An attempt to re-invoke the popularity that police procedurals had enjoyed a decade earlier, Special Squad was the most expensive program produced in Australia up to 1985 (at $150,000 per episode), yet received such lukewarm ratings that Channel Ten chose not to commission a second series.
According to Moran, in his Guide to Australian TV Series,
it was good to watch, with expert stunt work and special effects. With well-paced narratives, intelligently and nicely worked out situations and plenty of emphasis on the villains and victims, Special Squad was just as watchable and entertaining as Homicide had been in its last series.
According to Moran, the failure of Special Squad lay both in its difference from and its similarity to Homicide. The novelty (of Australian accents and Australian locations) that had helped make Homicide so successful was no longer in play, and 'the sight of tough men (on both sides of the law) made the program [Special Squad] seem very old-fashioned. In addition, the plethora of other Australian dramas on air at the time gave viewers more than enough alternatives.'