack Webb, Executive Producer, purchased non-police fleet (civilian) cars from local car dealers for use in the Adam-12 television series until 1970. One can tell the modified civilian cars because the inside of the vehicle trunk lids were painted white and lacked police fleet packages (the cars purchased from local dealers were painted white and then the front and rear were painted black at the Universal lot). The cars purchased through the LAPD fleet purchasing system had trunk interiors that were painted black in the factory production phase. LAPD cars were delivered in black paint, the doors and roof were then painted white after delivery.

The cars used on the TV show also used the same type of warning lights and sirens that were used by the LAPD at that time. The lights were the "tin can" style, Model #T-2 Class A-1 lamps made by TRIO Sales.[citation needed] They featured two Steady Burn (non-flashing) Red lights facing forward, and two "wig-wag" amber lights facing the rear. The siren used was a Federal Signal CP100 speaker, also used to control the siren tones was a Federal Signal Interceptor Model PA-20.

Beginning in season four, cars used in the series had three-digit numbers on the roofs. This simulated the LAPD practice which made it easier to identify patrols cars from the air, helpful in coordinating helicopter and ground units during pursuits and other calls. These numbers all began with zero, which was not used for marked radio cars, so that they would not be mistaken for actual in-service units while shooting on location.

The first vehicle to be purchased through the LAPD fleet order was the 1972 American Motors Corporation (AMC) Matador. Jack Webb also purchased cars for the LAPD in appreciation, and also purchased facilities for the LAPD Academy.

The vehicles used in the production of Adam-12 (provided by Tom Williams, Producer):

The Mercury Montego, the sedan actually purchased in 1970 by the LAPD, was not used except as a background vehicle during the fourth and fifth seasons. The 1974 AMC Matador was used as a background vehicle (notably when Malloy was substituting as watch commander) during the latter part of the final season.

The first episode featured a 1967 Plymouth Belvedere. The featured series entry vehicle was a "cloned" 1968 Plymouth Belvedere "Pursuit Special" - equipped with a 383 cu in (6.3 L) 4-barrel V8 engine. The 1969 Plymouth Belvedere quietly replaced the 1968 after the first year. After reviewing videotape from the series, the vehicle details varied in the slightest way in the grille patterns and rear ends. The Plymouth Belvedere became the workhorse for LAPD and many other police departments in the late 1960s. The "1-A-12" Belvedere had the markings of LAPD and the vehicle shop/fleet I.D. number(s) of "80789" (First Episode) "80817" in the '68 & '69 vehicles, and "80817" on the front door and rear of the vehicle and "1-817" on the steady red/amber flashers.

The second vehicle, a 1971 Plymouth Satellite "Pursuit Special" came with a 370 hp (276 kW) 383 cu in V8 engine. Per Chrysler, Plymouth, and Dodge Police Cars 56-78, the biggest engine in the "B" body Satellite was a 383, and LAPD's were "hi-performance" 383s with 4-bbl carbs. The 1972 Satellite and Coronet had 400s and 440s as options, but not in 1971. (The police cruisers used in the show were not LAPD spec'ed cars (except for the Matador), it was purchased by Universal and Mark VII Productions from the actual LAPD fleet). The biggest reason is evident that the cruiser in the show had the smaller steering wheel used with power steering. The LAPD did not order power steering because it reduced the "road feel". The 1971 Satellite in the show was used for one season, and seen in the background as one of the other patrol cars. The cars did not fare well with law enforcement use, only a few hundred of these vehicles were placed in the field. This vehicle was identified with shop/fleet number "83012" and featured the "e" exempt plate "999001".

The third style vehicle was the American Motors (AMC) Matador. The 1972 AMC Matador (introduced on September 22, 1971), was equipped with a 401 cu in (6.6 L) V8 and was probably the most widely recognized vehicle in the LAPD during run of the show. According to current fan polling, it is still the favored car. The LAPD had a rigorous vehicle testing program and actually bought 534 of these vehicles for its patrol fleet. This vehicle has the markings of "1-012" on the steady red/amber flashers, vehicle shop/fleet number ID#85012, and "e" license plate number #999001 as well.

The Official LAPD Press Release (1971) reads as follows:

14250 Plymouth Road
Detroit, Michigan 48232
Telephone (313) 493-2000
AM MATADORS DELIVERED TO LAPD - - The Los Angeles Police Department, known for its rigorous test program for police cars, is taking delivery of 534 American Motors' intermediate Matadors for law enforcement duty. Robert W. Crust, AM's director of fleet and government sales, was on hand as the first units were delivered to Ray Wynne, LAPD director of police transportation, while officer Gary Hill inspects his new black-and-white patrol car. The Matador qualified for LAPD patrol use after intensive series of tests for roadability, braking, acceleration and overall performance. The cars are equipped with disc brakes, 401 cubic inch V-8 engines, heavy duty law enforcement package, stabilizer bars, air conditioning, automatic transmission and manual steering.
Note: The above Press Release is the actual text as issued by American Motors Corp.

Broadcast history

After a long syndication run on many local stations beginning after NBC cancelled the series in 1975, Adam-12 found a new audience in the 1980s and 1990s on Nick at Nite and later TV Land; however, the show has since been pulled from wide television distribution by NBC-Universal since the Jack Webb Estate owns some ancillary rights. The series copyright has since been reassigned to Universal. It did air in Canada on DejaView in 2005-2006. The first four seasons of the series, including the pilot episode, are presently available for viewing on the online video service Hulu, a joint NBC-Universal venture.

A remake/update was attempted in 1989, starring Ethan Wayne, Peter Parros, and Miguel Fernandes, but this version, entitled The New Adam-12, ran for only one season in first-run syndication. It aired in tandem with The New Dragnet.

The show is also seen on select Retro Television Network affiliates.

Cultural impact

Episodes from Adam-12 and Dragnet have been used for training purposes by police academies in the United States, especially when teaching recruits correct handcuffing procedures, as the camera often zoomed in closely when the officers were in the act of handcuffing suspects. As was Jack Webb's practice, other minor facets of day-to-day police practices were also accurately portrayed, from hand signals used by officers to the methods used in field interviews, and even such minor details as routinely locking the doors of the patrol car before leaving it unattended to interview victims or witnesses.

Adam-12 was one of the first police shows, along with Dragnet 1967-70, in which arrestees were given the Miranda warning ("You have the right to remain silent"), which had only recently entered LAPD procedures. The frequent recital made the public so familiar with the warning that suspects in other parts of the country would correct actual officers whose agencies used a slightly different wording.

A 1976 doctoral study by Joseph S. Coppolino at New York University concluded that police officers, peace officers, and civilians all perceived the portrayals on Adam-12 as realistically reflecting police work. However, the trend between TV and reality sometimes went in reverse. For example, Coppolino noted in his thesis that while it was not customary for police officers to remove their hats while in the patrol car at the time the series began, after Adam-12 aired for a while, this became the habit of most officers. This could be seen as evidence of Marshall McLuhan's media theory that "we create it, then it creates us."

Related appearances

McCord made several appearances on Dragnet as various Los Angeles police officers; in one appearance his character was named Reed, but it is not certain whether it was the same Reed as the Adam-12 character. Similarly, Milner performed numerous times in Dragnet, both on television and radio. McCord and Milner both appeared in a 1968 episode of Dragnet entitled "Internal Affairs-DR-20", in the roles of Pete Malloy, and Jim Reed.

Milner and McCord have also portrayed police officers on several other programs:

  • Kent McCord made a cameo appearance on Batman as a rookie policeman who wanted to give the Batmobile a ticket for illegal parking.
  • In 1990, Martin Milner and Kent McCord were reunited in a TV movie called Nashville Beat. Although their characters were not Malloy and Reed, they were police-partners who had been formerly based in Los Angeles.
  • In 1997 Milner and McCord also appeared as LAPD detectives in an episode of Diagnosis: Murder entitled "Murder Blues".
  • In the movie Predator 2, Kent McCord plays the police captain of the downtown district of L.A..

DVD Release

Universal Studios Home Entertainment released Season 1 of Adam 12 on DVD in Region 1 for the very first time on August 23, 2005. That season is also available for digital download on iTunes.

Shout! Factory then acquired the distribution rights through an agreement with Universal (which was the result of the studio being reassigned the series' copyright) and released Season 2 on September 30, 2008.[2]

DVD Name Ep # Release Date
Season 1 26 August 23, 2005
Season 2 26 September 30, 2008
Season 3 TBA TBA


  1. Snauffer, Douglas (2006). Crime Television. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 51. ISBN 0275988074. 
  2., "Adam-12 - Stalled Show Resumed - Season 2 Coming in September"

External links