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Friday, 22 February 2008 08:02

Building a legal reputation and a dream house ...


USA - 1974-6 - 47 episodes (60 mins) - colour

Although the series had sprung from the successful 1974 television movie, "Night Games", Barry Newman had first played the role of Anthony Petrocelli five years earlier in the Sidney J Furie directed film, "The Lawyer", based on the infamous Sam Sheppard murder trial which, in part, had inspired the long-running The Fugitive.

Harvard-educated, the Italian-American Petrocelli left the big-city rat race and headed west with his wife, Maggie, to start a law practice in the Arizona town of San Remo. Travelling around in a beaten-up old pickup truck and living in a trailer while he built his own house, one brick at a time, he found no end of murder suspects to defend. If they couldn’t afford to pay for his services, at least he earned the acceptance of the local townsfolk.

What made the show different from its contemporaries was each episode allowed the audience to see the crime from the different witnesses’ perspectives, a ploy that has recently been revived and developed by the LA-based drama Boomtown. Aided by Pete Ritter, an ex-cop and cowboy turned investigator, and the local police officer, John Ponce, Petrocelli had to decide which version of events was the truth.

Petrocelli ran for two years, unfortunately finding itself scheduled opposite Starsky and Hutch in its second season. The writer, producer and director, Leonard Katzman would take actress Susan Howard on to his next series, to play Donna Krebbs in Dallas.


Barry Newman as Tony Petrocelli
Susan Howard as Maggie Petrocelli
Albert Salmi as Pete Ritter
David Huddleston as John Ponce
Michael Bell as Assistant DA Frank Kaiser


Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37