Hill Street Blues is an American serial police drama that was first aired on NBC in 1981 and ran for 146 episodes on primetime into 1987. Chronicling the lives of the staff of a single police precinct in an unnamed American city, the show received critical acclaim and its production innovations influenced many subsequent dramatic television series that were made.
A gritty, realistic look at the life of cops in a large (and unnamed) metropolitan city. Led by Capt. Frank Furillo (Daniel J. Travanti), the cops of the Hill Street Station kept the peace -- though there were plenty of casulties along the way. Focusing more on the characters within in the precinct than on the cases they were trying to solve, Hill Street Blues also featured Veronica Hamel as public defender Joyce Davenport (who later married Capt. Furillo), Michael Conrad (who passed away during the 1983 season) as gruff Sergeant Phil Esterhaus, James B. Sikking (Doogie Howser, M.D.) as Lt. Howard Hunter, Betty Thomas as Officer Lucy Bates and Bruce Weitz as Det. Mick Belker (who sometimes resorted to injuring the felons he apprehended).
Hill Street Blues generated a "spin-off" series when Dennis Franz's character, "Lieutenant Norman Buntz" left New York and moved to southern California to open his own detective agency. Unfortunately, that series only lasted nine episodes, mostly due to Buntz's personality being changed from a hard-nosed cop to a funny guy who sometimes even acted like a buffoon! Franz would later recover from terrible encounter with comedy by starring for 12 seasons on "NYPD Blue"!