Monday, 28 November 2016
547 Chicago Story
First viewed : Summer 1982
This one-season US drama has been forgotten but I thought it was quite good . Influenced by Hill Street Blues, the idea was to look at an event from three different perspectives so that you had a medical drama, a legal series and a cop show all in one. To do this idea justice, the producers decided they had to break out of the 50 minute straitjacket and presented the networks with 90 minute episodes. They gave it a shot but couldn't make it work and edited down the remaining episodes to fit the normal schedules.
That was the series's undoing and only fourteen episodes were made but it was a pity. Bond girl Maud Adams played the main medical character while the lawyers were a love triangle with Vincent Baggetta ( risen again from Eddie Capra ) as defence man Lou Pellegrino and Craig T Nelson as prosecutor Ken Dutton, vying for the lovely Megan ( Molly Cheek ). Dennis Franz was the most memorable of the cops.
The two episodes I recall best are the one where Maud had to cope with an outbreak of bubonic plague and a thoughtful one where Lou has a professional crisis after a killer he got off strikes again and fails to defend a rape suspect properly. Ken recognises the man isn't guilty and generously finds Lou a missing witness. Whether that would ever happen in real life is highly debatable but it certainly created a tremendous warmth towards both characters.
While Nelson became a prominent character actor, poor Vince didn't get another crack at stardom and, apart from a short run as a minor character in The Colbys , he was reduced to guest roles. Even those had dried up by the mid-90s.