The Streets of San Francisco: Season 2 Volume 1
DVD | Box Set
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Twenty year veteran Detective Lt. Mike Stone is partnered with young, college educated Inspector Steve Keller who has a lot to learn about being a police detective on the Streets of San Francisco.
These 11 gripping episodes that comprise the first half of season two went a long way toward putting The Streets of San Francisco on the map. The series would earn Emmy nominations for Best Actor (Karl Malden), Supporting Actor (Michael Douglas), and Outstanding Drama. Streets is an efficient, old school police procedural series. Rumpled 20-year veteran Mike Stone and his younger, snappier, college-educated partner, Steve Keller, rely on old-fashioned legwork, gut hunches, and plain luck to crack some particularly heinous crimes. Stone and Keller have by now bridged their generation gap. Stone still calls Keller "hot shot" and "buddy boy," but it is done with paternalistic affection, while Keller is benefiting from Stone's streetwise "axioms," such as "Ask (a suspect) the time of day, you'll learn a lot more what he thinks about than the weather." Uniformly well acted and sharply written, these episodes also feature some memorable guest stars. In "Betrayed," Martin Sheen is as a small-time Wall Street broker who uses a lonely and unwitting teller to rob a bank to finance his relationship with a wealthy girlfriend. In "Shield of Honor," Mariette Hartley is a vice cop and former Academy classmate of Keller's who may be leaking information to a crime syndicate. Leslie Nielsen is a terminally ill cop who is bent on assassinating the mobster who has eluded him in "Before I Die." And if you bought Rick Nelson as a gunslinger in Rio Bravo, then it won't be too much of a stretch to see him as a flute-playing pied piper who lures teenage runaways into prostitution in "Harem." Filmed on location, Streets has a palpable sense of place. Malden and Douglas, too, seem right at home. Their chemistry elevates this series above the standard issue cop show. If you're going to San Francisco for the first time, this three-disc set is a solid introduction. --Donald Liebenson
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In these episodes of this superb crime drama, Lt. Mike Stone (Karl Malden) and his young, college-educated colleague Steve Keller (Michael Douglas) have great chemistry both in spite of and because of their age difference. The two solve crimes such as murder, bank robbery, larceny, prostitution, organized crime, and a jail break.
The series was filmed on location in San Francisco, with great views of the city and surrounding bay and ocean framing the action, and the setting was further enhanced by incorporating period houses, bars, wharves, hospitals, and even the city zoo. Alcatraz Island even made an appearance in an episode on this set.
Several notable guest stars including Michael Constantine, Martin Sheen, Leslie Nielsen, Tom Bosley, and Ricky Nelson appear on this set, and the Seventies cars and clothes here are cool. Those who enjoyed Season One of "Streets" would enjoy these episodes as well.
One thing I like about season 2 is that the detective duo is getting more screen time. In season 1, the show was such a showcase for the guest stars, that Stone and Keller actually seemed absent from much of the show. There's better balance in season 2. There are still more scenes with guest stars only than in a modern show, but we get to see a lot more of the great partnership then we did previously.
The stories are fairly routine for the 1970s, but this is just such a great looking show. Malden and Douglas are great together, the acting is excellent, and the city looks fantastic. The long tracking shots of two actors talking while walking through the streets of San Francisco with no cuts are a real hallmark of this series.