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The character line-up of this show was similar to that of "The New F.B.I"., which came out about the same time. There was a tough Irish main cop, a jiggly woman, an all-American guy, a minority and a charming Italian. This was during that A-Team era, where you had a groups of elite cops protecting the entire city. They just don't make cop shows like that anymore. The one episode I recall the most was this one staring The Late Robert Ridley (from BOOGIE NIGHTS), who played this drug dealing kid's clown. He was pretty creepy. Ike Eisenmann is in the episode, too. Funny, can't find this on his page.
Made up of a half dozen of California's toughest law enforcement
officers, the Strike Force handled those cases too difficult for
mainstream justice to solve. I was 11 or 12 when "Strike Force" aired
and loved it. After watching rather tame procedurals as "Emergency!"
and "Adam-12," "SF" was the first cop show I watched that seemed
"grown-up." The first episode had a mother and father decapitating
members of the jury that sentenced their son to prison. Tough stuff. In
fact, I remember "SF" being named one of the most violent shows on
television by one of those citizen groups. Probably no money in it, but
it'd be great to see this show's very few episodes on DVD. It was a
Spelling Production, so maybe in the wake of Aaron's death ... but I
PS - Yup, on Sunday nights, ABC also ran "Today's FBI," starring Mannix himself, Mike Connors.
PPS - I actually had a "SF" gun and target set, you know - with those plastic suction cups. And the gun was modeled after Stack's own hand cannon from the show. Wish I still had it ... hello, Ebay!! Oh well.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Captain Frank Murphy (Stack), Sgt. Paul Strobber (Harewood), Lt.
Charlie Gunzer (Romanus), Sgt. Mark Osborne (Goodwin) and Sgt. Rosie
Johnson (Noble) aren't just any old L.A. cops. Together they take on
the toughest crimes as an elite unit known as the Strike Force! Strike
Force was an hour-long police procedural drama TV show that ran on ABC
from 1981-82 and produced 19 episodes in total. Active home video
decided to put out what seems to be the first two episodes edited
together, and then release it to the burgeoning video store market that
was hungry for boxes to fill its shelves. The plot this time around
concerns a disturbed man that's going around town with an axe
decapitating people on Tuesdays. But the Strike Force must find out the
link between the victims in time to save the next one on the murderer's
list. Can they do it? The 80's were an amazing time - not only were
shows like this being produced, but startup video companies were more
than willing to release them into video stores all across the land (and
beyond). Similar to what Vidmark did with Fortune Dane (1986). Just
take some episodes of a show and put 'em on video and see what happens.
Even if the show was off the air, there was no intention of getting
back on the air (like what happened with Family Guy) - it's all about
video store product for video store product's sake. In that sense it's
very unpretentious and that's very appealing.
About twenty years before The Shield had it's Strike Team, Robert Stack had his Strike Force. Stack plays a divorced guy who lives in a sloppy house with his dog and appears to be feeding it a brand of dog food called "Doggone It". The generation of actors that includes Robert Stack, Peter Graves, Clint Eastwood and Chuck Connors will never be seen again. Now it's just prissy, effeminate man-children like Leonardo DiCaprio. Thus, Strike Force will, if nothing else, remind you of a better time. Fans of shows like Adam-12 and Mannix will certainly appreciate what's going on here, and the music of the show reinforces its strong A-Team vibe as well. This VHS tape in particular will appeal most to people nostalgic for this era or this show in particular.
Being part of the Strike Force, the team gets to go undercover all together, dressing up as chefs or a construction crew to get the job done (during the restaurant sequence, watch out for a young Billy Drago playing, what else, a bad guy - maybe his one shot in Strike Force typecast him for life. The show's influence is still carrying on today; maybe it's more powerful and influential than anyone realizes). It also recalls back to a time before political correctness. For example, Noble wears a shirt that says "Junk Food Is Good For You!" - this probably wouldn't be allowed today. But the worst thing you could really say about Strike Force is that it gets a bit "standard" at times, but maybe that's because there have been a lot of shows like it in the intervening years.
Released in an Active home video big-box, the only "Unsolved Mystery" here is why this show isn't as well-known today as it should be.
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I will always have a warm spot for Robert Stack because he took so many
roles that essentially satirized himself and because of his work with
I wish I could see an episode of this series again. What I remember, which may or may not be an accurate recollection, is that whenever gunfire would break out, you'd hear the "pop pop pop" of handguns and at some point Robert Stack would take out what APPEARED to be a normal handgun and "KABOOM"! Wow baby!! THAT is a handgun! It seemed that someone deliberately used a MUCH much louder......uh........hand CANNON noise for Robert Stack's firearm than they used for any other. Well, as has been noted, it WAS the era of he A- Team, and Bob WAS the man!!
Strike Force had a loyal and enthusiastic audience because it was exciting and fresh - unfortunately, the conservatives were afraid that it was too violent (considering what's on the tube NOW, it was pretty tame!!) and it was yanked way too soon! The theme song was TREMENDOUS, as well - set the tone of the show perfectly!!
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