The F.B.I.
The F.B.I.
TV-14 | 19 September 1965 (USA)
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  • Reviews

    Such a frustrating disappointment

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    Expected more

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    It's entirely possible that sending the audience out feeling lousy was intentional

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    It's easily one of the freshest, sharpest and most enjoyable films of this year.

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    Quinn Martin became a successful producer with The Fugitive, but this series started just before that one ended. It really shows all the same trademarks that the David Jansen series showed. In fact, some of the same actors made appearances in both shows.While the stories are all fiction, they are drawn from the files of the FBI with their cooperation. One of the real drawbacks of the series is it always tells you in the beginning what crimes the bad guys will commit. Evne though it is presented as a detective type series, this is what makes the show unique. In a way, Martin did this style with the Fugitive for 5 years too. Actually, the formula for this wore pretty well for a nine season run.The show also seemed to draw big name guest stars like a magnet. William Shatner even did a show in 1970. When you go through a list of who guested on it, you will find a large number of names who did lots of other roles in their career. Men & even a fair number of well known women pop into episodes.Of the principal players, the regulars, the star, Efrim Zimbelist Jr. is the only one still alive out of all the male leads (and this show's regulars were pretty much all male). That is because the FBI back then did not have many women agents which explains why J E Hoover wore all those dresses in the office. It also explains Hoover obsession of always getting his man.The shows are well produced & always staged in acts with an epilogue. Erskine (Zimbelist) always gets the bad guy. One annoying thing is that every time he shoots his gun, he almost never misses. It became a running joke, just get Erskine in range with his gun & the bad guy has had it. If that were based upon reality, all the criminals in the US would have been shot down by the 5th season. While this was Quinn Martins most long term success, The Fugitive was better drama to me & a bit above this series. Still, this is solid entertainment. This is one of the few long term shows that were never bought back in a bunch of reunion specials. Even TV Land never tried anything with this one.

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    The FBI was a very influential in my professional career. Like most of the TV cop shows, Dragnet, Highway patrol, I saw through the Hollywood part, into the possibilities of reality. I saw in all of them a theme running through and each of those theme reaffirmed my belief in an ideal system. One is always advancing, towards professionalism. There is nothing wrong with that. Its not the movie itself, but what it inspires in people who are watching. Can there be an FBI like that portrayed? Yes, of course, and there has been in the past. The structure is there. But you know what, one never reaches perfection because this is an imperfect world. Subjected to all the factors of life.The late Director of the FBI was a great administrator - he developed the FBI into one of the worlds most prestigious law enforcement organizations. He was a stern man, regardless of what has been said about his personal life in many books. He had the respect of his men and that cannot be said for many agencies today. The people of the United States should be proud of a man like Hoover, who made the image felt even in a show like The FBI.QM and the host of people who put that show together should be commended for the professional image that it portrayed. For those out there I say to you"...yes, it can be achieved. It is within the realm of possibilities"

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    "The FBI" is one of those wonderful old shows I remember from when I was a kid, and it was great finding it being rerun on the "American Life" channel.There was no question who the good guys and bad guys were, and Inspector Lewis Erskine is as straitlaced as they come, he and Sargent Friday were two of a kind.The theme music is perfect, it has a serious solidity to it, and the writing is just what it should be. I also love seeing all the new, old cars, and seeing what high technology (like their computers) was in those days helps us to appreciate what we have today.Great show, well worth watching again.

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    Indeed, yes, I remember this series... and I don't believe I've seen it in reruns myself, although I'm aware of it being rerun on stations I could not receive. I think I tuned into this two to four years before it came to an end in 1974. I am old enough to remember that the show was produced with the cooperation of the director of the FBI, whats-his-name, um, J. Edgar Hoover. The last season or so had different names since Hoover had died.I really liked the way they set up the episodes, showed the crimes being initiated, the charges being shown on the screen. The oft-repeated scene of showing Erskine listening on the phone at the same time as a crime victim or victim's family. Erskine going under cover, like masquerading as a blind man. The high school boys trapping a friend in an old mine shaft or whatever and discovering, just after they were arrested, that the field had been leveled and buried with fill.This would be good to see on DVD, but I'd be happy if it was rerun on one of the cable specialty channels.

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