Aaron Spelling's series The Rookies
was a mildly successful attempt to put a younger face on the aging cop-drama genre via a trio of new police recruits, who attempted to protect and serve Southern California with their hearts and minds as well as their guns. The trio in question--former project resident Georg Stanford Brown, who sought to solve his people's problems from behind a badge, solid ex-vet Sam Melville, and good-natured Michael Ontkean--saw their share of action during the show's four-year run from 1972 to 1976, but frequently solved conflicts through dialogue, not brawn. Gerald S. O'Laughlin was their seen-it-all lieutenant, while a pre-Charlie's Angels
Kate Jackson was Melville's wife, who did her part as a nurse. The Rookies
' blend of social conscience and street action worked for the most part, especially in episodes like "The Commitment" (disc 1), in which Brown and Melville hunt down the assailant who shot Ontkean (their search takes them onto the back lot of the Fox Studios, which provides an interesting glimpse at their movie production slate), and "Crossfire," in which a black cop dealing with anger issues is sent to a camp that bolsters community relationships between the police and the public. The dialogue borders on the heavy-handed at times, but for the most part, The Rookies
is an engaging alternative to the by-the-books cop shows of the '50s and '60s. The five-disc set includes no extras, which is unfortunate, given that the original two-hour movie that served as the show's pilot (which featured Darren McGavin in O'Loughlin's role) would've made an interesting companion piece to the episodes. --Paul Gaita
Experience all the excitement of The Rookies from the beginning! This classic series follows the exploits of three heroic young police officers of the Southern California Police Dept. (SCPD). Each episode showcases highly dramatized police cases, intertwined with the drama of their off-duty lives. The Rookies features non-stop action with guest appearances throughout the season by notable tv stars including Cheryl Ladd, Roddy McDowall, Lou Gossett, Jr., Martin Sheen, Mike Farrell and Tyne Daly.