Raymond Burr is Robert T. Ironside, Chief of Detectives of the San Francisco Police Department who is confined to a wheelchair after a sniper’s bullet leaves him paralyzed from the waist down. He becomes a consultant to the SFPD to help solve the toughest crimes in the city. He brings on several assistants to help him, including a detective sergeant Ed Brown, policewoman Eve Whitfield and the ex-delinquent Mark Sanger.
This excellent cop show, which started in 1967, did very well with the viewers of that time and had 8 very successful seasons. It was nominated for and won many awards and set several milestones for television programming. It was the first show to ever feature a disabled person as the main character and it was the first show to ever feature a pilot at the very beginning of its first season.
But the most important fact is that it is a great show that is still fun and entertaining to watch now, over 40 years later. It has great acting, most notably from Raymond Burr, whose magnetic personality holds the show together. There is a long list of well-known actors who made guest appearances on the show, including Jack Lord, Robert Reed, Ed Asner, David Carradine, Bruce Lee and even Harrison Ford. Most of these actors (like Bruce Lee) were just starting out in their acting careers , so it is fun to see them appear here before they became famous.
I liked the 1960’s feel to this show, from the jazzy music of Quincy Jones, to the hippies that invariably show up, to the many social themes explored. Even the cars make the show fun to watch. Some of my favorite episodes are the pilot, where Ironside is shot and has to come to terms with his paralysis, and “Light at the End of the Journey” about a blind witness to a murder who then becomes a target herself. There are 28 episodes on the 8 discs of Season One. If you like this show, you might want to try some of the other cop shows in the WRL collection that came out about the same time, including Streets of San Francisco, Columbo, and Adam-12.