The F.B.I. (TV series)

The F.B.I.

From left: Stephen Brooks, Lynn Loring and Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., 1965.
Starring Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.
Philip Abbott
William Reynolds
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 9
No. of episodes 241 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Quinn Martin
Philip Saltzman[1]
Running time 60 minutes
Production company(s) QM Productions (1965–74)
Warner Bros. Television (1965–67; 1970–74)
Warner Bros.- Seven Arts Television (1967–70)
Original network ABC
Original release September 19, 1965 – April 28, 1974
Related shows Today's F.B.I.

The F.B.I. is an American television series broadcast on ABC from 1965–74. It was sponsored by the Ford Motor Company, and the characters almost always drove Ford vehicles in the series. Alcoa and American Tobacco Company co-sponsored the first season only with Ford.


Produced by Quinn Martin and based in part on concepts from the 1959 Warner Bros. theatrical film The FBI Story, the series was an authentic telling of or fictionalized accounts of actual F.B.I. cases, with fictitious main characters carrying the stories. Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. played Inspector Lewis Erskine, a widower whose wife died as a result of an ambush that was meant for him. Philip Abbott played Arthur Ward, assistant director to F.B.I. chief J. Edgar Hoover. Although Hoover served as series consultant until his death in 1972, he was never seen in the series.

Stephen Brooks played Inspector Erskine's assistant, Special Agent Jim Rhodes, for the first two seasons. Lynn Loring played Inspector Erskine's daughter and Rhodes' love interest, Barbara, in the first few episodes of the show. Although the couple was soon engaged on the show, that romantic angle was soon dropped.

In 1967, Brooks was replaced by veteran actor William Reynolds, who played Special Agent Tom Colby until 1973. The series would enjoy its highest ratings during this time, peaking at No. 10 in the 1970–1971 season. For the final season, Shelly Novack played Special Agent Chris Daniels.

Some episodes ended with a "most wanted" segment hosted by Zimbalist, noting the F.B.I.'s most wanted criminals of the day (this was decades before the Fox Network aired America's Most Wanted). The most famous instance during the series' run came following the April 21, 1968 episode, when Zimbalist asked for information about fugitive James Earl Ray, who was being sought in the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The series aired on ABC at 8 p.m. Sunday from 1965 to 1973, when it was moved up to 7:30 p.m. for the final season. The series was a co-production of Quinn Martin Productions and Warner Bros. Television, as Warner Bros. held the television and theatrical rights to any project based on The FBI Story. It was the longest running of all of Quinn Martin's television series, having aired nine seasons.


Season Episodes First aired Last aired
1 32 September 19, 1965 (1965-09-19) May 8, 1966 (1966-05-08)
2 29 September 18, 1966 (1966-09-18) April 16, 1967 (1967-04-16)
3 27 September 17, 1967 (1967-09-17) April 28, 1968 (1968-04-28)
4 26 September 22, 1968 (1968-09-22) March 30, 1969 (1969-03-30)
5 26 September 14, 1969 (1969-09-14) March 8, 1970 (1970-03-08)
6 26 September 20, 1970 (1970-09-20) March 21, 1971 (1971-03-21)
7 26 September 12, 1971 (1971-09-12) March 19, 1972 (1972-03-19)
8 26 September 17, 1972 (1972-09-17) April 1, 1973 (1973-04-01)
9 23 September 16, 1973 (1973-09-16) April 28, 1974 (1974-04-28)

Nielsen Ratings

Today's F.B.I.

An updated and revamped version of the series, Today's F.B.I., executive produced by David Gerber for Columbia Pictures Television, aired on ABC from October 1981 through April 1982 in the same Sunday 8 p.m. time slot as its predecessor. A remake of the original series, produced by Ron Howard's Imagine Entertainment for Fox, was set for air in Fall 2008; however, that series has yet to air.

DVD releases

A 1969 "Ten Most Wanted List" segment; these were seen at the close of some episodes.

Warner Bros. (under the Warner Home Video label) has released all nine seasons of The F.B.I. on DVD in region 1 via their Warner Archive Collection. These are Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) releases and are available through Warner's online store and[2][3][4][5][6][7] The ninth and final season was released on September 23, 2014.[8]

DVD Name Ep # Release Date
The First Season, Part 1 16 May 24, 2011
The First Season, Part 2 16 August 2, 2011
The Second Season, Part 1 16 February 14, 2012
The Second Season, Part 2 13 February 14, 2012
The Third Season, Part 1 16 September 11, 2012
The Third Season, Part 2 11 September 11, 2012
The Fourth Season, Part 1 13 February 26, 2013
The Fourth Season, Part 2 13 February 26, 2013
The Fifth Season, Part 1 13 June 4, 2013
The Fifth Season, Part 2 13 June 4, 2013
The Sixth Season 26 October 15, 2013
The Seventh Season 26 February 25, 2014
The Eighth Season 26 June 10, 2014
The Ninth Season 23 September 23, 2014


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