Hardcastle and McCormick

Hardcastle and McCormick is an American action crime 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.

Hardcastle and McCormick
Hardcastle and McCormick.png
Title screen
Created by
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes67
Executive producers
  • Stephen J. Cannell
  • Patrick Hasburgh
  • Lawrence Hertzog
  • Les Sheldon
Running time60 minutes per episode
Production companyStephen J. Cannell Productions
DistributorSony Pictures Television
Original networkABC
Picture formatColor
Audio formatMono
Original releaseSeptember 18, 1983 (1983-09-18) –
May 5, 1986 (1986-05-05)

During an interview in the 1980s, producer Stephen J. Cannell referred to the then-upcoming series as Rolling Thunder.


Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Milton C. "Hardcase" Hardcastle is an eccentric judge notorious for being strict with the law in both his duties and towards defendants. Preparing for his retirement, he notices file drawers filled with 200 people who escaped conviction due to legal technicalities. Inspired by his childhood hero the Lone Ranger, Hardcastle 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 in which Hardcastle helps McCormick catch the murderer and 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.



Season 1 (1983–84)Edit

No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
"Rolling Thunder"Roger YoungPatrick Hasburgh & Stephen J. CannellSeptember 18, 1983 (1983-09-18)
33"Man in a Glass House"Guy MagarStephen J. CannellSeptember 25, 1983 (1983-09-25)
44"The Crystal Duck"Bruce KesslerStephen KatzOctober 2, 1983 (1983-10-02)
55"Goin' Nowhere Fast"Guy MagarPatrick HasburghOctober 9, 1983 (1983-10-09)
66"The Black Widow"Richard ComptonStephen J. CannellOctober 16, 1983 (1983-10-16)
77"The Boxer"Tony MordentePatrick HasburghOctober 23, 1983 (1983-10-23)
88"Once Again with Vigorish"Arnold LavenPatrick HasburghOctober 30, 1983 (1983-10-30)
99"Killer B's"Ron SatlofStephen KatzNovember 6, 1983 (1983-11-06)
1010"The Prince of Fat City"Tony MordentePatrick HasburghNovember 13, 1983 (1983-11-13)
1111"Hotshoes"Richard ComptonPatrick HasburghNovember 27, 1983 (1983-11-27)
1212"Flying Down to Rio"Tony MordenteStephen KatzDecember 4, 1983 (1983-12-04)
1313"Just Another Round of That Old Song"Allen ReisnerPatrick HasburghDecember 11, 1983 (1983-12-11)
1414"Third Down and Twenty Years to Life"Georg Stanford BrownEvan LawrenceJanuary 1, 1984 (1984-01-01)
1515"Whistler's Pride"Tony MordenteStephen KatzJanuary 8, 1984 (1984-01-08)
1616"Mr. Hardcastle Goes to Washington"Arnold LavenPatrick HasburghJanuary 15, 1984 (1984-01-15)
1717"School for Scandal"Tony MordenteTom BlomquistJanuary 29, 1984 (1984-01-29)
1818"The Georgia Street Motors"Joseph MandukeShel WillensFebruary 5, 1984 (1984-02-05)
1919"The Homecoming: Part 1"Tony MordentePatrick HasburghMarch 4, 1984 (1984-03-04)
2020"The Homecoming: Part 2"Bruce KesslerPatrick HasburghMarch 11, 1984 (1984-03-11)
2121"Did You See the One that Got Away?"Ron SatlofLawrence HertzogMarch 18, 1984 (1984-03-18)
2222"Really Neat Cars and Guys with a Sense of Humor"Ron SatlofLawrence HertzogMarch 25, 1984 (1984-03-25)
2323"Scared Stiff"Tony MordenteTom BlomquistApril 1, 1984 (1984-04-01)

Season 2 (1984–85)Edit

No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
241"Outlaw Champion"Leo PennPatrick HasburghSeptember 23, 1984 (1984-09-23)
252"Ties My Father Sold Me"Ron SatlofPatrick HasburghSeptember 30, 1984 (1984-09-30)
263"You Would Cry, Too, If It Happened to You"Tony MordenteLawrence HertzogOctober 7, 1984 (1984-10-07)
274"D-Day"Bruce KesslerLawrence HertzogOctober 14, 1984 (1984-10-14)
285"Never My Love"Bruce KesslerThomas E. Szollosi & Richard Christian MathesonOctober 28, 1984 (1984-10-28)
296"Whatever Happened to Guts"Michael HiattThomas E. Szollosi & Richard Christian MathesonNovember 4, 1984 (1984-11-04)
307"You and the Horse You Rode in On"Patrick HasburghPatrick HasburghNovember 18, 1984 (1984-11-18)
318"One of the Girls from Accounting"Bruce KesslerStephen J. CannellNovember 25, 1984 (1984-11-25)
329"It Coulda Been Worse, She Coulda Been a Welder"Tony MordenteLawrence HertzogDecember 2, 1984 (1984-12-02)
3310"Hate the Picture, Love the Frame"Dennis DonnellyErica ByrneDecember 9, 1984 (1984-12-09)
3411"Pennies from a Dead Man's Eyes"Tony MordenteMarianne ClarksonDecember 31, 1984 (1984-12-31)
3512"There Goes the Neighborhood"Ron SatlofLawrence HertzogJanuary 7, 1985 (1985-01-07)
3613"Too Rich and Too Thin"Michael J. KaneStory by : Richard Christian Matheson & Thomas E. Szollosi
Teleplay by : Thomas E. Szollosi & Richard Christian Matheson & Ross Thomas
January 14, 1985 (1985-01-14)
3714"What's So Funny?"Tony MordentePatrick HasburghJanuary 21, 1985 (1985-01-21)
3815"Hardcastle, Hardcastle, Hardcastle and McCormick"Kim MannersLawrence HertzogFebruary 4, 1985 (1985-02-04)
3916"The Long Ago Girl"Richard A. CollaStephen J. CannellFebruary 11, 1985 (1985-02-11)
4017"You Don't Hear the One that Gets You"Tony MordenteLawrence HertzogFebruary 18, 1985 (1985-02-18)
4118"The Birthday Present"Tony MordenteStephen J. CannellFebruary 25, 1985 (1985-02-25)
4219"Surprise on Seagull Beach"Michael O'HerilhyMichael O'HerlihyMarch 4, 1985 (1985-03-04)
4320"Undercover McCormick"Les SheldonMarianne ClarksonMarch 11, 1985 (1985-03-11)
4421"The Game You Learn from Your Father"Kim MannersPatrick HasburghMarch 18, 1985 (1985-03-18)
4522"Angie's Choice"Bruce KesslerThomas E. Szollosi & Richard Christian MathesonApril 1, 1985 (1985-04-01)

Season 3 (1985–86)Edit

No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
461"She Ain't Deep, But She Sure Runs Fast"Tony MordentePatrick HasburghSeptember 23, 1985 (1985-09-23)
472"Faster Hearts"Charles PicerniPatrick HasburghSeptember 30, 1985 (1985-09-30)
483"The Yankee Clipper"Sigmund Neufeld, Jr.Patrick HasburghOctober 7, 1985 (1985-10-07)
494"Something's Going On on This Train"Tony MordenteLawrence HertzogOctober 14, 1985 (1985-10-14)
505"The Career Breaker"Kim MannersStephen J. CannellOctober 28, 1985 (1985-10-28)
516"Do Not Go Gently"Bruce KesslerPatrick HasburghNovember 4, 1985 (1985-11-04)
527"Games People Play"Peter KiwittStory by : Tony Michelman & Scott J. Schneid
Teleplay by : Carol Mendelsohn & Larry Forrester
November 11, 1985 (1985-11-11)
538"Strangle Hold"Michael SwitzerMarianne ClarksonNovember 18, 1985 (1985-11-18)
549"You're Sixteen, You're Beautiful and You're His"Kim MannersLawrence HertzogNovember 25, 1985 (1985-11-25)
5510"Mirage a Trois"Sidney HayersMarianne ClarksonDecember 2, 1985 (1985-12-02)
5611"Conventional Warfare"Sigmund Newfeld, Jr.Steven L. Sears & Burt PearlDecember 9, 1985 (1985-12-09)
5712"Duet for Two Wind Instruments"Robert BralverLawrence HertzogDecember 16, 1985 (1985-12-16)
5813"If You Could See What I See"Kim MannersCarol MendelsohnJanuary 6, 1986 (1986-01-06)
5914"Hardcastle for Mayor"Kim MannersAlan CassidyJanuary 13, 1986 (1986-01-13)
6015"When I Look Back on All the Things"Steven BeersLawrence HertzogFebruary 3, 1986 (1986-02-03)
6116"Brother, Can You Spare a Crime?"James L. ConwayDonald RossFebruary 10, 1986 (1986-02-10)
6217"Round Up the Old Gang"Tony MordenteStephen KatzFebruary 17, 1986 (1986-02-17)
6318"McCormick's Bar and Grill"James S. GiritlianJeff RayFebruary 24, 1986 (1986-02-24)
6419"Poker Night"Michael J. KaneMarianne ClarksonMarch 3, 1986 (1986-03-03)
6520"In the Eye of the Beholder"Daniel Hugh KellyDaniel Hugh KellyMarch 17, 1986 (1986-03-17)
6621"The Day the Music Died"Charles PicerniTom BlomquistMarch 31, 1986 (1986-03-31)
6722"A Chip Off the Ol' Milt"Les SheldonCarol Mendelsohn & Marianne ClarksonMay 5, 1986 (1986-05-05)



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 "Drive", 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 and Unique Movie Cars. 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 New York.[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)[7]
  • 1985–86: #52 (13.9 rating)[8]

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.[9] As of March 2016, the complete DVD set was available on Amazon.com.

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". Site Coyote. 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)". Coyote. September 23, 2005.
  4. ^ "Pete's Manta Montage (McLaren M6BGT): History, Coyote". tfs.net. Archived from the original on September 3, 2004. Retrieved June 1, 2007.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  5. ^ "Knight Rider 2000". jayohrberg.com. Jay Ohrberg's Hollywood Cars.
  6. ^ Ohrberg, Jay. "Taz-mobile". jayohrberg.com. Jay Ohrberg's Hollywood Cars.
  7. ^ "Ratings". TVTango.com. Retrieved August 12, 2021.
  8. ^ Long, Tom (May 2, 1986). "The wacky world of prime-time". Santa Cruz Sentinel. p. 90z. Retrieved August 12, 2021 – via newspapers.com.
  9. ^ Lambert, David (August 31, 2008). "Hardcastle and McCormick - VEI Planning a Complete Series 15-DVD Release!". tvshowsondvd.com. Archived from the original on July 15, 2015.

External linksEdit