Opening episode:January 2,1962 – “Four Of A Kind” – Crime is getting out of hand in Newtown. Time to beef up law enforcement with a new division. Four men are being picked for the new crime patrol. The cars are called ZED-Victor 1 and ZED-Victor 2 aka/Z Cars. The district is a mix of slums and people displaced from larger areas.
After the death of a constable Sgt.John Watt (Frank Windsor) and Chief Inspector Charles Barlow (Stratford Johns) start searching for the members of the new division. Bob Steel (Jeremy Kemp) has a rocky marriage. His wife sports a bruise under her eye. His friend PC Lynch (James Ellis) is a frequent guest and he feels for her but doesn’t interfere. Lynch is picked for the new squad after being observed arresting some tearaways.
Another member,PC Jock Weir (Joseph Brady) is chosen as he lies banged up after a rugby match. He barely understands what Watt and Barlow are asking him. The next member is PC Fancy Smith (Brian Blessed). His beat is outside a raucous pub. He spots an underage runaway and then lets a brawl start to run its course before breaking it up.
A woman comes into the police station and says her son is armed with an axe. He’s just been released from a mental hospital. When Steel gets to the house a crowd is outside. He goes up to the kitchen and there’s a guy at the table with the axe. Steel convinces him to take his medication. Steel is picked for the new squad.
It’s the typical introductory episode that’s slower than the series itself. It’s a go0d crew of actors and it’s no wonder it lasted so long. The series was the earliest to step up the action and show the seedier side of life.