A bald police detective with a firey righteous attitude battles crime in his city. Lt. Theo Kojak is a tough cop, but his trademark is a fondness for lollipops. Despite his difficult work, he tirelessly brings criminals to justice while staying upbeat and good-natured.
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Season 1 Ep.1: Siege of Terror
A robbery of armored car guards morphs into a deadly hostage standoff, with bulldog Lt. Theo Kojak as the negotiator. Half the Talaba Brothers gang escapes with the cash, but when the other half is cornered, they invade a surplus store, crammed with guns and ammo. The robbers also have bargaining chips: the 5 people in the building, plus a badly wounded patrolman, who dove in the store to warn of the incoming robbers. While young Detective Bobby Crocker pursues the thieves who got away, his boss at Manhattan South, the dapper, bald Kojak smooth-talks Jerry Talaba to get the hostages out. Hothead Talaba demands a crewed, fueled 707 at JFK, or he’ll start killing the hostages, then toss them out before the TV cameras and hundreds of spectators – one by one.
Kojak is an American television series starring Telly Savalas as the title character, bald New York City Police Department Detective Lieutenant Theo Kojak. It aired from October 24, 1973, to March 18, 1978, on CBS. It took the time slot of the popular Cannon series, which was moved one hour earlier. Kojak’s Greek American heritage, shared by actor Savalas, was prominently featured in the series. In 1999 TV Guide ranked Theo Kojak number 18 on its 50 Greatest TV Characters of All Time list. The series was set in the New York City Police Department’s Eleventh Precinct (the building shown was actually Ninth Precinct), Manhattan South Patrol Borough. The show revolved around the efforts of the tough and incorruptible Lieutenant Theodopoulos (“Theo”) Kojak (Telly Savalas), a bald, dapper, New York City policeman, who was fond of lollipops and using the catchphrase, “Who loves ya, baby?” Kojak was stubborn and tenacious in his investigation of crimes – and also displayed a dark, cynical wit, along with a tendency to bend the rules if it brought a criminal to justice. Savalas described Kojak as a “basically honest character, tough but with feelings — the kind of guy who might kick a hooker in the tail if he had to, but they’d understand each other because maybe they grew up on the same kind of block.” In the early episodes of the series, Kojak is often seen smoking thin, brown More-brand cigarettes. Following the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report on smoking, cigarette commercials were banned from American television in 1971, and trying to quit smoking became common in the 1970′s… To cut down on his own habit, Kojak (and quite possibly Savalas himself) began using lollipops as a substitute. The lollipop made its debut in the Season 1 episode “Dark Sunday”, broadcast on December 12, 1973: Kojak lights a cigarette as he begins questioning a witness, but thinks better of it and sticks a lollipop (specifically, a Tootsie Pop) in his mouth instead. Later in the episode, Kevin Dobson’s character Crocker asks about the lollipop and Kojak replies, “I’m trying to bridge the generation gap.” Lollipops became a trademark of the character, but contrary to popular belief they were only a partial substitute for cigarettes and Kojak did not quit smoking.
Cast and Crew:
Creator: Abby Mann
Telly Savalas, Dan Frazer and Kevin Dobson
Original Air Date: 1973
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