First Telecast: September
September 8, 1974
Executive Producer: Quinn
Theme Music: "F.B.I.
Theme," by Bronislaw Kaper
September 1965 – September 1973, Sunday 8:00-9:00 on ABC
September 1973 – September 1974, Sunday 7:30-8:30 on ABC
Inspector Lewis Erskine.....
Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.
Barbara Erskine (1965-1966).....
Special Agent Jim Rhodes (1965-1967).....
Special Agent Tom Colby (1967-1973).....
Agent Chris Daniels (1973-1974).....
Federal Bureau of Investigation has been the subject of several
highly popular radio and TV shows (remember The F.B.I. in
Peace and War?), but none portrayed the cool, professional
operation of the agency so thoroughly as this long-running series
starring Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., as Inspector Lewis Erskine. Zimbalist
personified the calm, business-suited government agent who always
tracked his quarry down, scientifically and methodically, and with
virtually no emotion whatever.
cases were supposedly based on real F.B.I. files. They ranged across
the United States and involved counterfeiters, extortionists,
organized crime, Communist spies, and radical bombings (during the
era of Vietnam dissent). Arthur Ward was the assistant to the F.B.I.
director and the man to whom Inspector Erskine reported, while
several agents served as Erskine’s sidekick over the years. Barbara
Erskine, his daughter, appeared only during the first season, later
being written out apparently because there was no room for anything
so fallible as family ties in The F.B.I.
program always portrayed the agency in a favorable light. It won the
commendation of real-life F.B.I. Director, J. Edgar Hoover, who gave
the show full government cooperation and even allowed filming of
some background scenes at the F.B.I. Headquarters in Washington.
Bringing the program even closer to real-life, many telecasts closed
with a short segment asking the audience for information on the
F.B.I.'s most-wanted men (including, in April of 1968, the fugitive
James Earl Ray).
Associate with the program as sponsor throughout its run with the
Ford Motor Company, which accounted for the fact that those agents
were always seen driving Ford cars.