There were a few shows I watched as an eight year-old that I probably shouldn’t have been allowed to view. WWF(E) Monday Night Raw. Probably not Married with Children. Definitely not Silk Stalkings (although it proved popular among the whole family. Except that we all watched in separate rooms). Sometimes 20/20. But one show that aired in the 10pm slot that I think was okay for me, even then, was The Commish. Why I was watching ABC at 10pm on Saturday nights at that time I’m not sure (perhaps it had something to do with the fact that Growing Pains anchored the two-hour comedy block and failed “TGIF” spin-off “I love Saturday Night.” Yes, that’s definitely it), but despite dealing in serious crimes The Commish was a show that (I think) had a soft touch and a real heart.
It’s hard to believe that before Michael Chiklis starred as a bad-ass shady cop on The Shield, looking like a cross between Bruce Willis and Andrew Zimmern, he played a doughy, lovable, balding police commissioner of a sleepy town in upstate NY, whose biggest problem was finding his pen
(as it turns out, the network was unsure about casting Chiklis, and apparently later asked him to stuff his shirt and not shave his head in order to look older/schlubbier. TV magic!)
As terrific as Chiklis was as Tony Scali, the anti-Tony Soprano meets the anti-Vic Mackey, perhaps the best part of The Commish was Melinda McGraw as tough as nails Lieutenant Cyd Madision. Although, there was something about the fact that she went by a male’s name that both confused and fascinated me (but, then again, I was eight). For me, she was also the best part of the second season of Mad Men. I was absolutely delighted when I realized that Bobbie Barrett was Cyd Madison, just a little older, a little brasher and a little boozier (but again with an unorthodox spelling of a male name. What’s up with that?!).
As The Commish was created by TV legend Stephen J. Cannell, it’s certainly no surprise it has a special place in my heart. The man was a hit machine. It’s no 21 Jump Street, of course, but even without the shirt stuffing I don’t think Chiklis could have passed as a teenager.
Catch The Commish on Hulu now, before it’s too late!!!