4 times Kent McCord played a police officer before Adam-12

He had lots of experience before playing rookie cop Jim Reed!

Kent McCord is undoubtedly most famous for portraying Officer Jim Reed on the late-'60s/early-'70s police procedural Adam-12. But did you know that wasn’t his first time playing a cop on TV?

He began his career in small uncredited movie roles and appeared many times on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet through a real-life friendship with Ricky Nelson.

As he won more speaking roles, a pattern began to emerge.

The squared-jawed, clean-cut young actor was cast as a police officer multiple times. This led to numerous appearances on one of the most popular cop shows of the time, Dragnet, where he caught the eye of producer and star, Jack Webb. When it came time to cast the rookie officer for a new show about patrolmen, Webb knew exactly who he wanted!

Here are the four times Kent McCord played a police officer before making his mark as Officer Jim Reed on Adam-12.

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1. Run for Your Life


The first time Kent McCord played a cop on TV was in the 1960s thriller Run for Your Life. The series starred Ben Gazzara as a lawyer who finds out he has less than two years to live. McCord appeared in the season-two episode "The Assassin" as an unnamed policeman. Coincidentally, Martin Milner, the other half of the Adam-12 buddy cop duo, guest starred in a Run for Your Life episode that aired two weeks before McCord's. Milner and McCord started playing Officers Jim Reed and Pete Malloy just one year later.

2. Ironside


McCord's second police portrayal was in the very first episode of Ironside. The series followed Raymond Burr as detective Robert T. Ironside, who never lets his wheelchair stop him from solving the case. McCord had a small role as a motorcycle patrolman named Kellogg.

3. The Outsider


McCord was again credited with a job title and last name, Officer Dutton, for his third law enforcement role. It came in the TV movie The Outsider which served as the pilot for the show of the same name. Darren McGavin starred as David Ross, an ex-con turned private detective. The series only lasted one season but Kent McCord did appear on it again, in episode 12, but not as a policeman.

4. Dragnet


The most well-known instances of pre-Adam-12 Kent McCord police roles are on the 1960s Dragnet. He appeared on the series eight times, seven times before Adam-12 premiered. He is credited as “Officer Reed” in his last two appearances before starring in his own show. That leaves five other times where McCord played a cop on Dragnet without any connection to Adam-12, but who’s counting? One memorable appearance sees him play accused officer Paul Culver in the episode “The Interrogation.” It takes place almost entirely in one room as Sergeant Friday and Detective Gannon question Culver about his possible involvement in a robbery while working undercover.

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dexman335 9 months ago
I wish that MeTV would pick up the rights to air "The New Adam-12" and slot it in rotation after the series finale of "Adam-12".

I did not watch the reboot when it was in production back in 1990(?) and very little of the show has found its way onto YouTube.

While people who saw the reboot say that it wasn't as good as the original, it would still be nice to see it again...especially since Mr. Milner & Mr. McCord guest stared as their characters (albeit with updated ranks) in the new series.
JoshuaDiforti 45 months ago
Kent Mccord was in the movie Predator 2-as Captain B. Pilgrim.
NickyJr898 47 months ago
I’ve only seen Kent McCord once in a post Adam-12 guest appearance on Baa Baa Black Sheep. The episode was “Presumed Dead”.
MIGM1516OH NickyJr898 46 months ago
He was in at least two episodes of "JAG" in the 1990s as a Navy judge, but I can't remember the episodes offhand. The last time I saw him was when Martin Milner died. He and the Chief of the LAPD announced that Marty was added to the Police Memorial "End of Watch" as an LAPD veteran.
JoshuaDiforti MIGM1516OH 45 months ago
JAG (TV Series)
Capt. Henry Delario / Rear Admiral Paul Whelan
- Overdue & Presumed Lost (2000) ... Capt. Henry Delario
- Drop Zone (2000) ... Capt. Henry Delario
- With Intent to Die (1998) ... Rear Admiral Paul Whelan
annette 48 months ago
I love this show. I also love,love the Saturday western show. Can I watch your network on my tablet?
Feathercat 48 months ago
Hello. It is great to learn more about my favorite shows.
MarkSpeck 49 months ago
The episode where he played Culver is the one where Webb gives his infamous "What Is a Cop?" speech.
ncadams27 49 months ago
That’s why he was Paul Culver - he was undercover.
Mike 49 months ago
You forgot to mention that before he did that DRAGNET episode, he went by his birth name, Kent McWhirter.
Jack Webb took a liking to Kent, and suggested the name change for professional purposes.
kkvegas Mike 49 months ago
On Adam-12, they sometimes get a call to an address on McWhirter, an homage to Kent McCord.
MichaelGreene Mike 40 months ago
Before Jack Webb had a fatal heart attack in December of 1982, he planned a third revival of the Dragnet series. Harry Morgan wasn't available, since he was still on MASH. Therefore, Webb planned of Kent McCord as his partner. It was yet to be determined whether he would reprise his Adam-12 character(possibly getting a promotion, certainly moving from patrol to the Detective Division), or playing a different character altogether. As it was, Webb's death killed off the revival of the series. As it turned out, Harry Morgan appeared in the 1987 Dragnet tribute/spoof movie playing Captain Bill Gannon, the commanding officer of Joe Friday, the namesake nephew of the Jack Webb character.
MichaelGreene kkvegas 40 months ago
I suspect one could be driven crazy following the locations on both Dragnet and Adam-12. Aside from City Hall, which is too well known to be fobbed of as somewhere else, Webb and his writers could come up with street intersections such as 9th Street and Pico Boulevard. In fact, the two streets run roughly 5 blocks apartment from one another...Pico Boulevard is what would be 13th Street. (Had Jack Webb set a cop show in Santa Monica, that address would have possible, as 9th Street in Santa Monica runs parallel to the Pacific Ocean, while Pico Boulevard comes across Los Angeles to reach Santa Monica.
kkvegas MichaelGreene 40 months ago
Exactly. I don't remember an exact example, but they would also sometimes refer to an address such as 123 West La Brea (even though the real La Brea runs north and south).
There was one episode where a pursuit was "...west bound on Broadway." It's a short trip since Broadway is a north/south street.
"I spent the evening with Connie Swail" "Don't you mean the virgin Connie Swail?"
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