Milton G. Hardcastle
& Mark McCormick

Created by Patrick Hasburgh and Stephen J. Cannell

"Lady Justice is a tough old broad."

-- Milton ponders the nature of justice.

In the mid-eighties TV show Hardcastle and McCormick, Brian Keith played cranky MILTON C. "HARDCASE" HARDCASTLE, a retired Los Angeles Superior Court judge who teams up with MARK "SKID" McCORMICK, an easy-going former race driver and semi-retired car thief (Daniel Hugh-Kelly), to nab criminals he felt had slipped through the legal system on technicalities.

And Hardcastle had plenty of those: over his years on the bench he had accumulated files on 200 miscreants who he felt had slipped through the system. Taking a page from his childhood hero, the Lone Ranger, he went after them.

The two originally met -- where else? -- in court, where Hardcastle presided over McCormick's trial for car theft. The car in question is The Coyote, a way-cool prototype sports car designed by Mark's murdered best friend. In exchange for Hardcastle's help in catching the killer; Mark agrees to be the Judge's right hand man.

It was the start of a beautiful friendship, with Hardcastle's cranky cynicism playing nicely off McCormick's more optimistic smart assery.

Goofy, but likable. And certainly not the best show Cannell was ever involved in, but the car-racing background was a great excuse to regularly feature The Coyote, which -- all these years later -- seems to have had almost as many fans as the show itself.

THE EVIDENCE

  • "There's no plea bargain in Heaven."

-- slogan on one of Milton's favourite T-shirts

TRIVIA

The fur hats and full beards that the guys sport in the epilogue (to "She Ain't Deep, But She Sure Runs Fast") look like a wink and a nod to Brian Keith’s role in the 1980 movie, The Mountain Men. (Writer) Danny Kelly says as soon as he saw Brian’s get-up with full beard he wanted the same for his character".

"Mark’s hat-gear went through stages, with the E-Street Band cap dominating the second season, and a Toronto Blue Jays cap making an appearance right about when that team had beat Hardcastle’s beloved Yankees by two games in the American League Eastern Division (while the E-Street hat was Danny Kelly’s own touch, reflecting his New Jersey roots and friendship with the band members, he says the Blue Jays cap was just something he found lying around his trailer)."

"One of the most common stunts, especially in the auto-centric world of Hardcastle and McCormick, was the car rollover. The typical way in which this stunt was achieved was by using an explosive charge to shoot a large pole from the underside of the vehicle into the pavement at a critical moment, adding enough upward force to start the roll.
The pole, of course, was a heavy, high-speed projectile which could behave unpredictably, including the occasional rollover in which the charge failed to go off, leaving a wrecked and still potentially explosive vehicle."

-- from Hardcastle and McCormick: The Complete Viewers Guide

TELEVISION

Everything You Need to Know About the Boys!Everything You Need to Know About the Boys!

  • HARDCASTLE AND McCORMICK ...Buy the complete series on DVD
    (1983-86, ABC)
    65 60-minute episodes, 1 two-hour pilot
    Created by Patrick Hasburgh and Stephen J. Cannell
    Writers: Alan Cassidy, Daniel Hugh Kelly, Evan Lawrence, Scott Schneid, Steven L. Sears, Thomas E. Szollosi, Shel Willens
    Directors: Jimmy Giritlian, Michael Hiatt, Kim Manners, Roger Young
    Produced by Stephen J. Cannell, Lawrence Hertzog, Jo Swerling Jr.
    Theme by Pete Carpenter
    Starring Brian Keith as MILTON C. "HARDCASE" HARDCASTLE
    and Daniel Hugh-Kelly as MARK "SKID" McCORMICK
    Also starring John Hancock as Lt. Michael Delaney (1984-1985)
    Mary Jackson as Sarah Wicks (1983)
    and Joe Santos as Lt. Frank Harper (1985-1986)
  • Season One ...Buy this DVD
  • "Rolling Thunder" (September 18, 1983; two-hour pilot)
  • "Man in a Glass House" (September 25, 1983)
  • "The Crystal Duck" (October 2, 1983)
  • "Goin' Nowhere Fast" (October 9, 1983)
  • "The Black Widow" (October 16, 1983)
  • "The Boxer" (October 23, 1983)
  • "Once Again with Vigorish" (October 30, 1983)
  • "Killer B's" (November 6, 1983)
  • "The Prince of Fat City" (November 13, 1983)
  • "Hotshoes" (November 27,1983)
  • "Flying Down to Rio" (December 4, 1983)
  • "Just Another Round of That Old Song" (December 11, 1983)
  • "Third Down and Twenty Years to Life" (January 1, 1984)
  • "Whistler's Pride" (January 8, 1984)
  • "Mr. Hardcastle Goes to Washington" (January 15, 1984)
  • "School for Scandal" (January 29, 1984)
  • "The Georgia Street Motors" (February 5, 1984)
  • "The Homecoming, Part One" (March 4, 1984)
  • "The Homecoming, Part Two" (March 11, 1984)
  • "Did You See the One That Got Away" (March 18, 1984)
  • "Really Neat Cars and Guys with a Sense of Humor" (March 25, 1984)
  • "Scared Stiff" (April 1, 1984)

  • Season Two ...Buy this DVD
  • "Outlaw Champion" (September 23, 1984)
  • "Ties My Father Sold Me" (September 30, 1984)
  • "You Would Cry, Too, If It Happened to You" (October 7, 1984)
  • "D-Day" (October 14, 1984)
  • "Never My Love" (October 28, 1984)
  • "Whatever Happened to Guts" (November 4, 1984)
  • "You and the Horse You Rode in On" (November 18, 1984)
  • "One of the Girls From Accounting" (November 25, 1984)
  • "It Coulda Been Worse...She Coulda Been a Welder" (December 2, 1984)
  • "Hate the Picture...Love the Frame" (December 9, 1984)
  • "Pennies From a Dead Man's Eyes" (December 31, 1984)
  • "There Goes the Neighborhood" (January 7, 1985)
  • "Too Rich and Too Thin" (January 14, 1985)
  • "What's So Funny..?" (January 21, 1985)
  • "Hardcastle, Hardcastle, Hardcastle and McCormick" (February 4, 1985)
  • "The Long Ago Girl" (February 11, 1985)
  • "You Don't Hear the One That Gets You" (February 18, 1985)
  • "The Birthday Present" (February 25, 1985)
  • "Surprise On Seagull Beach" (March 4, 1985)
  • "Undercover McCormick" (March 11, 1985)
  • "The Game You Learn From Your Father" (March 18, 1985)
  • "Angie's Choice" (April 1, 1985)

  • Season Three ...Buy this DVD
  • "She May Not Be Deep, But She Sure Is Fast" (September 23, 1985)
  • "Faster Hearts" (September 30, 1985)
  • "The Yankee Clipper" (October 7, 1985)
  • "Something's Going On On This Train" (October 14, 1985)
  • "The Career Breaker" (October 28, 1985)
  • "Do Not Go Gently" (November 4, 1985)
  • "Games People Play" (November 11, 1985)
  • "Strangle Hold" (November 18, 1985)
  • "You're Sixteen, You're Beautiful and You're His" (November 25, 1985)
  • "Mirage a Trois" (December 2, 1985)
  • "Conventional Warfare" (December 9, 1985)
  • "Duet for Two Wind Instruments" (December 16, 1985)
  • "If You Could See What I See" (January 6, 1986)
  • "Hardcastle for Mayor" (January 13, 1986)
  • "When I Look Back On All the Things" (February 3, 1986)
  • "Brother Can You Spare a Crime" (February 10, 1986)
  • "Round Up the Old Gang" (February 17, 1986)
  • "McCormick's Bar and Grill" (February 24, 1986)
  • "Poker Night" (March 3, 1986)
  • "In the Eye of the Beholder" (March 17, 1986)
  • "The Day the Music Died" (March 31, 1986)
  • "A Chip Off the Ol' Milt" (May 5, 1986)

ALSO OF INTEREST

  • Hardcastle and McCormick: The Complete Viewers Guide to the Classic Eighties Action Series ...Buy this book
    (2009; by Deb Olin, Cheri deFonteny and Lynn Walker)

This love letter to “the boys” is billed as "The Complete Viewers Guide to the Classic Eighties Action Series" and that ain’t no lie. It’s crammed with interviews, episode guides, technical data and more trivia than you could rev a motor at. Fun, fun, fun -- or at least until the judge takes the customized race car away.

RELATED LINKS

Some hot and not-so-hot wheels of some hot eyes.

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. And thanks for Ken Karpinski for the GPS assist. Quote from Hardcastle and McCormick: The Complete Viewers Guide used with permission.


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