Hunter (U.S. TV series)
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Title card for first three seasons of the show.
|Created by||Frank Lupo|
James Whitmore, Jr.
|Composer(s)||Mike Post (1984–90)
Pete Carpenter (1984–90)
Walter Murphy (1990–91)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||7|
|No. of episodes||153 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Stephen J. Cannell (1984–85)
Roy Huggins (1985–88)
George Geiger (1988–89)
Fred Dryer (1989–91)
|Running time||48 minutes (without commercials)|
|Production company(s)||Stephen J. Cannell Productions|
Columbia Pictures Television (1990-1994)
Columbia/TriStar Television (1994-2002)
Sony Pictures Television (2002-)
|Original release||September 18, 1984 – April 26, 1991|
Hunter is an American police television drama created by Frank Lupo, which ran on NBC from 1984 to 1991. It starred Fred Dryer as Sgt. Rick Hunter and Stepfanie Kramer as Sgt. Dee Dee McCall. The title character Sgt. Rick Hunter was a wily, physically imposing, often rule-breaking homicide detective with the Los Angeles Police Department. The show's main characters, Hunter and McCall, resolved many of their cases by lethal force, but no more so than many other related television dramas.
The show's executive producer during the first season was Stephen J. Cannell, whose company produced the series. Stepfanie Kramer left after the sixth season (1990) to pursue other acting and musical opportunities. In the seventh season, Hunter partnered with two different women officers.
- 1 Episodes
- 2 Cast and crew
- 3 Production
- 4 Film
- 5 DVD releases
- 6 International airings
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||19||September 18, 1984||May 18, 1985|
|2||23||September 21, 1985||May 20, 1986|
|3||22||September 27, 1986||July 18, 1987|
|4||22||September 24, 1987||May 7, 1988|
|5||22||October 29, 1988||May 21, 1989|
|6||22||October 14, 1989||May 7, 1990|
|7||22||September 19, 1990||April 26, 1991|
|TV films||3||March 6, 1995||April 12, 2003|
|Revival series||5 (2 unaired)||April 19, 2003||May 3, 2003|
Season 1 (1984–85)
The show was initially broadcast in a time slot on Friday night, competing for ratings against the popular Dallas. The show struggled to attract an audience and drew criticism for its often graphic depiction of violence. In the first season, the producers sought to create a hook by giving the main character a catchphrase, "Works for me", which was sometimes used two or three times in an episode and was even added to the end of Mike Post and Pete Carpenter's opening theme music. Several early episodes featured montages set to popular songs from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, in a style similar to Miami Vice.
Mid-way through the first season, with low ratings still, Cannell gave network chief Brandon Tartikoff a private screening of a two-part episode ("The Snow Queen") that had not yet aired, and asked him to give the show more time to attract viewers. Tartikoff agreed and put the show on hiatus until a better time slot could be found. Two months later, Hunter resumed on Saturday nights, and viewership slowly started to rise. The first season finished in 65th place.
Season 2 (1985–86)
For its second season, Cannell brought in his mentor, Roy Huggins, best known for his work on Maverick and The Rockford Files, to refine the show. As the new executive producer, Huggins toned down the violence, softened the main character's fractious relationship with his superiors, dropped a backstory concerning Hunter's family ties to the mob, and emphasized the chemistry between Hunter and McCall. Huggins also moved the show's setting out of the back streets and into the more desirable areas of Los Angeles. Emboldened, Dryer and Kramer frequently improvised the scripts, and the Hunter character broke the fourth wall for the first time with an aside to viewers at the end of the episode "The Beautiful and the Dead".
Probably the most memorable aspect to the second season was the two part episode "Rape and Revenge," which may have drawn from some diplomatic immunity scandals that were prominent in the news. A psychopathic foreign diplomat meets McCall and wants to have a relationship with her, and after she declines, he brutally rapes her in her home. Hunter is badly shot in the shoulder and must recover quickly, then go to the diplomat's home country to dispense justice, Hunter-style. This episode was considered very controversial for its realistic and shocking depiction of a violent rape, which was not common in TV shows at the time. Because of the controversial plot and acting, "Rape and Revenge" is one of the most remembered and popular episodes of the series.
Another important aspect to the second season was towards the end of the season (in the episode "The Return of Typhoon Thompson") viewers were first introduced to Hunter and McCall's favorite street informant—the eccentric but humorous Arnold "Sporty" James, played by Garrett Morris.
Viewers also responded to Huggins' changes, and the show's second season ended in 38th place in the Nielsen Ratings. Hunter continued this progress to become a mainstay of NBC's Saturday night schedule.
In syndication the Season 2 intro was replaced by the Season 1 intro. The Season 2 intro had Hunter entering a women's locker room in one scene, and him and McCall pointing their guns at each other with the bathroom light on in another scene.
Season 3 (1986–87)
Just before work on the third season began, Dryer threatened to quit unless his salary, reportedly US$21,000 per episode, was raised and creative changes were made. Cannell responded with a US$20 million breach-of-contract lawsuit. A compromise was reached, a new deal with Dryer reportedly earning US$50,000 per episode. The third season, again led by Huggins, added Charles Hallahan as Captain Charlie Devane, who remained Hunter and McCall's captain for the rest of the show, eventually included in the opening credits of the show and becoming one of the show's main stars (none of the previous captains in the series had achieved this). This was the show's first season in the top 30, coming in at 25th.
In the episode "Shades" (which was the season finale, but aired later in the summer, in July 1987) when Hunter went missing, McCall teamed with a somewhat ditzy Columbo-like Detective Kitty O'Hearn (Shelley Taylor Morgan). O'Hearn would reappear during the Season Four three-part episode "City of Passion." Another remembered episode for Season Three was "Requiem For Sergeant McCall" which was a contradiction to a storyline from the beginning of the show. When the show first started, McCall's husband (Steven McCall) was supposedly killed five years before, in 1979, by a "punk" kid during a routine stop. At that time Steven and Dee Dee were newly married and starting out as rookie uniform cops. However, in 1987, in "Requiem", just 5 years before (which would be around 1982 instead of 1979), Steven was a homicide detective (while Dee Dee was still just a rookie) and he was working on a big murder case that resulted in him being killed. In "Requiem", Steven's killer is getting paroled, and Dee Dee McCall is doing everything she can to get him back in prison—plus trying to solve the original murder case that her husband died trying to solve five years earlier.
Season 4 (1987–88)
Huggins retired at the end of the fourth season, which placed 18th in the Nielsen Ratings. A three-part storyline, "City of Passion," teamed Hunter and Dee Dee with detective Kitty O'Hearn (Shelley Taylor Morgan) and her new partner, Sgt. Brad Navarro (Erik Estrada). Together they captured the serial rapist called Big Foot. Originally the plot of "City of Passion" involved McCall getting raped again—this time by Big Foot, and she had to deal with the pain and emotions as she did in second season's "Rape & Revenge." However, Stepfanie Kramer immediately balked at this and argued the rape idea had already been done, and to repeat it, as well as having her character put in a situation to get raped again, was ridiculous. Kramer threatened to quit unless the script was changed. Producers and writers agreed, and a compromise was made: Big Foot attacked and attempted to rape McCall, but she fought him and prevented the rape.
Also known as one of the more memorable episodes for fourth season was "The Black Dahlia." The real-life infamous unsolved Black Dahlia LA murder case from 1947 is thrust back into headlines as bones with identical cuts to the historical case are discovered under an old building being demolished. In the episodes, Hunter and McCall solve the famous murder case 41 years to the day (1947–88) as the episode aired on the anniversary date of the real-life murder. As a special message at the end states, the real-life case is still open, and the real killer has never officially been caught (although in the years since 1988 there have been several new theories and evidence supporting them—however none have been definitely proven).
Season 5 (1988–89)
For the fifth season, George Geiger took on the role of executive producer, having worked in the same capacity on Scarecrow and Mrs. King, as well as a brief stint as co-executive producer on Miami Vice. In the first four seasons, Hunter and McCall typically worked on cases together, allowing the producers to showcase the chemistry between the actors. But the fifth season increasingly had them working apart, ostensibly to lessen the workload of Dryer and Kramer and to allow richer, more complex stories. So instead of jeans and an old sports jacket, a lot of times Hunter was seen in a full suit and tie.
Some of the most memorable episodes of the fifth season was the special three-parter "City Under Siege"—which had a special intro for each of the three parts. It dealt with a psychotic woman and her crazy boyfriend that go around terrorizing people in Los Angeles that the woman felt had "wronged" her in some way—Hunter being one of the intended victims. It also focused on the huge crime spree throughout the city and the pressure the police department was under to get it under control. In part 2 Laurelle Brooks guest starred as Allison a naive high school cheerleader who becomes a victim of the crime spree. At the end of the episode there was presented statistics showing a reduction of crime in L.A. that year. The fifth season placed 17th in the Nielsen ratings.
Season 6 (1989–90)
By the sixth season, Dryer's growing influence had won him the role of executive producer. Probably the most remembered episode of the sixth season was the episode "Unfinished Business." During this episode the audience suddenly learns that Hunter and McCall had actually once slept together, causing a rift in their working relationship. Fred Dryer stated that this episode was filmed to try to appease fans and the network, who were constantly wanting Hunter and McCall to get together. However, Fred Dryer and Stepfanie Kramer stated they did not want that to happen, because once it did Hunter would become Hart To Hart.
Another memorable episode this season was "Yesterday's Child". In this episode, A Vietnamese man visits Hunter and pleads with him to take on the case of a robbery / murder at an upscale car dealership, of which his son was the main suspect. Over the course of the conversation, Hunter discovers that the 17-year-old suspect was actually his own son. It is revealed that the boy was the product of a relationship Hunter had with a woman while he was in Vietnam.
Also for this season homicide was moved to the more updated Parker Center, instead of their old downtown division building. However, at the end of the sixth season, which placed 26th in the Nielsen ratings, Stepfanie Kramer decided to leave the series to pursue a career in music. Kramer's character was written out in the season's 2-part finale showing the McCall character marrying an old flame and moving out of Los Angeles.
Season 7 (1990–91)
For the seventh and final season, the producers moved Hunter and Capt. Devane from divisional homicide to the elite "Metro" unit based at the Parker Center, and NBC shifted the show to 10 p.m. on Wednesdays. A new female co-star, Darlanne Fluegel as Officer Joanne Molenski, was brought in. However, it was reported that she had creative differences/issues with Fred Dryer and halfway through the season she decided she wanted out. Her character was murdered by a female serial killer in the 2-part episode "Fatal Obsession." Her replacement for the second half of the season was Lauren Lane as Sgt. Chris Novak—supposedly a former girlfriend of Hunter's. Hunter's signature unmarked vehicle, a moss green 1977 Dodge Monaco, was also finally replaced (after an accident with Molenski's cruiser in the season's first episode) by an updated new silver 1990 Ford LTD Crown Victoria. Hunter was now also back to wearing jeans and a shirt. Also for the first time (barring the sixth season finale) Hunter also made sporadic appearances in uniform.
However, the new partners and changes did little to boost ratings (47th in the Nielsen standings). A salary dispute involving series star Fred Dryer led to the show's cancellation at the end of the season.
Reunions and revivals
Four years after the original series ended, a reunion NBC TV movie, The Return of Hunter: Everyone Walks in L.A., saw Dryer and Charles Hallahan reprise their roles as Rick Hunter and Charlie Devane—Hunter had now also been promoted to lieutenant. Airing on NBC on March 6, 1995, the movie ironically seemed to take the Dirty Harry idea as the plot—a psycho wants fame and/or to be noticed and begins terrorizing the city to gain media attention. Along the way he becomes infatuated with attention from Hunter, eventually wanting to kill him. Stepfanie Kramer, pregnant at the time, did not reprise her role as "Dee Dee McCall". The TV-movie co-starred Barry Bostwick, Miguel Ferrer, and John C. McGinley.
Seven years later in November 2002, eleven years after the original series ended, the reunion TV movie Hunter: Return to Justice made its premiere to strong ratings. This time Stepfanie Kramer also returned to her role of "Dee Dee McCall", and the show's setting switched from Los Angeles to San Diego—as Hunter's current L.A. partner is killed in the line of duty.
Given the success of the TV movie, Cannell, Dryer and NBC attempted to bring back Hunter as a regular series. In the weeks following the April 2003 airing of another TV movie, Hunter: Back in Force which served as the pilot for the new series. The network decided to broadcast three new one-hour episodes of Hunter ("Vaya Sin Dios," "Untouchable," and "Dead Heat"). Another two episodes were filmed (as originally there were to be five episodes aired) but never shown in the U.S, as suddenly NBC decided to cancel the new series. Fred Dryer later cited "creative difficulties" and budget constraints as the reasons for the revival's unexpected end.
Cast and crew
- Fred Dryer ... Det. Sgt. Richard "Rick" Hunter
- Stepfanie Kramer ... Det. Sgt. Dee Dee McCall (1984–90)
- Darlanne Fluegel ... Off. Joanne Molenski (1990–91)
- Lauren Lane ... Police Sgt. Chris Novak (1991)
- Michael Cavanaugh ... Capt. Lester D. Cain ("Pilot" Only)
- Arthur Rosenberg ... Capt. Lester D. Cain/Commander Lester D. Cain (1984/1987)
- John Amos ... Capt. Dolan (1984–85)
- Bruce Davison ... Capt. Wyler/Dep. Chief Wyler (1985–86/1987)
- Charles Hallahan ... Capt. Charles "Charlie" Devane (1986–91)
- John Shearin ... Lt. Ambrose Finn (1985–88)
- James Whitmore, Jr. ... Sgt. Bernie Terwilliger (1984–86)
- Garrett Morris ... Arnold "Sporty" James (1986–89)
- Richard Beauchamp ... Carlos (Asst. M.E.) (1985–87)
- Perry Cook ... Barney Udall (Coroner) (1986–90)
- Stanley Kamel ... Gov. Agent Brad Wilkes (Occasional) (1987–88)
- Paul Mantee ... Commander Tom Clayton (Occasional) (1989-1991)
- Courtney Barilla ... Allison Novak (1991)
- Fred Dryer ... Det. Lt. Richard "Rick" Hunter
- Stepfanie Kramer ... Det. Sgt. Dee Dee McCall
- Mike Gomez ... Capt. Roberto Gallardo
- Michelle Gold ... Off./Det. Cynthia Monetti
- Sid Sham ... Off./Det. Sid Keyes
- Meredyth Hunt ... Det. Krysta Carson (TV Movies Only) (2002–2003)
- Frank Grillo ... Det. Terence Gillette (TV Movies Only) (2002–2003)
- Kenneth Taylor ... Off. Mueller (TV Movies Only) (2002–2003)
- Robert Crow ... Off. Wilcher (TV Movies Only) (2002–2003)
- Alex Mendoza ... Det. Anthony Santiago (Series Episodes Only) (2003)
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In the first season and for several subsequent seasons, the pistol that Hunter carries is a Heckler and Koch P9S 9mm, with a muzzle compensator attached, as his primary weapon. It is also the pistol in the title introduction. McCall used a stainless .380 Beretta 90 in the first season. The Walther PPK that McCall uses is most likely a Walther PPK/S.
In several episodes, a Franchi SPAS 12 12 gauge shotgun was kept in the trunk of Hunter's car.
In the "Pilot" TV movie, Hunter drove a junker blue 1977 Dodge Monaco and a junker 1970 Ford LTD. Because Hunter constantly was getting into wrecks chasing bad guys and would regularly "bust" up any cop car he was given, supposedly the department would only let him drive the complete junkers that would barely run. Once the series started (Fall 1984), during the first season, Hunter drove a junker 1972 Chevrolet Impala, a junker 1971 Chevrolet Nova, an old 1974 Plymouth Satellite and a junker 1979 Chevrolet Caprice Classic. A 1971 Impala was actually shown exploding to end the episodes using Chevrolets. Monacos seemed to be the cop car of choice, as second season saw Hunter occasionally driving a junker multi-side panel colored 1977 Monaco (jokingly referred to as the "Partridge Family" Monaco), as well as other '77 models in yellow, brown and black. After the show was more "established" and starting with the third season and clear on through the first episode of seventh season, Hunter drove a Moss Green 1977 Monaco. This car was in better condition than the previous Monacos and became Hunter's trademark vehicle — to the point that when it was destroyed in the third season, it was replaced with an identical one. During the seventh and last season, Detective Hunter got and drove a new Silver 1990 Ford LTD Crown Victoria.
During the first two seasons, McCall drove a Garnet Red and Silver 1984 Dodge Daytona Turbo Z. Then starting with season three and on through season five, McCall drove a Bright Red 1987 Daytona Shelby Z (Sometimes though, a "Turbo Z" badge on this Daytona is also clearly visible). During the sixth season - her final season, she drove a Gold 1990 Dodge Dynasty. (There was an episode during the 4th or 5th season that showed the outside of what was supposedly McCall's house and there was a yellow 1987 Ford Mustang out front. However, McCall is only shown driving it once and then it was never shown again.)
Both Officer Joanne Molenski and Sgt. Chris Novak, during last season, drove a tan/beige 1990 LTD Crown Victoria.
For the revivals/reunion movies and new series: In the first reunion movie, The Return of Hunter: Everyone Walks in L.A., Hunter drove a black 1995 Ford Crown Victoria. In Hunter: Return to Justice, McCall drove a silver 2002 Mercedes Benz CLK320 Convertible. In Hunter: Back in Force and the subsequent new series, Hunter drove a black 2003 Crown Victoria Police Interceptor and McCall occasionally drove a black 2003 Ford Expedition.
In 2009 it was announced that a movie adaptation is in development with a screenplay by Frank Lupo and Fred Dryer, to be directed by Frank Lupo for Columbia Pictures, Anchor Bay Films and Warner Bros. Pictures.
On October 14, 2009, it was announced that Mill Creek Entertainment had acquired the rights to several Stephen J. Cannell series including Hunter. They subsequently re-released the first 2 seasons on DVD.
On July 27, 2010, Mill Creek released Hunter - The Complete Series, a 28-disc collection featuring all 152 episodes of the series.
On November 10, 2011, Mill Creek Entertainment released The Return of Hunter TV special on DVD in a 4 pack.
|DVD Name||Ep#||Release Date|
|The Complete First Season||19||January 11, 2005
January 19, 2010 (re-release)
|The Complete Second Season||23||July 12, 2005
May 18, 2010 (re-release)
|The Complete Third Season||22||January 3, 2006|
|The Complete Series||152||July 27, 2010|
|The Return of Hunter||1||November 10, 2011|
- In Australia, the show was shown on the regional station GTS/BKN & PRIME. It also screened on Thursday nights at 9.30pm on STW - 9 in Perth in the 80's. And ATN - 7 in Sydney in the 80's
- In Barbados, the show was shown on CBC TV 8.
- In Brazil, the show was shown on Rede Globo, dubbed in Portuguese.
- In Canada, the show was shown on the Global Television Network.
- In China, the show was dubbed in Standard Chinese and aired on STV. Hunter was one of the first US series to air regularly in China. Although Dryer is still widely recognised in China, his efforts to set a Hunter movie there in the late 1990s did not bear fruit.  The Hunter TV series is a favorite of the disgraced former Beijing Mayor Chen Xitong who had quoted the name, character and events of the TV series in various speeches he delivered.
- In Mexico, the series was shown as "El cazador" It was broadcast by Televisa Network on Canal Cinco.
- In Chile, the series was shown (until the 6th season) as "Hunter" and it was broadcast by Television Nacional de Chile on TVN
- In Colombia, the series was presented as "El cazador" (Spanish for (the) Hunter). It was broadcast by Producciones JES on Cadena Uno every Saturday night at 21:45, from 1987 to 1991. The final season was never aired in Colombia.
- In Costa Rica, the show was shown on Teletica Canal 7 as "El cazador".
- In Czech Republic, the show was shown on TV Prima.
- In France, the show was shown on TF1 as "Rick Hunter".
- In Germany, the show was shown on Sat.1.
- In Gibraltar, the show was shown on GBC TV Gibraltar Broadcasting Corporation.
- In Hong Kong, ATV broadcast the show.
- In Indonesia, the show was shown on TVRI.
- In Italy, the show was shown on Rai Due, Rete 4 and Iris.
- In Norway, the show was shown on NRK (in 1986).
- In the Philippines, the show was aired on RPN-9.
- In Sweden, the show was shown on TV4.
- In Thailand, the show was shown on Channel 3.
- In Turkey, the show was shown on Star TV and Kanal D.
- In the United Kingdom, the first two seasons aired regionally on terrestrial broadcaster ITV, the remainder on satellite channel Sky One.
- Sledge Hammer! A parody show with a similar lead character.
- and Stacy Jenel Smith, Marilyn Beck. "SILVERMAN THROWN BY 'MATLOCK' SHELVING." Daily News of Los Angeles (CA) 22 May 1991, Valley, L.A. LIFE: L17. NewsBank. Web. 29 Apr. 2014.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 14, 2011. Retrieved June 18, 2011. Mill Creek Gets DVD Rights to 14 More Classic Stephen J. Cannell TV Programs!
- "GREATEST AMERICAN / RETURN OF HUNTER / JAKE LASSITER / THE GREAT PRETENDER". Retrieved February 4, 2013.