Ironside (1967) TV Poster Image

Ironside (1967)

Classic police drama is more brains than brawn.
  • Network: Hulu
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1987

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The focus on crime sets a dark tone, but Ironside shows how smarts can catch a criminal and solve a crime. The fact that Ironside's in a wheelchair supports the idea that disabled people can fully participate in a professional environment. Concerns about gun use is occasionally discussed.

Positive role models

Ironside is a smart detective who uses brains over brawn. He uses a wheelchair, which is a rare opportunity for viewers to see a disabled person in a position of power and responsibility on TV.


Guns are visible, but shootings aren't very frequent. Ironside is in a wheelchair thanks to a bullet wound. Murder and other criminal activity are frequent themes; struggling with and fighting off people is sometimes shown.


Occasionally men's bare chests are visible. Prostitution is occasionally a theme.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters drink alcohol (whisky, brandy), and sometimes smoke cigarettes.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the original Ironside offers lots of entertaining moments for police procedural fans, but really isn't intended for younger kids thanks to its story-driven narratives about things like police corruption and murder. The content is mild compared to today's procedural standards, but it contains some drinking, smoking, and occasional gun use.

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What's the story?

The classic TV series IRONSIDE (1967-75) stars Raymond Burr as Robert T. Ironside, the former chief of detectives with the San Francisco police. After a sniper's bullet leaves him paralyzed, he becomes a private detective and special consultant to the police. Now working from and living in the attic of San Francisco police headquarters, he is assisted by ex-con turned-bodyguard Mark Sanger (Don Mitchell). Helping him work cases are plainclothes officers Ed Brown (Don Galloway) and Eve Whitfield (Barbara Anderson). From serial killers to police corruption, Ironside stays focused on solving cases using his brains and thoughtful attention to detail to get criminals off the streets.

Is it any good?


Ironside offers smart, story-driven drama that relies more on Ironside's ability to think about the details of a case rather than simply chase after criminals. As a result, the fact that he is active in law enforcement despite being in a wheelchair (which makes his character unique, even by today's standards) becomes an ever-present, but secondary, issue.

It's not the most action-packed of shows, but it's still entertaining. Ironside himself is pretty likable, too, despite his tough, surly, and often-humorless approach to life. Despite being set in the late 1960s and early '70s, many of the stories are still as interesting today as they were back then. Fans of the classic police procedural will definitely find it worth watching.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what makes certain pop culture characters unique. Is it their personalities? Their life stories? Their personal attributes? 

  • How does showing characters who have something that makes them "different" contribute to how people see the world? How can these characters be used to diffuse stereotypes?

TV details

Premiere date:September 14, 1987
Cast:Barbara Anderson, Don Mitchell, Raymond Burr
TV rating:NR
Available on:DVD, Streaming

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