Ironside is an American television crime drama that aired on NBC from 1967 to 1975. The show starred Raymond Burr as Robert T. Ironside, a consultant for the San Francisco Police who was paralyzed from the waist down after being shot in the line of duty. The character debuted on March 28, 1967, in a TV movie called "A Man Called Ironside". When the show was broadcast in the United Kingdom, it was initially under that same title. The show earned Burr six Emmy and two Golden Globe nominations.
Ironside was a production of Burr's Harbour Productions Unlimited in association with Universal Television.
The show revolved around former San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) Chief of Detectives Robert T. Ironside (Raymond Burr), a veteran of more than 20 years of police service who was forced to retire from the department after a sniper's bullet paralyzed him from the waist down, causing him to use a wheelchair. In the pilot episode, a TV movie, Ironside shows his strength of character and gets himself appointed a "special department consultant" by his good friend, Police Commissioner Dennis Randall. He does this by calling a press conference and then tricking Commissioner Randall into meeting his terms. In the pilot, Ironside eventually solves the mystery of the ambush. He requests Ed Brown and Eve Whitfield be assigned to him.
Ironside uses a fourth-floor room (for living and office space) in the Old San Francisco Hall Of Justice building, which housed the city's police headquarters. He uses a specially equipped, former fleet-modified 1940 1-1/2 ton Ford police paddy wagon van. This is replaced in the episode entitled "Poole's Paradise" after the van is destroyed by Sergeant Brown as part of a way to trick a corrupt sheriff. At the end of the episode the paddy wagon is replaced by a modified 1969 1 ton Ford Econoline Window Van. He later recruits the angst-filled black ex-con Mark Sanger to be his personal assistant after Sanger is brought in as a suspect who wanted to kill Ironside. The show became a success as Ironside depended on brains and initiative in handling cases. Although Ironside was good-hearted and honest, he maintained a gruff persona.
Supporting characters on Ironside included Det. Sgt. Edward "Ed" Brown (Don Galloway) and a young socialite-turned-plainclothes officer, Eve Whitfield (Barbara Anderson). In addition there was delinquent-turned-bodyguard/assistant Mark Sanger (Don Mitchell), who also opted to become a police officer, and subsequently graduated from law school (night classes were mentioned from early on), then even married late in the run of the series. Commissioner Randall was played by Gene Lyons.
By the program's fourth season, Anderson left over a contract dispute and was replaced by another young policewoman, Fran Belding (Elizabeth Baur), who filled much the same role for four more years.
The series enjoyed an eight-season run on NBC, drawing respectable, if not always high, ratings. As the eighth season began, Universal released a syndicated rerun package of episodes from earlier seasons under the title The Raymond Burr Show, reflecting the practice of that time to differentiate original network episodes from syndicated reruns whenever possible. Upon NBC's mid-season cancellation, however, the syndicated episodes reverted to the Ironside title.