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Adam-12 title card.jpg
Adam-12 title screen, season 4
Created byR. A. Cinader
Jack Webb
StarringMartin Milner
Kent McCord
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons7[1]
No. of episodes174[2] (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s)Jack Webb
Running time30 Minutes[3]
Original channelNBC
Picture formatNTSC
Audio formatMono
Original runSeptember 21, 1968 (1968-09-21)  – May 20, 1975 (1975-05-20)[1]
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For the 1990 TV series, see Adam-12 (1990 TV series).
Adam-12 title card.jpg
Adam-12 title screen, season 4
Created byR. A. Cinader
Jack Webb
StarringMartin Milner
Kent McCord
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons7[1]
No. of episodes174[2] (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s)Jack Webb
Running time30 Minutes[3]
Original channelNBC
Picture formatNTSC
Audio formatMono
Original runSeptember 21, 1968 (1968-09-21)  – May 20, 1975 (1975-05-20)[1]

Adam-12 is a television police drama that followed two police officers of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), Pete Malloy and Jim Reed, as they rode the streets of Los Angeles in their patrol unit, 1-Adam-12.

Created by R. A. Cinader and Jack Webb, also known for creating Dragnet, the series starred Martin Milner and Kent McCord and captured a typical day in the life of a police officer as realistically as possible. The show originally ran from September 21, 1968 through May 20, 1975, and helped introduce police procedures and jargon to the general public in the United States.


Adam-12 featured the LAPD Rampart Division station at 2710 West Temple Street as the setting for the series. However, according to the radio call sign of the unit "1-Adam-12", the station is actually the Central Division station (Division One), which serves Downtown Los Angeles. The Temple Street building now sits abandoned and unused by the LAPD, as a newer and larger building now houses the Rampart Division.


The designation "1-Adam-12" is a combination of three elements. The first element indicates the unit's LAPD division. The second element indicates the type of unit. The third element identifies the patrol car's number. The one in 1-Adam-12 means the patrol car operates in Division 1 (Central Division).[4] LAPD assigns two-person units the letter "A".[5] In the LAPD phonetic alphabet, the letter "A" is spoken as "Adam".[6] The third element is the last two digits of the patrol car's number. For 1-Adam-12, "One" is the division; "Adam" indicates the unit is a two-person unit; 12 is the last two digits of the patrol car's number. In the program, 1-Adam-12 typically operated in the Rampart Division, Division 2,[4] not the Central Division, Division 1,[4] meaning the unit's call sign should have technically been 2-Adam-12. There was never an actual patrol car with the call sign of 1-Adam-12.[7]


Adam-12 was a realistic-style police drama following the lives of two officers of the Los Angeles Police Department, veteran Police Officer III (P-3) Pete Malloy--LAPD #744 (Martin Milner) and his rookie partner, probationary Police Officer I (P-1) Jim Reed--LAPD #2430 (Kent McCord). Each episode of the series, like those of Dragnet, was based on actual cases with names changed to protect the innocent and covered a variety of incidents that the officers encountered during a shift, from the tragic to the trivial.[8]

In the series' first episode (filmed in September 1967, a year before the pilot was picked up, and directed by Jack Webb), Reed is less than a week out of the prestigious Los Angeles Police Academy, and is eager to begin his career. Three weeks before, Malloy's patrol partner (and friend) had been killed in an attempt to apprehend an armed robbery suspect; Malloy is deeply saddened, to the extent that he plans to resign from the force. On what is to be Malloy's last night on patrol, the watch commander Lieutenant Moore (Art Gilmore) assigns Malloy to take the young, raw, rookie Reed out for his first night on patrol. Moore was Malloy's first training officer 7 years earlier. While Reed shows tremendous potential on his first night on the job, Malloy realizes that his new partner has plenty to learn, and with renewed purpose, the veteran officer decides to stay on the job and guide Reed during his nine-month probationary period. His comment to Reed at the end of their first watch together was: "I couldn't turn you loose on the citizens of Los Angeles, not without a leash."[9]

Viewers had been introduced to the character of Jim Reed during the 1967-1968 season of Dragnet (which was called Dragnet 1967 for that particular season) in the episode "Internal Affairs", in which he and Malloy were witness to a case of alleged police brutality against another officer. McCord had appeared in several episodes, alongside other veteran officers who were neither seen nor referred to when Adam-12 was picked up.[citation needed]

Reed and Malloy comfort a boy whose sister was the victim of a hit and run driver.

Reed's rookie term is played out during the first season, after which he is promoted to a full officer. Reed and Malloy remain beat partners. In later seasons, Malloy and Reed began patrolling other beats of Los Angeles, including the L.A. International Airport, the Los Angeles Harbor, the Foothill District, the West Valley area, Venice, Van Nuys, Hollywood, Rampart, and North Hollywood. With Reed having completed his probationary police officer training period and now holding the rank of Police Officer II (P-2), several episodes featured the officers working with other rookie officers, with guest actors playing these one-time characters; some episodes had Reed serving as the training officer, whereas Malloy, having been promoted to the rank of a Senior Lead Officer (P-3+1), who coordinates patrols in many neighborhoods, worked as the acting shift supervisor.[citation needed]

Malloy displays a distinguished expert shooting medal, Reed displays an expert medal.[citation needed]

Malloy and Reed reported to Shift Supervisor (Sergeant 1) William "Mac" MacDonald (William Boyett), who occasionally took a black and white command cruiser (a Plymouth station wagon carrying extra police equipment) with the call sign 1-L-20 into the field. Reed once questioned why Malloy hadn't taken the Sergeant exam, as he would have rated higher than Mac did. Malloy related he preferred working patrol on the street to supervision. Malloy later showed he could supervise when Mac was ill, and Malloy filled in.[citation needed]

Several of their fellow officers were recurring characters; the most frequent were Jerry Woods (Fred Stromsoe), Ed Wells (Gary Crosby), Detective Sgt Jerry Miller (Jack Hogan), and Officer Brinkman (Claude Johnson). Shaaron Claridge, a real-life LAPD dispatcher, was the dispatcher.[citation needed]

Over the course of the series, Sergeant "Mac" MacDonald was promoted to Sergeant 2. Lt Moore was promoted to Captain, and served as the Commanding Officer of the division, apparently replacing Captain Grant (Art Balinger).[citation needed]

The personal lives of Malloy and Reed come up on occasion, and are always tied into their duties. Malloy is a confirmed bachelor who has at least two girlfriends during the course of the series, the last being Judy (Aneta Corsaut); Reed is married to Jean (Mikki Jamison, 1969–70; in the last season, she was played by Kristin Nelson). They have one child,"Jimmy", whose birth (off-camera) is a major part of the plot of Season 2 episode "Baby".[citation needed]

Cultural impact[edit]

The police vehicles were central characters in that "mobile patrol units [became] associated with the black and white units made famous in such television shows as Adam 12".[10] It was one of the shows that portrayed "the professionalism of the officers and police departments".[11] Ronald Wayne Rodman pointed out that the theme of Adam 12 referred to a "military style topic while portraying a sense of contemporary action".[12] Douglas Rushkoff noted: "Adam 12 also marked [the] last gasp of the righteous style of cop TV."[13] Their set was not a squad room or an office, but the actors "watched the changes in American culture through the windshield of their squad car".[13]

In 1999, Mattel toys paid homage to Adam 12 by producing a die cast toy police car based on the series a part of their "Star Car" series.[14]

Other notable actors and actresses[edit]

Episode 2, "Log 141: The Color TV Bandit", stars Cloris Leachman and Melody Patterson.[15]

Episode 10, "Log 132: Producer",[16] stars Karen Black (Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, Airport 1975, Dogtown) and James McEachin (DJ in Play Misty for Me). McEachin also appeared in five additional episodes, each time in a different role.

Episode 16, "Log 62: Grand Theft Horse?", guest stars Tim Matheson as a horse thief.

Episode 22, "Log 152: A Dead Cop Can't Help Anyone",[17] stars Barry Williams (Greg Brady of The Brady Bunch).

Episode 25, "Log 92: Tell Him He Pushed Back a Little Too Hard" guest stars Dick Sargent (Darrin Stephens of Bewitched).

Episode 26, "Log 22: So This Little Guy Goes into This Bar, and..." guest stars Harry Dean Stanton as a welfare hustler.

Episode 43, "Log 24: A Rare Occasion" stars David Cassidy of The Partridge Family.

Episode 58, "Log 55: Missing Child" guests stars Jodie Foster as the playmate of a missing child.

Episode 69, "Log 66: The Vandals" guest stars George Maharis as a father of a teenage girl. This episode reunited Maharis and Martin Milner, who both starred in the TV series Route 66.

Episode 77, "Log 88 - Reason to Run" guest stars Randolph Mantooth as "Neil Williams";[18] and in an Emergency! cross-over episode as paramedic "John Gage", Episode 106, "Lost and Found"[19] This episode also guest starred Linda Kaye Henning of Petticoat Junction.

Episode 80, "The Million Dollar Buff",[20] guests stars Lindsay Wagner as a jewelry store attendant.

Episode 81, "The Grandmother" guest starred Ozzie Nelson of "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" fame. He also directed this episode.

Episode 91, "The Pickup" guest starred Barbara Hale of Perry Mason and Kathy Garver of Family Affair.

Episode 100, "Who Won" guest starred Dick Clark of "American Bandstand" and "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve" fame as Benson, the drag strip owner.

Episode 103, "Dirt Duel" guest starred Edd Byrnes of 77 Sunset Strip and Micky Dolenz of The Monkees as bikers.

Episode 104, "The Late Baby" guest stars both Tina Sinatra and Frank Sinatra, Jr. as unrelated characters.

Episode 150, "Clinic on Eighteenth Street" guest stars Sharon Gless, later of Cagney & Lacey fame and most recently co-star of Burn Notice on USA Network.

Episode 158, "X-Force" guest stars Paul Gleason as a father of a kidnapped girl. Gleason guest starred in other various roles throughout the series.

Episode 170, "Operation Action" features Kent McCord's real life daughter Kristen McCord as a child named Debra who is playing hopscotch when Reed pulls up behind Malloy's abandoned car.

Episode 171, "Gus Corbin", guest stars Mark Harmon, the star of NCIS since 2003.

Police cars[edit]

The production of the program involved showing all aspects of correct police procedures, and “Webb wanted the vehicle itself to be considered a character.”[21] The show specifically centered on police radio cars and helped reinforce “the sound of radio as an anti-crime technology.”[22] The police vehicles used in the production of show were purchased from local dealerships and outfitted by the prop department to LAPD cruiser specs.[23]

In seasons two and three, there were many instances where Reed and Malloy would be seen driving a 1969 Plymouth one minute, then with a camera or scene change, they would be in a 1968. The two years were very similar, with only minor differences between them.

The LAPD had purchased 534 Matadors for its patrol fleet.[24] An event in 2001 that featured a restored LAPD Matador police car, brought together Bernard C. Parks, the former LAPD Police Chief, and Tom Williams, the producer of Adam-12.[25]

Connections to other Mark VII shows[edit]

Dragnet, Adam-12, and Emergency! take place in the same universe and depict different aspects of the public safety infrastructure of Los Angeles, California. There are several "crossover" episodes on each series with characters from other Mark VII shows.

Officers Pete Malloy and Jim Reed appear on the Dragnet' episode "Internal Affairs: DR-20", The D.A. episode "The People vs. Saydo" and the two-part Emergency! episode "The Wedsworth-Townsend Act", which was remade from the original pilot. Sergeant MacDonald appears on the Dragnet episode "Personnel: The Shooting". The episode "Lost And Found" was set at Rampart General Hospital and featured the Emergency! cast. However, during an 'Emergency! episode, Adam-12 is shown as a TV show that the paramedics like to watch, causing somewhat of a paradox between the shows. Several years after Adam-12 was cancelled, McCord was signed to appear in a planned third series of Dragnet playing Sgt. Friday's partner, but the project was cancelled due to Webb's sudden death; it is not known if McCord's character was to have been Jim Reed, although the original Adam-12 series does end with Reed becoming a detective.

Episode availability[edit]

DVD releases[edit]

Universal Studios Home Entertainment released Season 1 of Adam 12 on DVD in Region 1 on August 23, 2005.

In fall 2008, Shout! Factory acquired the distribution rights through an agreement with Universal. They have subsequently released the remaining 6 seasons, with season 7 packaging titled "The Final Season."

In Region 4, Umbrella Entertainment has released the first two seasons on DVD in Australia.

DVD nameEp #Release date
Region 1Region 4
Season 126August 23, 2005May 11, 2011
Season 226September 30, 2008August 3, 2011
Season 326August 11, 2009TBA
Season 424February 23, 2010TBA
Season 524August 10, 2010TBA
Season 624January 17, 2012TBA
Season 724April 10, 2012TBA


On May 6, 2013, episodes of Adam-12 returned to broadcast television as part of Me-TV's program line-up.[26] Adam-12 previously aired on Me-TV’s competitor Antenna TV until April 2013. It will be removed from Me-TV's Saturday evening schedule to make way for Adventures of Superman beginning September 6, 2014. It's regular weekday showings (afternoon and late night after midnight) should not be affected.


Episodes of Adam-12 are available for on-line streaming at Hulu and Netflix in some regions.


  1. ^ a b "Adam-12 episode/season list (season 7 of 7)". imdb. Retrieved February 5, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Adam-12 Technical Specs". imdb. Retrieved September 20, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Adam-12 (1968–1975)". imdb. Retrieved September 20, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c Los Angeles Police Department Annual Report, 1973. National Criminal Justice Reference Service. p. 24. Retrieved March 15, 2014.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  5. ^ "LAPD Unit Designations". 1-Adam-12: Continue Patrol. Retrieved March 15, 2014. 
  6. ^ "LAPD Phonetic Alphabet". Retrieved March 15, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Los Angeles Police Department News Release Thursday, April 10, 2003". Retrieved March 15, 2014. 
  8. ^ Rathjen, Brian. "Adam-12 plot summary". imdb. Retrieved September 20, 2012. 
  9. ^ Adam-12: episode "Log 1 - The Impossible Mission."
  10. ^ Berg, Bruce L. (1999). Policing in Modern Society. Elsevier Science. p. 84. ISBN 978-0-7506-9867-2. Retrieved February 5, 2012. 
  11. ^ Ward, Richard H.; Homant, Robert J.; Fowler, Austin; Kennedy, Daniel B.; Curran, James T. (1985). Police and law enforcement 3. AMS Press. p. 118. ISBN 978-0-404-11207-3. Retrieved February 5, 2012. 
  12. ^ Rodman, Ronald Wayne (2009). Tuning in: American narrative television music. Oxford University Press. p. 252. ISBN 978-0-19-534024-2. Retrieved February 5, 2012. 
  13. ^ a b Rushkoff, Douglas (1996). Media virus!: hidden agendas in popular culture. Random House. ISBN 978-0-345-39774-4. Retrieved February 5, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Top 10 Best". Retrieved September 21, 2012. 
  15. ^ ""Adam-12" The Color TV Bandit (TV episode)". imdb. Retrieved April 13, 2012. 
  16. ^ ""Adam-12" Producer (TV Episode 1968)". imdb. Retrieved February 5, 2012. 
  17. ^ ""Adam-12" Producer (TV Episode 1969)". imdb. Retrieved February 5, 2012. 
  18. ^ "Randolph Mantooth in Episode 77, "Log 88 - Reason to Run"". Retrieved 19 November 2013. 
  19. ^ "Randolph Mantooth in Episode 106, "Lost and Found"". Retrieved 19 November 2013. 
  20. ^ ""Adam-12" Million Dollar Buff (TV episode 1971)". imdb. Retrieved February 5, 2012. 
  21. ^ Snauffe, Douglas (2006). Crime television. Greenwood Publishing. p. 52. ISBN 978-0-275-98807-4. Retrieved February 5, 2012. 
  22. ^ Suisman, David; Strasse, Susan (2009). Sound in the age of mechanical reproduction. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 174. ISBN 978-0-8122-4199-0. Retrieved February 5, 2012. 
  23. ^ a b c d e f "Adam-12 (1968) Did You Know?". IMDb com. Retrieved February 5, 2012. 
  24. ^ Wilson, Bob. "ArcticBoy's AMC Police Car Garage Page 1". arcticboy com. Retrieved February 5, 2012. 
  25. ^ Burns, David. "Events and Shows, July & August 2001". The Adam-12 Home Page. Retrieved February 5, 2012. 
  26. ^ "It’s New to Me". Me-TV (Memorable Entertainment Television). Retrieved 19 April 2013. 

External links[edit]