Synopsis by Hal Erickson
The incredibly durable cop show Z Cars (pronounced "Zed Cars") was one of the great guilty pleasures of British television -- a program which everyone watched, but no one would admit to watching. Created by Troy Kennedy Martin, the series focused on a "typical" crime-ridden Liverpool police precinct. The cars driven by the law-enforcement officers were all Ford Zephyrs, hence the series' title. Understandably, there was a huge cast turnover during the series' 16 years on the air, with some of the original regulars leaving early on to star in the spin-off show Softly Softly. Debuting in a weekly 25-minute slot in 1962, Z Cars had expanded to 50 minutes weekly by the time its run ended in 1978; 667 episodes were filmed in all -- an astronomical figure by anybody's standards, even American television.