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Lady Blue: When Chicago Hosted The Most Violent Show On Television

"A detective and action-adventure television series, Lady Blue revolves around Chicago investigator Katy Mahoney (Jamie Rose), her violent means of dealing with criminals and tension with her co-workers," according to Wikipedia.

"She works in the Violent Crimes Division of the Chicago Police Department. The New York Observer's Bryan Reesman described Mahoney as "the fiery red head" with a "trigger happy" personality and "violent excesses."

"She frequently uses a .357 Magnum (which John J. O'Connor of The New York Times called "a grotesque extension of her right arm"), and was introduced as capable of "read[ing] a crime in progress like most guys read the sports page."

The opening is priceless:


"The supporting cast includes Danny Aiello, Ron Dean, Diane Dorsey, Bruce A. Young, Nan Woods, and Ricardo Gutierrez. Johnny Depp also guest-starred on the series in one of his earliest roles.

"Television critics noted Lady Blue's emphasis on violence, calling Mahoney 'Dirty Harriet' (after Clint Eastwood's character Dirty Harry). Rose said that she joined the project after being drawn to its genre. She prepared for the role by watching Eastwood's films, received advice from Eastwood on how to handle a gun, and practiced at a shooting range.

"After the pilot aired, Lady Blue was criticized by several watchdog organizations (particularly the National Coalition on Television Violence) as the most violent show on television. ABC moved the series between several time slots before cancelling it in 1986, partially due to the complaints about excessive violence.

"Critical reception to the series was primarily negative during its run, but television studies author Cary O'Dell questions whether that stemmed from contemporary sexism. Lady Blue has not been released on DVD, Blu-ray, or an online streaming service. The series' rights are owned by Metro-Goldwyn Mayer, but there are no plans for future home releases."



"Mahoney's reliance on violence is emphasized in the opening scene of the pilot; she sees a bank robbery while she is in a beauty parlor, shoots and kills three of the perpetrators, and returns to the salon for a pedicure.

"Jon Anderson of the Chicago Tribune described her as "somewhat like Quick Draw McGraw with touches of John Wayne and Clint Eastwood."

"Mahoney and other characters refer to the number of excessive-force complaints filed against her during the series,[5] and she often has difficulties with Internal Affairs."

"Tom Shales of the Washington Post described the show's tone as "baldly campy [and] ultra-violent."


There were 13 episodes, including "While infiltrating a terrorist organization, Mahoney discovers that their main objective is to dismantle Chicago's political system" and "Mahoney is injected with a hallucinogen during an encounter with a drug dealer, and wanders around the city having strange visions."


From Observer:

One memorable episode of Lady Blue, "Death Valley Day," was partially filmed in Chicago's notorious Cabrini-Green projects. Mahoney was trying to bring down a fearsome gang leader named Alvin Banger who ruled a housing project known as "The Heights," and from my recollection, the hulking villain pursued on her foot in the climactic showdown. She did not have her gun and knew he was big enough to kill her with his bare hands. It showed a vulnerable and human side to a cop who seemed larger than life on the small screen.

It turns out that filming that particular episode was no picnic either. "We were shooting in Cabrini-Green and had been there all day, and the people who lived there started getting restless and tired of us," reveals Rose. "They started throwing bottles while we were shooting, and the police finally said 'Go!' We had to run because people were getting kind of violent and sick of us being there."


Here's Johnny Depp guest-starring, in German for some reason:


Here's the 90-minute pilot:

YouTube comment from GreenEyd Girl: 'I saw an episode being filmed in Stickney at Mt. Auburn cemetery . . . they buried a Lincoln Continental, it was super cool!'


Comments welcome.


Posted on November 27, 2018

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