T.J. Hooker: Season 1, Episode 1

The Protectors (13 Mar. 1982)

TV Episode  |   |  Action, Crime, Drama
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 186 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 1 critic

Sergeant T.J. Hooker spearheads a police officer recruitment program that provides on-the-street training. Hooker's recruits have to learn fast when they go up against a pair of cold-blooded killers on a crime spree.



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Title: The Protectors (13 Mar 1982)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Officer David McNeil
Officer Jess Canfield
John Gladstein ...
Officer Granger
Kelly Harmon ...
Jo McDonnell ...
Officer Kelly Sanders
Lacy Canfield (as Debbie Shelton)
District Attorney Eric Saxon
Michael Horton ...
Officer Parker English
Lynne Moody ...
Susan McNeil
Timothy Scott ...


Sergeant T.J. Hooker spearheads a police officer recruitment program that provides on-the-street training. Hooker's recruits have to learn fast when they go up against a pair of cold-blooded killers on a crime spree.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Action | Crime | Drama





Release Date:

13 March 1982 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The initials "T.J." in " T.J. Hooker " stand for Thomas Jefferson. See more »


When Romano is going after the sniper and tackles him on the roof, it is a stunt double that does the tackle. When the camera cuts, it is Romano again. See more »


[first lines]
Sgt. T.J. Hooker: T.J. Hooker is the name. But you don't have to lose any sleep wondering what the T.J. stands for, as far as you're concerned, my first name is 'Sergeant'.
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Referenced in Scarface (1983) See more »

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User Reviews

Poor TVM – Hooker is set up like a hero for all the right wingers
18 February 2002 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

While being investigated for unlawful killing of a criminal, Sergeant Hooker is delivering on-the-job training for a team of recruits. Whilst weeding out the unsuitable candidates he teaches them his own brand of policing - the old school method that protects the innocent but takes justice on the guilty. Meanwhile a pair of drunken, small time thieves are robbing and murdering people on the city streets.

The pilot for the TV series this, it is easy to see why it got picked up - the main character is interesting, with enough back story and issues to justify a series. However the overriding philosophy is forced down our throats a bit too much. It obvious that the writers are very right-wing and are fed up with the liberal handling of criminals by the courts while police are killed on the streets with little protection from the court. Hooker regularly is given speeches about the unfairness of the system or how criminals get away with it etc, while all the criminals are shown as a) crazy or b) losers who kill old people and women for as little as $15. Really this is a message film - although the message is a little heavy handed.

Some points are made about the bad side of Hooker, but these are minor and are mostly brushed over by other characters - one black woman compares Hooker to the cops who used to beat up blacks in the 60's only to be told by another black cop that `Hooker talks a lot of sense'. I'm not a liberal and believe that the courts are too easy on criminals generally, allowing too many off on technicalities whilst holding the cops to the letter of the law, but I was really put off by Hooker's unpleasantly strict version of justice.

Shatner is OK but he can't help but act everything seriously, delivering his moralising lectures with his usual dramatic facial expressions - it's not his fault because his character is so very hard to like. Hooker sets up his cadets in traumatising situations just to show them they will fail and when he is described as `insane' by a colleague for murdering a thief he merely replies `sanity is over-rated' and they both laugh! He may be a hero for the rightwing out there but anyone less strict will be put off. The rest of the cast are OK but look very eighties (check out Zmed's Italian Stallion!) Really the cadets are only there to be won over by Hooker's philosophy in the way the film hopes we will be.

Overall this is OK - not great but not terrible. I score it 4 out of 10 because it has some entertaining moments but really it is 90 minutes or so of Shatner shouting his message at us.

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