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"T.J. Hooker" Funny Money (1985)

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Bye bye Corrigan?

6/10
Author: Jason Daniel Baker from Toronto, Canada
22 April 2014

Treasury agent Bob Komack (Kip Niven) teams with Veteran cop Sgt. T.J.Hooker (William Shatner) and his LCPD colleagues to attempt to take down a counterfeiting ring. Officer Jim Corrigan (James Darren) is in on the raid and accidentally shoots a valued informant to death. Corrigan is inconsolable and ponders quitting the force. Engaged to a wealthy young woman whose father has offered him a cushy job there is a new life waiting for him.

Hooker still has hopes of taking down the counterfeiting ring whilst also keeping his valued colleague on the job. Corrigan's partner Officer Stacy Sheridan (Heather Locklear) naturally wants the same thing. But the lingering question is whether Corrigan's head and heart are still in it enough to be effective.

This is a half-decent entry which could have ended James Darren's tenure on the series.

Adrian Zmed who had portrayed Hooker's young partner Vince Romano left the show before the start of the fifth and final season. It had been cancelled by ABC in May 1985 but picked up by CBS and put on a lower budget. No word on whether much money was saved by the production as it did without him. After he left, Hooker drove alone mostly but could have rode with Sheridan.

I did not detect a decline or an improvement in the quality of the series resulting from Zmed's departure. Yet often when the audience has gotten used to seeing a quartet of characters as the main cast the moment an actor leaves one of the remaining three can look like a third wheel. Since Shatner was the star of the show and young guys like me were understandably focused on Heather Locklear as Officer Stacy Sheridan the actor who got shortchanged was of course Darren except for this episode.

Had they cast an attractive young male actor in Zmed's place before season five began they might have staved off the dramatic decline in the ratings that set in and opened up story arcs consistent with the original concept for the show. Instead Corrigan was left to do the things that Romano would have done that Sheridan wasn't doing. It meant more screen time for Darren but his character wasn't doing much spectacular except in episodes like this one.

Perhaps it was thought that filling the passenger seat of Hooker's patrol car would emphasize the loss of Zmed when they were trying to minimize discernible change to hold what audience the show still had.

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