Great job avoiding becoming a soap opera.
The movie almost seemed like a pilot to the later tv show, but Madigan avoided becoming preachy. What I liked best about the movie was that it had a lot of subtle messages that in other hands could have ended up sounding too preachy. While the movie was not quite as earthy as Serpico, a movie totally without flash, this movie does a great job of selling a plot that will entertain viewers but also make the viewer think about complex societal realities. The main point that the movie makes is the extent to which a man will go to restore his honor. However, there were dozens of subplots within the movie, often involving minor characters that can easily be dismissed or missed. For example, Harry Bellaver of The Naked City fame is very interesting as a man who once may have considered himself important, but is now a lonely alcoholic. Maybe, his character illustrates also the decay of the society in the late 1960s. That is one possibility. Don Stroud plays an informant who struggles between being a hipster of his generation and being seen as a man to his elders - the tough police detectives who are using him to catch the "bad guy". The "bad guy" seems to be enamored by the idea of just getting revenge and disgracing Madigan. The police commissioner is a well meaning man but unequipped for the modern realities he is facing daily.share