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    ABC (ended 1976)
    The show starring Steve Forrest was a spinoff of The Rookies. The show produced 39 episodes, 2 of which were really episodes of The Rookies that served as the pilot. The show ran from February 1975 until April 1976. Also starring was Robert Urich (who went onto star in Soap in September 1977), and Mark Shera. Thanks to hit programs like Adam-12, the cop show rose to a new level of prominence during the 1970's. There were several badge-flashing action dramas over the course of the decade, but perhaps none as interesting (or controversial) as S.W.A.T., a program inspired by the real-life crime-control units that rose to prominence in the U.S. after the civil disturbances of the late 1960's. Although its brutal level of action ensured that it had short life on television, S.W.A.T. became an impressive success during its short run and continues to be a cult favorite today. S.W.A.T. is an acronym for the 'Special Weapons And Tactics' unit, which was an elite five-man team of police officers who dealt with situations that were too dangerous for the police force to handle. Each had a specific job: Lt. Harrelson called the shots as the group's commanding officer, Sgt. Kay was the group's scout and Officer McCabe was the resident marksman. Each was also a Vietnam veteran, so they all adopted a military style (navy-blue fatigues) and used a combat mentality to deal with the problems they faced. During the show's run, the S.W.A.T. team had no shortage of psychos and crazies to deal with-everything from snipers to Satanists to scuba-diving jewel thieves. S.W.A.T. also had to deal with being the direct targets of these bad guys-Street dated a woman whose last few boyfriends were killed by a sniper in "The Bravo Enigma," and a family of criminals targeted the entire S.W.A.T. team for extinction in "Kill S.W.A.T." No matter who was plotting to kill whom, you could count on plenty of mayhem each week as the S.W.A.T. rolled from destination to destination in their specially-equipped van to dispense justice the hard way. S.W.A.T.'s combination of cool cops and brutal action made it a popular choice when it hit the airwaves in 1975. The show even produced a radio hit when its orchestral-funk theme song, performed by Rhythm Heritage, became a Top-10 smash on pop radio. Everyone loved the show except the critics. Media pundits regularly attacked the show for its high level of violence, the "shoot first, ask questions later" mentality of the heroes, and the fact that its heroes often dealt out more violence than the foes they were dealing with. The controversial but popular show enjoyed a two-season run before quietly disappearing from the television schedule in the summer of 1976. Today, S.W.A.T. periodically pops up in reruns and garners an enthusiastic response from the former kids who grew up on its tales of urban-guerrilla warfare. The show was even remade as an action epic for the movie theaters starring Samuel L. Jackson and Colin Farrell. Whether the remake was a success or not, one thing is certain: S.W.A.T. has earned its place in television history as one of the most memorably intense cop shows of all time. (Extra info courtesy of YesterdayLand)moreless
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