"The Blue Knight" — not the William Holden one — turns up as a pilot for George Kennedy. Kennedy, who won fame and an Oscar for "Cool Hand Luke," gets to play the Bumper Morgan role (as opposed to Holden's version) as a rougher lawman. He's a beat man whose imposing — and slightly paunchy — appearance enables him to restore order without violence (that alone will win votes with the protestors). He breaks up a neighborhood drug ring.
THIS PRODUCTION is from producer John ("Apple's Way") Furia Jr. and Lorimar ("The Waltons") Productions. It is a fine example of how sharp writing (by Albert Rubin), keenly sensitive acting and perceptive direction (by J. Lee Thompson) can result in a fascinating cops v. robbers show without blood and gore.
George Kennedy is imposing, paunchy but strong, as Bumper Morgan, the cop who has won respect, admiration, and sometimes even love as a father figure from the people on his beat.
This is a pilot film that spawned into a "Blue Knight" series. A policeman is killed at the very beginning — to give the plot and Bumper the required motivation — but we don't see it because Bumper is so upset he gets his fishtailing cruiser all fouled up in traffic and is late getting to the scene. From then on, the interest lies in Bumper's outwitting the street-people as well as the foot-dragging bureaucrats within police headquarters.