On this day, Jan. 15, 1981, "Hill Street Blues," one of the most innovative and critically acclaimed cops shows, debuted on NBC.
"Hill Street Blues" revolutionized the television drama. While previous cop shows focused on officers who always got their man, the regulars on Hill Street Blues rarely solved cases in a single episode.
Each episode began with a roll call led by Sgt. Phil Esterhaus, who sent his troops out onto the streets with his trademark, "Let's be careful out there."
The show set records for most Emmys won in a single season, and still holds the most Emmy wins as a best drama series with four. In 2002, the show was ranked No. 14 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time, the tops for a police drama.