The Checklist: Hunter (S1 Ep7) “Pen Pals”
Hunter is an 80’s action police drama starring former NFL All-Pro Fred Dryer in the titular role of Rick Hunter with Stepfanie Kramer playing his partner Dee Dee McCall. The show ran for 7 seasons and was filled with shootouts, car chases, and explosions. As with most 80’s action shows, Hunter had a prolonged opening with clips and a catchy tune. The opening not only gets you pumped to watch, but also give you the guidelines to find out how Hunter an episode of Hunter is.
In the first season, Hunter was trying to find its way and there were some minor changes in the future, but let’s start with Episode 7 from Season One, “Pen Pals”.
- Synopsis: After Hunter and McCall happen upon a scene where a high school kid OD’s on bad dope (their term, not mine) and sent to the hospital, the two homicide cops are on the case. (I assume a small city like Los Angeles doesn’t have a narcotics division.) When Hunter gets too close to busting the drug network, the dealer sets up Hunter for murder sending him to county jail filled with his former collars. Hunter must work from the inside and McCall from the outside to free the innocent man.
1. Did Hunter utter his “Works for me” catchphrase?
Early on, Hunter had a snappy catchphrase that showed both his efficiency and reckless nature. The end of the opening had Hunter saying “works for me,” wrapping up the intro of each episode. In Pen Pals, Hunter spits out “Works for me” three times! This is common in the early episodes because when you throw that much catchphrase at a wall, some is bound to stick. 1/1
2. Did McCall go undercover as a prostitute?
McCall had an extensive network of streetwalkers that she taps into for information. Many times she needs to get on the front line of the action and pretends to be a call girl herself as shown in the opening. In Pen Pals, McCall dresses up as a hooker to get the skinny on the real murderer from a lady of the night. Her working girl getup is so effective she is propositioned right on the corner before she flashes her badge to the shocked john. 2/2
3. Did Hunter get into it with his superiors?
Early on the captain of Hunter’s precinct kept changing and it wasn’t until season 3 that there was a regular. Season one featured John Amos in the role and Amos was the perfect foil for Hunter. Regardless of the actor or character, Hunter usually is at odds with his boss because of his full throttle and sometimes illegal approach to detective work. In Pen Pals, Hunter is arrested by his superiors for a crime he didn’t commit. I don’t know if two people could be any more at loggerheads. Like most episodes, Hunter’s premier detective skills usually have his superiors ending up agreeing with him in the end. 3/3
4. Did Hunter wreck his car or another car during a police chase?
Hunter always is getting a beat up old car while McCall has her modern (at the time) pristine car. Hunter got the most of his vehicles, constantly getting in car chases, crashes and even finding well placed ramps on the street to allow his car to take flight, as seen in the opening. Hunter was in jail for most of the episode, and while I have never been in jail, I don’t think they give you much time to drive your car. This doesn’t mean Pen Pals is devoid of a car chase. McCall uses her ride to chase down a perp that ends in a fiery crash. 3/4
5. Were there any notable guest stars?
Like any respectable 80’s action show, the guest stars provide that additional spice to make and episode more memorable than another. Pen Pals features a few recognizable faces that are action stars. Iron Eagle’s own Tim Thomerson plays Gil Glasgow, McCalls smarmy new partner who is more interested in frisking McCall than criminals. Jack O’Halloran plays Charles “Hammer” Turrell, an inmate who has Hunter to thank for his prison sentence. Billy Drago plays Rosco Ganther, another inmate that has a beef with Hunter before being in county jail and especially after, when Hunter beats him up in the kitchen. 4/5
- Final Score = 4/5 (80%)