Toma (TV series)

Toma (TV series)

"Toma" was a short-lived television series that ran on ABC in 1973 and 1974.

The series starred Tony Musante and Susan Strasberg and was based on the real-life story and published biography of USCity|Newark|New Jersey police detective David Toma. Toma had compiled an amazing arrest record during his years on the force, particularly in arresting drug dealers. Toma was known as a master of disguise and undercover work, and achieved his success while never firing his gun. After retiring from the force, Toma became one of America's most sought after speakers, lecturing students all over the country about the dangers of drugs.

Toma himself usually made a cameo appearance in episodes as a minor character (bartender, police officer, etc.). His boss, Inspector Spooner, was played by character actor Simon Oakland.

Musante, who had primarily been a movie actor, reportedly tired of the grind of making a weekly program after only one season (Roy Huggins said that Musante had told him at the outset that he only wanted to do one season, but Huggins didn't believe him until it happened; see video link below). At the time, the series was receiving blistering criticism for its realistic depictions of criminal and police violence. Since "Toma" was achieving relatively good ratings and reviews the show was quickly revamped as "Baretta" starring Robert Blake, with violent scenes toned down. Blake's new "Baretta" character was notably less intense than Musante's Toma, even introducing a comedic element in an attempt to placate critics. Baretta debuted as a mid-season replacement on ABC in early 1975.

According to interviews on the "Greatest American Hero" DVD set, a writers strike during the shooting of "Toma" is what indirectly led to "The Rockford Files". Writer Stephen J. Cannell and his mentor Roy Huggins created the character of Jim Rockford as a way to get around an impossible schedule created by the strike.

External links

*imdb title|id=0069646|title=Toma
* [ Roy Huggins' American Archive of Television Interview]

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