Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer (later renamed as The New Mike Hammer) starred Stacy Keach and was first broadcast on April 9th 1983; initially it was a TV movie with the title “Murder Me, Murder You.” Hammer is hired to protect an old flame who he hasn’t seen in almost 20 years this leads him to investigate links between the woman’s all female courier agency and bribes being given by an American helicopter manufacturer to a corrupt general in Central America. The success of the TV movie turned it into a backdoor pilot with the new series debuting the following January. It would continue its initial run until May 13th 1987 (a total of 51 episodes – including TV movies).
The show followed the classic film noir detective films including Keach doing voiceovers, and had him dressed in suit, fedora and trench coat. the show also featured Don Stroud as Captain Pat Chambers, Eddie Egan as Detective Hennessey, Lindsay Bloom as Hammer’s secretary Velda, Kent Williams as Assistant District Attorney Lawrence D. Barrington, Danny Goldman as Ozzie “The Answer” – a know-it-all barfly, Ben Powers as Moochie – a pimp with links to New York’s underworld, Donna Denton as “The Face” a beautiful and mysterious woman who Hammer would see briefly in each episode but would then vanish before he had a chance to meet her, Lee Benton as Jenny the head barmaid of Hammer’s local the Lite N Easy Bar, and Eddie Barth as Ritchie – a newsstand salesman in Hammer’s neighborhood. The show’s theme song was ‘Harlem Nocturne” by Earle Hagen.
The first two episodes of the full season was a double episode “More Than Murder” where Captain Pat Chambers is gunned down during a drug bust at a high-stakes poker game, and implicated in drug trafficking. Further epsiodes involve insurance fraud, triads, serial killers, assasinations, muggings, mental break downs, blackmail, murder, racism, mobsters, child trafficking, cults, and embezzlement.
Through its run the show had a huge number of guest stars including George Benson, Joyce Brothers, Delta Burke, Dom DeLuise, Lou Ferrigno, Herbie Hancock, Myron Healey, James Hong, Ernie Hudson, Michael Ironside, Stepfanie Kramer, Lynda Carter, Jim Carrey, Ray Liotta, Keye Luke, Priscilla Pointer, Burt Reynolds, Esther Rolle, Isabel Sanford, Bubba Smith, Jan Smithers, Sharon Stone, Janine Turner, Shannon Tweed, Dick Van Patten, Branscombe Richmond, Dick Durock, Joan Severance, Tony Ciccone, Robert Axelrod, Ian Abercrombie, M.C. Gainey, Casey Kasem, Greg Evigan, Lyle Waggoner, Jared Martin, Claude Akins, Tracy Scoggins, Larry Wilcox, Micky Dolenz, Barbara Bain, Delta Burke, John Reilly, Professor Toru Tanaka, Joan Chen, Frank Ashmore, Claudia Christian, and Jeff Conaway.
Eventually Hammer will discover a relative he did not know existed as well as finally catch up with “The Face!”