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Hardcastle and McCormick - The Complete First Season
Hardcastle and McCormick - The Complete First Season
Actor: Hardcastle & Mccormick
Director: Stephen J.Cannell
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
G     2006     18hr 0min


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Movie Details

Actor: Hardcastle & Mccormick
Director: Stephen J.Cannell
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Crime, Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Unidisc Music.
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 11/28/2006
Original Release Date: 09/18/1983
Theatrical Release Date: 09/18/1983
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 18hr 0min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 5
SwapaDVD Credits: 5
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
Edition: Box set
MPAA Rating: G (General Audience)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Hardcastle & McCormick: Season One
Hound Dog | Boise, ID, USA | 09/28/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"In the fall of 1983, TV producing mogul Stephen J. Cannell and ABC premiered this slam-bang, action-comedy series featuring Brian Keith as the gruff, retired Judge Milton C. (Hardcase) Hardcastle and Daniel Hugh-Kelly as his wisecracking parolee, the fast-driving ex-con, Mark (Skids) McCormick.


For three TV seasons, this unusual crime-fighting duo combined the judge's significant wealth, extensive law enforcement contacts, and his shotgun with ex-racing star McCormick's driving expertise to chase down the bad guys inhabiting the Los Angeles area.


In the pilot episode entitled "Rolling Thunder," the 66-year old Judge Hardcastle (a former cop), known by his defendants as the fearsome 'Hardcase' who showed them little or no mercy, has now just retired from the bench.

Immediately thereafter, he intends to hunt the 200+ lowlifes who somehow escaped his court over the years on legal technicalities and are presumably still pursuing criminal activities (for which he could finally send them to prison for). It is soon established that Hardcastle's program of enlisting paroled ex-cons as his associates in his war on crime has had at best mixed results so far.

Enter former racing star Mark McCormick, age 29-30, a former Hardcastle defendant now on parole for grand theft for stealing his own car (from an ex-girlfriend). Mark has been enlisted by an old friend and car designer, Flip Johnson, to test-drive the red hot Cody Coyote sports car for ruthless industrialist Martin Cody (a co-owner of the Coyote with Johnson).

Shortly thereafter, Cody has Johnson killed to obtain full ownership of the Coyote. To help Johnson's daughter obtain proof of her father's murder, Mark steals the Coyote from the villain's warehouse, but quickly winds up back in jail and becomes Hardcastle's last defendant before entering retirement.

Seizing the perfect opportunity, Hardcastle offers Mark a shot at immediate redemption: either work indefinitely for the judge on his mission to bust the bad guys on his Top 200 list, or get a second all-expenses paid trip to San Quentin prison. Mark reluctantly takes the deal after learning their first case is taking down Martin Cody, whom they manage to capture in a 'sting' operation by offering the Coyote as elusive bait. Mark then receives the Coyote as a gift from Johnson's daughter for helping bring Cody to justice.

After the first several episodes, Hardcastle's 'hit list' (presumably, this concept would provide enough villains for syndication purposes) was dropped in favor of focusing on average TV-style criminals as they generally encountered the judge and McCormick by chance.

By the spring of 1986 (the end of Season Three), McCormick's parole has been completed. As the last episode concludes, Hardcastle loses (perhaps deliberately) a scrimmage basketball game, which means he will pay for his friend's law school tuition. "Now, you're cooking." the Judge tells him. Appropriately enough, the last episode was entitled "A Chip off the ol' Milt." In those three years, a reformed Mark's begrudging respect for the judge has developed into where Hardcastle has become the caring father he never really had, and Mark has essentially matured into his surrogate son.


On its surface, 'Hardcastle & McCormick' was not by any means extraordinary TV viewing for its time, as its plots and most of its guest characters tended to be generic and and could even be considered somewhat forgettable for the extensive 'cops and robbers' genre.

Instead, the crux of why this series endures is really the bickering comedic chemistry between stars Brian Keith and Daniel Hugh-Kelly. It is this unique sparring partnership that makes this show still so much fun to watch twenty years later, as Keith and Hugh-Kelly brought vibrant life to a somewhat ordinary series that combined elements of other similar genre shows such as 'Magnum P.I.', 'Knight Rider', and 'The Rockford Files.' If this show had been cast differently, the charm and fun of 'Hardcastle & McCormick' would likely have been gone.


The 66 or 67 episodes were at least consistently entertaining enough to merit between 3 and 5 stars each. The terrific chemistry of stars Brian Keith and Daniel Hugh-Kelly, however, deserves a 5+! Hence, our rating is based on what makes this show worth watching over and over again.

At long last, fans will be rewarded with the late 2006 release of the show's first season. Hopefully, a new generation will soon discover and enjoy Hardcastle & McCormick's banter, as they chase after crooks through the streets of L.A. If so, we can likely expect to see Seasons Two and Three cruise into stores in the near future. We're counting on it."
Welcome to Gulls Way
H. Bala | Carson - hey, we have an IKEA store! - CA USA | 10/10/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Prolific Stephen J. Cannell has created some of the coolest shows of the 1980s: The A-TEAM, RIPTIDE, GREATEST AMERICAN HERO, 21 JUMP STREET, WISEGUY...and HARDCASTLE & MCCORMICK, one of my personal favorites. This show only lasted for three seasons (1983-1986, ABC), and 65 episodes. The premise, such as it was, was pretty one-note. But it was fun while it lasted, thanks to the odd couple rapport between Brian Keith and Daniel Hugh-Kelly.

Judge Milton C. "Hardcase" Hardcastle (Brian Keith) may have just newly retired from the Los Angeles Superior Court, but he still plans to continue imposing his own brand of justice. In his career on the bench, he's had to dismiss 200 cases and let the criminals go on legal technicalities; now, he means to hound them until they slip up and then send them to the hoosegow. He recruits the breezy but incarcerated Mark "Skid" McCormick (Daniel Hugh-Kelly) to help him in his personal crusade and gets him paroled into his custody. But McCormick finds out quickly that Hardcastle isn't the easiest guy to work for. The old judge is contrary, foul-tempered, and eccentric, and his aggresive, take-no-prisoners attitude takes some getting used to. Part of the fun of the show lies in McCormick constantly trying to sneak away from his lockdown at the judge's Malibu estate to get some alone time and engage in some personal fun.

I'm not gonna mince words - HARDCASTLE & MCCORMICK is a decent but ho-hum series. The weekly storylines aren't anything to make you stand up and take notice. In fact, I barely recall the episodes, though season one was graced by the presence of guest stars Buddy Ebsen, Robert Culp, Cathy Lee Crosby, and Keenan Wynn. What I do remember fondly is the the ornery relationship, the back-and-forth wranglings and banters, between the two leads. That was what I looked forward to every week way back when. It was totally natural that the initial boss-employee association between the two would develop into, first, a mentor-student partnership and then blossom into a father-son relationship. The law-enforcing aspects of the show, including the relentless number of car chases, certainly took a back stage in terms of importance and personal preference.

Another thing that stands out in my mind with regards to 1980s TV shows was the outstanding cars that were showcased in their respective series. Two memorable vehicles were KNIGHT RIDER's KITT - a Pontiac Trans Am - and THE DUKES OF HAZZARD's General Lee - a Dodge Charger. And then, there was the awesome red-hued Coyote, a hybrid Manta Montage, that was driven by McCormick. I was a kid in the '80s, and I actually had earnest debates with my buddies as to which car, of the three, would outrace which (it was never really decided).

Brian Keith has been gone from us for almost a decade now and Daniel Hugh-Kelly, with this show, has had his day in the sun. Now, Hugh-Kelly mostly toils, more or less anonymously, in television cameo and supporting guest roles. But, to me, whenever their names surface, I inevitably think of the series where I knew them best, which is this one. There aren't details yet on this dvd's special features, but, hopefully, Hugh-Kelly will contribute with an interview and/or an episode commentary or three. So, three and a half stars (mostly on the strength of the duo's buddy chemistry) and a solid recommendation for HARDCASTLE & MCCORMICK.

A wild ride with a couple of great characters
Eric Kassan | Las Vegas, NV USA | 09/19/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"While the idea of a judge teaming up with an ex-con (whom he had convicted) to go after criminals who escaped on technicalities may sound ridiculous, Brian Keith and Daniel Hugh Kelly pull it off. The stories are generally creative, and the acting is solid, but the chemistry is what makes the show. The Coyote, a custom-built street legal race car, also helps."
Now you're cookin!
Hawk911 | USA | 05/15/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"At a glance:
A great show, filled with great colorful Cannell style dialog (like The Greatest American Hero)and music by Mike Post and Pete Carpenter. Great car chases and a substantial dose of humor.
On the outside it appears to be yet another cop type show stuffed with car chases but it's not. Sure, the first two seaons have a heavy load of car action and it's neat to see some classic muscle cars back when they were original, but the show is really about Mark and the Judge.
Watch their relationship evolve from near hate to respect and finally admiration, as they bicker all the way in frequently hillarious scenes.
Many of the plots aren't excellent but they certainly hold their own against most shows and there were some episodes that were truly excellent.

The car stunts usually weren't as extremely crazy as the car hurling Dukes of Hazzard but they were shot very well, and it's obvious they had good drivers. Their custom Coyote X tears up the streets of LA in most of the episodes but eventually towards the end of the series the car chases withered away. Season 1 has the original Manta Montage based Coyote (my fav) whereas they changed to Delorean based version 2 in the second season.

Though there are no technically no extras at all, there is a treat for those of use that had only seen the show during syndication. There are scenes, about one each episode (several in the pilot) that were cut during syndicated air to allow for more commercial time. In the pilot episode alone there is the extended version of the gorilla b-ball game, Mark running into the office late, Hauling the Coyote and getting a ticket. Other eps include them wrecking the coyote in ep 4 which I had only previously seen on the teaser. Also present is the language which was cut from the syndicated runs I had seen and actually proves funny like when Judge tells McCormick he'll "file that under who gives a d__".

I bought these some time ago from the site for fear the original music would be cut like in so many other USA TV show releases. Judging from the identical packaging it appears the USA release may be the same and therefore I highly recommend this fine show for anyone that likes a funny, witty, action show that is good old American entertainment before things became trashy.
I'd file this one under grade A beef.
Now you're cooking!