Hill Street Blues (1981-1987)

The show’s large cast of flawed but lovable characters was often filmed “talking while walking” amid a dark, gritty storyline. It was bold – and it worked.

Shows about cops and bad guys have existed forever but I’d say that Hill Street Blues — with its large cast, rapid scene shifts, imperfect characters, gritty plots, people filmed talking and walking — changed the equation and paved the way for countless other “ensemble” shows that followed.

In this clip, the big boss from headquarters scolds the cops in the precinct station for not dotting the “I’s” and crossing the “T’s” to his satisfaction. Haven’t we all “been there” at some point?

In the boss’s mind getting the job done is less important than following procedures. The captain (played by Daniel J. Travanti) successfully lightens things up for his troops with a reeeeeeeeeeeally off-the-wall joke.