“Ladies and Gentlemen, we take you now behind the scenes of a police headquarters in a great American City, where, under the cold, glaring lights, will pass before us the innocent, the vagrant, the thief, the murderer. This is The Line Up!
These words let listeners know they had left the comfort of their living rooms and entered the dark, often dangerous world of police work. Even though most consider it a Dragnet pastiche, The Line Up holds up well on its own as a solid, and in ways, unique police procedural. In a way other programs did not, this crime drama literally brought its audience in as close to the beginning of the investigation as possible. A staple of any police case, the lineup was often shrouded in mystery, not something that was for public observation. Recognizing this, the creators of the radio program saw an opportunity to make each episode intimate, to allow fans to almost walk alongside Lieutenant Ben Guthrie.
The Line Up was the brainchild of one of radio’s true creative geniuses, Elliot Lewis. An accomplished actor, writer, and director, Lewis understood how to build a program to both take advantage of accepted tropes, many already established on radio for police dramas, and to add his own touches of humanity and grittiness in new ways. One way he did this best was to give The Line Up something most cop shows didn’t have; two solid leads to follow through the story instead of one.
Even though other radio cops usually had some sort of partner, The Line Up made sure that listeners understood that Lieutenant Ben Guthrie and Sergeant Matt Grebb (and later Pete Karger) were equal characters worth the investment of those listening. Lewis and other writers used this dynamic to allow Guthrie and his Sergeant to play off each other, which opened them up for more emotionally nuanced performances.
Go behind the scenes of a metropolitan police station in twelve original broadcasts of The Line Up, Volume 1, restored to sparkling digital quality.
#4 The Paradise Murder Case
Thursday, July 27, 1950 - CBS/AFRS no commercials
#5 Two Young Girls Killed by Hit and Run Driver
Thursday, August 3, 1950 - CBS/AFRS no commercials
#6 Suspect Dies of Poisoning
Thursday, August 10, 1950 - CBS/AFRS no commercials
#23 The Jersey Parallel
Thursday, December 7, 1950 - CBS Sustaining no commercials
#25 The Holstedter Case
Thursday, December 21, 1950 - CBS Sustaining no commercials
#26 The Elsner Case
Thursday, December 28, 1950 - CBS Sustaining no commercials
#27 The Case of Frankie and Joyce
Thursday, January 4, 1951 - CBS Sustaining no commercials
#32 Senile Slugging Case
Thursday, February 8, 1951 - CBS Sustaining no commercials
#33 The Cigar Box Boys Case
Thursday, February 15, 1951 - CBS Sustaining no commercials
#34 The Silver Swan Case
Thursday, February 22, 1951 - CBS Sustaining no commercials
#35 The Molly About Seven Case
Tuesday, February 27, 1951 - CBS Sustaining no commercials
#36 The Check Killer Case
Tuesday, March 6, 1951 - CBS/AFRS no commercials