Dennis Booker

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:

"You know him as the rebel cop on 21 Jump Street, but now he's off the force, and working for a corporation as a private eye. He loves his new job, he just hates showing up for work. He knows the streets; he knows the players; he just doesn't always know when to quit."

Uh-huh.

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.

TELEVISION

  • BOOKER...Buy the series on DVD
    (September 1989 to May 1990, Fox)
    22 60-minute episodes
    Created by Stephen J. Cannell and Erik Blakeney
    Writers: Stephen J. Cannell, Nicholas J. Corea , Gordon Dawson, Carleton Eastlake, Charles Grant Craig, Thania St. John, Bill Nuss, Kim Manners, Glen Morgan & James Wong, Jan Eliasberg, David Kemper, Chad Hayes & Carey W. Hayes, Jacqueline Zambrano & Gary Rosen, Seth Perlman
    Directors: David Jackson, Mark Sobel, Rob Bowman , Jorge Montesi , Reynaldo Villalobos, James Whitmore Jr., Jefferson Kibbee, Mark Sobe, Kim Manners, Mario Azzopardi , Bryan Spicer, Jan Eliasberg, Christopher T. Welch, Bill Corcoran, David Nutter, Peter D. Marshall
    Executive Producers: Bill Nuss, Steve Beers, Stephen J. Cannell
    Theme song: "Hot in the City", performed by Billy Idol
    Starring Richard Grieco as DENNIS BOOKER
    with Katie Rich as Elaine Grazzo
    Lori Petty as Suzanne Dunne
    Marcia Strassman as Alicia Rudd
    Carmen Argenziano as Charles "Chick" Sterling
    Reginald T. Dorsey as Reggie Mitchell
    Robert Romanus as Tony DeAngelo
    and Jay Brazeau as Sgt. Keith Redding
    Guest stars: Don Cheadle, Ed Lauter, Lori Petty, Vanity, Brian Bonsal, Thomas Haden Church, Blu Mankuma, Ben Vereen

  • Season One...Buy the series on DVD
  • "Booker" (September 24, 1989)
  • "The Pump" (October 1, 1989
  • "Raising Arrizola" (October 8, 1989
  • "High Rise" ( October 22, 1989 )
  • "All You Gotta Do is Do It" ( October 29, 1989 )
  • "Bete Noir" ( November 5, 1989 )
  • "Flat Out" ( November 12, 1989)
  • "Deals and Wheels" (Part 1) (November 26, 1989)

The second part of this story aired as episode #65 of 21 Jump Street

  • "Someone Stole Lucille" (December 10, 1989)
  • "Cementhead" (December 17, 1989)
  • "The Red Dot" ( January 14, 1990 )
  • "Who Framed Roger Thornton?" (January 21, 1990)
  • "Hacker" (February 4, 1990)
  • "The Life and Death of Chick Sterling" (February 11, 1990 )
  • "Black Diamond Run" (February 18, 1990)
  • "Love Life" (February 25, 1990)
  • "Reunion" (March 25, 1990 )
  • "Wedding Bell Blues" (April 1, 1990)
  • "Molly and Eddie" (April 8 , 1990)
  • "Crazy" (April 15, 1990)
  • "Mobile Home" (April 29, 1990)
  • "Father's Day" (May 6 1990)

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Thanks, Sean.


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