(ended 1958)




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Show Summary

Beverly Garland starred in this largely forgotten syndicated cop show from the 1957-1958 season. She played Patricia Jones (though everyone called her Casey), a member of the New York City Police Department. Filmed in New York, the city's streets and landmarks provided a frequent backdrop for on location scenes. It ran one season of 39 episodes, though reruns continued for years afterwards.

Decoy broke new ground in being a dramatic series starring a different kind of female character--a career-minded WORKING female. She was no addle-brained wife, weepy soap opera ingenue, or helpless female who only knows furs and jewelry. Casey was a smart female cop who took her job seriously and did it well. She ran into characters who just couldn't believe there were actually women cops; they frequently called her a "lady policeman" or "lady police officer."

Some weeks, Casey Jones investigated crimes in the standard TV cop way, but frequently she went undercover. (Technically speaking, she seldom was actually a decoy, despite the series title.) This gave star Beverly Garland the chance to play everything from a rich socialite to a desperate flop-house junkie.
Audiences never got a glimpse of her personal life as the stories focused on the cases. Despite this, Casey was clearly a much warmer and human character than most of the other male cops and detectives on the tube at the time. Unlike a Sgt. Joe Friday on Dragnet, she never delivered hokey soliloquies to the "scum" lecturing them on the evil of lawbreaking. She frequently felt sad for those she had to arrest. At the close of each episode, Casey would address the camera directly, making it clear she felt the case was a sad affair with no happy ending.

The series was co-produced by Official Films and Pyramid productions. (Official Films was financing half the cost for the series for Pyramid.) The production budget per episode was approximately $30,000. According to info in The Billboard magazine of 5/23/1957, the pilot was about to begin shooting. By the summer, the series was being successfully sold to local stations via syndication. The Westinghouse TV group signed up for the series in July with a $600,000 contract guaranteeing Decoy would air in its nine major markets covering roughly 41% of the country's television homes. By December 1957, the series had recouped almost the full cost of the series' production.