A broad and brassy satire of hard-boiled detective shows, the weekly, half-hour ABC sitcom Sledge Hammer! first burst onto the scene September 23, 1986. Created by Alan Spencer, the series starred David Rasche as Detective Inspector Sledge Hammer, a tough, arrogant cop who played by his own rules and was nobody's patsy, no sir! Breaking 57 varieties of civil liberties every time he went out to collar a criminal, Hammer made no distinctions between the gravity of individual crimes, being just as tough and brutal on litterbugs as he was on bank robbers. You couldn't miss Hammer when he arrived on the scene, waving his beloved pearl-handed .44 Magnum and dressed in garish, mismatched clothes, with his ever-present sunglasses covering his beady little eyes. Although Hammer had an impressive resumé of big arrests, it was usually his smarter, quieter, and better-looking partner, Officer Dori Doreau (Anne-Marie Martin), who did most of the hard work. And in time-honored cop-cliché fashion, Hammer's volatile superior officer, Captain Trunk (Harrison Page), who never spoke when shouting would do, suspended our hero from the force each and every week, only to reinstate him for a job well done (by Dori Doreau, that is!). The series' first season contained perhaps the most bizarre cliffhanger ever conceived, with Hammer, muttering his trademarked "I know what I'm doing," accidentally detonating a nuclear device and destroying Los Angeles and everyone in it! This deliciously "noir" grace note was conceived by the producers when it seemed as if there was no way on earth that Sledge Hammer! would be renewed for a second season. When renewal did occur, the producers blithely explained that season two was a prequel to season one: Sledge Hammer: The Early Days. And in this same insouciant vein, the series went its merry way until it finally was canceled for keeps on June 30, 1988.
crimefighting, police-detective, ruthlessness