Inside David Soul's Relationship With Starsky & Hutch Co-Star Paul Michael Glaser

There's a reason the William Shatner and George Takei feud is so notorious. Well, more than one reason — the perennial success of "Star Trek" and the pair bringing up grievances with each other well into old age has something to do with it. But it's generally the case that bickering co-stars make for more dramatic stories which, the thinking often goes, makes for better copy. Given the choice between bickering on the set of "Star Trek" and warm, fuzzy feelings between the stars of "Starsky & Hutch," what gossip magazine is going to push the latter story?

But the relationship between Paul Michael Glaser (Starsky) and David Soul (Hutch) is compelling in all the ways the Shatner-Takei feud isn't. It's the story of co-workers who became best friends through the experience of producing a hit TV show together. The set of "Starsky & Hutch" wasn't the first place the two met. Speaking to The Sunday Post, Soul said they were acquainted before they were cast on the show. But when they were put together as colleagues, they immediately fell into sync — in thinking the show was a dud, they said during an appearance on "Richard & Judy" in 2004 (via YouTube). 

But ABC disagreed, and the show got underway. And having accepted the parts of Starsky and Hutch, the two leads went all in on making the best of it. "We had the same kind of drive in our careers at that point to make something happen," Glaser told the Archive of American Television, "and we were more determined and more adamant on trying to do something of quality."

Glaser and Soul gradually bonded over the course of the series

Ambitions of quality cut against prevailing attitudes in network television at the time. Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul often fought with their "Starsky & Hutch" producers. Just like their characters, they worked as the yin to the other's yang in such confrontations. Glaser told the Archive of American Television that he was the vocal, confrontational one with producers while Soul was the friendly, agreeable one. But they were united in an "us against the establishment" mindset that Glaser felt helped their characters. If their ultimate impact on the scripts was limited, he reasoned, their personal chemistry came to more than the sum of the written material.

But while Glaser and Soul worked well together in front of the camera and in discussions with the producers, they initially found it difficult to relate outside the professional sphere. "Off camera, we didn't have a whole lot to talk about," Glaser told the Archive. He attributed this personal distance to both of them feeling uncomfortable with opening up to each other at that point in their lives. As the show went on, however, it became easier to acknowledge their affection for one another.

They were good friends by the series' end and much more comfortable sharing that friendship. In interviews and on social media, they even joked about the homoerotic subtext sometimes read into the series (via Glaser's Instagram). Shortly before his death in January 2024, Soul declared that Glaser "is and will always be my best friend, my brother" on X (formerly Twitter).