DVD Reviews “The FBI: The First-Seventh Seasons”

fbi-1aCast: Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Philip Abbott, Stephen Brooks, William Reynolds, Lynn Loring
Seasons 1-7
Made-To Order DVD
Distributed: Warner Archive
Rating: Not Rated

Series Score: 4 out of 5 stars

“The FBI” was a long running crime drama, which spanned from 1965-1974. It ran 240 episodes over 9 seasons. The show starts Lynn Loring, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. and Stephen Brooks. He was replaced by William Reynolds after the second season. This show is known for delivering some great up and coming and also established talent for guest appearances (see below fore more). What is also most interesting about this show is that it continued to be successful throughout it run and in fact the sixth and seventh seasons where its most popular. J. Edgar Hoover was even a series consultantfbi-1bfor this show until his death in 1972. Fans of this show should get this seasons, while they are available!

Warner Archive is responsible for giving this show a revisited life on DVD. They have been releasing each season since 2011. Season seven is the latest to come out this year and I have a feeling that they should be able to wrap up the remaining two seasons as well before the end of 2014. They are made-to-order and will not be produced forever, so I expect these to become quite rare once the eight and ninth season are released and the series is complete.d They seasons have not been fully restored by Warner Bros but they are taken from the highest quality transfer available. So these episodes might show a little age but they are still impressive on DVD.

“The FBI: The First Season Part One” Official Premise: From the files of the crime-fighting agency! Drawing in large part from actual Bureau investigations, The FBI is on the case with an exciting 4-Disc Collection of Season One’s First 16 Episodes from the fondly remembered series that ran from 1965 to 1974. Agent Lewis Erskine (Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.) and Special Agent Jim Rhodes (Stephen Brooks) rely on real-life FBI detection techniques (and the occasional hunch) as they track fbi-2alawbreakers ranging from organized crime bosses and extortionists to saboteurs and escaped convicts.

“The FBI: The First Season Part Two” Official Premise: More action-packed stories from the files of the crime-fighting agency! Drawing in large part from actual Bureau investigations, The FBI is on the case with an exciting 4-Disc Collection of Season One Episodes 17-32 from the fondly remembered series that ran from 1965 to 1974. Agent Lewis Erskine (Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.) and Special Agent Jim Rhodes (Stephen Brooks) rely on real-life FBI detection techniques (and the occasional hunch) as they track lawbreakers ranging from political assassins and smugglers to spies and terrorists bent on destroying the U.S. Supreme Court building.

Season one packed some really amazing guest stars including Robert Blake, Beau Bridges, Dabney Coleman, Robert Duvall, Jack Klugman, Leslie Neilsen, Burt Reynolds, Ed Asner, Lew Ayres, Ed Begley, Charles Bronson, Colleen Dewhurst, Arthur Hill, Paul Lukas, Kevin McCarthy and Kurt Russell.fbi-2b

“The FBI: The Second Season Part One” Offcial Premise: The Sixties were kicking into full swing as The FBI moved into its sophomore season. Agents Erskine (Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., more taciturn than ever) and Rhodes (Stephen Brooks) are dispatched to the far-flung corners of the USA by Assistant Director Ward (Philip Abbott) to tackle the big ones – kidnapping, extortion, murder, espionage and terror. Produced with full government cooperation with stories drawn from the real files of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, The FBI set a new high mark in the depiction of law enforcement on television, giving viewers TV that was equally thrilling as it was realistic.

“The FBI: The Second Season Part Two” Official Premise: The second half of The FBI’s sophomore season sees Agents Erskine ((Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.) and Rhodes (Stephen Brooks) battling threats both foreign and domestic at the behest of Assistant Director Ward (Philip Abbott). The action amps up to all-star heights in the two-part episode “The Executioners,” in which the agents take on a fractured La Cosa Nostra.

fbi-3aSeason two saw the return of Robert Blake along with Ralph Meeker, Jack Lord, Richard Anderson, Fritz Weaver, Suzanne Pleshette, Ralph Bellamy, Gene Hackman, Alejandro Rey, Louis Jourdan, Peter Graves, Jessica Walter, Bradford Dillman, Charles Grodin, William Wellman, Jr, Walter Pidgeon, Telly Savalas, Susan Strasberg, Celeste Holm and Robert Duvall.

“The FBI: The Third Season Part One” Official Premise: Shortly before the Summer of Love signaled a radical shift in popular culture, the smartly dressed agents of The FBI marshaled their talents to keep the nations safe from a myriad of menaces both foreign and domestic. Under the auspices of legendary executive producer Quinn Martin, The FBI’s third season had the craft of creating teleplays “produced with full government cooperation and based on real FBI cases” down to a science – well before today’s forensic descendants. Special guest stars playing victims and victimizers of the Cold War and the war on crime waged by Inspector Erskine (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.) and Special Agent Colby (William Reynolds).

“The FBI: The Third Season Part Two” Official Premise: They’re straight arrows, all right – and they’re fbi-3baimed right at our country’s foes. The second half of The FBI’s third season sees the nation’s enemies take a decided turn to the worst. Bank robbers, blackmailers, saboteurs, defectors, embezzlers, their victims and accomplices. Among the specific case crimes drawn from the real files of the FBI and tackled by Erskine (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.) and company in this compendium are espionage, extortion, kidnapping, murder and interstate transport. So strap on your badge and fire up the Ford.

Season three includes film noir queen Phyllis Thaxter, ’60s siren Carol Lynley, and stage and screen stalwarts Henry Silva, Kevin McCarthy, William Windom, Anne Baxter, Bradford Dillman, Lynn Bari, Fritz Weaver, Robert Walker and Suzanne Pleshette and the return of Ed Asner with Martin Sheen as a deadly pair of kidnapping brothers.

“The FBI: The Fourth Season” Official Premise: As the Summer of Love faded to the winter of our national discontent in the fall of 1968, Inspector Erskine (Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.), Special Agent Colby fbi-4(William Reynolds), and Assistant Director Ward (Philip Abbott) continue to battle the nation’s enemies, foreign and domestic. Delivering drama at the height of its powers, The FBI’s well-oiled machine of TV talent continued to draw in the star power – both the iconic and the up-and-coming.

Season four delivers appearances from golden age great Ralph Bellamy, TV superstar Chad Everett as well as include Dawn Wells, Susan Strasberg, Dorothy Provine, Cicely Tyson, Lynda Day, Gene Tierney, Dean Stockwell, Robert Duvall, Harrison Ford, James Caan, and young teenage Ron Howard.

“The FBI: The Complete Fifth Season” Official Premise: As the Sixties come to an end and a new fbi-5decade begins, it’s business as usual for Inspector Lewis Erskine (Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.) and the men and women of the FBI as they continue to protect America from enemies within, in this hard-hitting fifth season collection. Inspired by actual cases and produced with the personal support of J. Edgar Hoover, these 26 action-packed episodes find Erskine, Special Agent Tom Colby (William Reynolds) and assistant director Arthur Ward (Philip Abbott) on the hunt for murderers, kidnappers, bank robbers, hijackers, extortionists, communist spies and more.

Season five’s guest stars include now Oscar winners Robert Duvall (again) and Jeff Bridges, Hitchcock femmes Vera Miles and Laraine Day, Anne Francis, Sam Elliott, Jack fbi-6Klugman, David Cassidy, Joe Don Baker, Cicely Tyson and Harrison Ford (again).

“The FBI: The Complete Sixth Season” Official Premise: At the dawn of the Seventies the Culture War captured as much attention as the Cold War, and the storylines seen in this sixth season of The FBI (drawn from real Bureau files) reflected this. While still on the watch for saboteurs and spies acting as agents for foreign powers, the dedicated crimebusters of the Bureau, as personified by Inspector Erskine (Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.), Special Agent Colby (William Reynolds), and Assistant Director Ward (Philip Abbott) were just as likely to be tasked with tracking down psychotic Vietnam veterans or stopping college kids with a terrorist bent.

“The FBI: The Complete Seventh Season” Official Premise: As the 70s came into its own, the intrepidfbi-7 agents of the FBI saw the Cold War and the Culture War cool down, but the domestic war on crime start to come to a boil. Whether its suburban salesmen roiling with self-loathing who plan the perfect crime (Bradford Dillman) and don¹t care who they cross in the process (an ice-cold Clu Gulager), crushed lumber merchants with a fail-proof kidnap cache (John Colicos), or syndicate-raised hit-men with the heart of an angel (Martin Sheen, redeemed by Meg Foster), the intrepid professionals of the bureau, Inspector Erskine (Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.), Special Agent Colby (William Reynolds) and Assistant Director Ward (Philip Abbott) have the savvy and the science to bring them all to heel.

Season six continues the trend of great guest stars including Martin Sheen (again), Joan Van Ark, Billy Dee Williams, Robert Loggia, Bradford Dillman, Dabney Coleman, Suzanne Pleshette, and William Shatner (playing as a rogue customs officer turned drug dealer!).
Guest stars from season seven include Lindsay Wagner, Mark Hamill, Dabney Coleman, Stefanie Powers and Vic Tayback. So if you are a fan of this show, I couldn’t recommend these seasons enough.

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