YMMV / Hill Street Blues

  • Ear Worm: Mike Post's iconic instrumental theme. If you grew up in the 1980s, you will recognize the first few bars of this tune.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Dominique Dunne, daughter of writer Dominick Dunne and best known as the older daughter in Poltergeist, appeared on the show as a teenage mother and victim of parental abuse. Some of her bruises were real, having been inflicted by her violent boyfriend the night before. He murdered her shortly afterward.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: On this show, Jeffrey Tambor played a man trying to sort out his "feminine identity issues" through doctor-mandated cross-dressing. Tambor would later earn critical and popular acclaim through his role on Transparent, where he plays a transsexual woman coming to terms with her identity late in life.
  • Memetic Mutation: "Let's be careful out there." Several other cop shows have paid homage to the line.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation actors Dwight Schultz, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine actor Armin Shimmerman have small speaking parts in single episodes.
    • Babylon 5 actor Peter Jurasik as "Sid the Snitch"
    • CSI: Miami and NYPD Blue actor David Caruso as a gang leader.
    • Andy Garcia as a gang member
    • Law & Order actor Chris Noth as a beat cop.
    • Ally Sheedy as the Catholic school girl.
    • Thirtysomething actor Ken Olin as Detective Harry Garibaldi.
    • Barbara Bosson (Fay Furillo), Jeffrey Tambor (Judge Wachtel), Marco Rodriguez (Rico the Junkie), and Dennis Franz (Benedetto/Buntz) went on to star in other Steven Bochco-produced series.
    • Jesus Martinez would (mysteriously) show up on UHF's U62 lineup for Raul's Wild Kingdom. Tragically, his actor, Trinidad Silvia, was killed in a hit-and-run while filming his scenes.
  • Seinfeld Is Unfunny: As groundbreaking as the show was in 1981, nowadays it can look downright quaint compared with the later shows it inspired (NYPD Blue, Homicide, The Wire).
  • Sending Stuff to Save the Show: A success story.
  • Values Dissonance: The first episode notoriously features the show putting the blame for a man molesting his stepdaughter on his new wife for not putting out. Similar '80s sexism pervades many other episodes.
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