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N.Y.P.D.

N.Y.P.D. is the title of a half-hour American television crime drama of the 1960s set in the context of the New York City Police Department. The program appeared on the ABC network during the 1967-68 and 1968-69 television seasons. In both seasons, the program appeared in the evening, 9:30 p.m. time slot. During the second season, N.Y.P.D was joined by The Mod Squad and It Takes a Thief to form a 2 1/2 hour block of crime dramas.

Overview

The cast included Jack Warden as Lt. Mike Haines, Robert Hooks as Detective Jeff Ward, and Frank Converse as Detective Johnny Corso. Among the acting personalities who appeared in the series were Al Pacino, Jane Elliot, Ralph Waite, Harvey Keitel, James Earl Jones, Gretchen Corbett, and Roy Scheider.

The show was a production of Talent Associates, Ltd., a company founded by Alfred Levy and David Susskind. Talent Associates had produced 14 years of the anthology program Armstrong Circle Theatre and the Kaiser Aluminum Hour, both highly respected shows. Television producer, movie producer, and talk show host Susskind created N.Y.P.D. with screenwriter Arnold Perl (Cotton Comes to Harlem). At the time of his death in 1971, Arnold Perl was working on a screenplay about assassinated black activist Malcolm X, which would later become the basis for Spike Lee's 1992 film, Malcolm X. Daniel Melnick, the show’s executive producer, was a partner with Susskind in Talent Associates and had created the TV comedy Get Smart in 1965. Producer Susskind and actor Harvey Keitel would work together again on Martin Scorsese's Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974). Scripted by writers like Lonne Elder, who would later be the first African-American nominated for a Best Screenplay Oscar (for 1972's Sounder), the stories came with such titles as Cruise to Oblivion, Which Side Are You On?, The Screaming Woman, and Deadly Circle of Violence. In N.Y.P.D. scripts, there were white cops and black cops, white suspects and black suspects, white witnesses and black witnesses, an unselfconscious racial blend that would not be seen for years to come on network television.

In 1967, N.Y.P.D. was the first television series in America to air an episode with a gay theme. The police track down a man blackmailing gay men, prompting several suicides.

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