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Hunter is a police drama television series starring Fred Dryer as "Sgt. Rick Hunter" and Stepfanie Kramer as "Sgt. Dee Dee McCall", which ran on NBC from 1984 to 1991. However, Kramer left after the sixth season (1990) to pursue other acting and musical opportunities. The seventh season saw Hunter partnered with two different women officers. The titular character, Sgt. Rick Hunter, was a wily, physically imposing, and often rule-breaking homicide detective (badge# 089 in the early seasons, badge# 378 in later seasons) with the Los Angeles Police Department. Originally the show was to be called "Hunter and McCall," but (according to Stepfanie Kramer in later interviews) because there was some other TV show that had the two main character's names in the title, the producers/creators decided to just call it Hunter--even though the show is mainly about both characters.

Created by Frank Lupo, the show in its early episodes played as television's answer to Dirty Harry . Even after the show's violence was toned down during the second season in hopes of boosting ratings, Hunter and McCall still managed to resolve many cases by shooting the perpetrators dead.

The show's executive producer during the first season was Stephen J. Cannell, whose company produced the series.

Show history

Season 1 (1984-1985)

Initially placed in a Friday-night slot against Dallas, the show struggled to find 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 catch phrase, "Works for me", which was sometimes used two or three times an episode and was even tacked on 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 not unlike the way Miami Vice used music.

Mid-way through the first season, with ratings showing no sign of improvement, Cannell gave network chief Brandon Tartikoff a private screening of a two-part episode ("The Snow Queen") that had yet to air and asked him to give the show time to find its feet. Tartikoff liked what he saw and put the show on hiatus until a better time slot could be found. Two months later, Hunter returned to the screens on Saturday nights and viewership slowly started to rise. The first season ended in joint 79th place in the Nielsen Ratings.

Season 2 (1985-1986)

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 played up 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 Angelesmarker. Emboldened, Dryer and Kramer frequently toyed with the scripts by ad-libbing, and the Hunter character broke the fourth wall for the first time with an aside to viewers at the end of the two-parter "The Beautiful And The Dead".

Probably the most memorable aspect to the second season was the 2-part episode "Rape and Revenge." It dealt with a psychotic foreign diplomat that meets McCall and wants to have a relationship with her. When she says no, he goes crazy and attacks and rapes her in her home! Later it's learned the creep has diplomatic immunity and can't be charged with a crime while in the U.S.--so he goes free and returns to his country. However, Hunter is enraged by these turn of events and decides to take matters into his own hands--by following the evil diplomat there, planning to take revenge and kill him. But, McCall learns what Hunter is planning and follows him there too--to stop him. They both end up fighting for their lives and trying to escape back to the U.S., after the interesting fate of the diplomat (which doesn't exactly involve Hunter killing him in cold blood like he'd planned). This shocking and very realistic 2-parter was somewhat controversial at the time (now days it's no big deal to see a violent rape scene in a crime show) since the acting job by Stepfanie Kramer was superb and the violence and her reactions to it are very realistic! Most shows were not as realistic with the aspect of the sexual violence towards women the way this episode did at the time. But, because of the controversy and critic's acclaims for the acting and plot, "Rape and Revenge" was one of the most popular and widely remembered episodes of not only second season but of the series! 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.

Season 3 (1986-1987)

Just before work on the third season began, Dryer threatened to walk out unless his salary, reportedly US$21,000 per episode, was raised and creative changes were made. Cannell hit back with a US$20 million breach-of-contract suit. A compromise was reached, with Dryer reportedly landing a new deal worth US$50,000 per episode. The third season, again helmed by Huggins, saw the arrivals of Charles Hallahan as Captain Charlie Devane and Garrett Morris as police informant and street hustler Arnold "Sporty" James. When Hunter went missing, Dee Dee teamed with Columbo-like Detective Kitty O'Hearn (Shelley Taylor Morgan) (Shades episode #22). This was the show's first season in the top 30, coming in at 25th.

For the third season there was a strange tie-in with an older detective show--Hart To Hart, with Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers (1979-1984). In "Hunter's" third season opening theme song, during the montage of pics there is a scene out front of a Los Angeles mansion with a Mercedes station wagon and I believe a Lincoln limo out front. This was actually a scene-clip from an old episode of "Hart To Hart" (the Mercedes Station Wagon was actually one of the Hart's cars) that for some unknown reason was thrown in for the starting of "Hunter." It's even more strange, considering "Hart To Hart" was an ABC show, while "Hunter" was an NBC show.

Season 4 (1987-1988)

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, played by Erik Estrada. Together they captured the serial rapist called "Big Foot."

Also known as one of the more memorable episodes for fourth season was "The Black Dahlia." The famous unsolved L.A. murder case from 1947 is thrust back into headlines as bones with identical cuts just like the Elizabeth Short (Black Dahlia) murder are discovered under an old building being torn down. Did the killer of the Black Dahlia also murder this woman back in '47? Come to find out the killer is still alive and when he sees McCall (who does somewhat resemble Elizabeth Short), he thinks the Black Dahlia has come back from the dead to "get" him. He of course goes insane and comes after McCall. Supposedly Hunter and McCall solve the famous murder case 41 years to the day (1947-1988) 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 '88 there have been several new theories and evidence supporting them--however none have been definitely proven).

Season 5 (1988-1989)

For the fifth season, George Geiger took on the role of executive producer, having worked in the same capacity on Scarecrow and Mrs. King and 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. The fifth season placed 17th in the Nielsen ratings.

Season 6 (1989-1990)

By the sixth season, Dryer's growing influence had won him the role of executive producer. The sixth season featured an episode ("Unfinished Business") in which it was revealed that Hunter and McCall had once slept together, causing a rift in their working relationship. However, at the end of the sixth season, which placed in the top 25 of the Nielsen Ratings, Stepfanie Kramer decided to leave the series to pursue a career in music. After six long years, in the season's final episode, McCall was shown marrying an old flame and moving out of Los Angeles.

Season 7 (1990-1991)

For the seventh and final season, the producers moved the lead character (and Capt. Devane) from divisional homicide to the elite "Metro" unit based at 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, only to leave halfway through the season when her character was murdered by a female serial killer. Her replacement for the second half of the season was Lauren Lane as Sgt. Chris Novak. 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. They also had Hunter "grow up" some and instead of jeans and an old sports jacket, he now usually wore a full suit and tie (possibly because he was now working at the Parker Center instead of their old down town metro building). Also for the first time (barring the sixth season finale) Hunter also made sporadic appearances in uniform.

But the new partners and changes did little to appease fans/viewers after Stepfanie Kramer (McCall) left. Hunter without his McCall was like trying to drive his old Monaco without any gas--the show just didn't go anywhere. Ratings took a nose-dive and after seven awesome gun-blasting, fist-smacking, car-chasing years it was officially cancelled at the end of the season.


A revival NBC TV movie, The Return of Hunter: Everyone Walks in L.A., saw Dryer and Charles Hallahan reprise their roles (Hunter had also been promoted to lieutenant). Airing on NBC on March 6, 1995, the movie took the O. J. Simpson case as its inspiration. Stepfanie Kramer, pregnant at the time, did not return as "Dee Dee McCall". The TV-movie co-starred Barry Bostwick and John C. McGinley.

In November 2002, 11 years after the original series ended, the 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", but the show's setting switched from Los Angelesmarker to San Diegomarker. Also, ironically in this movie McCall is engaged to be married--however of course tragedy prevents this from happening. The ironic part is, when Kramer left the original series after the sixth season she supposedly left to get married to an old boyfriend--her last episode ending at her wedding. In this reunion movie her marriage and/or husband from before is never explained or mentioned. Sadly Charles Hallahan was not able to appear as "Capt. Charlie Devane", for he'd passed away from a heart attack five years earlier, in 1997. This reunion movie was dedicated to his memory at the end.

Given the success of the revival, Cannell, Dryer and NBC attempted to bring back Hunter as a regular series. In the weeks following the airing in April 2003 of another TV movie, Hunter: Back in Force, the network broadcast three new one-hour episodes of Hunter. Another two episodes were filmed but never shown in the U.S, likely because the ratings demographics for the one-hour episodes skewed toward older viewers. Dryer subsequently cited creative difficulties and budget constraints.

Cast and crew

Steve Yager ... Football Fanatic Michael (1990-1991)

Guest stars over the years included James Sikking, who coincidentally played a character called Howard Hunter on Hill Street Blues.


In the first season and for several subsequent seasons, the pistol that Hunter carries is a Heckler and Koch P9S 9 mm with a muzzle compensator attached. It is also the pistol in the title introduction. McCall used a stainless Beretta 90 in the first season. The Walther PPK that McCall uses is most likely a Walther PPK/S. The Desert Eagle that he uses in the occasional episode was a gift from his Mafia father for graduating .

During the first two seasons, he used a Desert Eagle in .44 Magnum and she used a Walther PPK in .32 ACP.

In several episodes, a Franchi SPAS 12 12 gauge shotgun (slide or semi auto) was kept in the trunk of his car.

During the second season for a couple of episodes, Rick Hunter used a Smith & Wesson 629 in .44 Magnum (2 1/2" bbl).

During one episode of the second season, Rick Hunter used a .44 Magnum Desert Eagle in stainless steel with an extended barrel.

During seasons 3 and 4, Rick used Smith & Wesson 629 in .44 Magnum (2 1/2" bbl).

During one episode of the fifth season, Dee McCall used a .38 Special S&W Model 60 in this time in stainless steel.

During seasons 5 through 7, Rick used a 9 mm Beretta 92F/FS, while during seasons 5 through 6 Dee Dee used a .44 Magnum, Smith & Wesson Model 629 in this time in stainless steel.


In the pilot, Detective Rick Hunter drove a junker 1977 Dodge Monaco and a junker 1970 Ford LTD. Because Hunter constantly was getting into wrecks and would regulary "bust" up any cop car he was given, supposedly the department would only let him drive the complete junkers that would barely run. During the first season, Detective Hunter drove a junker 1972 Chevrolet Impala with a brief view of a 1973 Chevrolet Impala that was painted to look like the 1972, 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 with the Chevrolet Impala.,

But after the show was more "established" and popular starting during second season and clear on through season six and one episode during the seventh season, Detective Rick Hunter was given to regularly drive a Dark Green 1977 Dodge Monaco. This car became Hunter's trademark vehicle--to the point that when it blew up in the third season, it was replaced with an identical one! During the seventh season, Detective Hunter got and drove a Silver 1990 Ford LTD Crown Victoria.

During the first two seasons, Detective Dee Dee McCall (Stepfanie Kramer) drove a Garnet Red and Silver 1984 Dodge Daytona Turbo Z until it caught fire. During seasons three through five, McCall drove a Bright Red 1987 Dodge Daytona Turbo X. 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 Mustang out front. However, McCall is never shown driving it and it was never shown again.)

Episode guide

Season 1 (1984-1985)

Pic Title Original airdate Episode #
"Hunter" September 18, 1984 101
"Hard Contract" September 28, 1984 102
"The Hot Grounder" October 5, 1984 103
"A Long Way From L.A." October 26, 1984 104
"Legacy" November 2, 1984 105
"Flight On A Dead Pigeon" November 9, 1984 106
"Pen Pals" November 16, 1984 107
"Dead or Alive" November 30, 1984 108
"High Bleacher Man" December 7, 1984 109
"The Shooter" January 4, 1985 110
"The Garbage Man" January 11, 1985 111
"The Avenging Angel" January 18, 1985 112
"The Snow Queen: Part 1" March 23, 1985 113
"The Snow Queen: Part 2" March 30, 1985 114
"The Beach Boy" April 6, 1985 115
"Guilty" April 13, 1985 116
"The Last Kill" April 20, 1985 117
"Fire Man" May 11, 1985 118
"Sniper" May 18, 1985 119

Season 2 (1985-1986)

Pic Title Original airdate Episode #
"Case X" September 21, 1985 201
"Night of the Dragons" September 28, 1985 202
"The Biggest Man in Town" October 5, 1985 203
"Rich Girl" October 19, 1985 204
"Killer in the Halloween Mask" October 26, 1985 205
"Rape & Revenge: Part 1" November 2, 1985 206
"Rape & Revenge: Part 2" November 9, 1985 207
"Six Million Dollar Misunderstanding" November 16, 1985 208
"The Big Fall" November 23, 1985 209
"Waiting for Mr. Wrong" December 7, 1985 210
"Think Blue" December 14, 1985 211
"Blow Up" January 4, 1986 212
"War Zone" January 11, 1986 213
"Burned" January 18, 1986 214
"Scrap Metal" February 1, 1986 215
"Fagin 1986" February 8, 1986 216
"62 Hours of Terror" February 15, 1986 217
"Death Machine" March 11, 1986 218
"The Set Up" March 25, 1986 219
"The Beautiful & the Dead: Part 1" April 1, 1986 220
"The Beautiful & the Dead: Part 2" April 8, 1986 221
"The Return of Typhoon Thompson" May 6, 1986 222
"Saturday Night Special" May 20, 1986 223

Season 3 (1986-1987)

Pic Title Original airdate Episode #
"Overnight Sensation" September 27, 1986 301
"Change Partners and Dance" October 4, 1986 302
"Crime of Passion" October 11, 1986 303
"The Castro Connection" November 1, 1986 304
"High Noon in L.A." November 8, 1986 305
"From San Francisco with Love" November 15, 1986 306
"True Confessions" November 22, 1986 307
"Love, Hate, and Sporty James" December 6, 1986 308
"The Contract" December 13, 1986 309
"The Cradle Will Rock" January 3, 1987 310
"Bad Company" January 10, 1987 311
"Down and Under" January 17, 1987 312
"Straight to the Heart" January 24, 1987 313
"Requiem for Sergeant McCall" February 7, 1987 314
"Double Exposure" February 14, 1987 315
"The Girl Next Door" February 21, 1987 316
"Any Second Now" February 28, 1987 317
"A Child Is Born" March 14, 1987 318
"Crossfire" April 11, 1987 319
"Hot Pursuit: Part 1" May 2, 1987 320
"Hot Pursuit: Part 2" May 9, 1987 321
"Shades" July 18, 1987 322

Season 4 (1987-1988)

Pic Title Original airdate Episode #
"Not Just Another John Doe" September 24, 1987 401
"Playing God" October 3, 1987 402
"The Jade Woman" October 17, 1987 403
"Flashpoint" October 24, 1987 404
"Night on Bald Mountain" October 31, 1987 405
"City of Passion: Part 1" November 7, 1987 406
"City of Passion: Part 2" November 14, 1987 407
"City of Passion: Part 3" November 21, 1987 408
"Turning Point" November 28, 1987 409
"Hot Prowl" December 8, 1987 410
"Allegra" December 29, 1987 411
"Renegade" January 5, 1988 412
"The Black Dahlia" January 12, 1988 413
"Naked Justice: Part 1" February 2, 1988 414
"Naked Justice: Part 2" February 9, 1988 415
"Girl on the Beach" February 16, 1988 416
"Bogota's Million" March 1, 1988 417
"Death Signs" March 12, 1988 418
"Boomerang" March 19, 1988 419
"The Fourth Man" March 26, 1988 420
"Murder He Wrote" April 30, 1988 421
"Silver Bullet" May 7, 1988 422

Season 5 (1988-1989)

Pic Title Original airdate Episode #
"Heir of Neglect" October 29, 1988 501
"The Baby Game" November 5, 1988 502
"Dead on Target: Part 1" November 12, 1988 503
"Dead on Target: Part 2" November 19, 1988 504
"Presumed Guilty" November 26, 1988 505
"No Good Deed Goes Unpunished" December 3, 1988 506
"Honorable Profession" December 10, 1988 507
"Payback" December 17, 1988 508
"Partners" January 7, 1989 509
"The Pit" January 14, 1989 510
"City Under Siege: Part 1" February 4, 1989 511
"City Under Siege: Part 2" February 11, 1989 512
"City Under Siege: Part 3" February 18, 1989 513
"Me, Myself & Die" February 25, 1989 514
"Informant" March 18, 1989 515
"Blood Line" April 1, 1989 516
"Shoot to Kill" April 8, 1989 517
"Code 3" April 15, 1989 518
"Ring of Honor" April 29, 1989 519
"Teen Dreams" May 6, 1989 520
"Last Run" May 13, 1989 521
"Return of White Cloud" May 21, 1989 522

Season 6 (1989-1990)

Pic Title Original airdate Episode #
"On Air" October 14, 1989 601
"Shallalagh" October 21, 1989 602
"Investment in Death" October 28, 1989 603
"A Girl Named Hunter" November 4, 1989 604
"The Legion: Part 1" November 11, 1989 605
"The Legion: Part 2" November 18, 1989 606
"Yesterday's Child" November 25, 1989 607
"Shield of Honor" December 2, 1989 608
"The Fifth Victim" December 9, 1989 609
"Brotherly Love" January 6, 1990 610
"The Nightmare" January 13, 1990 611
"Broken Dreams" January 27, 1990 612
"Son and Heir" February 3, 1990 613
"Unacceptable Loss" February 10, 1990 614
"Unfinished Business" February 24, 1990 615
"Lullaby" March 3, 1990 616
"Final Confession" March 17, 1990 617
"Blind Ambition" March 31, 1990 618
"Sudden Withdrawal" April 16, 1990 619
"Second Sight" April 23, 1990 620
"Street Wise: Part 1" April 30, 1990 621
"Street Wise: Part 2" May 7, 1990 622

Season 7 (1990-1991)

Pic Title Original airdate Episode #
"Deadly Encounters: Part 1" September 19, 1990 701
"Deadly Encounters: Part 2" September 26, 1990 702
"Where Echoes End" October 3, 1990 703
"Kill Zone" October 10, 1990 704
"The Incident" October 24, 1990 705
"A Snitch'll Break Your Heart" October 31, 1990 706
"Oh, the Shark Bites!" November 7, 1990 707
"The Usual Suspects" November 14, 1990 708
"This Is My Gun" November 28, 1990 709
"La Familia" December 5, 1990 710
"Acapulco Holiday" December 12, 1990 711
"Fatal Obsession: Part 1" January 9, 1991 712
"Fatal Obsession: Part 2" January 9, 1991 713
"Under Suspicion" January 16, 1991 714
"The Reporter" January 30, 1991 715
"Room Service" February 13, 1991 716
"Shadows of the Past" February 20, 1991 717
"The Grab" March 2, 1991 718
"All That Glitters" March 8, 1991 719
"Cries of Silence" March 15, 1991 720
"Ex Marks the Spot" April 5, 1991 721
"Little Man with a Big Reputation" April 26, 1991 722

DVD releases

Anchor Bay Entertainment released the first three seasons of Hunter on Region 1 DVD in 2005--2006. Due to poor sales, no further seasons were released.

On October 14, 2009, it was announced that Mill Creek Entertainment had acquired the rights to several Stephen J. Cannell series including Hunter.

DVD Name Ep# Release Date
The Complete First Season 19 January 11, 2005
The Complete Second Season 23 July 12, 2005
The Complete Third Season 22 January 3, 2006


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, Overture Films and Warner Bros. Pictures.

In October 2009, it was reported that John Travolta would headline the upcoming adaptation playing Hunter and it was confirmed that Jessica Alba will play Dee Dee McCall. In June 2009, Sony Pictures set a tentative release date of October 15, 2010 for the film. Filming began in Los Angeles in October.

International airings


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