Kent McCord was willing to fight for better storytelling on Adam-12
The star was outspoken about his dissatisfaction.
Quality control is a difficult thing on a weekly show. Especially in decades past, when a season of television regularly had nearly thirty episodes, it was tough to make sure every single one was great. That kind of production schedule sometimes made it so speed and quantity were prioritized over excellence.
Adam-12 was one such show, generating a whopping 174 episodes throughout its run. While the team consistently rose to the occasion to meet network demands, part of the cast was disappointed in what was delivered.
In 1974, Kent McCord spoke with the Richmond Times-Dispatch about how he and costar Martin Milner weren't afraid to voice their opinions on set, especially when it came to scripts that underperformed.
"Why do you suppose there've been four producers in six seasons?" asked McCord. As Adam-12's star cop, McCord knew when to throw his weight around.
"The longer you're with a series, the more 'clout' you develop. But you have to be leery of misusing it. You could end up yelling just to be yelling."
Luckily, this wasn't McCord's first rodeo. He'd been in scores of movies and spent plenty of time on television sets prior to working on Adam-12. Milner was even more of a veteran, having spent years on TV's Route 66. Between the two of them, the stars of Adam-12 had a ton of experience that gave them the confidence to speak up, and the wisdom to know when not to.
However, despite their influence, McCord and Milner were unable to keep the show above their standards.
"It mystified me," said McCord, "that we spend 125 to 130 thousand dollars per show and we can't seem to get better stories.
"The [episode] we're doing right now isn't very good. It's not bad enough to make me walk out—but it's bad. It marks the third time I've been taken hostage—it's the same plot, the same dialogue. Only the background's different.
"What keeps the interest in our show is the thread of personal relationship that runs between Marty and me. Still, there are so many possible storylines it seems ridiculous we're shooting the same old thing over again."
Kent McCord, for his part, wasn't afraid to put his money where his mouth was. He spent time polishing existing scripts and even offered to pen his own episodes.
"Everything we do is an effort at improving the show. There's no reason why this can't be a better series than it is."