Police Squad! (1982)   Leave a comment

Police Squad! (1982)

Leslie Nielsen as Detective Frank Drebin

Alan North as Captain Ed Hocken

Ed Williams as Mr. Olson

William Duell as Johnny

Peter Lupus as Norberg

The same brains behind Airplane! (1980) made this short-lived (six episodes) series.  Police Squad! was a satire on 1970s Quinn Martin crime series.  Leslie Nielsen played the square-jawed Detective Frank Drebin, who was usually oblivious to what happened around him.  Rex Hamilton played Abraham Lincoln (shooting back) in the opening credits.  Also, each week’s guest star died in the opening credits.  In addition, Ed Williams played Mr. Olson, the police lab scientist who conducted dubious experiments (such as fun things to do with discarded swimwear) and had unusual forensic science techniques (such as shooting bullets through video tapes of Barbara Walters interviews). Another fun feature of each episode was the fact that the title the announcer read did not match the title on screen.  And there were many visual gags (such as an Egyptian-style human form next to a chalk outline of where a body fell).   Each half-hour episode was a comedy gem without a laugh track.

But don’t take my word for it.  Consider the following dialogue from the first episode.  Ralph Twice, a man just laid off from a tire factory, cashed a check at a credit union.  Sally Decker, the cashier (in need of money to pay off her orthodontist) shot Ralph Twice then the teller, Jim Johnson.  Next she stole the money from Twice’s check and created a lie to tell the police.  She claimed that Twice had held up and shot the teller, and that she shot Twice in self-defense.

Frank: Do you feel up to any questions?

Sally: I’ll try.

Frank:  Where were you when all this happened?

Sally:  I was right here at my desk, working.

Frank:  When was the first time you noticed something was wrong?

Sally:  Well, when I first heard the shot, then, as I turned, Jim fell.

Ed:  He’s the teller, Frank.

Frank:  Jim Fell’s the teller?

Sally:  No, Jim Johnson.

Frank:  Who’s Jim Fell?

Ed:  He’s the auditor, Frank.

Sally:  He had the flu, so Jim filled in.

Frank:  Phil who?

Ed:  Phil Din.  He’s the night watchman.

Frank:  Now, wait a minute.  Let me get this straight.  Twice came in and shot the teller, and Jim Fell.

Sally:  No, he only shot the teller, Jim Johnson; Fell is ill.

Frank:  Okay, then.  After he shot the teller, you shot twice.

Sally:  No, I only shot once.

Ed:  Twice is the hold-up man.

Sally:  Then I guess I did shoot Twice.

Frank:  So now you’re changing your story?

Sally:  No, I shot Twice after Jim fell.

Frank:  You shot twice and Jim fell?

Sally:  Jim fell first then I shot Twice once.

Frank:  Who fired twice?

Sally:  Once.

Ed:  He’s the owner of the tire company, Frank.

Frank:  Okay, now Once is the name of the tire company, and he fired Twice.  Then Twice shot the teller once.

Sally:  Twice.

Frank:  And Jim fell, then you fired twice.

Sally:  Once.

Frank:  Okay.  Alright, that’ll be all for now, Ms. Decker.

Ed:  We’ll need you to make a formal statement down at the station.

Sally:  O, of course.

Frank: You’ve been very helpful.  We think we know how he did it.

Sally:  O, Howie couldn’t have done it.  He hasn’t been in for weeks.

Frank:  Well, thank you again, Ms. Decker.

(Frank walks toward Ed, and they move toward the exit.)

Frank:  Weeks?

Ed: Saul Weeks.  He’s the comptroller, Frank.

Fortunately, the series is available on DVD, as are the three Naked Gun movies based on this series.  The show is better, though.


Posted January 30, 2010 by neatnik2009 in Reviews

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