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Police Woman - The Complete First Season



DVD Release Date: March 7, 2006 (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
Color / 1974-75
MSRP: $49.95
Number of Discs: 5
Number of Episodes: 23 (22 + Pilot)
Running time: Approx. 1098 Minutes
Audio Tracks: English Dolby Digial Mono
Video: Full Frame 1.33:1
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; Closed Captioning
Special Features:
Commentary with Angie Dickinson and Earl Holliman on select episodes


Smart and sexy, tough and brassy. Meet Sergeant Suzanne "Pepper" Anderson, L.A.P.D.'s top undercover cop. A member of the Criminal Conspiracy Unit, Pepper works the wild side of the street, where she poses as everything from a gangster's moll to a streetwalker to a prison inmate. Join Golden Globe winner Angie Dickinson and guest stars Cathy Rigby, Larry Hagman, Pat Morita, Bob Crane and Philip Michael Thomas for 22 episodes plus the 51-minute pilot with explosive crime-fighitng action and excitement in Police Woman: The Complete First Season. Special DVD bonus: The Gamble, the episode of "Police Story" that started it all.

Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Police Woman premiered on NBC on September 13, 1974. A total of 92 episodes were produced during the show's four seasons from 1974-1978. It would became an instant ratings success during the first season, with a 22.8 rating - good enough for 15th place. It aired after The Rockford Files on Friday nights at 10PM ET. The series would air in six different timeslots, airing against M*A*S*H for a good part of its run. For the second season, it finished in 30th place with a 20.2 rating. The cast included Angie Dickinson as Sergeant Suzanne "Pepper" Anderson, Earl Holliman as Lieutenant Bill Crowley, Ed Bernard as Detective Joe Styles, and Charles Dierkop as Detective Pete Royster. Also seen occasionally in the first season were Val Bisoglio as Lt. Paul Marsh and Pepper's autistic younger sister Cheryl, played by Nichole Kallis. Angie Dickinson received a Golden Globe for "Best TV Actress - Drama" in 1975, plus she received three more Golden Globe nominations and three Emmy nominations.

The first season is considered to be the best by many fans of the show. As I'm not completely familiar with the show, I picked out a few episodes that looked interesting by their summaries. In the premiere episode, "The End Game," Pepper and Crowley go after a team of five bank robbers: three men and two girls. Pepper is planted in a women's prison to get to a mobster's gilrfiend; her position becomes dangerous when she's recognized as a cop by another prisoner in "Fish." Pepper goes undercover to solve a murder involving the wealthy and influential Van Dyke family in "Blast." Pepper goes undercover to fin a leak in a government office and prevent the continued murders of government witnesses in "No Place to Hide." When the crime world learns La Rue Collins is a police snitch, gunmen are hired to kill her; Pepper goes on a frantic hunt to find the desperate girl first in "Nothing Left to Lose." When gangland killings begin in the name of Vito Angelo, soon to be released from prison, Pepper and Crowley go to work in "The Company." Pepper and Crowley pose as international jewel fences to break a gang of jewel thieves in "Ice."

There were a number of notable guest stars that were either already famous or soon-to-be stars. The pilot episode, "The Gamble" - which aired as part of "Police Story", included Joseph Campanella as Carl Vitalle and Bert Convy as Lt. Bill Crowley. Linda Dano appeared as Mary Elliott in "The End Game." Gymnast Cathy Rigby guest starred as Sandra in "The Beautiful Die Young." William Katt was Marty Wadsworth, Joyce Bulifant was Peggy Lakes, and Elinor Donahue was Ellie Tarlow in "Warning To All Wives." Larry Hagman appeared as Tony Bonner in "Seven Eleven." Pat Morita guest starred as Mike Matsuto and Hal Williams was George Thomas in "Anatomy of Two Rapes." Philip Michael Thomas made an appearance as Sonny in "It's Only a Game." Dr. Joyce Brothers was Dr. Esther Howell in "Fish." Della Reese appeared as Tina Thompson and Bob Crane was Larry Brooks in "Requiem for Bored Wives." The episode "Smack" featured Smokey Robinson as Sam Jennings, Barry Livingston as Eric Miller, and William Shatner as Mark Ciprio. Bill Dana played Bova in "Sidewinder." Robert Vaughn appeared as Andrew Simms in "Blast." Gordom Jump guest starred as Professor Southern and Mark Harmon makes a cameo as Paul Donin in "No Place to Hide." Patty Duke was Larue Collins and John Astin was Donny in "Nothing Left to Lose." Florence Halop appeared as Hannah Victor and Ned Glass was Samuel Victor in "Ice." Jack Soo played Red Star in "Bloody Nose." Pat Harrington, Jr. guest starred as Fred Blau in "The Loner."


The packaging is very nice, with various photos of the lovely Angie Dickinson prominently featured. The outer box features a gorgeous shot of Angie holding a gun, with a police badge in the upper left-hand corner and Angie's and Earl Holliman's names at the top. On the back of the box, there is a solo shot of Angie and several other shots of the cast members below that. A summary of the set is given, and the DVD specs are listed. The same cover shot of Angie is featured on the spine of the box. Three slim cases slide out from the left of the box. Once again, there is a nice solo shot of Angie on each of them. Episode titles and short summaries are listed on the back of the cases. It would have been nice of them to include the original airdates and notable guest stars, as well. Inside the cases, there are even more color photos of Angie underneath where the discs are held. What a gorgeous woman! The discs have purple-tinted photos of Angie, with circular lines that make look like a record. Slim case #1 holds Disc 1 (Pilot Episode & Episodes 1-3) and Disc 2 (Episodes 4-8). Slim case #2 has Disc 3 (Episodes 9-13) and Disc 4 (Episodes 14-18). Slim case #3 has Disc 5 (Episodes 19-22). I'm a bit surprised that they didn't include a sixth disc, just to spread out the episodes a little more evently.

Menu Design and Navigation:

When you insert a disc, a montage of a few video clips from the show are played before you get to the main static menu. The main menu features the same photo of Angie that is on the outer box, although it is cropped a bit. There is a badge on the right-hand side of the screen that says "Police Woman - First Season" on it. Police Woman is written in large text on the bottom of the screen. Morton Steven's theme music, which loops after awhile, can be heard in the background. There are options for "Play All Episodes," "Episode Selection," and "Special Features." There is a red target next to the option you highlight that turns yellow upon your selection. When you choose "Episode Selection," it takes you to a sub-menu where there is a still image from each episode. There is a red border next to the episode you highlight that turns yellow upon selection. The episode numbering system is different on the menus as compared to the packaging, as the menus list the pilot as episode #1. The "Special Features" sub-menu features a photo of Earl Holliman on the left-hand side and Angie on the right, with the text in the middle. There are chapter stops within the episodes but no separate menus for scene selections.

Video and Audio Quality:

As you would expect, these episodes have digitally remastered audio and video. They are in their original 1.33:1 full screen format. For being over 30-years-old, these episodes looked surprisingly good. Sure, the colors have faded a bit here and there, but generally the picture looks quite good and watchable. There were many outdoor on-location shots, which look pretty bright and colorful. Outdoor scenes shot at night look much granier. As the show was shot on film, there is a bit of dust and debris in some spots. Some of the discs have 5 episodes on them, which is pushing the storage limit, but I didn't notice any compression issues. The episodes appear to be unedited, running about 48-50 minutes in length. They also include the original preview trailers at the start of the episodes. There is no special closing logo, just one for Sony.

The audio is a Dolby Digital Mono track. I didn't notice any major problems as I scanned through the episodes. The volume is at a good level and there isn't much hiss, and the dialogue is easy to understand. I love Morton Steven's opening theme music, and the score in the episodes is quite good, also. A very 70's vibe to it! Closed captioning is available for all of the episodes.

The episodes are presented in their original broadcast order. Here is the breakdown by disc and the running times:

Disc 1
Pilot Episode - The Gamble (aired on "Policy Story") (50:45)
1. The End Game (49:20)
2. The Beautiful Die Young (49:20)
3. Warning To All Wives (49:19)

Disc 2
4. Seven Eleven (49:20)
5. Anatomy of Two Rapes (49:21)
6. It's Only a Game (49:22)
7. Fish (49:22)
8. Flowers of Evil (47:52)

Disc 3
9. The Stalking of Joey Marr (50:07)
10. Requiem For a Bored Wife (50:17)
11. Smack (50:21)
12. The Cradle Robbers (50:20)
13. Shoefly Days (50:20)

Disc 4
14. Target Black (50:20)
15. Sidewinder (50:24)
16. Blast (50:24)
17. No Place to Hide (50:22)
18. Nothing Left to Lose (50:23)

Disc 5
19. The Company (50:23)
20. Ice (49:51)
21. Bloody Nose (50:22)
22. The Loner (50:25)

Special Features:

Sony doesn't always include special features for their classic television series, but there are some included on here. There is the pilot episode and 7 audio commentaries from cast members Angie Dickinson and Earl Holliman.

Pilot Episode - The Gamble - This aired on a episode of "Police Story" on March 26th, 1974. It featured Angie Dickinson, Bert Convy, Ed Bernard, and Charles Dierkop. Bert Convy played the role of the commanding officer, and Angie's character's name was Lisa Beaumont in this episode. This was the final episode of "Police Story."

Commentary on "The Gamble" Featuring Angie Dickinson - She talks about her character's name change, Bert Convy, guest stars, and the shooting of night scenes. She discusses why she changed her mind and wanted to do the seires. Earl Holliman wasn't in the pilot episode.

Commentary on "The End Game" Featuring Angie Dickinson - This was the first episode that was aired on NBC, but it wasn't the first episode they shot. She talks about the casting of Earl Holliman, the guest stars, her hairstyles and clothing, and her search for a signature cap and catch phrase.

Commentary of "Warning to All Wives" Featuring Angie Dickinson and Earl Holliman - This was the first episode they shot. They talk a bit about the guest stars including William Katt, have a debate about Mark Harmon, and talk about decorating Pepper's apartment.

Commentary on "Anatomy of Two Rapes" Featuring Angie Dickinson and Earl Holliman - They talk a bit about the guest stars like Pat Morita and Hal Williams and the on-location shooting.

Commentary on "Flowers of Evil" Featuring Angie Dickinson and Earl Holliman - This was the only episode which was never repeated by NBC. It had a lesbian theme and was a bit controversial. They give their observations about the episode and talk a little bit about the directors.

Commentary on "Smack" Featuring Angie Dickinson and Earl Holliman - They talk a little bit about the guest stars, which included Smokey Robinson, Barry Livingston, and William Shatner.

Commentary on "Ice" Featuring Angie Dickinson and Earl Holliman - They laugh a lot in this commentary, as this episode had some light comedy. They also talk a bit about how they ad-libbed lines.

Overall, I found the commentaries interesting to listen to, and they added to my enjoyment in watching the episodes. They were a bit repetetive in parts, and there is some dead air in them. Their memories aren't always great at recalling names, but I would imagine it would be very difficult after 30 years and having worked with so many different people. I was surprised at the amount of very specific details they were able to remember. It might have been better to have maybe fewer commentaries and have some on-camera interviews with them instead. They still are good friends and their on-screen chemistry was clear.

Earl Holliman mentioned an outtake in a few of the commentaries, and Sony originally said that this set would include a Blooper Reel. Unfortunately, that is nowhere to be found on this set. Maybe they are saving it for a future season release.

The obligatory Sony Previews are included for Classic TV Comedy, Contemporary TV, I Dream of Jeannie, TV Action Favorites, Bewitched TV, The Partridge Family, and '80s Hits.

Final Comments:

It's no wonder Angie Dickinson placed third in TV Guide's 2002 survey of the "50 Sexiest TV Stars of All Time." Just like Angie, this set is well put together. She was clearly the star of the show, but I thought maybe the packaging could have featured the other cast members a bit more. The commentaries were fun and interesting, but I would have liked to see some on-camera interviews or a roundtable discussion with the cast. The show wasn't as dated as I thought it would be. The only things that really appear dated are the clothes, hairstyles, and music. Angie and Earl Holliman had great chemistry together. This series hasn't really appeared in syndication often in recent years, so this is a great opportunity to see some of the episodes. Hopefully Sony will release Seasons 2-4 of Police Woman and maybe Police Story in the future. Where are all the great cop shows of the 70's on DVD? These are long overdue releases.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)

Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 2.5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5

-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 03/09/06

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