Created by Stephen J. Cannell and Erik Blakeney
"No badge. No back-up. No problem."
Dismissed at the time as "Mannix for the MTV generation," the late-eighties TV show Booker wasn't actually so bad after all. Of course, having Stephen J. Cannell as a co-creator, executive producer and writer didn't hurt. Nor, considering the intended audience, did having the theme song Billy Idol.
The whole thing started when, in the wildly successful 21 Jump Street's third season, rumours began to circulate that series heartthrob Johnny Depp was going to jump ship. So the worried producers quickly added a back-up hunk (Richard Grieco) to the cast as Officer DENNIS BOOKER.
But Depp decided to stick around for the fourth season, so the Booker was spun off into his own show. The premise was simple enough: rather than accept being reassigned to a desk job following his "numerous violations of procedure," an angry Dennis quits the force and eventually lands a plum spot as head investigator of the suspicious claims division for the Teshima Corporationa of America, a Japanese insurance corporation based in Vancouver (where both shows were filmed).
Or, as Fox put it:
The Teshima Corporation turned out to be too straitlaced, however, for the rebellious young cop, and his leather jackets, tight jeans, muscle T-shirts and earrings didn't go over well (but the little girls understood). Booker's superior, Alicia Rudd, played by Marcia Strassman (Mrs. Kotter!) was constantly on his case, ordering him to toe the company line, dress right, and to "Put your libido in mothballs!"
But somehow it worked. Especially during the second half of the season, when Booker started to take outside cases, and the emphasis was switched from his corporate duties to his relationship with his pals. The humour was also played up, and his "rebel/bad boy" image was toned down, and even poked at a time or two. As another reviewer put it, it became more like "Magnum P.I. with an earring."
But it was all to no avail, and the plug was pulled after one season.
The second part of this story aired as episode #65 of 21 Jump Street
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Thanks, Sean.
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