Another Zeitgeist show. Very lauded at the time for getting away from the Jack Webb Dragnet/Adam 12 model of TV cop shows. Known for being "real" and "gritty." The first great Bochco show, and the show where I learned to hate producers putting their wives in the show. It's especially unfortunate when the wife then plays the most annoying character on the whole show. Faye Furillo could give a certain Whining Welshman a run for his money in terms of my wanting her off the screen.
I think I started watching around the middle of the second season, when the show was really The Show that people talked about. It may have been right after Daniel J. Travanti appeared on Saturday Night Live, including a Hill Street sketch, which goofed on the running gag of Frank and Joyce being in bed together and getting interrupted by his pager.
Got hooked. OF COURSE. I think this may have been one of the first shows I "meta'd" I had deep thinky thoughts about how Frank Furillo was a humanitarian, who wanted to do the right thing but Henry Goldblume was a humanist, who genuinely suffered for people.
I named a stuffed panda after Henry Goldblum. I proto-shipped all the "official" partner-ships, Hill & Renko, Lucy and Joe, JD & Washington. I think was less enamoured of the "breakaway" character of Belker, and I certainly had a crush on Frank Furillo and a super-duper crush on JD LaRue. JD was probably the character I was most fascinated by, because of his alcoholism. Esterhaus and Grace squicked me out a little. (Age-ism at its finest. I was 17 at the time. Weird, I would have thought I was younger.)
I did love Henry, until he grow the mustache, and I even managed to like Faye when they were together, and I think that's first ship of mine that actually got sunk.
Memories: JD walking into an AA meeting and saying "I'm John and I guess I'm an alcoholic," and Frank turning around and saying, "Hello John, welcome." JD being super skeevy with a Catholic school girl played by a a young Ally Sheedy who then managed to skeeve him out in return. Washington in that same episode, saying "I've got three words for you: Statu-tory Rape," which I found absolutely hilarious at the time. Henry and Faye sort of getting together while she was hugely pregnant. Not liking Ray very much. HATING Howard Hunter, but still being devastated and shocked when I thought he'd killed himself.
I can still vividly remember, literally running to phone to call BFF Jen and we were both SCREAMING, "OH MY GOD, HOWARD HUNTER JUST BLEW HIS BRAINS OUT!!!!"
Of course he'd done nothing of the sort, thanks to someone conveniently swapping out the bullets for blanks. Now we KNOW from Jon Eric Hexum that he still would have done serious if now lethal damage to himself by shooting into his temple at point blank range, but the point is that he wasn't dead. Howard Hunter is why I never believe that any main character is REALLY going to die. Yes, James Wilson, I am looking at you.
That theme music! How much do we miss TV shows with Mike Post theme songs?
Trinidad Silva as Jesus Martinez. He was always hilarious.
Frank and Joyce cracking up after they caught Faye at a hotel with a judge played by Donnelly Rhodes who was a major "Hey it's that guy" actor in the 80's.
Belker calling people "dirt bag," thereby paving the way for the language that would show up a few years later in NYPD Blue.
Dennis Franz scaring the hell out of me as Benedetto. By the time they brought him back as Buntz, I'd lost interest. I think I must have stopped watching by 86, because I don't remember watching or wanting to watch by the time I got to California. It also lost a lot when Michael Conrad died.
A lot of lasting impressions. When I see Joe Spano as Fornell on NCIS, I'm still seeing a little bit of Hill Street.