Created by Frank Lupo, Hunter starred Fred Dryer as Sgt. Rick Hunter and Stepfanie Kramer as Sgt. Dee Dee McCall. It debuted in September 1985 and ran initially for for seven seasons (152 episodes in total) until April 1991. Then between 1995 and 2003 three television movies continue the story: The Return of Hunter (1995), Hunter: Return to Justice (2002), and Hunter: Back in Force (2003). A revival series hit screens in 2003 taking the adventures further which ran for a further five episodes.
Hunter wasn’t a million miles away from Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry but with an added sprinkling of Han Solo. He catch phrase “Works for me” was often uttered when he was questioned as to why he acted in a certain way on a case. He was a physically imposing man who was not shy of breaking rule or two to solve his homicide cases. McCall was the more traditional moral compass for Hunter although both were not scared of resorting to lethal force when necessary. Unlike a lot of shows at the time where the hero moved on to a new place each episode, Hunter instead built up a strong continuity of characters and story-line threads that rewarded longtime viewers.
One of the most shocking moments in TV history at the time took place in the Season 2 two-part episode “Rape and Revenge” (Ep. 6 and 7). A foreign diplomat Raul Mariano (played by Richard Yniguez) meets McCall and wants to have a relationship with her, and after she declines, he brutally rapes her in her home. He is unable to be arrested as he has diplomatic immunity. Hunter later tracks Raul back to his home country which he dishes out some Hunter justice and kills him.
This story-line thread would be picked up again in Season 3 Ep. 5: High Noon in L.A. where Carlos Mariano (George DelHoyo) – Raul’s brother – comes to L.A. to seek revenge against Hunter. Hunter, McCall and Captain Devane (Charles Hallahan) soon discover that they are again handicapped by ‘diplomatic immunity.’ Hunter is kidnapped by Carlos Mariano and must fight for his life.
As well as the gritty stories, Hunter also had a wide variety of guest actors in the show. Keep your eyes peeled for Bruce Davison, John Amos, Robert Colbert, Erik Estrada, Robert Vaughan, William Smith, Frances Bay, Ken Foree, Branscombe Richmond, Andreas Katsulas, Billy Drago, Miguel Fernandes, James Hong, Michael Bell, Ismael ‘East’ Carlo, Cindy Morgan, Michael DeLano, Steven Williams, Jesse Ventura, Yuji Okumoto, Paul Koslo, Robert Firth, Richard Lynch, Red West, Brian Dennehy, Wings Hauser, Jonathan Banks, Robert Davi, Ed O’Neill, Vernon Wells, Anthony James, Don Stroud, James Cromwell, George Clooney, Alex Rocco, Bernie Casey, Fionnula Flanagan, Jerry Orbach, Gary Sinese, Sam J. Jones, Jeff Combs, Robert Englund, Nana Visitor, Big John Studd, Marina Sirtis, Mark Pellegrino, Mitch Pileggi, Denise Crosby, Claudia Christian, Marshall R. Teague, Ray Wise, Frank Ashmore, and Erin Gray amongst a whole host of others!