“Adam” Isn’t A Character, It’s A Location
Where exactly did the title come from? It helps to know how to talk like a cop in order to understand it more. Adam-12 is actually a shortened version of the longer phrase One-Adam-12. The “one” represented the area of the division the patrol unit was presently in. “Adam” is police jargon for a two-manned patrol vehicle. The “12” is the cops’ regular beat, which is the area they were patrolling at the time.
The show actually had an inaccuracy within it. Taking place in Rampart Division, it shouldn’t have started with “one,” but rather “two,” as that was the number assigned to that particular division in L.A.