Every 15 seconds in the United States somebody runs away from a troubled situation. There were more than 2 million such cases reported to police in 1976. That statistic alone was enough to launch a pilot series titled "Operation Runaway," which NBC aired in April 1978, a two-hour drama, followed by one-hour episodes the next three weeks. Robert Reed was cast in the starring role of an ex-cop turned psychologist who specializes in finding runaways in this Quinn Martin production.
Recaps2x1: Dark Side of the Road recap
: "The Runaways," a drama series, premiered on Tuesday June 29, 1979.
Alan Feinstein stars as a clinical psychologist and former police officer Steve Arizzio who specializes in searching for and helping young runaways understand and cope with their serious social and emotional problems.
Each week the series presents youthful guest stars as the runaways. Youngsters who break away and run for a variety of reasons; seeking adventure, escaping from intolerable home conditions or the thoughtless cruelty of their peers.
In the premiere episode, "Dark Side of the Road," Susan Myers guest stars as a seventeen year-old working hard to overcome kleptomania.
In an effort to start anew she transfers to a different school but is "set-up" as a thief by a classmate. The humiliation and false accusations as well as her classmates' knowledge of her illness triggers the girl to run from the situation.
Audrey Landers also guests as Verna, a "street wise" teenager who convinces the fleeing girl to accompany her on the road to the "good life."
They are picked up in a nearby state and imprisoned at the county work farm, run by a sheriff intent on swelling the rolls of his prison to rake off a profit. Hired by Vicky's parents to find her, Arizzio must outsmart the venal sheriff and stage a rescue.
There are four regular supporting characters: James Callahan, a police detective who was Steve's partner when they worked the Juvenile Detail; Karen Machon, the head of a student counselling and employment office; and Steve's two wards and aides, played by Michael Biehn and Patti Cohoon, teenage ex-runaways... read more.