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Toma (TV series)

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6.6/10 TV

Created by  Edward Hume
Final episode date  10 May 1974
Cast  Tony Musante
7.8/10 IMDb

Genre  Crime drama
First episode date  21 March 1973
Number of seasons  1
Toma (TV series) httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediaenthumb4
Written by  Edward Hume Roy Huggins
Directed by  Alex Grasshoff Jeannot Szwarc
Starring  Tony Musante Susan Strasberg
Composer(s)  Pete Rugolo (pilot) Mike Post (series) Pete Carpenter (series)
Network  American Broadcasting Company
Program creators  Stephen J. Cannell, Edward Hume
Similar  Baretta, The Rockford Files, City of Angels, Chase, Kojak

toma tv intro

Toma is an American crime drama series that ran on ABC in 1973 and 1974.


David toma talks about toma the tv series and baretta robert blake


The series stars Tony Musante and Susan Strasberg and was based on the real-life story and published biography of 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. His boss, Inspector Spooner, was played by Simon Oakland.

The show ended production after one season, as Musante had only agreed to film one full season, citing a desire not to get trapped into only playing one character over a long period of time. The network and show runners had initially assumed this to be a negotiating ploy, but Musante held firm and decided not to return.

Although the role was recast with Robert Blake, it was soon felt that Blake would be better served with a reworked and rewritten concept; accordingly, Toma was overhauled into the 1975 series Baretta. Aside from the circumstances of its conception, Baretta has no on-screen connection with Toma, as the shows have no characters or settings in common.

Many of the people on the Toma writing staff would go on to write episodes of The Rockford Files, which debuted shortly after Toma's cancellation. These writers included Stephen J. Cannell, Roy Huggins (who signed most of his work on both shows as "John Thomas James"), Juanita Bartlett, Zekial Marko, Don Carlos Dunaway, and Gloryette Clark. Series stars Musante, Strasberg and Oakland would also guest star on various episodes of The Rockford Files.

Season 1 (1973–74)

* Unknown


The series received favorable reviews and blistering criticism for its depictions of criminal and police violence. Although Toma was achieving relatively good ratings, the show was cancelled after one season. A second season was planned, but Tony Musante refused to continue with the show. Musante had told the producers at the outset that he only wanted to do one season, but they mistakenly believed he would return if the series was renewed.


Rather than recast the starring role of Toma, the show was retooled as Baretta starring Robert Blake, with violent scenes toned down. Baretta debuted as a mid-season replacement on ABC in early 1975.

The Rockford Files

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.


Despite having contributed to the development of the popular Baretta, reruns of Toma were never syndicated to local stations, and repeats of the show on national television post-cancellation have been rare. Repeats of Toma aired in the late-1970s during ABC Late Night, and later on USA Network's Crimebusters in 1984-1985. One episode aired on TV Land in 2001.


Toma (TV series) Wikipedia