Meet Pete, Linc and Julie: The Mod Squad. This trio consisted of rich, long-haired Pete Cochran, Lincoln "Linc" Hayes from the tough streets of inner city Los Angeles, and beautiful flower child Julie Barnes, a runaway from San Francisco. Theyre recruited by police captain Adam Greer (Tiger Andrews) for a covert unit that will help bridge the generation gap. Each week these three cops with love beads wrestled with criminals and their own consciences. They may have been the "fuzz," but they were determined to never compromise their values. They were The Mod Squad!
"The times they are a changin," the Dylan-quoting Julie (Peggy Lipton) smiles as she shows her cop credentials to a uniformed policeman. As The Mod Squad
s first season unfolds, the idea that this groovy hippie chick, too-cool soul brother Linc (Clarence Williams III) and tightly-wound rebel with a cause Pete (Michael Cole) could be the fuzz is still pretty far out ("The one thing these guys are not is cops," laughs one member of a gang that Pete and Linc infiltrate in one episode). The Mod Squad
may be a tad dated, but compared to ultra unhip shows like Dragnet
, it was truly radical in its day. And it could deal with then contemporary issues that more traditional cop shows could, or did, not. In "Peace Now-Arly Blau!", Pete and Linc go undercover behind bars to protect the life of a Vietnam War protestor and pacifist, whose father just happens to be a general. But for the most part, these episodes arent all that subversive. In "Hello Mother, My Name is Julie," Julies wayward mom has cleaned up her act and announces that she is engaged. Her fiancée, of course, is the "Mr. Big" whom Pete and Linc are trying to nail. In "Flight Five Doesnt Answer," Pete, Linc, and their mentor, Capt. Greer (Tige Andrews) transport a mob boss by plane that assassins force to crash land in the desert. In the season finale, "A Seat by the Window," the trio splits up to board "three busses full of suspects" to catch a bus stop killer. Following the episode, "The Price of Terror" (included on Volume 1
), the generation gap between Greer and his Squad is further bridged in "The Uptight Town," in which a search for the missing Greer leads the trio to a small town hiding a deadly secret (not to mention Greer!) The guest star wattage burns pretty hot, especially in the episode, "Keep the Faith, Baby," featuring Sammy Davis, Jr. as an activist priest and Robert Duvall as a murderer not sure whether hell break the seal of confession. The lone extra feature is devoted to Liptons iconic and trendsetting look as the lithe and lovely Julie. Seen decades later, many old TV shows are a bust, but The Mod Squad
was made with care and conviction. To review it is to echo Julie in the episode, "Child of Sorrow, Child of Light," after she helps to break up a crooked adoption scam: "Sometimes I love this job." --Donald Liebenson