The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows
By Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh
Ballantine Books, New York, 1988
Satire, they say in theatrical cicles, is what closes on Saturday night. Nevertheless, this wild burlesque on tough-cop shows (particularly the Dirty Harry type) managed to hang on the ABC schedule for an extended period. Sledge was the ultimate tough cop: square-jawed, totally self-confident, with no mercy for the wimps and scum who infested his fair city. That included jaywalkers and litterers, who deserved to be shot like all the rest. In one episode he forced a miscreant, at gunpoint, to punch himself silly. Sledge's appearance was distinctive, with his reflecting sunglasses, striped shirts, and loud, mismatched ties. But his one true love was his giant, pearl-handled .44 Magnum -- named "Gun." Each episode opened with the camera caressing this gleaming weapon, while ominous music thundered in the background. Sledge even talked to it. To others he would say, "Trust me... I know what I'm doing."
Though he was often suspended from the force, Sledge was always reinstated and got his man -- although it was usually his savvy partner, Off. Dori Doreau (a woman!), who actually solved the case. Capt. Trunk was their migrane-ridden, bellowing superior.
What does this all mean? Creator/producer Alan Spencer said that much as Get Smart poked fun at the spy mania of its day, this show did the same for the current crop of rebel police reactionary movies and TV shows. "Ultimately," he said, "what the show is about... is a half hour."