The Mod Squad

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The Mod Squad
Mod Squad.jpg
Title Screen
FormatPolice Drama
Created byBud Ruskin
StarringMichael Cole
Clarence Williams III
Peggy Lipton
Tige Andrews
Theme music composerEarle Hagen
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes123 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Aaron Spelling
Danny Thomas
Running time60 min
Production company(s)Thomas-Spelling Productions
DistributorCBS Television Distribution
Broadcast
Original channelABC
Original runSeptember 24, 1968 – August 23, 1973
 
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The Mod Squad
Mod Squad.jpg
Title Screen
FormatPolice Drama
Created byBud Ruskin
StarringMichael Cole
Clarence Williams III
Peggy Lipton
Tige Andrews
Theme music composerEarle Hagen
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes123 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Aaron Spelling
Danny Thomas
Running time60 min
Production company(s)Thomas-Spelling Productions
DistributorCBS Television Distribution
Broadcast
Original channelABC
Original runSeptember 24, 1968 – August 23, 1973

The Mod Squad is a "hippie" undercover cop show that ran on ABC from September 24, 1968, until August 23, 1973.[1] It starred Michael Cole as Pete Cochran, Peggy Lipton as Julie Barnes, Clarence Williams III as Linc Hayes, and Tige Andrews as Captain Adam Greer. The executive producers of the series were Aaron Spelling and Danny Thomas.[2][3]

The iconic counter-culture police series earned six Emmy nominations, four Golden Globe nominations plus one win for Peggy Lipton, one Directors Guild of America award, and four Logies.[4] In 1997 the episode "Mother of Sorrow" was ranked #95 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time.[5]

Plot[edit]

The main cast in 1971 from left: Clarence Williams III, Peggy Lipton and Michael Cole.

They were The Mod Squad ("One black, one white, one blond"), the hippest and first young undercover cops on TV.[6] Each of these characters represented mainstream culture's principal fears regarding youth in the era:[7] Long-haired rebel Pete Cochran was kicked out of his parents' Beverly Hills home, then arrested and put on probation after he stole a car; Linc Hayes was from a family of 13 children and was arrested in the Watts riots, one of the longest and most violent actual riots in Los Angeles history; beautiful flower child Julie Barnes, the "canary with a broken wing",[8] was arrested for vagrancy after running away from her prostitute mother's San Francisco home; and Captain Adam Greer was a tough but sympathetic mentor and father figure who convinced them to form the squad.[9][10][11]

The concept was to take three rebellious, disaffected young social outcasts and convince them to work as unarmed undercover detectives as an alternative to being incarcerated themselves. Their youthful, hippie personas would enable them to get close to the criminals they investigated. "The times are changing," said Captain Greer. "They can get into places we can't." Examples include infiltrating a high school to solve a teacher's murder, an underground newspaper to find a bomber, and an acting class to look for a strangler that preys on blonde actresses.[10][11]

More than a year before the release of the film Easy Rider, the Mod Squad was one of the earliest attempts to deal with the counterculture. Groundbreaking in the realm of socially relevant drama,[12] it dealt with issues such as abortion, spousal abuse, college protest, child neglect, illiteracy, slum lords, the anti-war movement, soldiers returning from war, racial issues, and drug use.[13] Spelling intended the show to be about the characters' relationships and promised that the Squad "would never arrest kids... or carry a gun or use one.[14]

The show was loosely based on creator Bud Ruskin's experiences in the late 1950s as a squad leader for young undercover narcotics cops, though it took almost 10 years after he wrote a script for the idea to be given the greenlight by ABC television studios.[9]

Impact[edit]

The shows Star Trek (1966–69), I Spy (1965–68), The Bill Cosby Show (1969–71), Julia (1968–71), The Flip Wilson Show (1970–74), and The Mod Squad (1968–73) were among the first programs to feature African-Americans as stars since the stereotyped roles of Amos ’n’ Andy and Beulah (ABC, 1950–53).[15] Significantly, The Mod Squad presented an African-American character (Linc) as being on an equal footing, as roles go, to the Caucasian characters (Barnes and Cochran). In one Mod Squad episode the script called for Linc to give Barnes a "friendly kiss." Since the first interracial kiss on a television show was in 1968 (on Star Trek, episode "Plato's Stepchildren"), this was still fairly new territory in popular culture.[16] The studio was frightened of a negative public reaction, so they asked Spelling to cut it:[17]:67–68

"You can't do that," I was told, "You can't have a black man kissing a white girl." I won and ABC agreed to let it in, but they warned me I'd receive thousands of complaint letters. I didn't get one.

[17]:68

Linc's famous "solid" and "keep the faith" were among the current-day slang used on the show, which included "pad," “dig it” and "groovy."[9][18]

The "kids" traveled in Pete's famous "Woody," an old green 1950 Mercury Woody station wagon that was burned up by an arsonist during the second season.[10]

Among the series guest stars were Ed Asner, Vincent Price, Sammy Davis Jr., Andy Griffith, Richard Pryor, Lee Grant, Richard Dreyfuss, Tom Bosley, Danny Thomas, Tyne Daly, Martin Sheen, Louis Gosset, Jr., Sugar Ray Robinson, and Rodolfo Hoyos, Jr., in three episodes.[19]

Episodes[edit]

Nielsen Ratings[edit]

NOTE: The highest average rating for the series is in bold text.

SeasonRankRating
1968–1969#2820.5 (Tied with The Lawrence Welk Show)
1969–1970#2320.8
1970–1971#1122.7
1971–1972#2121.5
1972–1973Not in the Top 30

Pilot Film, Television movie and 1999 film[edit]

A pilot film was shot in 1968, running time 74 minutes, but it was never aired in its entirety. The film was edited and aired as the series first episode.

A TV reunion movie, The Return of Mod Squad, aired on ABC May 18, 1979, featuring the entire original cast.

In 1999, the series was adapted into a film of the same name by MGM starring Giovanni Ribisi, Omar Epps, Claire Danes, and Dennis Farina.

DVD releases[edit]

CBS DVD (distributed by Paramount) has released the first two seasons of The Mod Squad on DVD in Region 1.

On August 20, 2013, it was announced that Visual Entertainment had acquired the rights to the series (under license from Paramount) and will be releasing season 3 on DVD on September 24, 2013. Season 4 will be released on October 1, 2013.[20] In Canada, season 3 was released on DVD a week earlier, on September 17, 2013, and season 4 was released on October 8, 2013. Season 5 was released in Canada on November 19, 2013 and will be released in the US on December 17, 2013.[21][22] A complete series set was released in Canada and the US on November 12, 2013.[23]

DVD nameEp #Release date
Season 1, Volume 113December 18, 2007 (US & Canada)
Season 1, Volume 213March 11, 2008 (US & Canada)
Season 2, Volume 113November 25, 2008 (US & Canada)
Season 2, Volume 213May 26, 2009 (US & Canada)
Season 3, Volume 112September 24, 2013 (US)
September 17, 2013 (Canada)
Season 3, Volume 212September 24, 2013 (US)
September 17, 2013 (Canada)
Season 4, Volume 112October 1, 2013 (US)
October 8, 2013 (Canada)
Season 4, Volume 212October 1, 2013 (US)
October 8, 2013 (Canada)
Season 5, Volume 112December 17, 2013 (US)
November 19, 2013 (Canada)
Season 5, Volume 212December 17, 2013 (US)
November 19, 2013 (Canada)
Complete Series124November 12, 2013 (US & Canada)[24]

References[edit]

  1. ^ St. James Encyclopeida of Popular Culture. "The Mod Squad". 
  2. ^ Frand Lovece. "Groovy Kind of Law". Retrieved May 2013. 
  3. ^ St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. "The Mod Squad". Retrieved May 2013. 
  4. ^ IMdb. "The Mod Squad". Retrieved May 2013. 
  5. ^ "Special Collectors' Issue: 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time". TV Guide (June 28-July 4). 1997. 
  6. ^ David Hutchings (April 4, 1988). "Can You Dig It? the Mod Squad's Peggy Lipton, One Marriage and 15 Years Later, Returns to Acting". People Magazine Vol. 29 No. 13. Retrieved May 2013. 
  7. ^ {url ="http://books.google.com/books?id=r4WFjKG6vmUC&pg=PA629&lpg=PA629&dq=The+Mod+Squad+iconic+counter-culture+cop+show&source=bl&ots=v613caWfOk&sig=3bOXSeI0o3Sr19R0tazS-622Tkg&hl=en&sa=X&ei=wkCFUYLqDe3siwKS_YH4Ag&ved=0CEEQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=The%20Mod%20Squad%20iconic%20counter-culture%20cop%20show&f=false"}
  8. ^ {url ="http://books.google.com/books?id=IzKcIV1UufoC&pg=PA64&lpg=PA64&dq=The+Mod+Squad+%22canary+with+a+broken+wing%22&source=bl&ots=LpN7CaM3Qe&sig=zUkcjT5pU8aRT3w19plFWKFGGEE&hl=en&sa=X&ei=x7CGUYWUFqORiAK54IDYDQ&ved=0CF8Q6AEwBw#v=onepage&q=The%20Mod%20Squad%20%22canary%20with%20a%20broken%20wing%22&f=false "}
  9. ^ a b c {url ="http://www.tvbanter.net/2011/05/coolness-of-mod-squad.html "}
  10. ^ a b c {url ="http://www.amazon.com/The-Mod-Squad-Season-Volume/dp/B000VS6R30"}
  11. ^ a b {url ="http://www.bookrags.com/research/the-mod-squad-sjpc-03/"}
  12. ^ {url ="http://www.newsday.com/entertainment/fanfare/groovy-kind-of-law-1.523781issues "}
  13. ^ {url ="http://www.gamevortex.com/gamevortex/movie_rev.php/1078/the-mod-squad-the-second-season-volume-one-dvd.html"}
  14. ^ :63
  15. ^ "http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1513870/Television-in-the-United-States/283625/The-new-cultural-landscape#ref1057458"
  16. ^ "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Negro_firsts"
  17. ^ a b Spelling, Aaron; Graham, Jefferson (2002). Aaron Spelling: A Prime-Time Life. Macmillan. ISBN 9780312313449. 
  18. ^ {url ="http://articles.latimes.com/1990-10-19/entertainment/ca-2935_1_mod-squad-tv"}
  19. ^ {url ="http://www.classictvbeauties.com/peggylipton.html"}
  20. ^ Half-Season Sets Scheduled for 'Season 3' and 'Season 4'
  21. ^ http://www.amazon.com/The-Squad-Season-Five-Volume/dp/B00ESLAIYK/
  22. ^ http://www.amazon.com/The-Squad-Season-Five-Volume/dp/B00ESL6GMI/
  23. ^ http://www.visualentertainment.tv/products/the-mod-squad-the-complete-collection-dvd
  24. ^ http://www.visualentertainment.tv/products/the-mod-squad-the-complete-collection-dvd

External links[edit]