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NYPD Retired Det. Lou Telano / The inspiration for the ’70s “Starsky and Hutch”

The NYPD’s Lone Ranger always sits tall in the saddle in his kemosabe’s memories. Retired Det. Lou Telano can’t help but grin when he recalls all the adventures he had with his late partner John Sepe in the 1960s and ’70s — when the weapons the two plainclothes investigators had ranged from their trusty revolvers and street smarts to, when necessary, long skirts and high heels.

“We weren’t the first cops to do undercover work, but we definitely paved the way,” said Telano, also 76, who still proudly refers to himself as Sepe’s “Tonto” as he regales listeners to his radio show on WGBB.

The two cowboy cops — the inspiration for the ’70s TV show “Starsky and Hutch” — made an art form out of “decoy work,” in which cops dressed like potential victims to draw out criminals in high crime areas, according to Telano. And their costumes got more and more elaborate each year.


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