Starsky & Hutch is a 1970s television series that ran for 92 episodes (plus a pilot movie) between 1975 and 1979. It centered around two Southern California plainclothes police officers, streetwise Brooklyn native David Starsky, and the quiet, intellectual Minnesotan Kenneth "Hutch" Hutchinson. Under the radio callsign "Zebra Three'', they patrolled the Bay City in Starsky's iconic red Ford Gran Torino with that awesome white vector stripe. Their main contact in the criminal underworld is Jive Turkey Huggy Bear, a police snitch who often dressed extravagantly and ran his own bar.Starsky & Hutch was one of the first prime-time dramas to portray black characters in a positive light, with both Captain Dobey and — despite his walking on the edge of the law — the honest and trustworthy Huggy seen to be positive black role models. In fact, Huggy Bear was so popular with fans that the producers considered spinning off a Huggy Bear series, but this ultimately fell through.A Starsky & Hutch video game was released in 2003 by Mind's Eye. Made into a motion picture starring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson in 2004.
Ambiguously Jewish: Starsky. In at least one episode he has a Star of David on his dashboard and a menorah in his apartment. (Paul Michael Glaser is Jewish in real life.)
Avenging the Villain: George Prudholm holds Starsky responsible for the death of his son in jail after Starsky arrests him; he kills two cops and Starsky's lover in an effort to make him pay.
Beleaguered Childhood Friend: Subverted in "The Las Vegas Strangler"; Hutch's high school friend Jack Mitchell really isn't the serial killer the guys are chasing. Not that it helps, since he's dying of a brain tumor and doesn't make it out of the episode alive.
Bulletproof Human Shield: In the final episode, Hutch is ambushed by two hitmen, one with a gun and one with a knife. He manages to take advantage of this by maneuvering the knifewielder between himself and the gunman, just in time to take the shot.
Bulletproof Vest: Makes a rare appearance in "The Psychic"; naturally Hutch is shot in the chest shortly thereafter.
Busman's Holiday: "Satan's Witches", where a quiet fishing trip in the woods is interrupted by virgin-sacrificing Satanists. No, really.
Directed by Cast Member: Chances to direct were part of the deal to get Glaser to come back to the show. He directed five, Soul directed three.
Dirty Harriet: Starsky's ex-girlfriend turns out to have been undercover as this in "Lady Blue".
Easy Amnesia: Subverted in "Partners". Hutch apparently has amnesia after a car accident (and a Clip Show ensues as Starsky tries to remind him who he is), but he was faking it as revenge for Starsky's reckless driving.
Enforced Method Acting: In the episode "The Fix", Hutch becomes forcibly addicted to heroin after gangsters kidnap him. David Soul prepared for the episode by depriving himself of sleep, food, and even bathing and isolated himself from the cast and crew. It got to the point where they began to genuinely worry about his mental health.
In the episode "A Coffin for Starsky", Starsky and Hutch are racing against the clock to find a criminal that injected Starsky with a deadly poison that's slowly killing him. In one scene Starsky collapses in a fit of pain. While this was scripted, Paul intentionally fell earlier than what was rehearsed, and Hutch's shocked reaction is genuine.
If I Wanted You Dead...: In the pilot, two killers are after the heroes — but several people who should know, including an Affably Evil mob boss, assure them that these hit men can't be the ones trying to kill them, or they'd be dead by now. This turns out to be key. The hit men already killed their actual target, and are making it seem they're after Starsky and Hutch instead in order to conceal their client's motive for the real killing.
No Celebrities Were Harmed: One episode focuses on a dance studio run by "Ginger Evans", a retired movie star who is fairly obviously a stand-in for Ginger Rogers. (At one point in the episode, Hutch mentions "Frank Astaire"; it's unclear whether he's playing dumb or whether it's a continuation of the joke.)
No Communities Were Harmed: The show's fictional setting of "Bay City" is a fairly obvious stand-in for Los Angeles, where the show was filmed.
Odd Couple: Not so odd as all that, but their tastes in cars, food, and vacation spots do fall at opposite ends of the spectrum.
Parental Abandonment: Starsky's father was murdered when he was a kid. His mother is still alive, but various comments seem to imply that he was sent to California without her while still fairly young.
Performance Anxiety: Hutch can pull off the most embarrassing undercover roles without a hitch or a stammer, but put him in front of an audience in his own identity and he freezes up.
The Pete Best: In the pilot, Captain Dobey was played by Richard Ward; the role was then recast with Bernie Hamilton.
Pie in the Face: Hutch's ex-girlfriend aims one at Hutch at the end of "Deckwatch", but he ducks and poor Starsky gets hit instead.
Shower Scene: Hutch has one in his first five minutes on screen (followed soon thereafter by two separate scenes in which both stars wear only towels; let no one say this show didn't deliver on the fanservice).
Suicide by Cop: It is implied that this is what George Prudholm ultimately wants; Starsky refuses to participate.
Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Not actually invoked, but contemplated; Paul Michael Glaser was increasingly unhappy doing the show, and the characters of Officer Linda Baylor and Nick Starsky (Starsky's younger brother) were created as potential replacements for him.