Hill Street Station" introduces us to the many stories on the street, in the squad room, and in the homes of both the uniform and plainclothes officers at Hill Street. After Sargent Phil Esterhaus completes Roll Call, we begin to learn something of the regulars. John "J.D." LaRue goes out of his way to hit on Assistant DA Joyce Davenport. She's at the Hill and livid with Captain Frank Furillo and his Sargent's, who explain that they have "temporarily misplaced" the suspect she is supposed to have in court in just a few minutes. Meanwhile, while on patrol street cops Andy Renko and Bobby Hill stumble on a liquor store heist that ends in a hostage standoff. Clashes occur between Detective Henry Goldblume, who believes in negotiation and talking to suspects, and Lt. Howard Hunter, a gung-ho commander of a type of SWAT team on the Hill. Add to this mix gang leader Jesus Martinez whose gang members planned the robbery and tries to end it only to yell at his members, and Capt. Furillo finds only by showing up on the scene himself can he end the situation. Amongst this we meet Sgt. Mick Belker, a tough undercover cop who has a penchant for biting his suspects if they try to resist him in any way. Belker has his first run in of several with a pickpocket he picks up in the crowd at the liquor store holdup. Personal relationships are also introduced, when we meet Furillo's ex-wife Faye, who wants more child support, Esterhaus's new love interest, a high-school senior (he's in his 50's), and a secret love affair between Assistant DA Davenport and someone on the Hill. The episode ends with a cliffhanger when Hill and Renko, looking for a phone after their squad car is stolen while they respond to a domestic dispute, stumble onto kids using drugs who shoot the two officers and leave them for dead.

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