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Fire Man 

Tony is accused of arson, and Bill and Ralph must find evidence to clear his name.


Gabrielle Beaumont


Stephen J. Cannell (created by), Lee Sheldon

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
William Katt ... Ralph Hanley
Robert Culp ... Bill Maxwell
Connie Sellecca ... Pam Davidson
Mark Withers ... Shaeffer
Raymond Singer ... Kaufman
Steven Hirsch Steven Hirsch ... Lane
Woody Eney Woody Eney ... Bobby Moody
Timothy Carey ... Cameron
Sandy Ward ... Lt Rafferty
Faye Grant ... Rhonda Blake
Michael Paré ... Tony Villicana
Jesse D. Goins ... Cyler Johnson
Brandon Williams Brandon Williams ... Kevin Hinkley
Don Cervantes Don Cervantes ... Paco Rodriguez
Paul Cavonis ... Thompson


Tony is accused of arson, and Bill and Ralph must find evidence to clear his name.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

title directed by female | See All (1) »






Release Date:

6 May 1981 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The last time that Brandon Williams appears as Ralph's son Kevin. No explanation is ever given as to why he disappears. See more »


The hand lettered sign for Cameron Auto Sales is misspelled "Cameon". See more »

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User Reviews

What Cannell had in mind...
27 April 2007 | by Thundermist04167See all my reviews

When Stephen J. Cannell created this show, he knew nothing about the clichés of the superhero genre. But he knew that he didn't like those "Ralph saves the world" plots.

Instead, he considered Ralph "great" because he was at his best when dealing with personal, everyday, human interest issues. "Fire Man" was a perfect example, and definitely one of the best episodes of the entire series.

It's a simple plot that gets more complex as it goes: Tony is framed for arson, and the case is made even more stressful for Ralph and Pam, because some of the torched items happened to be Federal property. The whole point of the episode is best summed up by a scene in the police station. Ralph goes into his do-gooder-speech schtick, insisting that Tony is not guilty, and therefore has nothing to worry about. Tony disagrees vehemently, shouting, "I'm gonna be doin' TIME, man, TIME!"

That one scene tells me that writer Lee Sheldon has an issue with the justice system. It sounds very 60s-ish, yet still fits.

The episode is leavened by Bill's one-liners. (You may recall in the pilot episode, Bill asked, "If I'm not supposed to be in charge, then why did our friends from the Twilight Zone put me aboard?" To which Pam suggests, "Comic relief?" She was right. He does just that.)

Look for one hilarious little detail: In rescuing Tony, Ralph climbs up from a manhole to stop an unmarked police car, bare-handed. Bill knew nothing of this when he told Ralph about Tony.

Ralph asks, "He got away?" Bill answers, "Ah, those vice squad dummies ran over an open manhole or something, busted the axle!" The expression on Ralph's face is priceless.

Pam insists, "What about 'Presumed innocent until proved guilty'?" Bill answers, "Ah, don't give me any of that garbage!"

I was surprised to find, on a different website, reviewers giving this episode a low rating. I don't know why. It's definitely one of the best.

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