BRENNER. TV series. CBS-TV, 1959-61-64. Ed Binns, James Broderick, with Dick O’Neill, Walter Greaza, Sydney Pollack, Gene Hackman. Executive producer: Herbert Brodkin. Various screenwriters & directors.


   Brenner was one of those overlooked gems of the black-and-white TV era, a half-hour character-driven drama about two New York City cops, Roy Brenner (Edward Binns) a veteran member of The Confidential Squad (aka Internal Affairs), and his son Ernie (James Broderick), a rookie detective.

   The focus was police corruption and the emotional cost of police work, themes explored at greater length and intensity by such later shows as Naked City and Police Story.

   Brenner utilized a low-key approach, though, and it pays off. It doesn’t utilize the city as a character the way Naked City did, but its exteriors capture the time (1959) and place and Manhattan mood just as well.

   A big help is the supporting cast of then mostly unfamiliar New York actors, including Simon Oakland, George Grizzard, Michael Strong, Frank Sutton, Frank Overton and an unbilled Gene Hackman, who pops up several times as a patrolman.


   The recent DVD box set from Timeless Media features 15 of the 25 or 26 episodes produced. (See below.)

   The visual quality on most of the episodes is outstanding. I’d seen a couple of episodes years ago and always hoped I’d get to see more. I was not disappointed.

NOTE: The series was first televised in 1959 (6 June to 19 September) and appeared in re-runs on CBS during the summmers of 1961, 1962, and 1964, with two new episodes appearing in 1961. In the fall of 1964 (17 May to 19 July) a summer season of several new episodes appeared. According to the The Classic TV Archive, the total number of episodes that actually aired is considered to be 25.