Police Squad!

ABC (ended 1982)



User Score: 366

out of 10
User Rating
306 votes

By TV.com Users

Police Squad!

Show Summary

From the creators of Kentucky Fried Movie, Airplane!, the Hot Shots! movies, and Top Secret!, Police Squad! began as the brain-child of Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker. The series would later spawn three follow-up movies under the new Naked Gun titles. The series was set up to spoof the Quinn Martin Productions' police dramas of the 1960s and 1970s, hence the use of "In Color" by the narrator.

The show's main staple of entertainment came from sight gags (such as a tow truck being a truck in the shape of a big toe) and misunderstandings in dialogue, mostly from people taking things extremely literally. Several great routines came from these misunderstandings that left characters in the scene very confused, but left the audience with loads of humor.

Though critically acclaimed, it never did well in the ratings. In fact, Abrahams, Zucker, and Zucker got the word from ABC right away that the show would be canceled. The reason? Because the audience actually had to watch the show. This isn't a bad thing, but the fast pace of the show was too intellectual for the average viewer, tired after a day's work. All the jokes, puns, and sight gags were too much to handle. Though it was never a ratings hit, the show has achieved cult status today.

Police Squad! is available on two VHS tapes, each containing three episodes. The VHS tapes are titled Police Squad! Help Wanted and More Police Squad!.

Fun Facts * Each episode has two titles. What appears as the on-screen title differs from the voice-over narration title. * The show contained on-screen act numbers after commercial breaks (Act I, Act II, etc.), with Act II being a gag title. * Each week featured a special guest star who was killed in the opening credits, and never actually appeared in the episode. * In each episode, Frank Drebin runs over a number of garbage cans equal to the episode number. * Starting with the second episode and continuing with each episode, Frank Drebin would reel off a list of the criminals captured from previous episodes. * During the closing credits, the cast would pretend to "freeze frame." However, coffee being poured into a cup would overflow onto a character's shoes, or Nordberg would enter the scene not knowing to stand still. * Frank could come to shoeshine boy Johnny who knew everything on the streets. Inevitably, someone else would come for information on fires, religious advice, baseball coaching, etc. Dr. Joyce Brothers would ask for sexual advice, and Dick Clark for music info and some of his "special face cream." * When Frank came into the lab, scientist Ted would be in the middle of some kind of vaguely sexual or sadistic experiment with a small child as his assistant (echoing Peter Graves' lines in Airplane!). Ted would then dismiss the child with the promise of another weird experiment later. * No matter how quickly Frank got to the scene, his boss Ed would already be there. * ABC wanted the show to have a laugh track, but Abrahams, Zucker, and Zucker wouldn't give in. * Though he was in the opening credits, Rex Hamilton never appeared in any of the episodes. * CBS re-ran the entire series over six-weeks when Naked Gun 2 ½ : The Smell of Fear was released. Unfortunately, it still did poorly in the ratings.moreless

    TV.com UK Podcast: Police Squad! And Eastbound & Down

    To honour the passing of comedian Leslie Nielsen we look back on his most notable TV show, Police Squad!

  • Rex Hamilton

    Rex Hamilton

    Abraham Lincoln

    Leslie Nielsen

    Leslie Nielsen

    Detective Frank Drebin

    Alan North

    Alan North

    Captain Ed Hocken

    Hank Simms

    Hank Simms

    Announcer (uncredited)

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    • Cancelld way way way way way too early

      It is sad that decent shows like this got the boot while shows that were much worst managed to outlive this one. Thats all I can say.
    • They got "cop show" in my "sitcom"!!

      Police Squad! is the short-lived comedy series that ran on ABC first in 1981 & then after the popularity of the Naked Gun movies in the Summer of 1992 on CBS.

      This wacky show parodies all those sundry police shows that were on network TV one time or another. The main stars of the show were Leslie Nielsen as Lt. Frank Drebin & his boss Capt. Ed Hocken played by Alan North.

      The reason this show didn't last very long was its rapid-fire delivery of sight gags that to the average viewer was pretty much confusing.

      A pity really, since this was way funnier than all those other so-called sitcoms that were strewn about the small screen during that year for this series' brief run.moreless
    • Very funny and not too bad of a cop show, give it a shot.

      A pretty good cop show. Very funny. If this is a show that you do not normally watch and you are sitting at home with nothing to do, you are going to wish you had it on tape. Having it "on tape" had become the generic term for recorded programs. Today you are more likely to have the show on Tivo or DVR than VHS, or god forbid Beta!! It is kind of like how a lot of people still call CD's "records" or "albums." Anyway, back to the show. This is the type of show that is really pretty good if you would just give it a chance. So on those cold, lonely, rainy days, pop in your tape or DVR or whatever if you were smart enough to tape it. If not, check to see if it is on as a re-run. After all, as they say, if you have never seen it, it is new to you. Not too bad of a cop show, give it a shot. A very funny show.moreless
    • 8.8
      This is the brief series that lead to the NAKED GUN trilogy. Leslie Nielsen gets to play madman with all the delicious relish he can bring to the part of the straight-faced detective.

      The stories are parodies of all the very, very, very serious and very, very, very important police and crime shows on TV over the years. Nothing escapes the satiric bashing that goes on here. The guest stars each week are murdered in the opening scene and then are never heard of again. The titles of the episodes don't fit the narration. Nielsen's own narration is a wonderful satire of all the crime story voice-overs going back to film noir and DRAGNET. And -- wonder of wonders -- the show is "In Color!"

      No pun goes un-punned. No sight-gag is left un-gagged. Nothing is spared. Imagine the Marx Brothers and Three Stooges in a crime movie setting, and that gives you a hint of what POLICE SQUAD is all about. This is one of the funniest shows ever made for TV, but since it is satire, it of course had only a short run. Nevertheess, I loved it.moreless
    • One of the funniest tv shows ever.

      This show is the progenitor of the naked gun trilogy. This show is a spoof of 70s cop shows. It's so funny, at the end of each show the actors holds their positions pretending that the camera have a frozen show when in fact it is still filming. It's so funny, you can get a good laught by watching this show. The jokes are hilarious, you're just waiting for the next punchline to come. This type of show is rarely duplicated today, this show is a true classic. If you loved watching the naked gun movies, you'll surely enjoy this show.moreless

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    Sitcoms, pop culture observations, Satire, outrageous situations, Cop Shows