Police Woman: Pepper Anderson Shows the LAPD How It’s Done

Police Woman is an American television show that aired from 1974 to 1978. The police procedural drama was created by Robert L. Collins and starred the incomparable Angie Dickinson as Sergeant Suzanne “Pepper” Anderson, a tough and independent female police officer in the Criminal Conspiracy Unit of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Police Woman was a groundbreaking show for its time, as it was one of the first to feature a female lead in the traditionally male-dominated police genre. Way to go, Angie! The show ran for four seasons and a total of 91 episodes, each featuring a different crime to solve. 

Angie Dickinson as Police Woman talking on CB


The genre of the show is police procedural drama, which, as the name suggests, focuses on the daily lives and work of police officers. The show is known for its realistic portrayal of the police department and the challenges police officers face while on duty, explaining the occasionally gritty feel of Police Woman. It also addresses social issues such as domestic violence, drug abuse, and racism–heady stuff for the time.

Number of Seasons and Episodes

Police Woman aired for four seasons, from 1974 to 1978 and had 91 episodes. Each season had 22 episodes, except for season two, which had 24 episodes.

Episodes clocked in at approximately 60 minutes and were aired by NBC.

Awards for “Police Woman”

Police Woman was a popular show during its time and was well-received by both audiences and critics. It was nominated for several awards, including two Golden Globe Awards for Angie Dickinson’s performance, an Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series for the episode “The Trick Book., two Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for Angie Dickinson, and a Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Drama. The show also won a People’s Choice Award for Favorite New TV Drama Program in 1975.

Not too shabby!

Police Woman: An Impressive Cast

Police Woman featured a talented cast of actors who brought their characters to life throughout the series. The main character, Sergeant Suzanne “Pepper” Anderson, was played by the talented Angie Dickinson, as mentioned. We think she is the primary reason for the show’s success. Go back and watch a few episodes and we think you’ll agree.

Other notable cast members included Earl Holliman, who played Lieutenant Bill Crowley, Pepper’s boss and mentor. Richard Jaeckel played Detective Sergeant Pete Royster, and Charles Dierkop played Detective Sergeant Joe Styles. In our opinion, Charles Dierkop’s mustache should have had its own screen credit.

The show also featured a rotating cast of guest stars, including many well-known actors of the time.

the four main cast members of the television show Police Woman

Theme Song

The show’s theme song, “Police Woman,” was composed by Morton Stevens, who wrote the theme for Hawaii Five-O. The song became a hit and was even nominated for an Emmy Award.

Morton Stevens, composer of Police Woman theme

The theme song opens with a series of fast-paced drumbeats, followed by a groovy bass line and jazzy horns. The melody is then carried by a funky guitar riff. In other words, a classic 1970s feel–it was a great fit for the show.

The theme song’s lyrics are simple and straightforward, with lines like “Police woman, she’s got the power” and “She’s the best, she’s the brave, she’s the beautiful.” Basic? Maybe. But the song perfectly captures the strong and independent nature of the show’s main character, Sergeant Suzanne “Pepper” Anderson, played by Angie Dickinson.

The theme song of Police Woman became so popular that it was released as a single in 1976, with an extended version that included a funky guitar solo. The song was also included in several compilation albums of TV theme songs, and it remains a favorite among fans of classic TV shows.

Angie Dickinson as Police Woman


Police Woman was a popular show with a few spin-offs created to capitalize on its success. The spin-offs were:

  • The Law and Harry McGraw: This show was a spin-off of both Police Woman and Murder, She Wrote. It starred Jerry Orbach as Harry McGraw, a private investigator who appeared in several episodes of both shows. The Law and Harry McGraw premiered in 1987 and ran for only one season.
  • Police Story: This show was not a direct spin-off, but it was part of the same franchise. Police Story was an anthology series that aired from 1973 to 1978. Each episode was a self-contained story that focused on a different aspect of police work. Police Woman was featured in a few episodes of Police Story.

These spin-offs did not achieve the same level of success as Police Woman, but are still worth a re-watch if you’re feeling nostalgic.

Famous Quotes

Police Woman has some memorable quotes that are still quoted today. Here are some of the most famous ones:

  • “Okay, Sarge.” – This catchphrase was often said by Pepper Anderson to her superior officer, Sergeant William “Bill” Crowley.
  • “Okay, I’ll buy that.” – Sergeant Suzanne “Pepper” Anderson
  • “Just the facts, ma’am.” – Sergeant Joe Friday (a reference to the show Dragnet)
  • “Freeze, police!” – This is a classic line that is often used in police dramas, but it was first said by Pepper Anderson in Police Woman.
  • “You have the right to remain silent.” – This is the famous Miranda warning that is still used by police officers today. It was first heard on Police Woman. Betcha didn’t know that.

Just The Facts, Ma’am: Police Woman Was Groundbreaking

Overall, Police Woman was a groundbreaking show that paved the way for future female-led police dramas. It perfectly captured the feel of its time period and is imminently watchable today. Thanks, Pepper!