Hill Street Blues is a police drama that aired on NBC from 1981 through 1987, running for a total of 146 episodes over the course of seven seasons. Created by Steven Bochco and Micahel Kozoll, the show starred Daniel J. Travanti (Captain Frank Furillo), Bruce Weitz (Detective Mick Belker), and Betty Thomas (Officer Lucille Bates), along with several others.
Hill Street Blues was known for its use of complex, intertwined story lines to tackle both the personal and work-related conflicts of its characters. Thematically, many of the plot lines throughout the series focused on the struggle between doing what is right and “what works” in the face of an obstacle. Another unique aspect of the show is its setting; Hill Street Blues is known for being set in an unnamed American city, though many have claimed that the show, while filmed in Los Angeles, is meant to depict the city of Chicago.
Hill Street Blues received a great deal of critical acclaim, despite its relatively low ratings. The program is said to have influenced the innovative techniques of American television today—particularly regarding the use of handheld cameras, a diverse ensemble cast, and many overlapping story arcs. Hill Street Blues was nominated for a total of 98 Emmys throughout its run, a number only surpassed in recent years by The West Wing. Additionally, the series received an Edgar Award, Directors Guild of America Award, Writers Guild of America Award, and countless rankings from prominent magazines such as TV Guide.