T. J. Hooker is an American police drama television program starring William Shatner in the title role as a 15-year veteran police sergeant. The series premiered as a mid-season replacement on March 13, 1982, on ABC and ran on the network until May 4, 1985. The show was then picked up for a further single season by CBS.
The supporting cast includes Adrian Zmed as rookie Officer Vince Romano; April Clough as Officer Vicki Taylor (Season 1 only), replaced by Heather Locklear as rookie Officer Stacy Sheridan (season 2 onwards); and Richard Herd as Captain Dennis Sheridan, portraying officers in the fictional "LCPD" Police Department Academy Precinct. Toward the end of the show's second season, James Darren became a regular cast member as Officer Jim Corrigan.
|T. J. Hooker|
Opening title card (seasons 1–2)
Police crime drama
|Created by||Rick Husky|
April Clough (Season 1)
Heather Locklear (Seasons 2-5)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||91 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||60 minutes|
Columbia Pictures Television
Columbia Pictures Television|
Sony Pictures Television
|Original release||March 13, 1982 – May 28, 1986|
The background of Sergeant Thomas Jefferson "T.J." Hooker is that he, up until recently, was a plainclothes LCPD Detective Sergeant whose partner was killed in the line of duty while he and Hooker were trying to stop a bank robbery. An angry Hooker is motivated to rid the streets of criminals like those who murdered his partner, and he gives up his detective position to return to duty as a uniformed beat cop.
In "The Protectors," the series' pilot/TV movie, Hooker, back in uniform, trains a group of police academy recruits, including those played by Richard Lawson, Brian Patrick Clarke, Kelly Harmon, and Adrian Zmed. Hal Williams plays a senior officer, and Richard Herd makes a brief appearance as Captain Dennis Sheridan, Hooker's tough but understanding superior. During most of the series, Hooker is partnered with brash, sometimes hot-headed young rookie Vince Romano (played by Zmed). Hooker acts as his mentor both professionally and socially. The age difference generally being the key hook of the partnership, the pair quickly became fast friends and a good team.
Outside of his work, Hooker is divorced as a result of his work putting a strain on his marriage, but he is friendly with his ex-wife Fran, a nurse. A ladies' man, Hooker is still trying to adjust to being single again. Lee Bryant was the original actress to portray Fran; the part is later played by Leigh Christian.
Hooker's tough, no-nonsense demeanor has him often clashing with station Captain Sheridan (Richard Herd), but he always got the job done and was highly respected as a result. Working behind the desk at the police precinct, Vicki Taylor (April Clough) is a female officer who continually dodges pick-up attempts by Vince Romano. Introduced at the start of the second season was attractive Officer Stacy Sheridan (Heather Locklear), the daughter of Captain Sheridan and Hooker's younger partner-in-command, who attended the police academy. Initially brought in to replace Vicki, by the end of the season she had progressed to patrolling with Jim Corrigan (James Darren), another veteran cop much in the mold of Hooker.
From the third season onward, Hooker and Romano (Unit 4-Adam-30), and Stacy and Corrigan (4-Adam-16), usually worked closely together to tackle cases. The addition of Corrigan and Sheridan's partnership added an extra dimension to the show, sometimes with whole plots revolving around one or both of them.
For the final season, the series moved from ABC to a late-night slot on CBS. Along with the move, Adrian Zmed chose to leave the series to pursue other projects, leaving Hooker to patrol alone or to generally work as more of a trio with Stacy and Jim, often on undercover work.
With its blend of humor mixed with "on the streets" grittiness, the show proved popular. The first season ranked 28th in the Nielsen ratings, but subsequent seasons failed to repeat the same level of success. The third season saw a slight revamp (including the theme music being rearranged into a more pop-driven version), with Corrigan set into place as Stacy's partner, Captain Sheridan being dropped into the background (appearing as 'Special Guest Star' in just a few third and fourth-season episodes), and stories drifting toward a more straight forward cops-and-robbers fare.
Shatner's Star Trek co-star Leonard Nimoy guested in the second-season episode "Vengeance is Mine", as well as directing "The Decoy", also in the second season. In addition, both Sharon Stone and Tori Spelling guest-starred in episodes before they were well-known actresses (in Stone's case, it was the fourth-season episode "Hollywood Starr", a backdoor pilot for a series that would have starred her, but which never sold). T. J. Hooker featured many notable character actors in recurring roles throughout the series, including:
The series was created by Rick Husky who had also worked on The Rookies for Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg. The series was originally to be a reworking of that former cop show, this time called The Protectors. After the pilot, it was decided to focus the series on William Shatner's character and retitle it T. J. Hooker. The series initially set out to give a more "hands on", procedure-based view of police work than some of the more stylized cop shows of the 1970s and 1980s, evident in the very early episodes.
Hooker and Romano's radio call sign for their "black and white" was "4-Adam-30", and radio calls were very similar to those of Los Angeles Police Department, using three bursts of a 900 Hz tone, using LAPD-type radio codes, and the officers acknowledging with roger. Though the series itself was produced in the Los Angeles area, the setting of the show is not told through the show, but the letters LCPD actually stand for Los Angeles County Police Department.
Hooker was canceled by ABC in the summer of 1985 (the final episode was a proposed reworking of the series set in Chicago) but the series survived when CBS picked up the show and produced new episodes (still set in Los Angeles) and one two-hour TV movie titled "Blood Sport". The new episodes were shown later at night as part of the CBS "Crime Time After Prime-Time" showcase during the late 1980s/early 1990s. While some believe that 90-minute episodes were produced for this final season, it was actually the case that the show was placed in a 70-minute timeslot in some markets "to allow local affiliates time for more advertisements, a local news break, or both." The TV movie and the penultimate episode were both aired by CBS on May 21, 1986, with the finale one week later on May 28, 1986. The season was done on a much smaller budget and reused action sequences from the previous seasons.
William Shatner is the only actor to appear in every episode of the series. Heather Locklear appeared in the second highest number of episodes, appearing in 84 of the 90 episodes, after joining the cast's second season.
Starting in 2005, the A&E Network re-broadcast the entire series, running one episode per weekday at 4:00 a.m. It is also available in a shortened format on The Minisode Network and full length episodes are available on Crackle. The Universal HD Channel started airing episodes in September 2010. On October 9, 2010, the Sleuth network began a 24-hour T. J. Hooker marathon.
In the United Kingdom, the show was originally broadcast by ITV starting in April 1983. Most regions broadcast episodes at 7:45 p.m. on Saturday evenings, later in a similar Friday evening slot. Some regions gave it a slot on a different day (southern region TVS, for example, typically ran it on Tuesday evenings), and not all regions broadcast the entire series, with some areas not progressing beyond the third or fourth seasons. Some regions also broadcast the later episodes - particularly those concerning a more adult or violent nature - as part of the night-time line-up during the advent of 24-hour broadcasting in that later 1980s. In 2002, Five ran the whole series through, in a weekday 11:00 a.m. slot. This run included every episode, although some were edited for content for the daytime slot. In 2009, digital channel Quest aired the series on a daily basis, although they only hold the rights to show the first three seasons.
In Italy the series started to air in 1983 on Canale 5. After his first run, it was often repeated through the years: first on Italia Uno (late afternoon or in the morning ) and then on Rete4 (in the morning) and Fox Retro (in the evening). Recently, METOO a Sister station of WCIU-TV in Chicago began airing the show in a 2:00 p.m. timeslot.
In Australia, the series has been playing reruns on the 7 Networks 3rd channel 7mate from 2012 - 2016.
In New Zealand, the series is being screened for the first time, as from May 13, 2013, on Sky Television's Jones! channel.
In September 2014, FamilyNet cable channel began carrying the series, which was remastered in the mid-2000s with a high definition version that originally aired on Universal HD. On June 26, 2017 FETV began airing the series weeknights at 10:00 p.m. On August 21, 2017, the series began airing weekdays at 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on MeTV.
Beginning on October 1, 2010, the series was rebroadcast on Universal HD to overwhelming success, quickly becoming one of the most successful series on the channel although the channel did not yet subscribe to Nielsen ratings. Due to the high ratings, the original film elements were re-mastered for high definition, and the program was cropped to a 1.78 aspect ratio to fill the screens of modern televisions.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has released the first two seasons on DVD in Region 1 and 2. Due to poor sales, no further seasons were released. This release has been discontinued and is out of print.
On August 27, 2013, Mill Creek Entertainment announced that it had acquired the rights to various television series from the Sony Pictures library, including TJ Hooker. It subsequently re-released the first two seasons on DVD on April 1, 2014.
|DVD name||Ep #||Region 1||Region 2|
|Seasons 1 & 2||27||August 9, 2005
April 1, 2014 (re-release)
|September 26, 2005|
|The Complete Series||91||July 18, 2017||N/A|
In July 2012, it was announced that T. J. Hooker was set to be adapted into a film.