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T.J. HOOKER PRESSROOM : NYTIMES REVIEW - PREMIERE EPISODE


TOUGH COP, BROADWAY EXTRAVAGANZA
March 12, 1982
©1982 The New York Times Company
By JOHN J. O'CONNOR

TOMORROW night at 8, ABC-TV introduces a new series, ''T.J. Hooker,'' with the kind of hero who would have been unthinkable for television just a couple of years ago. Police Sergeant Hooker (William Shatner), like a lot of other television characters these days, yearns for the good old days when criminals knew their place and the streets were safe for law-abiding citizens. ''I've seen the past,'' Sergeant Hooker announces, ''and it works.''

He is a former Green Beret who is proud of his experiences in the Vietnam War. When we meet him, he is being investigated by the district attorney's office for the questionable shooting of an armed robber and he has been assigned to training special recruits at the police academy. Sergeant Hooker is never less than solemnly blunt with his young charges: ''There's a war going on out there in the streets and, from where I stand, the bad guys are winning.''

Although he considers himself a good family man, the sergeant is divorced. But he retains the respect of his former wife and she still occasionally invites him to share her bed. Hooker is too devoted to his job to have a close relationship with anybody else. As his wife observes, ''When I divorced you, I should have named the department as co-respondent.''

Surrounding Hooker, of course, is the gaggle of new recruits, each of whom has a problem ready for exploiting on a weekly basis. A womanizer named Romano (Adrian Zmed) seems more equal than the others if only because he gets top billing under Mr. Shatner. The cast also includes Richard Lawson and Brian Patrick Clarke.

Running for 90 minutes (the regular weekly installments, Saturdays at 8, will last an hour), this premiere episode lets Hooker tackle a pair of especially nasty thugs who go around killing their robbery victims with gratuitous viciousness. Sergeant Hooker gets his men, of course, but nothing is likely to make him very happy as he goes around yearning for the days when the mass was celebrated in Latin and boxers got carried out of the ring instead of quitting because of stomach cramps. In its own manipulating way, ''T.J. Hooker'' is a fascinating creation.






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