Kojak TV series


1973 - United States

Beginning life as an award winning 1973 TV Movie The Marcus-Nelson Murders (based on the true life Wylie-Hoffert case), and played with charismatic charm by long established movie actor Telly Savalas as the New York cop with a penchant for sucking lollipops, the series went for a graphic 'street level' realism which turned it into an instant top-ten hit in it's first season. 

Lt. Kojak was a tough cop with a smart mouth and wits even sharper than his top flight dress sense. Support came from George Savalas (brother of Telly), as Detective Stavros, Dan Frazer as Chief Frank McNeil, and a small team of hitherto unknown actors who were destined to become, for a while, instantly recognisable household names. The series was a global hit and even after it's five year run it was brought back in a succession of TVM's, the last being made in 1989. By this time Theo Kojak had been promoted to the rank of Inspector. 

In 1993 Savalas sued the makers of Kojak, Universal TV, for $6 million, his claimed 25 per cent of the programmes profits. He died a year later. The series elevated Savalas to the status of superstar and (unlikely) sex-symbol. In 1975 at the height of his popularity he even topped the popular music charts with a cheesy version of David Gates' song "If". However, his musical career was cut mercifully short when his next recording ("You've Lost That Loving Feeling") only just managed to creep into the top fifty at number 47, where it stayed for one week before vanishing forever. 

Kojak reclaimed the city of New York's dubious crown as 'Crime Capital of the World', from a decades long stint on the sun-drenched head of the street's of Southern California. The television viewing world loved Savalas for it. New Yorker's loved him even more.

Published on December 28th, 2018. Written by SRH for Television Heaven.

Read Next...


Spin-off from The Fenn Street Gang - Stanley Bowler is an East End villain whose social aspirations fail consistently due to his lack of ability to grasp the qualities he needs such as refinement and elegance of manner.

Also released in 1973

The Baker Street Boys

Based on a group of street urchins whom Conan Doyle recruited on behalf of Holmes to perform various missions, take messages, search London following clues and going to places where the detective himself could not.

Also released in 1973

Jack the Ripper

Two fictional detectives go off in search of clues to one of the world's greatest unsolved cases.

Also released in 1973

Lizzie Dripping

BBC children's series about a mischievous 12 year-old girl, Penelope Arbuckle, and her imaginary witch friend who only Penelope (and the TV audience) could see.

Also released in 1973

The Untouchables

Incorruptible Treasury Agent goes face-to-face with The Mob in 1930s America

Also tagged Us Police Series

Fabian of Scotland Yard

The first ever British made filmed series, shot by Trinity Productions for the BBC and consisting of 39 black and white episodes, Fabian of Scotland Yard has been described as Britain's first generation of the TV detective.

Also tagged Cops On The Box

Barnaby Jones

When Barnaby Jones' son is murdered he comes out of retirement to track down the killer...

Also released in 1973

The Fall TV series

Hard hitting and somewhat bleak drama series about a cold but passionate policewoman who goes head to head with a cold serial killer in Belfast.

Also tagged Cops On The Box

Murder One

US crime series inspired by the sensational O.J. Simpson murder trial of the mid-1990s

Also tagged Crime Series