NBC (ended 1975)





Ironside Fan Reviews (3)

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  • TV's first disabled hero

    After nine seasons on the air as Perry Mason, Raymond Burr was right back on TV as "Ironside." It's a testament to Burr's abilities as an actor that Robert Ironside isn't just "Perry Mason in a wheelchair." "Ironside" set itself apart from late 60s, early 70s crime dramas by being rooted more in deduction than in shootouts and car chases. By featuring a main character who is handicapped, the shows had to focus more on the scientific/mental side of crime solving, and as a result, "Ironside" boasted tightly scripted, more elaborate mysteries than some other shows.

    Unlike a lot of other 1960s crime shows, "Ironside" not only tackled societal issues, but it did so in a mature, responsible manner. Drugs, race, counterculture all dealt with in a way you just don't see in other shows from the period ("Hawaii 5-O," "Dragnet"). In some episodes of "Ironside," you get a more realistic depiction of racial tensions than you do on some prime time shows today.

    Of course, much of the success of "Ironside" rests with Raymond Burr. Already an immensely popular actor, Burr took on a role that was miles away from Perry Mason and delivered a strong performance week after week. What makes Ironside so great is that he's a real SOB. He's angry he was shot, he's bitter that he can't walk, and he doesn't take crap from anyone. He's acerbic and tetchy, but brilliant and committed to the law. He's a great character, and great to watch.

    Like most shows of the period, however, the supporting acting can be a little stiff, and some shows can be slow paced. But if you can get past that and you're a fan of intelligent crime drama, you should really check out "Ironside."