George Kennedy Sarge 1971.JPG
Promotional photo of George Kennedy for the Sarge
GenreCrime drama
Created byDavid Levy
StarringGeorge Kennedy
Theme music composerDavid Shire
ComposerDavid Shire[1]
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes16
Executive producerDavid Levy
ProducerDavid Levinson
CinematographyRichard A. Kelley
Jacques R. Marquette
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time44 mins.
Production companiesUniversal Television
Harbour Productions
Original networkNBC
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseSeptember 21, 1971 (1971-09-21) –
January 11, 1972 (1972-01-11)

The Bold Ones: The New Doctors
Amy Prentiss
Ironside (2013)

Sarge is an American crime drama television series starring George Kennedy.[2] The series aired for one season on NBC from September 1971 to January 1972.


Kennedy stars as Samuel Patrick Cavanaugh, a San Diego police detective sergeant who decides to retire and enter the priesthood after his wife is murdered. Sarge had initially studied for the priesthood prior to his police career, but his seminary studies were interrupted by military service in the Marine Corps during World War II.

The series, which ran in 1971-72, was preceded by a pilot titled Sarge: The Badge or the Cross (February 22, 1971 airdate), which set the premise for the subsequent series. One week before the show's fall premiere, on September 14, 1971, Cavanaugh traveled to San Francisco because of the death of a friend and fellow priest. His investigation caused him to cross paths with the characters from Ironside in a two-hour special that consolidated the two series' consecutive time slots. This has been subsequently seen as a TV-movie, The Priest Killer.

The series was set in San Diego and the pilot movie was filmed primarily on location. However, when the series went into production, episodes were filmed in Los Angeles. The parish church used was St. Peter's Italian Catholic Church on North Broadway in Chinatown.

George Kennedy's character was originally Sarge Swanson in the pilot movie. Starting with the Ironside crossover episode, and for the rest of the series, his last name was changed from Swanson to Cavanaugh. Supporting actor Ramon Bieri played Sarge's police contact. In the pilot, his name was Chief Dewey, but was changed to Lt. Barney Verick, chief of detectives, for the series. Sallie Shockley (Valerie) and Harold Sakata (Kenji Takichi) reprised their roles from the pilot movie for the series. Henry Wilcoxon as Bishop Andrade and Dana Elcar as Father Frank Dismore also appeared in the pilot, as well as the series.

Episode list

No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date
0"The Badge or the Cross"Richard A. CollaDon MankiewiczFebruary 22, 1971 (1971-02-22)
1"A Terminal Case of Vengeance"John BadhamJoel OlianskySeptember 21, 1971 (1971-09-21)
2"Ring Out, Ring In"Daniel HallerEdward DeBlasioSeptember 28, 1971 (1971-09-28)
3"Psst! Wanna Buy a Dirty Picture?"Richard DonnerHoward DimsdaleOctober 5, 1971 (1971-10-05)
4"Identity Crisis"UnknownJohn McGreeveyOctober 12, 1971 (1971-10-12)
5"A Push Over the Edge"John BadhamStory by : Stanford Whitmore
Teleplay by : David Levinson
October 26, 1971 (1971-10-26)
6"John Michael O'Flaherty Presents the Eleven O'Clock War"Seymour RobbieRobert CollinsNovember 2, 1971 (1971-11-02)
7"Silent Target"Daniel HallerStory by : Edward De Blasio
Teleplay by : Joel Oliansky
November 9, 1971 (1971-11-09)
8"Quicksilver"Seymour RobbieStory by : Joel Hammil
Teleplay by : Joel Hammil & Robert Van Scoyk
November 16, 1971 (1971-11-16)
9"A Bad Case of Monogamy"Joel OlianskyRobert Van ScoykNovember 23, 1971 (1971-11-23)
10"The Combatants"Walter DonigerWalter BlackNovember 30, 1971 (1971-11-30)
11"A Company of Victims"Jeannot SzwarcRobert CollinsDecember 7, 1971 (1971-12-07)
12"A Party to the Crime"Ron WinstonArthur HeinemannDecember 28, 1971 (1971-12-28)
13"An Accident Waiting to Happen"Daniel HallerStanley HartJanuary 4, 1972 (1972-01-04)
14"Napoleon Never Wanted to Be a Cop"Georg FenadyHal SitowitzJanuary 11, 1972 (1972-01-11)


Sarge was well received but ultimately failed by being pitted against CBS's Hawaii Five-O and The ABC Tuesday Movie of the Week.


Since 1973, episodes have been syndicated under The Bold Ones umbrella title, and can be seen on Cozi TV; it was previously seen on the RTV network in selected areas.

See also


  1. ^ Faulkner, Robert R. (1983). Music on Demand. Transaction Publishers p. 51. ISBN 978-1-4128-2923-6.
  2. ^ Bernstein, Adam (March 1, 2016). "George Kennedy: Versatile character actor who won an Oscar for 'Cool Hand Luke' and was a mainstay of 1970s disaster films". The Independent. Retrieved April 9, 2020.