HARDCASTLE AND MCCORMICK - THE COMPLETE SERIES (ABC 1983-1986) Brian Keith, Daniel Hugh Kelly
An '80s crime show focusing on the unlikely team of retired Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Milton C. "Hardcase" Hardcastle (Brian Keith) and ex-con race car driver Mark “Skid” McCormick (Daniel Hugh Kelly).
When McCormick's mentor Flip Johnson is murdered and the prototype race car he designed is stolen, McCormick finds the car and steals it back, but is caught and arrested. He then finds himself once again in front of Judge Milton Hardcastle, who originally sentenced him and facing a long incarceration for his latest theft.
Hardcastle is an eccentric judge notorious for being strict with the law in both his duties and towards defendants. In 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. The Judge proposes a deal: Mark will be remanded to Hardcastle's custody if he helps him track down the criminals in his files, beginning with the guy who killed Mark's mentor. Mark grudgingly agrees, and a partnership is born. In addition, Flip’s daughter allows McCormick to keep the Coyote, which proves to be an excellent pursuit vehicle for their needs.
The Judge was irascible and a little eccentric (wearing T-shirts with slogans such as “Blast ‘Em, Tonto!” and “No Plea Bargaining In Heaven”) who lives on a Malibu estate called Gulls Way, which he inherited from his late wife, and his ‘no prisoners’ approach to criminal justice at times is a little much for the laid-back McCormick.
Created by Stephen J Cannell, Hardcastle & McCormick was dismissed by some as just another cops & robbers show. Nearly all of the 65 one-hour episodes included the obligatory car chase, but many laughs and plenty of action is on display in every single episode!
The series lasted three years, with Milt and Mark chasing down the bad guys—who, despite the series premise, mostly did not come from the judge's files—while developing a contentious but solid friendship. The final episode concludes with Mark attending law school due to the judge's influence.