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Hardcastle and McCormick is an American action/drama television series that aired on ABC from September 18, 1983, through May 5, 1986. The series stars Brian Keith as Judge Milton C. Hardcastle and Daniel Hugh Kelly as ex-con and race car driver Mark "Skid" McCormick. In an interview in the 1980s, Stephen J. Cannell talks about the show calling it Rolling Thunder, probably the show production title before airing.

Hardcastle and McCormick
Hardcastle and McCormick.png
Title screen
Created byStephen J. Cannell, Patrick Hasburgh
StarringBrian Keith
Daniel Hugh Kelly
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes67
Running time60 minutes per episode
Production company(s)Stephen J. Cannell Productions
DistributorColex Enterprises
Sony Pictures Television
Original networkABC
Picture formatColor
Audio formatMono
Original releaseSeptember 18, 1983 –
May 5, 1986



Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Milton C. "Hardcase" Hardcastle, an eccentric judge notorious for being strict with the law in both his duties and towards defendants, is retiring. With file drawers filled with 200 people who escaped conviction due to legal technicalities, the judge, inspired by his childhood hero the Lone Ranger, desires to make the criminals answer for their crimes. Mark McCormick is a smart-mouthed, streetwise car thief. He faces a long incarceration for his latest theft, a prototype sports car called the Coyote X, designed by his murdered best friend. Together, the judge and the car thief strike a deal: Hardcastle helps McCormick catch the murderer; McCormick agrees to work as the judge's agent. In addition, McCormick is allowed to keep the Coyote, which proves to be an excellent pursuit vehicle for their needs.




The series premise was somewhat recycled from a previous Cannell series, Tenspeed and Brown Shoe. It was created by Patrick Hasburgh and Stephen J. Cannell, serving as the executive producers, and produced by Stephen J. Cannell Productions for ABC.


The opening theme song during season one was entitled "Drive". It was composed by Mike Post and Stephen Geyer and sung by David Morgan. For the first 12 episodes of season two, the theme song was "Back to Back", also composed by Post and Geyer, but sung by Joey Scarbury (who also sang Post and Geyer's theme for The Greatest American Hero). Public demand,[citation needed] however, resulted in the "Drive" theme being reinstated in episode 13 and kept through season three. Post and Pete Carpenter scored the music for the series.

"Coyote X" or "Cody Coyote"Edit

The car that McCormick drove, the Coyote X, was built from custom molds based on the McLaren M6GT.[1] The original Coyote X was molded, modified, and assembled by Mike Fennel. The nose, windshield doors, and lower body (minus the ventral intakes) are faithful representations of the McLaren; the cut-down rear deck, however, was a custom component that became a feature on many Manta Montage kits with damaged or removed rear windows. The most noticeable differences between the Coyotes and Mantas are the wheel wells, roll pan height, and shape, and the fact that the Coyote has a one-piece front clip that terminates about an inch before and surrounding the windshield.

Most of the cars made for the show were molded and assembled by either Mike Fennel or Unique Movie Cars. Like many kit cars of the time, the car uses a chassis from a Volkswagen Beetle and its engine from a Porsche 914.[2][3] For the second and third seasons, producers used a different Coyote which was based on a DMC DeLorean, as Brian Keith had difficulty getting in and out of the original Coyote.[4]

The seasons-two and -three 3 Coyote does not resemble the Manta, as the front is larger than the original, making the car resemble a front-engined car. The season-one "Hero" car that was used in the production of Hardcastle and McCormick is owned by a private owner in southern New Jersey.[citation needed] The stunt/skid car (used in all three seasons) was reconfigured for the Knight Rider 2000 television pilot,[5] then consequently turned into Jay Ohrberg's show car "Taz-Mobile".[6] In April 2011, the stunt/skid car was sold and shipped to Dallas, Texas, where it was rebodied back to its former Coyote configuration, retaining as many of the original Coyote pieces as possible (in private collection).[citation needed] Note: only one season-one "Hero Car" and one "skid/stunt" car were used in all three seasons and several (center seat-mounted, dune buggy-like, see title shot) "jump cars" were used. A season-two and -three (De Lorean body) car appeared briefly on the sixth episode of season five of the sitcom Married... with Children.


Nielsen ratingsEdit

  • 1983-84: #15 (18.71 rating)
  • 1984-85: #39 (15.82 rating)
  • 1985-86: #52 (13.90 rating)[7]

Home mediaEdit

Visual Entertainment has released all three seasons of Hardcastle and McCormick on DVD in Region 1 (Canada only). VEI also released Hardcastle & McCormick: The Complete Series on DVD on September 3, 2008.[8] As of March 2016, the complete DVD set was available on

DVD Name Ep # Release Date Additional Information
The Complete First Season 22 February 14, 2006
  • Includes 2-hour pilot, "Rolling Thunder"
The Complete Second Season 22 August 15, 2006
  • All Original Music
The Complete Third and Final Season 22 October 30, 2007
  • Photo Gallery
  • All Original Music
The Complete Series 66 September 3, 2008


  1. ^ "Hardcastle and McCormick - The Manta Montage". The Amazo Effect. June 15, 2011.
  2. ^ "The car-star of Hardcastle & McCormick". Archived from the original on November 15, 2010. Retrieved May 30, 2007.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  3. ^ "Coyote Version I (The Original)". September 23, 2005.
  4. ^ "Pete's Manta Montage (McLaren M6BGT): History, Coyote". Archived from the original on September 3, 2004. Retrieved June 1, 2007.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  5. ^ "Knight Rider 2000 - Jay Ohrberg's Hollywood Cars".
  6. ^ Jay Ohrberg. "Taz-mobile - Jay Ohrberg's Hollywood Cars".
  7. ^ ratings archive
  8. ^ David Lambert (August 31, 2008). "Hardcastle and McCormick - VEI Planning a Complete Series 15-DVD Release!". Archived from the original on July 15, 2015.

External linksEdit