CHiPs: Season 1, Episode 2

Undertow (22 Sep. 1977)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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Ponch and Jon track down a tow truck driver who robs stranded single women motorists. Ponch's exposure to a leaky tank of nitrous oxide (laughing gas) threatens his performance on the streets as well as in the CHP's big basketball game.


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Episode cast overview:
Brodie Greer ...
Lew Saunders ...
Bettye Ackerman ...
Mrs. Burgess
Old Surfer
William Gray Espy ...
Vinnie (as William Espy)
Barney McFadden ...
Dolores Mann ...
Jag Lady
Doreen Lang ...
Nurse Kremen


Ponch and Jon track down a tow truck driver who robs stranded single women motorists. Ponch's exposure to a leaky tank of nitrous oxide (laughing gas) threatens his performance on the streets as well as in the CHP's big basketball game.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

22 September 1977 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Ponch's mailbox has his ID number of B600. See more »


In the first game, the scoreboard shows 2:43 remaining and a score of CHP 23, Rams 64. In subsequent play, the CHP scores no points while the Rams score 6 baskets at 2 points each. This would have resulted in a score of CHP 23, Rams 76, yet when the board is shown with 6 seconds remaining, the score is CHP 29, Rams 69. Jon later tells Ponch they lost by 40 points, while the actual loss was 53 points. See more »

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User Reviews

CHiPs- Undertow
18 June 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In this fun second episode of the popular 70s series, CHiPs, has motorcycle Highway Patrol officers, Ponch and Baker (Erik Estrada and Larry Wilcox) trying to find and capture a notorious thief who uses a tow truck (he has a scanner which snoops on the police, arriving to derelict motorists whose vehicles have stranded them on the highway) as a way to secure the trust of innocents who believe he is there to tow their vehicles, in turn robbing them blind. Like the pilot previous to this episode, "Undertow" has the background plot of the tow truck thief, but features several plot threads such as Ponch suffering from the lingering effects of nitrous oxide (canisters of the chemical were spread along the highway after the tow truck driver caused another truck to crash), a basketball game between the CHiPs police officers and another team known as the Rams (the first game, absent Ponch who has been sent to the hospital to recover from the nitrous oxide, results in the Rams creaming the CHiPs team by 40 points!), and a gas station robber trying to evade Ponch and Baker, resulting in a serious car accident (after front-ending a tree which sends the robber flying out of his vehicle, Baker has a moment with the desperate young man who explains that it is because of prolonged unemployment which caused him to rob the gas station attendant in the store). The scene between Baker and the robber who believes he's possibly dying is a good scene for Larry Wilcox who shows that regardless of what the criminal might have done, he is treated with care until help arrives. The episode concludes with Ponch helping his team, this time around, win the big game. Very funny scene where Ponch, under the high of the nitrous oxide, is supposed to be checking guest-starring Richard Backus (Gilligan's Island) for inebriation while driving (Backus was not only driving too fast, but haphazardly, slurring his speech and obviously drunk), both stumbling over their words and behaving goofy, with Baker having to take control of the situation after helping a motorist who is lost and needing directions. Paul Brinegar(the bartender in "High Plains Drifter") has a nice cameo as an aging surfer, with a pet bird, driving too fast while trying to get to the beach, pulled over for speeding by Ponch and Baker. As normal during the series, there are a couple of nice chase scenes where Ponch and Baker are in pursuit of criminals on the run, with the busy highway used as a weapon against the highway patrol officers.

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