During the height of the show's popularity, actor Edward Woodward was often approached on the street by people in need, with situations similar to those depicted in the show. He began carrying flyers with the phone numbers of social services organizations and legal clinics for them to contact.
Edward Woodward suffered a heart attack in the summer of 1987. Accordingly, the producers needed to find a quick replacement while Woodward recuperated. Robert Mitchum was brought on as an old friend of Robert McCall who helped McCall's son search for his missing father in the two-part episode, "Mission: McCall." Richard Jordan was also brought on as embittered former operative Harley Gage and stayed for eight more episodes.
Edward Woodward was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series five years in a row even though the show aired for four years. The final two episodes were burned off in August 1989 which made him eligible to be nominated in 1990 for the 1989-1990 season.