The Bold Ones: The Protectors

NBC (ended 1970)


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out of 10
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  • Strong 1969-1970 drama series with fine performances by Leslie Nielsen and Hari Rhodes.

    Leslie Nielsen played a hard-nosed, law and order police chief. Nielsen was brought in to bring order to a western city threatening to explode. Hari Rhodes was the black district attorney who was a little more idealistic and a little slower to use a show of force to keep the underclass in line. The tension between their approaches to law enforcement was the heart of the show.

    Leslie Nielsen as a young man was a little too muscular and closed-off to appeal to me, even though he was always a skillful dramatic actor. He played men that always had to be in control and never displayed weakness. But when he let his hair start to turn grey he seemed to loosen up as an actor. I really liked Nielsen in this series for the first time. He was much less restrained and much more emotional. This was the first time I ever saw Hari Rhodes and he was also impressive as the DA.

    The show had absolutely no background music. This was a first, and it was a brilliant idea. TV background music at this time was the absolute worst. The music would build up to a false climax just before the commercial, even though there was no climax in the story. Just having no music made this show seem like superb drama.

    Each show opened and closed with a talk-radio show being heard where the host and call-ins were discussing the issues of the day that often reflected on issues in that episode.

    Michael Bell had a continuing role as an attractive detective who assisted Nielsen, and in the last episode it turned out he was on the take.

    The shows themselves were well written and acted. Among the guest actors I can remember were James Broderick, Edmond O'Brien, Robert Drivas, Louise Sorel and John Rubinstein.

    William Sackheim produced the pilot movie called "Deadlock". But Sackheim didn't want to produce TV series anymore and that chore was given to Jack Laird ("Ben Casey", "Channing", "Night Gallery", and "Kojak"). Laird did a beautiful job of producing the show.

    "The Protectors" was the best of the three series making up "The Bold Ones", but it sadly got the worst ratings and was canceled. At least it made way for another fine series where Sackheim had produced the pilot: "The Senator" starring Hal Holbrook.