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Cult TV Essentials: T. J. Hooker

T.J. Hooker was one of my favorite shows during high school. One of the principal reasons was because it starred William Shatner. Shatner was a favorite of mine since he was Captain Kirk on Star Trek. So, naturally I would gravitate toward any form of entertainment with him in it.

Originally, this police drama started on ABC as a mid-season replacement in 1982 and was on the air until 1985. After the ABC run, CBS picked it up for one additional season.

The show followed Sergeant Hooker a 15-year veteran of the force who was paired with rookie cop, Vince Romano (Adrian Zmed). His tough boss and sometimes verbal sparring partner, Captain Dennis Sheridan was played by veteran actor, Richard Herd.

In the second season, Heather Locklear joined the cast as Officer Stacy Sheridan and James Darren of Gidget and Time Tunnel fame came on board as Officer Jim Corrigan. All the action took place at the fictional LCPD, the Academy Precinct. Believe it or not, this was an Aaron Spelling production.

In the pilot episode, we are introduced to Hooker as a plainclothes detective whose partner is brutally murdered. Vowing to rid the streets of the criminal element, he decides to become a beat cop again. He ends up training new recruits. Eventually, he is partnered with Romano.

Off the job, Hooker is divorced and trying to find his way as a single man again. He and Romano become close and Hooker serves as a mentor for Romano in his personal and professional life. Sheridan was paired with Corrigan and they regularly joined Hooker and Romano to solve cases.

Once the program moved to CBS, it was one of the featured segments on Crime Time after Prime Time. The time slot was later and the episodes were 90 minutes long. There was even a 2-hour movie called Blood Sport. Some changes to the show’s format did occur. Scenes were filmed in Chicago and the budget was much smaller.

Some famous guest stars appeared on Hooker such as Sharon Stone (Basic Instinct), Tori Spelling (Beverly Hills 90210), Jonathan Banks (Breaking Bad) and David Caruso (CSI: Miami). Even his Star Trek co-star, Leonard Nimoy appeared on the show as an actor and a director. For fans of T.J., you can now own the complete series on DVD. Shout! Factory has acquired the rights and will release it on 7/18/2017.

 

 

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