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This article is about the television series. For San Francisco thoroughfares, see List of streets in San Francisco.

The Streets of San Francisco is a 1970s television police drama filmed on location in San Francisco, Californiamarker, USAmarker, and produced by Quinn Martin Productions, with the first season produced in association with Warner Bros. Television (QM produced the show on its own for the remainder of its run), where it starred Karl Malden and Michael Douglas who were both detectives in the Bay Areamarker. The show ran for five seasons, between September 16, 1972 and June 9, 1977 on ABC, amassing a total of 120 60-minute episodes. The series started with a pilot movie of the same title (based on the detective novel Poor, Poor Ophelia by Carolyn Weston) earlier in 1972.

The Series


The Streets of San Francisco debuted on ABC on Saturday, September 16, 1972, at 9 p.m. Eastern, competing against two popular CBS sitcoms, The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Bob Newhart Show. Another critically acclaimed crime drama, The Rookies, debuted just five days before Streets; it was also seen on ABC. After Streets gained attention on Friday nights during the first season, the show was moved to Thursday, where it stayed for the remainder of the run, beginning with the second season, competing against other successful 1970s crime dramas, in different timeslots.


The show revolved around two police officers who investigated homicides in San Francisco. The centre of the series was a veteran cop and widower, Lt Mike Stone (Karl Malden), who had more than twenty years of police experience and was now assigned to the Homicide Detail of SFPD's Bureau of Inspectors (ex: Detective Division). He was partnered with a young, plainclothes detective and energetic partner, Assistant Inspector Steve Keller (Michael Douglas), a college graduate, age twenty-eight, who had no experience in the police force. Stone would become a second father to Keller as he learned the rigors and procedures of detective work. Eventually, Keller was promoted to full inspector. As the series went on, Douglas became a star in his own right. Mike's daughter, Jeannie Stone (Darleen Carr), made occasional appearances.

After the second episode of the fifth and final season, Douglas left the show after successfully producing the film One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, which won the Academy Award for Best Film for 1975. He in turn would also establish a film career. His character's absence was explained by having him take a teaching position at a local college, while Lt. Stone was partnered with another detective, Insp. Dan Robbins, played by Richard Hatch, who had started his career on the ABC soap All My Children and would later go on to Battlestar: Galactica. The change was not popular with audiences, and the show ended in 1977, due to low ratings. Also in 1977, writer James J. Sweeney won an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for his teleplay for the season four episode "Requiem for Murder".

Guest stars

Many actors guest-starred on the show; some were relatively unknown at the time and became successful stars in their own feature films or television series. Guest stars included: Leslie Nielsen, James Woods, Nick Nolte, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Pat Conway, Patty Duke, Richard Eastham, Don Keefer, Flip Mark, John Ritter, Robert Wagner, Rick Nelson, Wayne Maunder, Dick Van Patten, Mark Hamill, Stefanie Powers, Martin Sheen, Tom Bosley, Tom Selleck, Larry Hagman, Bill Bixby, Norman Fell, Anthony Geary, Beverly Washburn, Michael Constantine, and Meredith Baxter, among many others. Even Michael Douglas' own mother, Diana Douglas, guest-starred in a season two episode, "Chapel of the Damned". Character actor Robert F. Simon appeared eight times as Captain Rudy Olsen. Gary Vinson appeared toward the end of his career.

TV movie

An NBC TV movie, Back to the Streets of San Francisco, aired in early 1992. Karl Malden returned as Mike Stone, now promoted to Captain of Inspectors. The plot involved Stone investigating the murder of his former long-time partner Keller while also investigating a different brutal murder. He also must decide which of two inspectors should be recommended for the position of Lieutenant. Actress Debrah Farentino and Actor Conor O’Farrell played the two inspectors.

Series revival

In July 2008, it was reported that CBS, whose sister company owns the rights to The Streets of San Francisco, had commissioned a pilot script for a new version of the series. Sheldon Turner (The Longest Yard) and Robert Port (Numb3rs) are penning the script, with Simon West on board to direct the potential pilot.

DVD releases

CBS Home Entertainment (distributed by Paramount) has released the complete first and second seasons of The Streets of San Francisco on DVD in Region 1. The first and second season were released in Region 2 by August 2009.

DVD Name Ep # Release Date

Season 1- Volume 1 15 2007 April 10
Season 1- Volume 2 13 2007 September 25
Season 2- Volume 1 11 2008 July 1
Season 2- Volume 2 12 2008 November 11


DVD Name Ep # Release Date

Season 1 15 2008 August 18


  1. The Streets of San Francisco: CBS Wants to Revive Popular Cop Show
  2. [1]

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