Hill Street Blues was a classic show back in the day that had a real cult following and was very popular. It was set in a fictional police station in Hill Street, in an unnamed US city.
The show featured some fantastic characters who grew and developed throughout the show’s 7 seasons, and the actors who played them generally did a fantastic job.
Join us as we look back at some facts about Hill Street Blues that you probably didn’t know….
1. It’s regarded as a hallmark in American TV
The show introduced some things that we really take for granted now, but were ground breaking and well ahead of its time when filmed back in the 80s. Long-shots, hand-held shots and ongoing story lines that would grow and evolve were almost unheard of, especially in such a big production so it paved the way for many others to come!
2. It had the financial backing of its producers
The show was not cheap to produce, especially for the time, and certainly didn’t have the kind of bidget you hear mentioned for things like Game of Thrones now. However, it was the first show ever to receive a million dollars for the production of a single episode – was it worth the money?
3. The theme tune was popular in its own right
This was yet another show with a recognisable and classic theme tune to go along with the show. The theme tune won a Grammy award and became a hit in its own right – what are your thoughts on the classic tune?
4. Michael Conrad wrote how his character was killed off!
Upon his death in real life, Michael Conrad’s character, Sgt. Phil Esterhaus, had to be written out, and Conrad requested before his death that the character was revealed to have died from a heart attack whilst having sex with Grace Gardner, and this was incorporated in to the show as per his request!
5. The producers backed the show, even when the audience didn’t
Hill Street Blues was the lowest-rated TV series ever to be brought back for a second season, as its producers believed in the show, so continued to finance the production. The second season had less episodes as a result, but its fortunes turned round and it became the hit we remember today!
6. It could originally have looked very different
An initial idea was for the film to have been shot on 16mm and to be shot in black and white. This would have resulted in a very different look for the show and it certainly would have felt different as a result!
7. It also nearly had a different name
The show was initially set to be called “Hill Street Station” rather than “Hill Street Blues”. We don’t know about you, but we think the title they went with is far catchier and punchier and we’re glad they made the decision they did.
8. Game of Thrones has taken inspiration from the show!
Many programs have taken inspiration from the show, as it was the first drama that wasn’t a Soap Opera that involved story arcs and ongoing story lines that would develop and be revisited as the show went on. Many shows have taken this inspiration since then, including the awesome Game of Thrones!
9. It tried to break boundaries with what it dealt with in subject matter
Hill Street Blues didn’t shy away from story lines that were nothing if not controversial. In one particular case in point, 35 year old cop, J.D Larue starts to form a relationship with a 16 year old Catholic school girl played by Ally Sheedy. In the end the cop turned her down when she showed that she reciprocated the feelings, but it still pushed the boundaries and probably wouldn’t get made today!
10. The director almost had a different career – in England!
The director of Hill Street Blues, Gregory Hoblit, had a trial at English football team Dagenham and Redbridge when he was a young man! He was declined a position at the club, which is probably for the best for fans of Hill Street Blues!
Has this made you want to revisit Hill Street Station and your favourite characters and story lines? What are your memories of the show? Let us know all your thoughts in the comments as always!