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Knight Rider (1982 TV series)

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Knight Rider
Created byGlen A. Larson
Voices ofWilliam Daniels
Narrated byRichard Basehart
Theme music composer
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes90 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
  • Glen A. Larson
  • Robert Foster
  • R.A. Cinader
Production locationCalifornia
Running time48 minutes
Production companies
Original release
ReleaseSeptember 26, 1982 (1982-09-26) –
April 4, 1986 (1986-04-04)

Knight Rider is an American action crime drama television series created and produced by Glen A. Larson. The series was originally broadcast on NBC from September 26, 1982, to April 4, 1986. The show stars David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight, a sleek and modern crime fighter assisted by KITT, an advanced, artificially intelligent, self-aware, and nearly indestructible car. This was the last series Larson devised at Universal Television before he moved to 20th Century Fox Television.



Self-made billionaire Wilton Knight rescues police Detective Lieutenant Michael Arthur Long after a near-fatal shot to the face, giving him a new identity (by plastic surgery) and a new name: Michael Knight. Wilton selects Michael to be the primary field agent in the pilot program of his public justice organization, the Foundation for Law and Government (FLAG). The other half of this pilot program is the Knight Industries Two Thousand (KITT), a heavily modified, technologically advanced Pontiac Firebird Trans Am with numerous features, including a highly durable shell and frame, controlled by a computer with artificial intelligence. Michael and KITT are brought in during situations where "direct action might provide the only feasible solution".

Heading FLAG is Devon Miles, who provides Michael with directives and guidance. Dr. Bonnie Barstow (season 1, 3 and 4) and April Curtis (season 2) are the chief engineers in charge of KITT's care and act as a technical assistant to Devon.

Cast and characters

  • David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight (born Michael Arthur Long), an undercover detective of the Los Angeles Police Department who, while on a case in Las Vegas, is shot in the face and nearly killed. Wilton Knight, creator of Knight Industries and founder of FLAG, directs his doctors to save Long's life and reconstruct his face. With his new identity, "Michael Knight", Long is provided with high tech crime-fighting equipment, most notably the car named KITT.
Hasselhoff also played Garthe Knight, Wilton Knight's estranged son and a criminal mastermind who drives Goliath, a Peterbilt 352 Pacemaker semi-truck armed with rockets, and protected by KITT's Molecular Bonded Shell.
  • William Daniels as the voice of KITT, or Knight Industries Two Thousand, the autonomous, artificially intelligent car, with whom Michael Knight is partnered. Daniels, who simultaneously starred on St. Elsewhere, requested not to be credited for his role as KITT's voice.
  • Edward Mulhare as Devon Miles, the leader of FLAG, who appeared in every episode to provide mission details to Knight and KITT. He was also the spokesman for FLAG whenever it came under scrutiny.
  • Patricia McPherson as Dr. Bonnie Barstow (Seasons 1, 3–4), KITT's chief technician and romantic tension for Michael. The character was dropped after the first season, but due to strong fan reaction and lobbying by Hasselhoff and Mulhare, she was returned for the third season and remained through the end of the series.[2]
  • Rebecca Holden as April Curtis (Season 2), chief technician for KITT. The character was written out when Patricia McPherson returned. The connection between the two was never established in any installments.
  • Peter Parros as Reginald Cornelius III aka RC3 (Season 4), driver of the FLAG mobile unit and occasional partner for Michael and KITT.
  • Richard Basehart as Wilton Knight, the founder of FLAG, who dies in the pilot episode. Basehart's voice, however, is heard throughout the series, narrating over the intro and outro.




A black Pontiac Firebird Trans Am built to mimic KITT from the TV series Knight Rider.

The car used as KITT in the series was a customized 1982 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, that cost US$100,000 to build[3] (equivalent to $316,000 in 2023). The nose and dashboard of the car were designed by design consultant Michael Scheffe.[4]

Stuntman Jack Gill says KITT's ride height was dropped 1.5 inches (4 cm) from a stock Trans Am. The hero car was the only vehicle that contained the intricate dashboard. Spare cars were always on hand, and Universal eventually did all of the modifications that were needed. A mock up dashboard was used on a sound stage for closeups of the voice box or other buttons.

Glen Larson wanted the talking muscle car to have a heartbeat and asked Scheffe to design a beam of light like the Cylons had in Battlestar Galactica to be used on the front of the vehicle. The Pontiac's nose was eventually extended slightly.

Gill said that the studio got the cars from Pontiac for $1 apiece, but Pontiac often gave the studio vehicles that had already been damaged from a train derailment. The only car Universal had to pay for was the hero car.

For the scenes in which KITT appeared to be driving without a driver, Gill would sit behind the driver's seat. Gill would extend his arms and legs through the seat out of sight. A two-way mirror was created that hid Gill during scenes where KITT appeared to be driving solo. KITT was never seen driving for long periods of time solo because of the difficulty of shooting it.

William Daniels, the voice of KITT, would record his lines after the majority of the episode was filmed. Hasselhoff would work with an assistant off-camera who would read him KITT's lines. If KITT was in motion during filming, the lines would be read to Hasselhoff through the car stereo. The vehicle was usually towed during scenes when Hasselhoff appeared to be driving.

The studio held a marketing campaign for Knight Rider. Fans could write to the network and they would receive a pamphlet detailing some features about KITT. The first campaign was held in August 1982. The pamphlet said, "The Competition is NO Competition!" KITT was pictured parked alongside a vehicle that resembled the General Lee from Dukes of Hazzard.



The "Knight Rider Theme" was composed by Stu Phillips and Glen A. Larson.[5] The series DVD bonus material contains an interview about this lead music, where Glen A. Larson says he remembers a theme out of a classical piece ("Marche Et Cortège De Bacchus" Act III – No. 14 from Sylvia written by French composer Léo Delibes) from which he took pieces for the "Knight Rider Theme". The decision to use synthesizers was largely a network decision. Larson claims that they used five or six synthesizers, drums and a Fender bass.

The rest of the series music was composed by Stu Phillips for 13 episodes and Don Peake for 75 episodes. Glen A. Larson co-wrote music for one episode and Morton Stevens wrote the music for one episode. Peake took over scoring duties at S1E14 in 1983, when Larson moved to Twentieth Century-Fox and Phillips was working there on his projects.[6] Peake remained as the series sole composer until the end of the series in 1986.

In 2005, FSM released a disc of music from the series, featuring the series theme, ad bumpers and Phillips' scores for "Knight of the Phoenix" (the pilot), "Not a Drop to Drink", "Trust Doesn't Rust", "Forget Me Not" and the composer's final episode "Inside Out", as well as the logo music for Glen Larson Productions. Albums of Don Peake's scores have also been issued.


SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
122September 26, 1982 (1982-09-26)May 6, 1983 (1983-05-06)
224October 2, 1983 (1983-10-02)May 27, 1984 (1984-05-27)
322September 30, 1984 (1984-09-30)May 5, 1985 (1985-05-05)
422September 20, 1985 (1985-09-20)April 4, 1986 (1986-04-04)

The intro throughout most of the episodes began with this narration:

Knight Rider, a shadowy flight into the dangerous world of a man who does not exist.
Michael Knight, a young loner on a crusade to champion the cause of the innocent, the helpless, the powerless in a world of criminals who operate above the law.

During the first season, the outro was Michael and KITT driving on a road in the desert with Wilton Knight's words of "One man can make a difference, Michael." These words were phased out after episode 7, "Not A Drop To Drink".

Then the narration goes on to say:

Michael Knight, a lone crusader in a dangerous world. The world of the Knight Rider.

The outro of Seasons 2 and 3 was Michael and KITT driving away from the sunset toward the camera. Season 4's outro was the same, except with KITT in Super Pursuit Mode.

Critical reception


At the time of its release, Knight Rider received mixed to negative reviews. At review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the first season scores 35%, based mainly on archived contemporaneous reviews, with an average rating of 5.60/10. The site's consensus reads: "This car can do anything -- except paper over how tiresomely silly Knight Rider's concept is.".[7] Tom Shales, writing for The Washington Post, commented: "'Knight Rider' is all revved up but has no place to go, except, maybe, headlong into a large brick wall."[8] In the years following the series' conclusion, retrospective reviews have been more positive. Marc Bernardin of Entertainment Weekly called the show "a relic from a simpler time, when audiences demanded less from their TV".[9]

Syndication and home media


In syndication


Knight Rider was first syndicated in the U.S. in the Fall of 1986. Stations were initially offered either the original hour-long format (with three minutes cut from each episode), or severely-condensed into half-hour format.[10] Reruns were later syndicated on USA Network in 1994,[11] Sci-Fi Channel in 2003,[12] Sleuth in 2005,[13] and on G4 in 2012.[14]

DVD releases


Universal Studios has released all four seasons of Knight Rider on DVD in regions 1, 2 & 4. A complete series box set featuring all 90 episodes in a collector's edition box has been released in regions 1[15] & 2.[16]

On March 8, 2016, it was announced that Mill Creek Entertainment had acquired the rights to the series in Region 1; they subsequently re-released the first two seasons on DVD on May 3, 2016.[17] On October 4, 2016, Mill Creek re-released Knight Rider - The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1.[18]

Blu-ray releases


In Japan, NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan—a subsidiary of NBCUniversal—released a Blu-ray box set containing all four seasons, replicas, props, and memorabilia under the title ナイトライダー コンプリート ブルーレイBOX (Knight Rider: The Complete Series). The set is limited to Region Code A, which includes the U.S. It was released on November 27, 2014.[19]

In North America, Mill Creek Entertainment released the complete series on Blu-ray in Region 1 on October 4, 2016.[20]

On December 30, 2022, the German company Turbine worked with Universal to put together Knight Rider: The 40th Anniversary Edition Blu-Ray Collection. This set is a restored uncut version with the original music when it first aired on NBC. The series is on twenty discs, with three bonus discs, and includes bonus features about the series and the Knight Rider 2000 and Knight Rider 2010 movies in SD. Also in SD are all 22 episodes of the series Team Knight Rider. This set was a limited edition. Only 3,939 copies were made.[21]

On November 10, 2023, Turbine made a smaller release called Knight Rider: The Special Edition Set, which includes the first twenty uncut episode Blu-ray discs and the first bonus discs with the interviews.[22]

Digital streaming


The series was available for streaming on Netflix and Peacock, but is no longer streaming on any major streaming service as of May 2024. It can be purchased on Prime Video, Apple TV and YouTube.[23]

Spin-offs and sequels


These adventures were continued with the television films Knight Rider 2000 and Knight Rider 2010 and the short-lived Team Knight Rider. One other television movie, Knight Rider, served as a pilot for the 2008 television series Knight Rider. In 1985, a spin-off series, Code of Vengeance, also premiered.

In 1988, Angelo di Marco made a French comic strip based on the series, titled K2000 and published by Dargaud.[24]


The Knight Rider theme has been sampled in the songs "Clock Strikes", "Turn It Up (Remix) / Fire It Up", and "Mundian to Bach Ke".[25] It was also featured as Ted's ringtone for John's phone in the 2012 comedy film Ted.[26]

Zen Studios released a digital pinball table inspired by Knight Rider as part of the Universal Pinball: TV Classics downloadable content with other well-known nostalgic hit NBCUniversal TV shows like Xena: Warrior Princess and Battlestar Galactica.[27]

See also



  1. ^ a b "Knight Rider". AlloCiné. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  2. ^ Nugent, Nick (December 2008). The Knight Rider Companion. Will Garris Publishing. p. 91. ISBN 978-0-9774505-9-6.
  3. ^ Browning, Norma Lee. "Riding High with Knight Rider", Toys R Us magazine; Vol. 1, No. 2; 1986; p. 5
  4. ^ The Knight Industries Two Thousand – K.I.T.T.- Behind the Scanner Archived June 20, 2015, at the Wayback Machine carlustblog.com
  5. ^ "Knight Rider Theme" sheet music. musicnotes.com
  6. ^ "Revving It Up", liner notes, Knight Rider: The Stu Phillips Scores, FSM Vol. 8, No. 10.
  7. ^ "Knight Rider: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved February 23, 2022.
  8. ^ Shales, Tom (September 25, 1982). "Spoiled Brats, Rich Dopes &". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 23, 2022.
  9. ^ Bernardin, Marc (August 6, 2004). "Knight Rider: The Complete First Season". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 6, 2024.
  10. ^ http://www.americanradiohistory.com/hd2/IDX-Business/Magazines/Archive-BC-IDX/86-OCR/BC-1986-04-28-OCR-Page-0004.pdf#search=%22knight rider%22
  11. ^ Daily Variety Magazine; November 3, 1994 issue; p. 23.
  12. ^ "SCI-FI Launches Knight Rider Website - knight rider online news new".
  13. ^ "NBC U to Uncover Sleuth". December 15, 2005.
  14. ^ "G4 to re-air Knight Rider starting October 1st". knight rider online.
  15. ^ Knight Rider: The Complete Series (October 21, 2008). "Knight Rider: The Complete Series: David Hasselhoff, Edward Mulhare: Movies & TV". Amazon. Retrieved September 5, 2012.
  16. ^ "Knight Rider — The Complete Box Set [DVD]: Amazon.co.uk: David Hasselhoff, Edward Mulhare, Patricia Mcpherson, Julian Alverez, James Young: Film & TV". Amazon.co.uk. November 13, 2006. Retrieved September 5, 2012.
  17. ^ "Knight Rider DVD news: Re-Release for Season 1 and Season 2". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Archived from the original on March 11, 2016.
  18. ^ "Knight Rider DVD news: Announcement for The Complete Series on Blu-ray". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Archived from the original on July 3, 2016.
  19. ^ "Knight Rider: The Complete Series Blu-ray". Blu-ray.com. Retrieved December 29, 2014.
  20. ^ Mill Creek Announces Blu-ray Disc for 'The Complete Series'! *UPDATED* Archived July 3, 2016, at the Wayback Machine. tvshowsondvd.com
  21. ^ "Knight Rider - Limited 40th Anniversary Edition (23 Blu-rays)". Turbine-Shop (in German). Retrieved May 18, 2024.
  22. ^ "Knight Rider The Special Edition Blu-Ray Set". Turbine Entertainment (turbine-shop.de). Retrieved February 4, 2023.
  23. ^ "Knight Rider on YouTube". youtube.com. Retrieved May 18, 2024.
  24. ^ "Angelo di Marco".
  25. ^ "the best in hip hop/soul". ASCAP. Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  26. ^ "Movie Habit.com — Review of Ted (*1/2)". Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  27. ^ Nash, Anthony. "Pinball FX Adds Knight Rider, Xena, & Battlestar Galactica DLC Tables".

Further reading



  • Nugent, Nick (2008). The Knight Rider Companion: The Ultimate Guide to Original Knight Rider Mythology. Will Garris Publishing. ISBN 9780977450596.
  • Huth, Joe F.; Levine, Richie F. (2002). Knight Rider Legacy: The Unofficial Guide to the Knight Rider Universe. Writers Club Press. ISBN 9780595298488.
  • Joe Huth, David Bronstein: Knight Rider: 30 Years of a Lone Crusader and His Talking Car. ISBN 9781478221470.


  • Glen Larson and Roger Hill (1983). Knight Rider. Pinnacle Books. ISBN 0-523-42170-2. Adapted from and expanded upon the feature-length / two-part pilot episode — among other differences, Tanya is shot in the face rather than the chest in the climax.
  • Glen Larson and Roger Hill (1984). Knight Rider: Trust Doesn't Rust. Pinnacle Books. ISBN 0-523-42181-8. Adapted from and expanded upon the first-season episode of the same name.
  • Glen Larson and Roger Hill (1984). Knight Rider: Hearts of Stone. Pinnacle Books. ISBN 0-523-42182-6. Adapted from and expanded upon the first-season episode of the same name.
  • Glen Larson and Roger Hill (1984). Knight Rider: The 24-Carat Assassin. (UK publication only) Adapted from and expanded upon the feature-length / two-part second-season episode 'Mouth of the Snake'. The back of the book actually states that it is adapted from All That Glitters – the working title for the story.
  • Glen Larson and Roger Hill (1984). Knight Rider: Mirror Image. (UK publication only) Adapted from and expanded upon the feature-length / two-part second-season episode Goliath. The back of the book states that it is adapted from Goliath and Goliath Returns, but the actual story is only adapted from Goliath. This novel also states that April is Devon's daughter, but this was never mentioned in the series.

An annual was published each year in the UK by Grandreams. These books consisted of a mix of text stories and cartoon strips, as well as photos and articles on the show's stars and KITT. There were five annuals produced in total, each reflecting the season of the show that was airing at the time, with the final two releases covering the final season. (The last annual was printed in a quite small quantity, due to the fading popularity of the show, and is thus considerably rarer.)