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|Created by||Robert L. Collins|
|Music by||Morton Stevens|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||4|
|No. of episodes||91|
|Executive producer||David Gerber|
|Running time||48–50 minutes|
|Production companies||David Gerber Productions|
Columbia Pictures Television
|Distributor||Columbia Pictures Television|
Sony Pictures Television
|Original release||September 13, 1974 -|
March 29, 1978
Based on an original screenplay by Lincoln C. Hilburn, the series revolves around Sgt. "Pepper" Anderson (Dickinson), an undercover police officer working for the Criminal Conspiracy Unit of the Los Angeles Police Department. Sergeant William "Bill" Crowley (Earl Holliman) was her immediate superior, and Pete Royster (Charles Dierkop) and Joe Styles (Ed Bernard) were the other half of the undercover team that investigated everything from murders to rape and drug crimes. In many episodes, Pepper went undercover (as a prostitute, nurse, teacher, flight attendant, prison inmate, dancer, waitress, etc.) to get close enough to the suspects to gain valuable information that would lead to their arrest.
Although Dickinson's character was called Pepper, sources differ as to the legal given name of the character. Most sources give the character's legal name as Suzanne. Others give it as Leanne or Lee Ann (the latter name is mentioned by Crowley in the second-season episode "The Chasers" and by Pepper herself in the first-season episodes "Fish" and "The Stalking of Joey Marr"). The Police Story episode entitled "The Gamble", which serves as a pilot for Police Woman, gives Dickinson's character's name as "Lisa Beaumont", although her character in "The Gamble" is a new officer, whereas on "Police Woman" she is a seasoned detective sergent. On the Season 1 DVD release of Police Woman, Dickinson states that the producers and she decided not to go with the name Lisa Beaumont when the series first went into production, and came up with the name Pepper.
The series had 91 episodes, each running 44 minutes.
Among the guest stars in the series' 91 episodes were: Edie Adams, Loni Anderson, Diane Baker, Frank Bonner, Rossano Brazzi, Melendy Britt, Rory Calhoun, Dane Clark, Bob Crane, Patricia Crowley, James Darren, Ruby Dee, Sandra Dee, Danny DeVito, Elinor Donahue, Patty Duke, Geoff Edwards, Sam Elliott, Ned Glass, Audrey Landers, Rhonda Fleming, Larry Hagman, Florence Halop, Mark Harmon, Chick Hearn, Amy Irving, Bayn Johnson, Cheryl Ladd, Fernando Lamas, Barry Livingston, Ida Lupino, Carol Lynley, Ian McShane, Don Meredith, Donna Mills, Juliet Mills, Annette O'Toole, Michael Parks, E. J. Peaker, Joanna Pettet, Kathleen Quinlan, Kim Richards, Kyle Richards, Cathy Rigby, Smokey Robinson, Ruth Roman, Ricky Segall, William Shatner, Fay Spain, Michelle Stacy, Laraine Stephens, Philip Michael Thomas, Robert Vaughn, John Vernon, Patrick Wayne, Carole Wells, Adam West, Barry Williams, and Debra Winger.
"Flowers of Evil" was the eighth episode of season one; it aired on November 8, 1974. In it, Pepper investigates a trio of lesbians who run a retirement home while robbing and murdering the elderly residents. Gay and lesbian groups protested the episode, calling its portrayal of lesbianism stereotypical and negative. A group of lesbian activists zapped NBC's corporate offices a week after the episode aired, occupying the offices overnight. Following negotiations with activists, NBC agreed in 1975 not to rebroadcast the episode. "Flowers of Evil" is available on the season 1 DVD box set.
Police Woman was the first hour-long television drama starring a woman as a police officer. Dickinson received three Emmy nominations and a Golden Globe award on the show. Although the syndicated 1957 series Decoy (starring Beverly Garland) was the first American television show to focus on a female police officer, the 30-minute drama series was shortlived, lasting only a single season.
While the show made her a star, by the last season Dickinson tired of appearing in scenes "where the phone rings while I'm taking a bath. I always want to look as sexy, beautiful and luscious as I can. But I'd prefer scripts where the sensuality is pouring out naturally for the whole 60 minutes". She nonetheless did not expect the show's cancellation. Dickinson said in 2019 that she regrets having done the series, since the remuneration was inadequate and it left her with little time for other projects.
While the series never ranked above number 15 in the ratings for a given season, Police Woman hit number 1 for the week on two occasions during its first year, also hitting number 1 in several countries in which the program aired.
Police Woman influenced later shows such as Charlie's Angels, which People in 1978 described as a "three-shaker imitation". It caused an avalanche of applications for employment from women to police departments around the United States. Sociologists who have in recent years examined the inspiration for long-term female law enforcement officials to adopt this vocation have been surprised by how often Police Woman has been referenced.
|(1) 1974–1975||Friday at 10:00 pm||#15||22.8|
|(3) 1976–1977||Tuesday at 9:00 pm||#55||17.8|
|(4) 1977–1978||Wednesday at 9:00 pm||#74||15.3|
On March 7, 2006, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released season one of Police Woman on DVD in Region 1. On October 14, 2011, Shout! Factory announced that it had acquired the rights to the series in Region 1, and planned to release additional seasons on DVD. They subsequently released season two on February 7, 2012. Season three was released on December 19, 2017. Season four was released on May 8, 2018.
|DVD Name||Ep #||Release Date|
|The Complete First Season||22||March 7, 2006|
|The Complete Second Season||24||February 7, 2012|
|The Complete Third Season||24||December 19, 2017|
|The Complete Fourth Season||22||May 8, 2018|
Several episodes from the first season are available to view for free in Minisode format on Crackle. Decades Television Network is airing episodes on April 3 and 4, 2021, as part of the "Decades Binge".