High Incident

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High Incident
Main cast
GenrePolice drama
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes32
Executive producers
Running time44 minutes
Production companies
  • Johnson/Pavone Productions (season 1)
  • Nothing But Net, Inc. (season 1)
  • Donwell Productions (season 2)
  • DreamWorks Television
Original release
ReleaseMarch 4, 1996 (1996-03-04) –
May 8, 1997 (1997-05-08)

High Incident was a police drama television series produced by DreamWorks Television for the ABC network. The show was created by Steven Spielberg, Michael Pavone, Eric Bogosian, and Dave Alan Johnson. It aired from March 4, 1996, to May 8, 1997,[1] running a total of 32 episodes.


The show focused on the everyday stories of a group of El Camino Police Department (ECPD) officers investigating and solving crimes.



The executive producers of the series are Michael Pavone, Dave Alan Johnson, and Eric Bogosian, with Charles Haid as the co-executive producer-director. Steven Spielberg receives story credit,[1] with Haid noting that "Steven Spielberg is on the set almost every day."[3] High Incident was filmed in the San Fernando Valley neighborhood of Chatsworth, Los Angeles, which doubles for the fictional El Camino.[1]

The series was renewed for a second season, but was moved to the Thursday at 8:00 p.m. timeslot opposite Friends on NBC, with Blair Underwood, Lisa Vidal, and Lindsay Frost joining the cast.[2] Although it received good reviews and fair ratings, it was canceled after the end of its second season in May 1997, due to its lower ratings against NBC's Friends and The Single Guy, and CBS's Diagnosis: Murder on Thursday evenings.[citation needed]


Series overview[edit]

Season Episodes Originally aired (U.S. dates)
First aired Last aired
1 10 March 4, 1996 (1996-03-04) September 12, 1996 (1996-09-12)
2 22 September 17, 1996 (1996-09-17) May 1, 1997 (1997-05-01)

Broadcast history[edit]

  • Mondays 9:00 p.m. (March 4, 1996 – April 15, 1996)
  • Thursdays 8:00 p.m. (August 15, 1996 – May 8, 1997)
  • Tuesday 10:00 p.m. (Special "preview" premiere time for second-season premiere on September 17, 1996)

Season 1 (1996)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
11"Pilot"Charles HaidStory by : Steven Spielberg & Eric Bogosian & Michael Pavone & Dave Alan Johnson
Teleplay by : Eric Bogosian & Michael Pavone & Dave Alan Johnson
March 4, 1996 (1996-03-04)
The pilot episode introduces the men and women of the (fictional) El Camino Police Department (ECPD). A traffic stop leads to tragedy; and a rookie cop Randy Willitz learns the ropes from a veteran. Also: patrol cars respond to a call about a bully terrorizing a condo complex.
22"Till Death Do Us Part"Charles HaidMichael Pavone & Dave Alan JohnsonMarch 11, 1996 (1996-03-11)
ECPD is called in when the bride's family is ready to kill the groom. Gayle's father, a career marine, spends the day riding with Gayle and Richie. A man lands in hot water when his dog is hit by a car. Lenny is introduced to his new partner Officer Leslie Joyner.
33"Coroner's Day Off"Michael WatkinsWilliam M. FinkelsteinMarch 18, 1996 (1996-03-18)
Marsh, who's been slapped with a sexual-harassment charge by Bonner (Lucinda Jenney), recommends her for undercover-hooker detail; and Willitz spends an uneasy day corpse-sitting a suicide.
44"Women and Children First"Randall ZiskFred Ellis & Monte WilliamsApril 1, 1996 (1996-04-01)
Officers Van Camp and Fernandez brave downed power lines to reach a father and son trapped in an overturned vehicle.
55"Sometimes a Vague Notion"Tony BillTracey SternApril 8, 1996 (1996-04-08)
Terry believes that a missing boy (Jordan Blake Warkol) is trapped in a pipe at a construction site---and he'll move heaven and earth to prove he's right.
66"Father Knows Best"Charles HaidMichael Pavone & Dave Alan JohnsonApril 15, 1996 (1996-04-15)

Marsh takes some drastic measures to ensure that his rebellious daughter (Mena Suvari) remains on the straight and narrow. Meanwhile, Van Camp finds herself on the business end of a stun gun.

Guest star: Mena Suvari as Jill Marsh.
77"Follow the Leader"Dan LernerFred Ellis & Monte WilliamsAugust 15, 1996 (1996-08-15)
Lenny is back on patrol. Willitz finds himself in a hostage-situation standoff with a man (Cotter Smith) who shot his wife.
88"52-Car Pick Up"Jake PaltrowTracey SternAugust 29, 1996 (1996-08-29)

Officers Topps and Hagar find themselves in a multivehicle pileup on a fogbound freeway.

Guest stars: Patrick Malone as Neal, Titus Welliver as Sergeant Crispo, Ricky Aiello as Al, Kelsey Berglund as Anna.
99"Truth or Consequences"Davis GuggenheimWilliam M. FinkelsteinSeptember 5, 1996 (1996-09-05)
Officers Van Camp and Fernandez respond to a call at a house where a father shot his son after mistaking him for a burglar.
1010"The Lady or the Tiger"Charles HaidStory by : Michael Pavone & Dave Alan Johnson
Teleplay by : Fred Ellis & Monte Williams
September 12, 1996 (1996-09-12)
Andy and Russell are called to the West Valley Zoo where several animals have somehow escaped. The most troubling escapee is a 600 pound Bengal tiger. Gayle and Richie respond to a burglar alarm at a home, and find a suspicious man who claims he's taking care of the plants and swallowing something and arrests him. Later, they recover two diamond rings which have worked their way through his system.

Season 2 (1996–97)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
111"Hello/Goodbye"Charles HaidAnn DonahueSeptember 17, 1996 (1996-09-17)

When Officer Gayle Van Camp is badly wounded in the line of duty, the El Camino police force begins a desperate search for the perpetrator. New cast members are introduced including, Blair Underwood as Officer Mike Rhoades, Lisa Vidal as Officer Jessica Helgado, and Lindsay Frost as Sergeant Helen Sullivan. Beth (Lesley Boone) experiences a series of false labor pains causing her husband Terry to panic. When she is finally ready to deliver, Terry is not around and it is a nervous Russell who must take over. Gayle dies as Beth gives birth to a healthy 7 pound, 6 ounce baby boy.

Note: Special "advance" Tuesday preview premiere.
122"Nobody Walks in El Camino"Charles HaidFred Ellis & Monte WilliamsSeptember 19, 1996 (1996-09-19)

Jim Marsh finds his car has been vandalized by Julia's murderer, her husband, who insanely blames Jim for breaking up his marriage and forcing him to kill his wife. Terry has become a new father and must deal with Russell's paternal feelings as well as his own. Jessica and Mike feel their talents are being wasted when they are assigned to bus patrol. A nasty mob attacks the bus, changing their minds.

Note: Aired in regular season 2 Thursday timeslot.
133"Welcome to America"Les LandauArt MonterastelliSeptember 26, 1996 (1996-09-26)
Jim Marsh and Randy Willitz pursue a truck full of illegal immigrants until it crashes. A bystander videotapes the incident, as Marsh uses force to contain and arrest the driver. The driver accuses Jim of using excessive force. A passenger of the truck later dies of wounds the driver inflicted on him. Mike and Jessica respond to a two-car collision. Mike is harassed by the gathering crowd for not protecting "his own," after he cites a black man for reckless driving. A member of the Algerian women's Olympic track team steals a diamond bracelet from a jewelry store because she wants to be put in jail in America so she won't have to return home where she fears persecution.
144"Who'll Stop the Bombs?"Tony BillKevin ArkadieOctober 3, 1996 (1996-10-03)
A serial bomber is loose in El Camino, and in a brazen moves plants a bomb in the drinks machine inside the police station. Called to a possible explosion, Russell finds drugs hidden in a truckload of manure. When the bomber is identified, Marsh helps the man understand that while his wife has taken the children away, the kids still need a father.
155"The Godfather"Michael KatlemanKim NewtonOctober 10, 1996 (1996-10-10)
Mike Rhoades arrests a 15-year-old juvenile and takes him under his wing. Later the teen is beaten-up by his step-father. He finds his step-fathers gun and threatens to shoot the man. The kid is coaxed into dropping the gun by Rhodes and the abuser is arrested. When Len's son, Joel is missing, the El Camino police force come together for the search and Sue (Elizabeth Harmon-Haid) blames Len's affair with Lynette for their distraught son's disappearance. Len goes undercover and gets the convicted child molester who took his son, to lead him to where the attacker took him. Joel is scared but unharmed. Meanwhile, Russell is concerned about his baptism duties as the christening date for Terry's son approaches. Leslie finally tells her peers about her long lost daughter.
166"Masquerade"Ralph WinterW.K. Scott MeyerOctober 17, 1996 (1996-10-17)
Halloween is a cop's nightmare. Halloween day begins with a station wagon crashing into a prison bus, allowing four convicts to escape. Halloween night is even more tense. Lenny Gayer is crushed when his wife decides that she doesn't want him to spend Halloween with her and the kids. Randy Willitz must face the fact that his father is an alcoholic after he's arrested for DUI. Leslie is torn between Trick-or-Treating with her daughter Anita, and being a good cop. Russell spends his day trying to scare Sergeant Sullivan.
177"Shake, Rattle & Roll"Dan LernerTracey SternOctober 31, 1996 (1996-10-31)

El Camino is shaken by a 6.2 earthquake. Officers Jessica Helgado and Mike Rhoades are called to a collapsed tunnel, where they attempt to save the life of a young woman in labor. The woman is trapped inside an ambulance and bleeding. Mike breaks one of the ambulances small windows, and Jessie squeezes through. The woman later bleeds to death, but Jessie must continue to deliver the baby. The boy baby is born healthy. Just when Terry and his family think they made it through the earthquake unharmed, they learn their home has been destroyed.

Guest stars: Kelly Schmidt as unknown, Catherine Dent as unknown, Lesley Boone as Beth Hagar, Mena Suvari as Jill Marsh.
188"Change Partners"Charles HaidArt MonterastelliNovember 7, 1996 (1996-11-07)
A gang pulls off well-planned armored-car robberies; and a hospital worker (Adam Scott) is caught stealing cadavers and selling them to a man (Terry Kiser) who supplies third-world medical schools.
199"Bullet the Blue Sky"D.J. CarusoKevin Arkadie & Kim NewtonNovember 21, 1996 (1996-11-21)

A sniper is targeting ECPD officers, killing an officer from a neighbouring division. In this climate, everyday work becomes more difficult, and while the investigation does not deliver the sniper, it's not a complete loss.

Guest stars: Hinton Battle as Brian, Bill Stevenson as Ted, Elise Neal as Arial, Tobin Bell as Birsic, Joel de la Fuente as Detective Aquino.
2010"Warrant Peace"Tony BillStory by : Tracey Stern
Teleplay by : Fred Ellis & Monte Williams
December 5, 1996 (1996-12-05)
With the sniper still on the loose, the mayor orders ECPD execute warrants on a long list of fine defaulters. Meanwhile, Rhoades is fighting to keep Derek's own gang from killing him.
2111"Christmas Blues"Michael KatlemanArt Monterastelli & W.K. Scott MeyerDecember 12, 1996 (1996-12-12)
On Christmas Eve, Russell enlists the aid of his homeless brother (Robert David Hall) and his street pals to find a missing baby who was abandoned in a church by the distraught mother.
2212"My Brother's Keeper"Charles HaidTracey SternJanuary 9, 1997 (1997-01-09)
Gayle Van Camp's killer (Michael Chieffo) escapes and returns to El Camino, where he kidnaps Willitz's brother to try to force a showdown with the cop.
2313"No Money Down"D.J. CarusoAnn Donahue & Art MonterastelliJanuary 16, 1997 (1997-01-16)

Lenny becomes upset while visiting the home he previously shared with his wife and kids and learns that it was sold. Another two officers, Mike and Jessie, respond to a 911 call and find a man driving a truck into his own newly rebuilt home. The major storyline in this episode involves a bank-robbery. While attempting to stop the robbery, another officer named Terry is taken hostage, along with seven other people. The robbers are a married couple named Bobby (Morgan Stevens) and Rita Miller (Jo Anderson). They have a young son and the bank recently had repossessed their house because they missed mortgage payments. Terry and the police force outside of the building work to resolve the situation and prevent anyone from getting hurt. The El Camino Police force and the SWAT team work together to prevent anyone from getting hurt.

Guest stars: Morgan Stevens as Bobby Miller, Jo Anderson as Rita Miller, Ken Jenkins as Burt, Xander Berkeley as SWAT Team Captain Hackworth, Michael Stoyanov as Chapman, Enrique Castillo as unknown, Kitty Swink as unknown, Stan Cahill as unknown, Mariangela Pino as unknown.
2414"Knock Knock"Whitney RansickStory by : Fred Ellis & Monte Williams
Teleplay by : Kevin Arkadie
January 30, 1997 (1997-01-30)

The ECPD acquires a police dog trained to carry a surveillance camera into dangerous territory. Soon after, El Camino is hit with a wave of home invasions.

Guest stars: Thomas F. Duffy as Billy, George Gerdes as unknown, Laura Johnson as Daphne Grainger, Paul Kent as Steven Carlisle, Rob Stewart as Keeler, Todd Kimsey as Montford: Jennifer Rhodes as Gloria.
2515"Black & Blue"D.J. CarusoAnn Donahue & Kim NewtonFebruary 6, 1997 (1997-02-06)

Mike Rhoades is falsely arrested because he was black man driving a sportscar in a poor neighborhood. Later, Marsh, Rhoades, and several other El Camino police officers go to the same bad neighborhood to restore order. Marsh meets a large 40-year-old black woman. The deputy Sheriff is brought up on corruption charges.

Guest stars: Esther Scott as Teresa, Bradley Whitford as Engler, Xander Skye as Marky, Dee Freeman as Danetta, Anthony Anderson as Sonny.
2616"Hot Wire"Dan LernerArt Monterastelli & Tracey SternFebruary 13, 1997 (1997-02-13)

A ring of gun-toting car thieves specializing in luxury autos hits El Camino; and a paroled sex offender (David Packer) moves back into town.

Guest stars: David Packer as unknown, Michael Fairman as unknown, Evelyn Iocolano as Cinnamon, Vanessa Marcil as Kerry Andrews.
2717"Excessive Force"Jake PaltrowKevin Arkadie & W.K. Scott MeyerFebruary 27, 1997 (1997-02-27)

A suspect who resisted arrest dies while en route to the booking, so Internal Affairs investigates Helgado for excessive force. Also, patrons of a gay bar are being victimized by local toughs.

Guest stars: Michael McCraine as Tonya, Dan Bucatinsky as Bootz Brotman, Dana Gladstone as unknown, James Logan as Jet, Rob Stewart as Keeler, Gary Anthony Sturgis as unknown.
2818"Show Me the Money"Whitney RansickArt Monterastelli & Tracey SternMarch 13, 1997 (1997-03-13)

Officers are suspected of removing $50,000 from the property room; and agents put the moves on a high-school basketball star (Marcus Mitchell).

Guest stars: Bronson Pinchot as Matt Shukat.
2919"Remote Control"D.J. CarusoBonnie MarkApril 3, 1997 (1997-04-03)

While checking on offenders who are being electronically monitored under house arrest, Rhoades is reunited with a former friend from his street-gang days. Meanwhile, Marsh gets too close to a witness (Vanessa Marcil) in protective custody.

Guest stars: Vanessa Marcil as Kerry Andrews.
3020"Camino High"Stephen CraggWendy Battles & R.J. BerensteinApril 24, 1997 (1997-04-24)

Rich, white high-school kids, friends of Marsh's daughter, are suspected of pushing heroin; and a local (Marc Grapey) thinks his neighbor (Melora Walters) is a witch and that she's cast a spell on him.

Guest stars: Timothy Olyphant as Officer Brett Farraday. (Note: Olyphant appears in the final three episodes of the series; it appears that if High Incident had continued, Olyphant would have become a regular.)
3121"Starting Over"Allen CoulterGenia ShipmanMay 1, 1997 (1997-05-01)

On his first day on patrol, a rookie cop blows two opportunities to apprehend a serial rapist; and Gayer tries to help an ex-hooker (Michael McCraine) start over.

Guest stars: Timothy Olyphant as Officer Brett Farraday.
3222"Shootout"Art MonterastelliAnn DonahueMay 8, 1997 (1997-05-08)

A botched bank job turns deadly when civilians and outgunned ECPD officers are trapped in the line of fire by robbers armed with military-assault weapons. Officer Lenny Gayer is shot a mile from the scene by a stray bullet, causing paralysis from the waist down. Also: Officer Mike Rhoades is shot in the thigh and shoulder. He suffers head trauma when he falls to the ground.

Guest stars: Derk Cheetwood as Officer Smith, Michael McCraine as Tanya, Timothy Olyphant as Officer Brett Farraday, Julie Inouye as Lisa, Jamie A. Keyser as Soccer Mom, Scott Lincoln as Zobek, Walter Addison as Mayor.


  • The events of this episode are based North Hollywood bank robbery shootout on February 28, 1997.
  • A dedication preceding the closing credits marks this episode as a memorial to the more than 1,200 U.S. police officers killed in the line of duty in the preceding ten years.


Todd Everett of Variety describes some of the series' characters as being a "tired stereotype", but praises director/co-exec producer Charles Haid for getting "a lot out of his fine cast, and several of the action scenes show above-average energy."[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Todd Everett (March 3, 1996). "High Incident". Variety. Retrieved 2020-07-01.
  2. ^ a b c d Bruce Fretts (September 13, 1996). "Thursday's returning shows". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2020-07-01.
  3. ^ Bruce Fretts (February 23, 1996). "Spring's TV shows". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2020-07-01.

External links[edit]