T.J. Hooker

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Name: T.J. Hooker
Creator: Rick Husky
Date(s): 1982-1986
Medium: tv
Country of Origin: USA
External Links: wikipedia
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T.J. Hooker was a 1980s police series on ABC then CBS. It starred William Shatner.

There were fans who found the show appealing because it starred Shatner, and some Shatner was better than no Shatner at all. Some fans tried to find male bonding in the two show's leads, usually coming up short. Others found the politics, coarse violence, and "Dirty Harry-like" attitudes (like calling criminals "scum" and "maggots") intolerable.

Some Fan Opinions


...the character definitely has Mary-sue overtones with all that king of the dragstrip, king of the surfers, and other such macho, miraculous feats that old T.J. accomplished. I wonder whose fantasy the guy represents. [1]
What kind of man do you see Hooker to be? If you mean one who's made a commitment to protect people from the predators of society, then, yes, I'd like him to survive. If, as I believe you see him, an intolerant person whose aim is to dispose of all who disagree with his moral & political views, then I'd hope he loses his power. AND THAT'S THE LAST I WANT TO SAY ABOUT HOOKER; IF SHATNER WEREN'T IN IT, I WOULDN'T EVER WATCH THE SHOW!!! [2]
The couple of times I have forced myself to watch, it was at best (the episode with Nimoy in it) a mediocre show. And to compare his relationship with Romano with Kirk's and Spock's is...well I'd call that "blinded by the light" of Shatner's personality. [3]
Sometimes Hooker tends to put one to sleep... in more ways than one!! I do watch the series — it has its good 'moments' but mainly I tune in just to see Shatner. [4]
I guess the show is beginning to grow on me, though mostly I tune it in just to have a view of Shatner's bod in the background while I'm doing whatever it is I was doing anyway. So I'm a little fuzzy on particular plots and dialogue. Wendy may be right that the episodes are worth watching only once, but personally I find it so hard to tell the re-runs from the first runs that I wind up watching the re-runs anyway. The episodes all seem to run together after a while — the villains are usually black, minority, or third world (I remember one who was Turkish), and the women are usually models, prostitutes, dancers, or other stereotypical female-type roles. There was at least one episode I didn't realize I was watching for the third time until it was almost over. The show's conservatism doesn't bother me so much; I just wish it were intelligent conservatism. I don't expect police officers to think like William 0. Douglas. I think Hooker's attitude toward lawyers is kind of cute (in fact, I tend to agree with him some times) . But it would be more fun to have an intelligent adversary. (After all, I didn't always see eye-to-eye with James T. Kirk, either.)


There are two reasons why I'm uncomfortable with Hooker's bash-the-scum attitude. One is that it makes his character seem some what inconsistent. Hooker is a bit of a boy scout (he wouldn't touch another woman while he was still married to his wife, etc. etc.), and I'd expect him to feel an obligation to uphold the constitution out of the same respect for law, morality and "decency." The other is the way Shatner seems continually to play against the dialogue — "shading the meaning," as he once said about the way he played James Kirk. You keep getting the feeling that one day the show is going to reveal that he's not as simple as he sounds — but it never does.

I didn't know that Shatner had been known as a liberal or an activist during the 1960's. I'd be interested to hear more about his activities. I'd always assumed he was fairly apolitical and somewhat conservative. He's said he'd be pleased if Hooker emerged as the "conservative philosopher of our time." I suppose you could take that as an example of what a friend of mine (a Shatner fan) calls his tendency "to bond his own popularity to the characters he plays in an instinct for self-preservation." [5]


You remarked that you defied anyone to defend 'Hooker' the series. Sir/Madam: I take up the gauntlet!

How could you be so unkind about a series that gave me and my comrades so many hours of innocent amusement, the thrill of waiting to see what new talent Hooker could display each week, having been successively, a champion stock car racer, a practitioner of the deaf and dumb alphabet, a physiotherapist encouraging a crippled child to walk (a particularly nauseating episode I thought, enlivened by a sudden appearance of "Manolito" from The High Chaparral), a champion surfer nicknamed (though I'm not sure I got this right) "The Big Cannelloni", a champion gymnast beating his unfortunate partner half his age and weight, a champion racing cyclist with jolly lady police officer on this tandem bike with him in brief satin shorts.

Then there was the continual disappearing of the supporting cast, apart from the very short lady police officer and, of course, poor Romano who was always left in the car while Hooker pursued crooks over walls, open spaces, etc. etc....

Sadly the series did tend to go off as the cast disappeared and Hooker did not display any new skills, though there was a memorable episode where a lady police officer lost a leg, and her bratlet whined that "Mommy, won't play football with me any more.' The tops had to be the Christmas one, which pulled out all the stops, orange Christmas trees outside the police station, Hooker as Santa, a pregnant lady cat burglar, a battered wife (Mrs Shatner looking all of six stone in weight) this was also directed by Mr Shatner and written by his daughter, a competent story but perhaps another name on the screen wouldn't have made such a hysterical impression. Oh yes, they did find a baby in a church too. Surely a series that pulled every cliche in the book has something going for it, if only in the enjoyable junk category. We need enjoyable junk on the tele as we get far too much pretentious junk these days. [6]



Gen, multimedia:

Slash, multimedia:


  1. ^ from K/S & K.S. (Kindred Spirits) #6 (1983)
  2. ^ from K/S & K.S. (Kindred Spirits) #6 (1983)
  3. ^ from K/S & K.S. (Kindred Spirits) #6 (1983)
  4. ^ from K/S & K.S. (Kindred Spirits) #6 (1983)
  5. ^ from K/S & K.S. (Kindred Spirits) #6 (1983)
  6. ^ from a fan in Be Gentle With Us #10 (1993)