Question: I love your column! As someone who was raised in a foreign culture, TV was my education to the American experience. Some may say that is a tragedy, but I loved watching all the cornball shows in my childhood! Anyway, after being introduced to CSI by a friend, I was struck by its similarity to another show I remembered way back in the 1980s. It was a very brooding show on ABC about a team of forensic scientists tracking down serial criminals. It made a real impression on my mind as a kid because it was so dark. I can't for the life of me remember the title, but I remember the premiere episode had that blond guy from Starsky and Hutch as a criminal with a shoe fetish! Am I crazy? Was this just a figment of the imagination of a latch-key kid? You are my only hope, Obi-Wan! NTT
Televisionary: Whoa there, NTT. Much as I love my job, I, too, must admit I'm a little unsettled by the notion of foreign nationals gleaning details of American life from our TV exports. I'd hate to think kids all over the world imagine we're a nation of vampires, witches, half-robots and unscrupulous oilmen who tip our big ol' hats and say "howdy" a lot. Then again, that's preferable to them assuming we're all SUV-driving, rolling-blackout-suffering Philistines grown fat on McNuggets and sugary soft drinks.
Anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah forensics. Sounds to me like you're thinking of Unsub, which focused on a group of profilers (the creator went on to produce Profiler) who tracked serial killers (aka unknown subjects, at least according to this show). I'm not sure where you got the shoe-fetish/criminal angle from (perhaps someone more up on it can write in and enlighten me), but Starsky and Hutch's David Soul did indeed lead the cast of the drama, which briefly lived on NBC from February to mid-April of 1989.
Soul portrayed John Westley Grayson, better known as "Westy" to his pals and cohorts in the U.S. Department of Justice Behavioral Science Unit he oversaw. The list of castmates included well-known vets like character-actor legend M. Emmet Walsh, Kent McCord (Adam 12, Battlestar Galactica), and Richard Kind (Mad About You, Spin City).