TV Cop Trivia: Past & Present, Part 2

May 31, 2019

Without further ado, folks, here are the answers! To see the original trivia article with the questions, click here. 

#1. Columbo’s first name was never revealed during the show’s run. However, when he displayed his police ID in one scene (“Dead Weight” Season 1, Episode 3) that aired in 1971 his signature briefly appeared on the ID card: Frank Columbo.   

#2. Both the official SFPD and TV rank for the plainclothes officers was Inspector. Nash was later promoted to captain and Joe Dominguez to lieutenant.

#3. Joe Friday was a sergeant. He was promoted to lieutenant for one season, 1958 – 59. But in 1967, when the show returned, he was back to sergeant with no explanation.

#4. 714.  Joe’s badge number stayed the same even after he was promoted to lieutenant in 1958 – 59. 

#5.  Officer Jim Reed was played by Kent McCord.

#6.  Officer Pete Malloy was played by Martin Milner.

#7.  Ponch and Jon’s call signs were 7-Mary-3 and 7-Mary-4.

#8. Theodore “Theo” Kojak was a lieutenant.

#9. The “NYPD Blue” detective squad worked out of 15th Precinct.

#10. Jamie and Eddie worked out of the 12th Precinct.

#11. Presently, there are 77 numbered precincts in NYC. Although precincts do close from time to time, the last official precinct listing from the NYPD is as follows:

1 – 34 in Manhattan;

40 – 52 in The Bronx;

60 – 94 in Brooklyn;

100 – 115 in Queens; and

120 – 123 in Staten Island.

Some precincts do not have numbers (i.e., Midtown South, Midtown North and the Central Park Precinct) and not all precinct numbers run consecutively.

#12. “Car 54” was based out of the fictionalized 53rd Precinct. It ran for two seasons (1961 – 63). The series was shot in black and white; and the prop cars (three Plymouth Savoy sedans, a Dodge Dart, and a Plymouth Fury) were painted red which according to the producers looked better on b/w film.

#13.     There have been six variations of Law & Order.  Law & Order; Law & Order: Special Victims Unit; Law & Order: Criminal Intent; and three short-lived versions, Law & Order: Trial by Jury; Law & Order: Los Angeles; and Law & Order: True Crime

#14.     Blue Blood’s” Abby Baker is a detective 2nd grade.

#15.     Kojak’s favorite line was, “Who loves ya, baby?”

#16.     Joe Friday’s first TV partner was Officer Frank Smith played by actor Ben Alexander.

#17.     Sipowicz’s first partner was Detective John Kelly played by actor David Caruso.

#18.     Starsky and Hutch’s boss was Captain Harold Dobey played by actor Bernie Hamilton.

#19.     Dave Starsky’s ride was a red and white 1975 Ford Gran Torino, radio call sign Zebra-3 (with an automatic transmission) to which the producers added “stick shift” sounds. During the series, model years 1974 – 76 were used. The inspiration for Starsky’s car was real-life NYPD detective Lou Telano’s bright red Ford Gran Torino with white accent stripes.

#20. SFPD Detective Lieutenant Mike Stone was Mike Douglas’ boss.

#21. LAPD Detective Sergeant Joseph Wambaugh created “Police Story.”

#22.    Trick question. The city was never identified in “Hill Street Blues.” However, the show was filmed on location in Chicago and the police cars had a distinctive Chicago PD look about them.  The exterior shots used CPD’s Maxwell Street station house as the backdrop for the precinct building.   

#23. Sgt. Esterhaus’ end line was, “Hey, let’s be careful out there.”

#24. NYC was the backdrop for “Cagney and Lacy.”

#25. The fictional city of Sparta, Miss., was the scene for “In the Heat of the Night.”  The TV series was initially filmed on location in Hammond, La., and then moved to the cities of Conyers and Covington, Ga. The original 1967 feature movie was mostly filmed on location in and around Sparta, Ill., with portions filmed in Tennessee.

Bonus answer #26.  Sonny Crockett drove several exotic cars during the 6-year “Miami Vice” series that ran from 1984 to 1990.  His first car was a black 1972 Ferrari Daytona Spyder. Flashback episodes sometimes show him driving a black Porsche 911. But the car he was most connected with was a white 1986 Ferrari Testarossa. Testarossa means “red head” in Italian, and the red Ferrari color (rosso corso) is the most common. In fact, up to 1990, 85% of the Ferrari Testarossas were red. Today it’s less than half, but the Testarossa name actually comes from the color of the engine cam covers. The car comes in four colors: red, white, black and yellow.  The initial Testarossas given to the “Miami Vice” production team by Ferrari North America were metallic black, but the producers repainted them white after the first season (Season 3) they premiered as metallic black didn’t stand out enough in the dark city scenes. By the way, all the Ferraris driven by Johnson during the chase scenes were replicas built on Chevy Corvette chassis with Pantera bodies. Ferrari NA did provide an authentic Daytona Spyder and two Testarossas for use during non-chase scenes.    


That’s it, folks.  I hope you enjoyed the quiz. I tried to cover most of the more popular TV cop shows, past and present, but I’m sure I missed a few. Give me a shout and let me know if you enjoyed the piece. 

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