Martin Milner, Pete Malloy of “Adam-12,” R.I.P.

 
386px-Martin_Milner_Kent_McCord_Adam-12_1970

Martin Milner, Kent McCord in Adam-12 1970” by Universal Television. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

Actor Martin Milner died Sunday at the age of 83. According to his IMDB page, he had 112 acting credits in film and television, a notable accomplishment in a field where so many consider themselves fortunate to earn even one. If I may speak for a generation of police officers — especially those who, like me, joined the LAPD in the 1980s — Milner will always be best known for his portrayal of Officer Pete Malloy on the television series Adam-12.

When Adam-12 first aired in 1968, Pete Malloy was the seasoned LAPD training officer for rookie officer Jim Reed, played by Kent McCord. Malloy was the tutor every young cop yearns to work with and aspires to become: patient, wise, and resourceful. The show ran until 1975 and, unlike the way things actually work in the LAPD, the two remained partners for the entire run of the show. I quickly learned that, on the real streets of Los Angeles, things didn’t always turn out as neatly as they did on Adam-12. Still, the show presented an ideal that most of us tried to achieve even as we often fell short of it.

Adam-12 was perhaps the first inspiration toward police work that drifted through the transom of my subconscious. I will always be grateful to those who had a hand in its production, but most especially to Martin Milner, who, as Pete Malloy, was the cop I tried to be.

R.I.P.

Published in Culture, Entertainment, Policing
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  1. Concretevol Thatcher
    Concretevol
    @Concretevol

    Very cool Jack.

    • #1
  2. Eustace C. Scrubb Member
    Eustace C. Scrubb
    @EustaceCScrubb

    Probably worth mentioning this was a Jack Webb production (one might guess with that avatar you’re familiar with his work). After showing the lives of police detectives on Dragnet, Webb went on to patrol officers in Adam-12. We could use in the media these days the presentation of police officers as good men and women.

    • #2
  3. carcat74 Member
    carcat74
    @carcat74

    Adam-12 was one of my favorite shows. I liked Milner, and didn’t he play some cowboy parts?

    • #3
  4. Eustace C. Scrubb Member
    Eustace C. Scrubb
    @EustaceCScrubb

    carcat74

    Adam-12 was one of my favorite shows. I liked Milner, and didn’t he play some cowboy parts?

    He did some guest shots on Westerns (The Lone Ranger, for instance) as every working actor did back in the day. But aside from Adam-12 his most noted role was as one of the two young drifters on the show Route 66.

    • #4
  5. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    If Jack Webb liked you, you worked. Milner even worked on the radio version of “Dragnet,” where unseen he could play roles he was really too young to play.

    • #5
  6. jetstream Inactive
    jetstream
    @jetstream

    Never saw Adam-12, but Martin Milner and George Maharis were American icons with their Corvette in the tv show Route 66.

    • #6
  7. JimGoneWild Coolidge
    JimGoneWild
    @JimGoneWild

    I liked Route 66. Adam-12 was a little to sweet for my taste. I just watched a movie, Last of the Comanches, with Martin in it. Really a good Western and just a plain good movie. Martin played in a lot of big movies with some huge stars. He will be missed.

    • #7
  8. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Adam-12 was the big reason I wanted to earn a badge. When I finally hit the streets I tried to pattern my demeanor after the character Pete Malloy. I did my best to not get amped up and when dealing with difficult subjects I always tried to remember that it was the uniform that some people resented rather than me. Adam-12 was fairly realistic in its portrayal of daily police work as mundane, humorous, and then sometimes the adrenaline rush.

    Martin Milner, 10-79, end of shift, may you rest in peace.

    • #8
  9. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    I remember watching “The Halls of Montezuma” and saying to my brother,”There’s Malloy”.

    I think I watched all of those episodes.

    • #9
  10. Douglas Inactive
    Douglas
    @Douglas

    I grew up watching Adam 12 on TV, and just finished the whole series run on Netflix a couple of months back. I was sad to see the guy go. He was a really good actor. So good that for years, it didn’t occur to me that the young shore patrol officer in Mr. Roberts was Martin Milner. I watched that movie several times as a teenager, and had seen Milner as Pete Malloy when I was a kid. He was so convincing… and different… as the young Ensign from Alabama that I just never made the connection.

    Adam 12 was my favorite cop show. It seemed to be both realistic and sympathetic to police, while at the same time trying to present the best ideal of what the LAPD should be. As Jack said, real people fall short, but there’s something noble in trying to make a good idea to be emulated that isn’t too canned or corny. Adam 12 was neither. Everyone with a lick of sense wants Pete Malloy  and Jim Reed patrolling their neighborhood.

    Eustace C. Scrubb: We could use in the media these days the presentation of police officers as good men and women.

    Hollywood desperately needs, but will no longer abide, a Jack Webb.

    • #10
  11. Eeyore Member
    Eeyore
    @Eeyore

    jetstream:Never saw Adam-12, but Martin Milner and George Maharis were American icons with their Corvette in the tv show Route 66.

    I had a hard time buying the Pete Malloy character at first. After all, that was the happy-go-lucky preppy college kid, Tod Stiles, confined inside that uniform.

    • #11
  12. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Douglas: Adam 12 was my favorite cop show. It seemed to be both realistic and sympathetic to police…

    Which is why LAPD Badge 714 was retired the day Jack Webb died.

    • #12
  13. Walker Member
    Walker
    @Walker

    Definitely Route 66. The music still comes to mind.

    • #13
  14. Jo Ann Rogers Inactive
    Jo Ann Rogers
    @JoAnnRogers

    He was my first BIG crush.

    • #14
  15. Addiction Is A Choice Member
    Addiction Is A Choice
    @AddictionIsAChoice

    Who’s reading Ricochet? The Wall Street Journal, for one! The above piece is excerpted in the “Notable & Quotable” section of today’s edition.

    • #15
  16. Jules PA Inactive
    Jules PA
    @JulesPA

    I remember that show from my childhood. Thanks for sharing this.

    • #16
  17. Dr Steve Member
    Dr Steve
    @DrSteve

    To serve and protect. That is a good motto to remember in these dark days.

    • #17
  18. Mister Dog Coolidge
    Mister Dog
    @MisterDog

    I grew up watching Adam 12 on TV, and just finished the whole series run on Netflix a couple of months back. I was sad to see the guy go. He was a really good actor. So good that for years, it didn’t occur to me that the young shore patrol officer in Mr. Roberts was Martin Milner. I watched that movie several times as a teenager, and had seen Milner as Pete Malloy when I was a kid. He was so convincing… and different… as the young Ensign from Alabama that I just never made the connection.

    How many times have I seen “Mr Roberts” and not made that connection either-it’s the accent, for sure.

    • #18
  19. Jack Dunphy Contributor
    Jack Dunphy
    @JackDunphy

    Addiction Is A Choice:Who’s reading Ricochet? The Wall Street Journal, for one! The above piece is excerpted in the “Notable & Quotable” section of today’s edition.

    Thank you for pointing that out.  I might not have seen it otherwise.

    • #19
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