RARA-AVIS: Re: Another cop turned writer

From: JIM DOHERTY (jimdohertyjr@yahoo.com)
Date: 01 Nov 2008

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    Re your comment below:

    "Edward Allan Bernero, the executive producer and showrunner for CBS's Criminal Minds, is apparently a former Chicago cop. He has written and directed several of the series' episodes, many of them among the best. BTW, Al Collins's original series of books from the show are quite good, very much like watching a long episode of the TV show."

    There are a number of former cops who became either scriptwriter or producers or both. I've already mentioned Gene Roddenberry. Here are a few more.

    Former Chicago Police Sergeant Chuck Adamson was one of the co-creators of CRIME STORY, and based many of his scripts for that show on his own experiences with CPD's Central Investigative Unit, the real-life counterpart to the show's "Major Crimes Unit." Series star Dennis Farina was a member of the same detail before giving up police work for acting. As "Charles Adamson," he wrote a biography of legendary CHicago Police Captain Frank Pape, the real-life model for Lee Marvin's character, Frank Ballinger, on M SQUAD. The book was called THE TOUGHEST COP IN AMERICA.

    Burton Armus was an NYPD detective who started out as a technical advisor on shows like KOJAK. While still an active duty officer, he sold a few scripts. After his retirement, he got into the production end. He eventually became the producer of a short-lived, syndicated revival of DRAGNET in the late '80's (not to be confused with Dick Wolf's recent effort for ABC starring Ed O'Neill), and was a line producer under Steven Bochco and David Milch during the early seasons of N.Y.P.D. BLUE.

    Another KOJAK technical advisor, Detective Sonny Grosso, was one of the "French Connection" cops. His partner, Eddie Egan, was the real-life counterpart for Gene Hackman's Jimmy Doyle in the film, while Grosso's fictional doppelganger, Buddy Russo, was played by Roy Scheider. Grosso eventually started his own production company which turned out such shows as NIGHT HEAT, BAKER'S DOZEN, SECRET SERVICE, TOP COPS, and TRUE BLUE, and TV-movies such as TRACKING THE GOODBAR KILLER, OUT OF THE DARKNESS, A QUESTION OF HONOR (based on his own non-fiction book POINT BLANK, written with Philip Rosenberg), and NY-70.

    Bill Clark, an NYPD homicide detective, started out as a technical advosor on N.Y.P.D. BLUE, and eventually started co-writing scripts and, after his retirement, taking on line producer duties on BLUE, as well as BROOKLYN SOUTH and BLIND JUSTICE.

    Rick Kelbaugh was a SWAT officer in LAPD. While on medical leave to recover from a bad injury incurred during a training, as a technical advisor on Aaron Spelling's SWAT, he eventually graduated to writing scripts on shows like POLICE STORY, MAN UNDERCOVER, TODAY'S F.B.I., JAKE AND THE FAT MAN, and WALKER - TEXAS RANGER. He was the executive story editor on T.J. HOOKER and AIRWOLF.

    Apparently, if you're a cop who wants to break nto the film business, your odds are a lot better if you work for either LAPD (which makes sense) or NYPD.



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