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"He's not a man in a wheelchair. He's Ironside in a wheelchair." Yes, and while TV cop shows come and go, there was only one Ironside, which makes its first appearance on DVD with this eight-disc boxed set, containing 28 episodes from the show's first season (1967-68), along with the pilot that preceded it in '66. The series is like others of its ilk and time, in ways both good (snappy dialogue and very cool, jazz-inflected music, including a theme song by Quincy Jones and scoring by the great composer-arranger Oliver Nelson) and mediocre (slow pacing, and a thoroughly square take on the mid-'60s counterculture). But what sets this one apart is the presence of Raymond Burr in the title role. Just a year removed from Perry Mason, Burr is outstanding as a former San Francisco chief of detectives who returns to the force as a consultant following the shooting that leaves him wheelchair-bound (illuminated in the 90-minute "world premiere"). His Robert Ironside is gruff, acerbic, free of self-pity (told by a doctor that he'll never walk again, he replies, "Is that all?"), and always ready with a sarcastic quip ("Are you brother and sister, or do you just cross-pollinate?" he says to two self-described "flower people"). He's also a policeman who's not shy about bending a rule or two as he relentlessly pursues the bad guys. And while his team (Don Galloway and Barbara Anderson as young cops and Don Mitchell as the African American delinquent who becomes his driver and caretaker) often chafes under his, um, iron hand, he's also a sympathetic mentor skilled in the art of tough love. Story-wise, Ironside is pretty typical: murder, robbery, car theft, and a smattering of more contemporary issues like drugs and the Cold War. While there are occasional chase scenes and gunfights (most of them less than gripping), the focus is on a facts-first, conclusions-later approach to crime solving; "the chief" relies on the dry, meticulous gathering of evidence and factual minutiae and an almost Sherlock Holmesian attention to logic and detail to win the day. The result: Ironside may be crippled, but he's not lame. The DVD transfers are crisp and clean, but the boxed set contains no bonus material.

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SMV310249 Ironside Season 1 DVD (Raymond Burr) $59.98 $53.99