Synopsis of TV Show
This parody of cop-shows, sort of a cross between Get Smart and Police Squad!, highlighted the adventures of Inspector Sledge Hammer. Sledge was a crime fighter with little patience for legal procedure, and he absolutely loved his .44 Magnum (affectionately nicknamed ‘Gun’). He loved the thing more than he did most other people, in fact—enough to lay it carefully down next to him on its own satin pillow when he went to bed at night. Whenever anyone questioned Sledge’s sketchy grasp of how to enforce the law (which they frequently did), he would respond with his catch phrase, “Trust me… I know what I’m doing.”
Sledge worked for the world-weary Captain Trunk, aggressively fighting crime in all its forms. Sledge didn’t differentiate between levels of criminal intent: to him, a jaywalker was just as offensive and worthy of punishment as a murderer. Luckily, he had Officer Doreau, an intelligent female cop, who provided the brains to match his brawn. Other characters included Officers Mayjoy and Daley, as well as a creepy coroner named Norman Blates.
As Sledge and Doreau would pursue their cases (with Doreau usually solving them), the show would work in as many parodies of television shows and films as possible. In addition to obvious choices like the Dirty Harry film series, other targets for the show’s humor included Crocodile Dundee, Witness and Max Headroom.
Satires usually meet with little success on television, but Sledge Hammer! managed to last for two seasons before its network run ended in June of 1988. Fans breathed a sigh of relief when they found out the show would be back for a second season, but they wondered how the show’s producers would get out of the first season’s “To Be Continued…” cliffhanger: At the end of the season finale, Doreau and Trunk watched anxiously as Hammer tried to defuse a nuclear bomb. Then the nuke went off.
The second season’s debut episode opened by replaying the scenes leading up to the explosion at the end of season one, complete with the nuclear holocaust and “To Be Continued…” tag. The credits then rolled, welcoming viewers to Sledge Hammer!: The Early Years. It was that kind of unexpected comedy that made Sledge Hammer! a favorite of young parodists in training, who still crack a smile in memory of Sledge and his beloved gun today.
Release History of Prime Time Show9/23/86 - 3/3/88 ABC
6/16/88 - 6/30/88 ABC
TV Sub Categoriescomedy
Television StudioNew World Television, D'Angelo Productions, Spencer Productions
TV CastSledge Hammer David Rasche
Dori Doreau Anne-Marie Martin
Captain Trunk Harrison Page
Officer Majoy Leslie Morris
Norman Blates (1986-87) Kurt Paul
Officer Daley (1987-88) Patti Tippo