Starsky and Hutch


‘…there’s a raw cynicism about the world of cops and robbers here that’s deeper than expected for a tv movie…’

Watched in a nostalgic whim, this 1975 tv movie was a pilot for what would become a hit show, the continuing adventures of cops Starsky and Hutch. Played by Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul, Dave and Ken are such straight-shooters that they make Serpico look lackadaisical; they pride themselves on being the best they can be, and accept a certain collateral damage along the way as long as the fictional Bay City perps get nicked.

Of course, Starsky and Hutch had more in the locker than just the charisma of the two leading men; there was a car, a 1975 Ford Gran Torino, red with a white stripe, and still a nice bit of kit. Named Zebra Three, the car features in a car chase here, shifting acres of white paper as it roars down rubbish-strewn streets to satisfying effect. The story opens with a couple being gunned down in a similar car; the cops think there’s an attempt on their lives of their favoured sons, and as they try to figure out who their opponent is, Starsky and Hutch rebound off various parties, including feel-good snitch Huggy Bear (Antonio Fagaras) and Frank Tallman, a crime boss who they are due to testify against, played by Gilbert Green. Our boys corner him in a sauna where they share Havana cigars as Tallman explains the modus operandi for his crime empire, which could be straight out of Tom Burgis’ recent book Kleptopia: How Dirty Money is Conquering the World.

‘Let me tell you how it all works. If you testify, I will be found guilty. Because, as we all know, I am guilty. My lawyers will ask the judge to fix bail, which will be an outrageous sum, which I can pay and be home in time for cocktails. Then my lawyers will appeal, and the appeal will be denied. Then they will appeal higher up, and that appeal will be denied. The case will drag through the courts, for five or six years…sure the courts may find me guilty, but years after I’m dead… I should be able to weather the disgrace of it all…’

So while it’s easy to enjoy the bromance antics of our heroes, there’s a raw cynicism about the world of cops and robbers here that’s deeper than expected for a tv movie. While the mystery is satisfying, and the resolution is good enough to spawn a four season ratings bonanza, the impossibly dangerous world of yer actual law enforcement is well-captured here; Starsky and Hutch may win a few minor battles, helped by their supercar and street smarts, but the guys at the top always seem to get away with it, and not much has changed today…


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    • I like that each episode stands alone, and satisfied like a mini movie. It was so they could show episodes out of order in syndication, but works for me. Good camaraderie, nice car, cool theme, old school cop show…

  1. I remember Huggy Bear! A role Snoop was born to play. Beyond that, I don’t recall much. I know I caught some episodes in syndication but that’s it. The Stiller and Wilson movie had some moments.

  2. but the guys at the top always seem to get away with it, and not much has changed today…

    Now you just sound jaded and cynical.

    I’ve often wondered about trying to track down the show. And looking, all four seasons are free on Prime now. Guess I’m adding it to my watch list and I’ll see if it’s any good 😀 Thanks!

    • All criminal and political creeds and classes seem to get away with it, not sure why any of us should bother playing a rigged game.

      Star sky and Hutch is good old PG cops and robbers, good guys doing the right thing, jazzy theme song, cool car, light comedy, casual viewing. What’s not to like?

      • This has been going on for a long time and I think King David encapsulates my response:
        Fret not yourself because of evildoers;
        be not envious of wrongdoers!
        For they will soon fade like the grass
        and wither like the green herb.

        He goes on after that, but I agree, it is a rigged game. The difference seems to be that I know the eventual outcome, and that knowledge gives me hope.

        As for starsky and hutch, I hope it lives up to its reputation 😀

        • I wouldn’t say I was envious of these people, but I’m concerned that they’re taking something basic away from those who need it to live. Should we ignore wrong when we see it done on a daily basis?

          These questions not fully addressed in this series but they do have a jazzy theme song and cool car.

          • No, we shouldn’t ignore it but you also have to balance that with the fact that justice may never occur for those people in this life.
            And this is getting a bit personal, so feel free to email me if you want, but what do you base right and wrong and justice and injustice on? What is your starting point and why?

            So, Starsky and Hutch don’t solve the world’s problems? Well, I can handle that as long as they solve one problem 😀

    • Used to wonder why anyone bothered with normal cars when you could have one like this. Get someone else to drive while you walk alongside with the door open, scanning the street for crims. Classic car!

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