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|Created by||Michael Butler|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||31|
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Production companies||Jay Bernstein Productions|
Columbia Pictures Television
|Distributor||Sony Pictures Television|
|Original release||March 11, 1987 –|
June 7, 1988
The core of the series is the partnership between two very different cops from two different cultures. Chicago cop Joey LaFiamma, played by Michael Paré, is transferred to Houston after he kills a mobster from a powerful Mafia family and a contract is put out on him. Once there, he is partnered with Levon Lundy, played by Michael Beck, the grandson of a Texas Ranger.
Although as different as night and day, and after a rocky beginning (the two engage in a fist-fight) they form a successful partnership and become friends. This is aided to a certain extent by an event where a hitman from Chicago who holds the contract to shoot La Fiamma arrives in Houston and is ultimately killed by Lundy.
During the series, it is revealed that both La Fiamma and Lundy have their own personal demons. La Fiamma's Chicago partner had been killed when the partner went into a crime scene while La Fiamma had waited for backup to arrive. Lundy's wife had been killed by an explosion that was intended to kill him.
Producer Jay Bernstein said the show "goes against the grain of current television thinking. It's an hour-long episode show at a time when half-hour comedy is king. It features two male police officers when family situation stories are hot."
Bernstein said the leads needed to say what America should be... Houston Knights was created on a formula that started with Columbia Pictures. They had these two-reelers during the 1930s using two leading men who always fought with each other. There was the same relationship between John Wayne and Randolph Scott in the 1940s in movies like 'Pittsburgh.' This is different for television, but has been used in the movies since the 1930s. These are principled men. They're in the 1980s but with the conservative morals of the 1940s."
The show was renewed for a second season. Beck said his relationship on air with Pare would be "less abrasive... We used that as a starting-off point, but everyone now feels that coming into living rooms that way, week after week, might grow a little tiring for the viewer. We'll have more of a needling instead of an 'I-hate-your-guts' feel between them. There'll still be a rivalry and animosity there, but not quite so hard-edged."
The theme music for the series was Texan blues-rock style, opening with a steamy saxophone then featuring slide guitar work and a heavy bass line. Dennis McCarthy and George Doering composed the music for the series. Lee Ritenour is also credited as a major contributor to the music featured in the series.
One of the key features of the show was the car driven by La Fiamma, an ice-blue 289 AC Cobra "replicar", credited as being provided by "North American Fibreglass". The car was yet another way to demonstrate that La Fiamma didn't "fit" in Texas, as most other characters on the show drove pickup trucks (including Lundy).
The wardrobe for La Fiamma consisted of well-cut and stylish Italian label clothing, another contrast to Lundy, who was always attired in typical Texas "cowboy" clothes.
The New York Times said the pilot "is so confused and confusing that it is impossible to tell whether this latest police-detective romp can pull itself together long enough to have a shot at surviving."
The titles of the 31 episodes are listed below, along with their original TV air dates. Although they are listed separately, the first two episodes were originally screened as a movie-length pilot. The first 9 episodes comprised the first season, the remaining 22 episodes formed season two. The first season ranked 34th out of 79 shows with a 15.1/26 rating/share.
Season 1 (1987)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|"Mirrors: Parts 1 & 2"||Gary Nelson & Richard Lang||Michael Butler & Eric Blakeney & Gene Miller||March 11, 1987|
|3||3||"North of the Border"||Mike Vejar||Clyde Phillips & Stan Berkowitz||March 18, 1987|
|4||4||"Houston's Hero"||Thomas J. Wright||teleplay: Joseph Gunn and Eric Blakeney & Gene Miller; story: Joseph Gunn||March 25, 1987|
|5||5||"Single in Heaven"||Richard Compton||Michael Ahnemann||April 1, 1987|
|6||6||"Yesterday's Gone"||Unknown||Unknown||April 8, 1987|
|7||7||"Bad Girl"||Georg Sanford Brown||Michael Ahnemann||April 15, 1987|
|8||8||"Scarecrow"||Unknown||Unknown||April 22, 1987|
|9||9||"Colt"||Thomas J. Wright||Paul Diamond||April 29, 1987|
Season 2 (1987–88)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|10||1||"Moving Violation"||Paul Krasny||Stan Berkowitz||September 15, 1987|
|11||2||"Heads, I Win - Tails, You Lose"||Dale White||Story by : Jay Bernstein|
Teleplay by : Nancy Ann Miller
|September 22, 1987|
|12||3||"Desperado"||Reza Badiyi||Story by : Deborah Arakelaian|
Teleplay by : Valerie West
|October 6, 1987|
|13||4||"Gun Shy"||Paul Krasny||Elliott Anderson & Lawrence Levy||October 13, 1987|
|14||5||"Lady Smoke"||Richard Colla||Story by : Stephen Katz|
Teleplay by : Paul Diamond
|October 20, 1987|
|15||6||"God's Will"||Michael O'Herlihy||E. Nick Alexander||November 3, 1987|
|16||7||"Diminished Capacity"||Alexander Singer||Phil Combest||November 10, 1987|
|17||8||"Home Is Where the Heart Is"||Don Chaffey||Herman Miller||November 17, 1987|
|18||9||"Secrets"||Ivan Dixon||Paul Diamond||December 8, 1987|
|19||10||"Somebody to Love"||Rick Berger||Paul Schiffer||December 22, 1987|
|20||11||"There's One Born Every Minute"||Reza Badiyi||Nancy Ann Miller||January 2, 1988|
|21||12||"Vigilante"||Ivan Dixon||Elliott Anderson & Lawrence Levy||January 9, 1988|
|22||13||"The White Hand"||Aaron Lipstadt||Story by : Alex Gansa & Howard Gordon|
Teleplay by : Scott Ahnemann & Karl Precoda
|January 16, 1988|
|23||14||"Sins of the Father"||Michael Fresco||John Miglis||January 30, 1988|
|24||15||"Crime Spree"||Sidney Hayers||Gregory S. Dinallo||February 6, 1988|
|25||16||"Cajun Spice"||William Fraker||Elliott Anderson & Lawrence Levy||February 13, 1988|
|26||17||"The Stone"||Jerry Jameson||Elia Katz||February 20, 1988|
|27||18||"Burnout"||James Quinn||Stan Berkowitz||February 27, 1988|
|28||19||"Love Hurts"||Larry Shaw||Paul Diamond||April 26, 1988|
|29||20||"Bad Paper"||Jerry Jameson||John Miglis||May 3, 1988|
|30||21||"For Caroline"||Randy Roberts||Robin Bernheim||May 10, 1988|
|31||22||"The Jungle Fighter"||Jerry Jameson||Robert Bielak||June 7, 1988|
- A PRODUCER WHO TRUSTS HIS INSTINCTS: [THIRD Edition] De Atley, Richard. Boston Globe 8 July 1986: 28.
- HOUSTON KNIGHTS' PATROL EARLIER BEAT: [3 STAR Edition] Jay Bobbin , Tribune Tv Log. Orlando Sentinel 28 July 1987: E6.
- 'HOUSTON KNIGHTS,' A SERIES ON CBS: [Review] O'Connor, John J. New York Times 11 Mar 1987: C.26.