CHiPs: Season 1, Episode 1

Pilot (15 Sep. 1977)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 56 users  
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Ponch and Jon take to their bikes to bust an auto theft ring that employs a clever means of smuggling hot sports cars past the Highway Patrol. Ponch's probation is almost over when he runs into a sticky situation.



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Title: Pilot (15 Sep 1977)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Mantee ...
Michael Christian ...
Brodie Greer ...
Lew Saunders ...
Tommy J. Huff ...
Mike (as Thomas Huff)
Eric Server ...
Phillip Simms ...
Van Driver
Darlene Duralia ...
Dick Cangey ...
Van Helper (as Richard Cangey)
Charles Huskey ...
Chuck, CHP Mechanic


Ponch and Jon take to their bikes to bust an auto theft ring that employs a clever means of smuggling hot sports cars past the Highway Patrol. Ponch's probation is almost over when he runs into a sticky situation.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

15 September 1977 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


After the initial pursuit, this is one of the few times the actual actors are seen close up riding side by side with both motorcycles entirely visible. This shot was later made by use of a trailer that contained partial motorcycles only visible from the headlight area up. See more »


The glue shown spilled on the freeway would not be strong enough to hold a rubber tire to pavement. See more »


Officer Jon Baker: [after Ponch storms out after being reprimanded] Listen, Sarge, I don't want this to sound like a p.r. job, but I mean if you took a closer look at his jacket, maybe... maybe you'd find some citations and recommendations. I mean, the guy's put some righteous criminals behind bars.
Sgt. Joseph Getraer: Look, you've had to babysit him for six months now. What is it? His temper? No presence of mind? What?
Officer Jon Baker: I dunno. Sometimes the guy overdoes a role. Sometimes he doesn't know when to back off. Weird things happen to him....
See more »

Crazy Credits

As the closing credits roll, we hear a humorous voice-over dialogue between Ponch and Getraer as the situation they're discussing plays out on-screen in flashback. See more »

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User Reviews

Ponch On Probation
23 July 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The show opens with two California Highway Patrol motor officers chasing after a speeding Porsche. After speeding in and out between cars on the highway, the Porches speeds off the highway. One of the officers swerves to chase after the speeder, but falls over when his motor hits the curb. He immediately rights himself but loses the Porches somewhere in downtown LA. "Ponch" complains about how the speeder got away while his partner Jon tells him he's lucky to be alive.

As the officers arrive, they find the morning briefing already in progress. The sergeant tells the officers about a gang of sports car thieves. As "Frank" tries to leave the briefing, he asks him about riding his CHP motor in the dirt last night and warns him not to blow probation with only two days left.

When Ponch returns to headquarters, he's riding in a CHP pickup with his motor in back. The sergeant is waiting for him on the steps. He brings Ponch and Jon into his office and shows them Ponch's huge file. After a lecture, Ponch storms out. As they head out to the garage to talk to the mechanic, Chuck, Jon tries to make the sarge realize that Ponch has been a good officer for the six months they've been partners while Ponch was on probation.

Out on the streets, Ponch is riding the sarge's motor. When a guy on a motorcycle speeds by, they chase after him. He causes a VW Bug to roll over. Ponch gives the cyclist a hard time until Jon tells him to take care of the driver. He can't get the woman out of the car so he keeps her company by explaining how his name is Poncherello and how he's been on the patrol for two years.

After the game, Ponch hits on a woman who thinks he's a lawyer. Jon joins in and ruins his fun.

At Sunday morning's briefing, the sergeant informs everyone of more sports car thefts. As Ponch and Jon head out, they pull over a six year- old and tell him to keep to the right side of the road. When a truck that looks like the one that had the oil leak is spotted by another officer, Ponch and Jon head off to find it so they can get a picture of it to prove Ponch's argument.

As they try to pull over the truck, the passenger dumps his beer all over Ponch. After pulling them over, they make the driver and passenger get out. They realize the plate is wrong. Ponch and Jon put the facts together and realize that the car thieves were in the "Bushkin" van they stopped yesterday.

After the thieves spot a CHP cruiser, they abandon the trailer of their truck and take off. Ponch and Jon chase after them through the city and manage to lead them right into the Los Angeles County Jail parking lot to arrest them.

When Ponch and Jon return to headquarters, the sergeant says that they've earned commendations and that Ponch's probation is over.

This is the first episode on CHiPs.This is a time when Ponch was more of a comedic character rather than a macho character as what happened to the next seasons ahead.

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