Synopsis by Paul Brenner
Joseph Wambaugh's best-seller about patrol-car cops in urban Los Angeles is given a competent yet antiseptic treatment by director Richard Fleischer. The film has a bad-tasting us-versus-them mentality in its depiction of patrolmen-civilian interaction, and its hopeless atmosphere carries over into the bleak suicide of one of the principle characters. But behind its rancid veneer, the story is the old "B"-movie police story concerning a rookie cop being shown the ropes by a kindly and wizened old veteran. Roy (Stacy Keach) is the young patrolman introduced into the ways of Los Angeles street life by Kilvinsky (George C. Scott), the philosophical old pro. Kilvinsky is just short of retirement and wants to educate Roy to succeed him when he leaves. Roy, however, is on the edge because of a recent divorce, and it takes many speeches by Kilvinsky and the love and affection from his new black girlfriend Lorrie (Rosalind Cash) to keep from going over the deep end.
mentor, police, retirement, rookie, suicide, marital-problems