Starsky and Hutch
Synopsis of TV Show
As the ‘R’ rating changed the face of what was acceptable in films during the 1970’s, television had to struggle to keep up. A place where television really learned to push the envelope during this time was in action shows. Hits like S.W.A.T. and Baretta developed a gritty, hard-hitting style that rivaled the toughest action films at the theaters. Out of this trend was born Starsky and Hutch, a cop show that dished up movie-style car chases and shootouts to the delight of action addicts everywhere.
The title characters of Starsky and Hutch were cops, but they weren’t your average blue-clad flatfoots. These two guys were hip, handsome undercover policemen who got to wear their stylish street threads on the job as they tooled around town in a candy-apple red 1974 Ford Torino. They were classic pair of opposites: Ken “Hutch” Hutchinson was soft-spoken and cultured, while David Starsky was a wisecracking yet sensitive tough guy from the streets. Together, they became an unbeatable duo that conjured up cop-show magic as they cleaned the city of pushers, mobsters and other assorted no-goodniks.
Also assisting Starsky and Hutch in their never-ending war on crime were Captain Harold Dobey, their gruff but likeable commanding officer, and Huggy Bear, the well-connected and informed dude on the street who helped Starsky and Hutch get the lowdown. Huggy Bear’s flamboyant sense of fashion and his ability to dish out an endless stream of hip jive-talk made him an icon of the 1970’s. These characters added plenty to the series, but the show’s focus was definitely the uniquely emotional relationship between Starsky and Hutch. They always stood by each other, no matter how tough the going got.
And the going frequently got very tough. Starsky and Hutch emulated the gritty, hardboiled style of 1970’s police films like The French Connection and Dirty Harry. As a result, most episodes featured two devices used in these films, no matter what the plot was: a tense shootout and a white-knuckle car chase in the Ford Torino.
Starsky and Hutch were both put in frequent jeopardy, like when Hutch was kidnapped and injected with heroin in “The Fix,” or when Starsky was critically wounded in “Sweet Revenge.” Critics often condemned the show for this violent content, but audiences disregarded the pooh-poohers and flocked to the show in droves. The result was a hardboiled hit, which lasted four seasons. During this time, Starsky and Hutch used a lot of up-and-coming talent both in front of and behind the camera: guest stars included Melanie Griffith, Philip Michael Thomas and Adrian Zmed, while the show’s writing and directing staff included future Miami Vice creator Michael Mann.
Today, thanks to frequent reruns, Starsky and Hutch remains as popular as ever and continues to be a serious cult favorite. The show’s ongoing success proves that you just can’t keep a good pair of cops down.
Release History of Prime Time Show9/10/75 - 8/21/79 ABC
TV Sub Categoriesdrama
Television StudioColumbia Television
TV CastDet. Dave Starsky Paul Michael Glaser
Det. Ken "Hutch" Hutchinson David Soul
Capt. Harold Dobey Bernie Hamilton
Huggy Bear Antonio Fargas