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T.J. HOOKER PRESSROOM : TV GUIDE REVIEW


REVIEW: "T.J. Hooker"
Robert MacKenzie

October 30, 1982
TV Guide Magazine



I used to infuriate Star Trek fans by pointing out that the series had only one plot (alien force causes Enterprise member to crack up), and that Captain Kirk was a stuffed shirt. If steam began emerging from their ears, I would concede that the show had a style of its own and that William Shatner as Kirk had a certain energetic charm that made his pomposity bearable.

When the series was gone, Shatner appeared in occasional drama specials and was always interesting – a witty, intelligent actor with a slight tendency
to ham, but with talent large enough to match his apparent vanity.

Now he is back in series work in the title role of a new police show. That sounds like more success, until you look at the load of cliches he is portaging in this rubber-stamp Spelling-Goldberg series – full of those
producers' stale trademarks. As sure as God made green apples, every episode will end with a car chase set to cheap jazz; even taxis peel out and squeal away on the most negligible errand, and the plot points will be served up to us in fumble-fingered exposition posing as dialogue: "You know, maybe you shouldn't have come back after your partner died in the operating room and they almost lost you," etc.

To his everlasting credit, Shatner manages to be suave and charismatic as
usual, as though he doesn't notice he has a turkey stamped to his head. Now and then, by some oversight, he gets a good line to say. And the character of T.J. Hooker, considered apart, is not a bad creation. Hooker is a veteran cop who wears a uniform and operated out of a black-and-white police car with, of course, a young partner. He has no truck with sociological excuses for violent criminals: "They do things to people because it's easier to rob them than to work."

Indeed, the crooks in this series are mostly motiveless creeps and degenerates and maniacs – which justifies sending them over cliffs in
automobiles. One episode, in the midseason trial period of the series,
started with a terrified young girl pleading, "Please don't hurt me," as a
pair of smirking thugs closed in on her. Her dead body started Hooker and
his partner Romano (Adrian Zmed) on the chase. We're supposed to accept the notion that street patrolmen spend their time investigating murders. OK,
I'll play along, but entertain me.

Maybe my problem here is that I don't enjoy watching sadistic violence
against women, a favorite Spelling theme that certainly gets a workout in
this series. Another of the midseason episodes concerned a lunatic called
the Bible Mugger, who scuttled around the city murdering women in picturesque ways. And if we expected anything different for the fall, uh-uh.
Here was a charming tale about a sinister wacko in a motorcycle helmet,
attacking young dancers and taking snips of their hair as souvenirs.

A measure of Shatner's star power is the way he can put conviction into this
trite stuff, finding an interesting way to say lines like, "It used to be a family neighborhood. Parents believed in discipline." He almost makes you believe that the decline in discipline explains why crazed muggers are beating girls to death in the streets. That's charisma.


READ 4ADAM30'S REBUTTAL TO THIS REVIEW IN
THE TJ-HOOKER.COM DISPATCHER.





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