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Series / Ironside (1967)

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Ironside is a 1967–1975 Crime and Punishment Series on NBC, whose main character is wheelchair-bound SFPD Chief of Detectives Robert T. Ironside, played by Perry Mason star Raymond Burr.

Seasons 1–3 are currently available on Hulu. The first four seasons are available via DVD on Region 1, while the entire series is available in Australia.

A remake was launched in fall 2013, starring Blair Underwood - and lasted four episodes (out of nine produced).

Tropes featured include:

  • Affectionate Parody: In "Murder Impromptu", Lennie Blake, the leader of an improv group, imitates Ironside while the Chief is in the audience. Blake is quickly stabbed to death, on stage, right in front of Ironside.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: Detective Robert T. Ironside.
  • Banana in the Tailpipe: Used to fill the car with carbon monoxide and knock out its inhabitants.
  • Billed Above the Title: 'Raymond Burr as...Ironside'.
  • Clear My Name: Ed is accused of police brutality twice in the series, in the first-season "Trip to Hashbury" and the third-season "Seeing Is Believing", which Don Galloway co-wrote.
    • Mark is accused of murder twice in the first season, in the episodes "Memory of an Ice Cream Stick" and "Due Process of Law".
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    • Ironside himself is accused of being a corrupt cop in the episode "The Man on the Inside".

  • Crossover: With The Bold Ones: The New Doctors (also produced by Raymond Burr's company at the time Harbour Productions Unlimitednote ).
  • Does Not Like Shoes: "The Man Who Believed" and "Once More for Joey" both feature Ironside investigating the mysterious deaths of hippie musicians who were known for going barefoot.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Ironside will not tolerate pity for his condition. In the pilot movie, his doctor and a nun at the hospital express sorrow over his paralysis. He angrily asks if they want to send in "a flaming fiddler" to play "Hearts & Flowers".
    • Later in the pilot, Eve and Ed are driving Ironside home from the hospital, tiptoeing around his condition. He tells Ed to stop the car. Then, he orders Eve to say, "Chief, you're a cripple", and Ed to say, "That goes for me, too." Then, with the matter in the open, he tells them to drive on.
  • The Exotic Detective: Ironside.
  • Genius Cripple: Ironside himself.
  • The Generation Gap: Considering that the series takes place in San Francisco during The '60s and The '70s, this trope is inevitable.
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  • Had to Come to Prison to Be a Crook: An inversion. In the pilot, Ironside is sure the sniper who paralyzed him is a juvenile delinquent whom he'd sent to detention and who'd threatened to kill him. He later learns that, instead, he was rehabilitated and didn't bear Ironside any ill-will.
  • Human Chess: In "The Deadly Gamesmen", two bored, rich cousins engage in this, using San Francisco as the board and crimes to represent each move. For example, taking a knight involves mugging a rodeo star, while taking a queen involves assaulting a beauty contestant.
  • It's Personal: For Fran in her first episode, "The Gambling Game" - she wants to clear the name of her late father (also a cop).
  • Little Old Lady Investigates: His aunt, Victoria Ironsides; it is easy to see on which side of the family the detective instinct comes from.
  • MAD: Parodied the series as "Ironride".
  • Market-Based Title: When The BBC bought this for the UK it was billed as A Man Called Ironside for no apparent reason.
  • Pilot Movie: A Man Called Ironside
  • Playing Gertrude: In "No Motive for Murder," James Shigeta plays George Takei's father, despite being less than eight years older than him.
  • Poorly Disguised Pilot: Two in a row at the end of the seventh season - "Riddle At 24,000" (about a crime-solving doctor played by Desi Arnaz) and the two-parter "Amy Prentiss: AKA The Chief" (revolving around San Francisco's first female chief of detectives, played by Jessica Walter). Dr. Durango (the name of the proposed former series) didn't sell, but Amy Prentiss joined the lineup for The NBC Mystery Movie the following season. Similarly, the fifth season opener "The Priest Killer" was the pilot for the shortlived Sarge.
  • Reunion Show: 1993's The Return of Ironside. Sadly, Raymond Burr passed away not long after it first aired. As a result, only the one reunion was produced, in contrast to the many TV movie reunions for Burr's other successful series, Perry Mason.
  • San Francisco: The show's setting.
  • Suspicious Spending: One episode has an Impoverished Patrician burglary suspect who has a bigger house and better clothes than his salary as a society reporter should allow him. It turns out that he's innocent, and the money is from short stories he's been publishing under a Pen Name.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: When Barbara Anderson (who won an Emmy for playing Eve Whitfield) left the series to get married, Elizabeth Baur - that's her in the page image - took over as Fran Belding. Both appeared in The Return of Ironside.
  • Syndication Title: It was syndicated as The Raymond Burr Show.
  • Tyop on the Cover: In "The Man Who Believed", guest character Samantha Dain is misspelled as "Samantha Dian" onscreen.


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