Nov 30, 2012

Adam-12: Cops Bonding Before Chips

In 1975, Martin Milner (right) and Kent McCord (left), Officers Malloy and Reed on Adam-12 (1968-75) came to Rock Island to speak on the importance of staying in school. My friends and I were star-struck by the two celebrities, but we found their message somewhat square.

No wonder.  Adam-12 was the product of Jack Webb's Mark VII productions, kin to super-square Dragnet, so as the patrol cops cruised around Los Angeles, nabbing shoplifters, burglars, drug addicts, and various troubled kids, they preached a message of conformity: keeping your hair short, doing your homework, avoiding motorcycles, rock music, and the wrong crowd, and above all, finding the One.  The ongoing plot arc involved Officer Reed getting married and having a baby.



Beefcake was minimal.  This was not the L.A. of Chips; apparently there was no beach, and the cops were rarely off duty.  But Kent McCord (left) was cute, and there were a number of cute teen guest stars, including Barry Williams, Craig Hundley, Mark Harmon, and David Cassidy.












And it was always thrilling to see the closing clip of a beefy, sweating hand chiseling the Mark VII logo -- a glimpse of beefcake potential, like the opening of Mission: Impossible.





But there was ample gay-vague content. Martin Milner often imbued his characters with unstated homoerotic desire, as in the subtext-heavy (and   revealing swimsuit-heavy) Route 66.  

His Officer Malloy was the seasoned cop who, at first, wasn't entirely happy at the prospect of being saddled with the rookie Reed.  But as they patroled the well-scrubbed, semi-mean streets of L.A., he developed an affection for the young officer that can easily be read as unstated desire.






Malloy seems uncomfortable during the endless discussions of Reed's marriage, his wife's pregnancy, and various baby problems.  Is he recognizing the emptiness of his own single life?  Or is he jealous that Reed loves someone else?












Malloy gets girlfriends of his own twice during the series, but is he actually interested in them, or is he trying to follow his own rule: don't make waves, conform, obey the Tripods?