Synopsis by Hal Erickson
The title "character" of the weekly, hour-long adventure series Airwolf was a high-tech helicopter, built on behalf of a top secret government agency known as the Firm. Airwolf could not only fly anywhere in the world, but could also outdistance and outperform a jet plane without the need to refuel. Additionally, the vehicle was equipped with delicate sensing devices that could determine the velocity and capabilities of land vehicles -- not to mention an arsenal of state-of-the-art weaponry, the better to blast villains out of the sky or force them to make emergency landings. When Airwolf's inventor stole the machine with the intention to sell it to the Libyans, the Firm recruited maverick pilot Stringfellow "String" Hawke (Jan-Michael Vincent) to get it back. Upon accomplishing this mission, String decided to hold on to Airwolf, refusing to surrender the vehicle until the Firm had located his brother, who'd been missing in action since Vietnam. However, String agreed to continue using Airwolf on behalf of the Good Ol' U.S.A. to vanquish villains -- but only on his own terms. Helping String in his various adventures was his old war buddy Dom Santini (Ernest Borgnine), owner of a small aviation outfit. Among the duo's various assistants were Marella (Deborah Pratt), a beautiful and mysterious agent of the Firm, and feisty female copter pilot Caitlin O'Shaughnessy (Jean Bruce Scott). Also appearing was Alex Cord as Michael Archangel, String's enigmatic, white-suited contact at the Firm. One of several TV series inspired by the popularity of the theatrical feature Blue Thunder, Airwolf debuted January 22, 1984 on CBS. Canceled by the network after three seasons, the series then moved to cable's USA Network for a final round of 24 episodes, beginning January 23, 1987. Inasmuch as both Jan-Michael Vincent and Ernest Borgnine had left the show, Dom Santini was killed off in an accident in which String was seriously injured. At this point, Dom's gorgeous and courageous niece Jo Santini (Michele Scarabelli) inherited her uncle's business, teaming up with String's at-long-last rescued brother, St. John Hawke (Barry Van Dyke), who became the head of the Airwolf team. Other fourth season cast additions included Geraint Wyn Davies as St. John's hotheaded copilot, Major Mike Rivers; and Anthony Sherwood as Jason Locke, Michael Archangel's replacement at the Firm (now known as the Company). The final first-run USA Network episode of Airwolf was seen on August 7, 1987.