Adam-12: Season Three – DVD Review


Adam-12 launched with veteran Officer Pete Malloy (Martin Milner) and the rookie Officer Jim Reed (Ken McCord) patrolling the Los Angeles inside a police car. Each week the grizzled cop taught the newbie a lesson from the mean streets. The newbie eventually used his fresh eyes to see a different aspect in a case to help the grizzled one get oriented to finding the real suspect. It’s a dependable relationship for entertainment purposes. But how long can this sort of relationship go on? You can only wear the trainee vest for so long before the audience thinks the rookie needs to catch on to the process or be transfered to the Meter Maid division. Adam-12: Season Three lets Officer Jim Reed not be the new guy at the police station. He’s got a clue about the way things work on the streets. Malloy still has seniority, but he must share his patrol.

“Log 174 — Loan Sharks” takes us to a rough factory. Every week the cops respond to a call of someone being beaten by goons in the parking lot. Even with hundreds of workers, there’s not a single eyewitness. Who dares to admit seeing a mobster beatdown? Why it’s the factory owner’s semi-hippie son played by Tim Rooney. The son of Andy Rooney lays down a groovy description to Reed and Malloy. However telling the truth makes him a target for the loan shark’s goons. Is he going to have a heavy moment when they coat him in concrete? Rooney is famous for being kicked off the Mouseketeers before the series started. “Log 55 — Missing Child” has Jodie Foster needing help from the cops. “Log 75: Have A Nice Weekend” gives us a crime spree that’s linked by the victims all being members of the same Bridge club. The breaking and entering suspect is Butch Patrick (Eddie Munster).

In the late ’60s and early ’70s, there was a revolution going in America. The police became villains in the media thanks to a few ugly moments. Producer Jack Webb (Dragnet) used Adam-12 as a way to remind us that cops weren’t inhuman robots meant to keep people down. The men behind the badges weren’t always the bad guys. “Log 105 — Elegy For A Pig” is his message to America that these are people serving and protecting you. This is unlike any episode during the season. The usual opening credits are dropped for a black background and white type. Jack Webb reads the titles. Office Tom Porter (Lost in Space‘s Mark Goddard) arrives at a crime scene and is shot dead. The entire episode is narrated by Malloy as he recounts his relationship with Porter. The two were pals before they entered the police academy. Malloy reminds us of the sacrifice his partner made as a cop. The really sad part of the episode is how good Goddard works with the series regulars. He could have been great as a recurring character.

“Log 76 — Militants” directly addresses the struggles between average police officers and the Black Panther movement. In this case a black cop and his partner are shot during an ambush with local Black Panthers. The cop is able to shoot one of his two attackers as they fled the scene. The leaders of the Black Panthers claims his men were shot in the back by cops without any reason. Things get nasty when Reed realizes he’s friends with the fugitive Panther’s brother. The friend thinks Reed is just like any other lying cop wanting to execute every strong black man. Which side will be believed by the end of the episode?

Most of the episodes this season aren’t this heavy. They remind us that cops do normal things such as ticketing the elderly for running stop signs and keeping junkies away from businesses. Adam-12 could have easily been an hour long drama. By keeping it down to 30 minutes, the series stuck with the cases without turning everything into an over dramatic squad car soap opera. Adam-12: Season Three gives us two men making their beat a safer place.

The Episodes
“Log 174 — Loan Sharks,” “Log 35 — Easy, Bare Rider,” “Log 95 — Purse Snatcher,” “Log 45 — Bright Boy,” “Log 65 — Cigarettes, Cars And Wild, Wild Women,” “Log 55 — Missing Child,” “Log 75 — Have A Nice Weekend,” “Log 105 — Elegy For A Pig,” “Log 25 — Indians,” “Log 135 — Arson,” “Log 96 — Pilgrimage,” “Log 85 — Sign Of The Twins,” “Log 175 — Con Artists,” “Log 115 — Gang War,” “Log 26 — L.E.M.R.A.S. (Law Enforcement Manpower Resources Allocation System),” “Log 155 — I.A.D. (Internal Affairs Department),” “Log 66 — The Vandals,” “Log 36 — Man Between,” “Log 165 — Once A Cop,” “Log 76 — Militants,” “Log 164 — The Poachers,” “Log 16 — Child In Danger,” “Log 56 — Vice Versa,” “Log 106 — Post Time,” “Log 88 — Reason to Run” and “Log 125 — Safe Job.”

The video is 1.33:1 Full Frame. The transfers look much better than tapes used on Season Two. Did the vault fire at Universal has made the studio strike new transfers instead of using their old Broadcast tapes? The audio is Dolby Digital Mono. The levels allow you to gather up all the facts as Malloy and Reed ask the questions.


Adam-12: Season Three has the series no longer depended on the vet and rookie interplay in the patrol car. Both officers are still learning on their patrols. The season also wants us to educate us that not every cop patrolling the streets in 1970 was part of a secret J. Edgar Hoover plan to keep down revolutionary groups. These Los Angeles cops were there to keep the peace and protect the people. They weren’t expendable.

Shout! Factory presents Adam-12: Season Three. Starring: Martin Milner, Kent McCord and William Boyett. Boxset Contents: 26 episodes on 4 DVDs. Released on DVD: August 11, 2009. Available at


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