SH! Under The Gun

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1.01: Under The Gun
Technical Information

First Broadcast: Tuesday, September 23, 1986, 8:30 PM

Production Code:

Number of bullets fired by Sledge: 16

Trust me? I know what I'm doing? Twice

Critical Info

TV Guide summary: Sledge Hammer is a no-nonsense cop whose best friend is his .44 Magnum, and who just loves to use excessive force to collar criminals. In the opener, the mayor's daughter is kidnapped, and Hammer vows to bring her back -- "dead or alive."

Ph episode rating on the Hammer scale (1 to 6 bullets): 6. Is there any other possible rating for what started it all?

Episode references:

Opening Credits

Starring David Rasche, Anne-Marie Martin, Harrison Page, John Lawlor

NoteIn the opening of the pilot only, John Lawlor appears as the fourth main chracter after Harrison Page, but the credits for Producer, Supervising Producer, and Executive Producer do not.

Executive Producer: Robert Lovenheim
Written and Produced by Alan Spencer
Directed by Martha Coolidge

NoteIn the broadcast version, "Under The Gun", the name of the pilot, does not appear.

Act One

NoteSix minutes of additional footage appears on Hammered: The Best of Sledge and the Under The Gun videotape that did not appear in the broadcast version. Besides the deletion of the 2.5 minute carnival interrogation scene and other minor edits, the broadcast also had a laughtrack.

Sledge Hammer! is set in San Francisco!

At night, a van with masked men approaches a residential security gate in an affluent neighborhood. Before the security guard can stop them, a "ski bum" gets out and shoots him.

The masked man creeps up on a young woman sleeping in her bedroom and places his hand over her mouth to silence her.

Extra bit: The incident makes the front page of the San Francisco Dispatch. After a buyer takes one paper, someone else catches the door and swipes all the remaining papers. [These hands are Alan Spencer's.]

NoteThe newspaper's masthead is in the same font as the actual San Francisco Chronicle.

At San Francisco City Hall...

... Mayor Flambo watches a TV news report saying his daughter has been missing for 12 hours. Police Chief Reisner enters his office with a ransom note found in a telephone booth.

Mayor: (reading the note) "We have your daughter. Pay us one million dollars or we'll kill her. Details later. Have a nice day." One million dollars. Good lord!
Chief: By the way, sir. Your home security guard is in critical condition.
Mayor: Poor man. He was like an employee to me.

The mayor and police chief then turn their attention back to the TV.

Reporter: We're here at the scene of a liquor store robbery that was thwarted by the man beside me, Inspector Sledge Hammer. Inspector Hammer, tell us what happened.
Hammer: Well, Miss, I was in this store when two thugs entered and threatened the owner with shotguns. At that time, I drew my Magnum and killed them both. Then I bought some eggs, and some milk, and some of those little cocktail weanies.
Reporter: Inspector Hammer, was what you did in that store absolutely necessary?
Hammer: Oh, yes, I had no groceries at all.
[284 KB WAV file]

The intrigued mayor asks his deputy about Hammer. The deputy warns him that he was a menace who fired warning shots at jaywalkers and talks to his gun. Nevertheless, the mayor demands Hammer be taken off suspension and put on this case.

Mayor: This isn't open for discussion. This is an order! I want Sledge Hammer!
[50 KB WAV file]

Hammer is in his cluttered apartment firing at a shooting range target. [gunshots 1-6]

While neighbors are heard complaining about the noise, the phone rings.

Hammer: (on the phone) Yeah, hello. (pauses) Oh, just, hang on, ... (now looking upstairs) Hey, people! Let's show some consideration and keep it down, will ya? I'm on the phone! Huh?! Hey, Other people live here, alright? (back on the phone) Dang noisy neighbors. Okay, speak to me.
[144 KB WAV file]

Hammer hears that he has been taken off suspension. He then pulls out his gun and tells it the good news.

On his way to work, Hammer runs into (literally) a police barricade.

An officer tells him there is a sniper on the rooftop of a tall building.

After confirming that the building is evacuated, Hammer tells his gun, "We've got vermin on the roof, but I've got an idea." For the first of many times in the series, a bystander (in this case, the officer will wonder to whom is Hammer talking, and Hammer will shrug and claim it is nobody.

As the sniper continues to rain down shots, Hammer goes back to his car and pulls a bazooka (shoulder-held rocket launcher) out of his trunk. His bumper sticker reads, "I [heart symbol] VIOLENCE".

Even as a police car window shatters and a tire deflates from the sniper's shots, Hammer confidently walks towards the building.

Hammer takes the cap off the bazooka, mounts it on his shoulder, aims it at the base of the building, and fires.

NoteAccording to Alan Spencer, bystanders watching the filming thought it was actually Clint Eastwood making a real "Dirty Harry" movie.

As the building implodes and debris spreads everywhere, Hammer tells the officer, "I think I got him."

NoteNote that the building of the stock implosion footage is close but not exactly the same as the original building.

When Hammer enters the police station, other employees are running for cover. The one remaining person is standing by a vending machine that has just taken his money. After Hammer offers to help him out, he too takes shelter. [gunshots 7 and 8] Cans and coins then stream out of the machine.

Captain Trunk summons his subordinate.

Trunk: Hammer! In my office, right now!
[36 KB WAV file]

After Hammer saunters into his office, Trunk slams the door behind him.

Trunk: What the hell did I tell you about firing your gun inside, Hammer?
Hammer: (sheepishly) Uh... you said... don't... don't do it.
Trunk: You [are] damn right I told you not to do it! And take off those damn sunglasses when I'm talking to you!
Hammer: (pretending) What sunglasses?
Trunk: I said taken them off!
[131 KB WAV file]

Trunk calms down only slightly.

Trunk: You couldn't resist it, could you, Hammer? You just couldn't resist blowing up a building on your way to work this morning, could you Hammer?!
Hammer: Look. The only way to fight criminals is to be, you know, wilder than they are! (makes whistling missile and explosion noise) [140 KB WAV file] I mean, that's my method.

Trunk feels a migrane headache coming. After Hammer's offered "chiropratic adjustment" turns out to be a violet twist of Trunk's neck, Trunk screams in pain.

Trunk: You're sadisitic, depraved, bloodthirsty, barbaric!
Hammer: Is that why you called me in here, to shower me with compliments?

Not amused, Trunk shows Hammer the newspaper and tells him what has happened to the mayor's daughter. He begrudgingly adds that he has been personally requested to lead the investigation.

NoteIn the broadcast version, the masthead of the newspaper is blurred out.

Hammer and Trunk meet in the mayor's office with the police chief. The mayor is impressed by the way Hammer gets results and finds him "perfectly rational".

When the mayor is about to light up a cigareette, Hammer pulls out a stick of gum inst ead of his gun. A woman then enters carrying a slide projector and is warmly welcomed by the police chief.

Doreau: Pardon me.
Chief: Ah, Detective, please come in. Gentlemen, meet Detective Dori Doreau. There is no one more knowledgeable in her field.
Hammer: What's that? Arranging things in alphabetical order?
Trunk: (muttering) Hammer, I am warning you.
Doreau: It's all right, Captain. My background in terrorist psychology and defense tactics should hold its own against any joke.
[212 KB WAV file]

As Doreau bends over to set up the slide projector, she catches the men checking out her figure.

In a no-nonsense manner, she reports that the voice of the person who tipped off the ransom note location matched the leader of the A.V.O.N. terrorist group.

Hammer: Avon? Ding dong. (mimicking a doorbell sound)

Doreau coldly corrects Hammer about the Allied Violent Offense Network. Her presentation begins with the logo of the group.

The leader of the group is "Weird" Williard Luxley.

Doreau: Luxley's family was so certain their son would turn out rotten they put him up for adoption three years before he was born.

Feliz Navidad is a fiery Latin revolutionary. ["Feliz Navidad" is Spanish for "Merry Christmas".]

NoteIn the original script, another kidnapper named Cottage Cheese Clodman was supposed to be introduced here. He later pats Doreau down in the abandoned warehouse scene.

Finally, former member Kurt Kruggle is such a pervert he was once arrested for "making love to a fire hydrant."

Hammer tells the mayor he will find and torture Kruggle into tell him where the others are.

Mayor: I don't care what methods you use, Hammer. Just bring back my daughter.
Hammer: I will, sir, dead or alive.
Mayor: (shocked) But the point is to bring her back alive, Hammer.
Hammer: Oh, right. No, alive. Of course. Did I say dead? No, no. I don't know where my head is at.
[169 KB WAV file]

Chief Reisner then suggests Hammer team up with Doreau on this case. Hammer replies that she is clearly a woman and that he will not partner with a woman. Trunk insists

Trunk: You will partner with Pia Zadora if the Chief asks you to. Do you understand that?
Hammer: The only partner I need is my amigo right here. (whips out his gun)
Trunk: I told you... (Trunk tries to grab Hammer's arm to put his gun away.)
Hammer: (screams as he flips Trunk onto the floor)
Trunk: (screams as he is flipped onto the floor).
Hammer: Sorry, Captain. That was reflex.
Trunk: (muttering on the floor) Reflex, reflex.
[152 KB WAV file]

As Hammer reluctantly tells Doreau, "C'mon, lady", the mayor looks on in shock.

Mayor: That man makes Rambo look like Pee-wee Herman.
[36 KB WAV file]

After Doreau gets into Hammer's car, she suggests they start searching for Kruggle.

Hammer: Alright, look, lady. As long as we're stuck together, let's get one thing straight, alright?. I'm the guy, alright? I'm the man. I'm the guy. I call the shots, got it? I call the shots, and I fire the shots, comprehendo?
Doreau: Don't tell me. I bet you think all women should be barefoot and pregnant, right?
Hammer: No, I encourage women to wear shoes. (laughs at his own joke)
Doreau: Look. Why don't you just drop this adolescent macho cop act of yours. It's humanly impossible for anyone to be as nihilistic as you're pretending to be.

Just as Doreau finishes, a pursesnatcher is running away from a screaming elderly woman on the sidewalk ahead of Hammer's parked car. Just as the crook is running by Hammer's car, Hammer reaches across Doreau's lap and opens the right car door into his legs.

NoteNote the SFPD marking on the sidewalk.

Hammer and Doreau gather around the fallen crook. Hammer politely returns the purse to the lady saying, "Hope it's not dirty. This type of stuff shouldn't happen, should it?" When Hammer grabs the thug and wants to "teach this little genetic mistake a lesson," Doreau protests that they are in front of City Hall and that he'd be taken in for police brutality. A frustrated Hammer steps back and tells the "sea urchin" that it is "time to pick on somebody your own size." Hammer makes the pursesnatcher beat himself up at gunpoint.

After the self-beaten crook slumps to the ground, Hammer gives his trademark line for the first time to a shocked Doreau.

Hammer: Trust me. I know what I'm doing.
[25 KB WAV file]

They return to the car and drive off to "scour the seamy side of this city and find ourselves a sleazeball by the name of Kruggle."

Act Two

To establish the neighborhood, we have some stock footage of strip clubs, adult bookstores, and Republican Campaign Headquarters.

NoteThis is the corner of Broadway and Columbus in San Francisco.

At Arthur's Hideaway Adult Motel, they find a parked van with Kruggle's license plate. Outside the motel room, Hammer first says "girls wait in the car," but Doreau assures him she is a cop. He then tells her to make sure no one comes in after him.

NoteThe room numbers 86 and 99 (faintly to the left) are a reference to the agent numbers of Get Smart characters.

When Hammer kicks down the door, he finds Kruggle lying on his stomach getting massaged by three Swedish blondes.

Hammer: Okay, ladies. go wait in the john.
Kruggle: (stuttering) They... uh... they... uh... don't speak English.
Hammer: (repeats phrase in Swedish with subtitles saying "O.K. ladies, wait in the john.")
Kruggle: (amazed) You spoke perfect Swedish!
Hammer: Those are the only words I know.
[104 KB WAV file]

After the girls scurry into the bathroom, Hammer introduces himself and wants to take Kruggle in for questioning. Kruggle whines that he needs to put some clothes on, then requests Hammer turn around because he is "modest". Behind Hammer's back, Kruggle grabs a gun from under the towel and giggles as he tells the "stinkin' cop" to turn back. Kruggle admits he has to have a gun to get women to give him a massage. He asks Hammer to drop his gun. Hammer complies, though dropping it pointed at Kruggle. When the gun hits the ground, it fires and shoots the gun out of Kruggle's hands. [gunshot 9] Doreau hears the shot and enters, but she is followed by a tall man in a cowboy hat with a shotgun. She then elbows him in the stomach, elbows him in the head, then finishes him off with a karate kick.

Hammer is pleasantly surprised.

Hammer: Doreau, that was excessively violent and completely unnecessary. I loved it. It was poetry in motion.
Doreau: Thank you. I was top of my class in hand-to-hand combat.
Hammer: (walks over to her) I'd like to fight you sometime, Doreau.
Doreau: You're on.

The cowboy turns out to be the motel manager, a good friend of Hammer's. He suggests they get out before he wakes up, and they escort Kruggle out.

Extra scene: Still wearing only his boxers, Kruggle is seated in the interrogation room claiming not to know anything. When he whines that the room is cold and wants some hot coffee, Hammer pours from the pot directly into his lap.

Hammer pretends he forgot to give him a cup. Kruggle claims he has his rights, Hammer grabs his neck and rants that he doesn't give a damn about the rights of criminals. Still defiant, Kruggles taunts that he won't tell the pigs anything, making snorting and squealing pig noises. While Doreau is repulsed, Hammer counters that he is going to take Kruggle to the circus.

With carnival music playing in the background, Hammer backs Kruggle against a wheel with balloons. His arms are spread to match the human figure on the wheel. Hammer uses a shotgun to shoot the balloons one by one as an increasingly frightened Kruggle concedes what he knows. Hammer even shoots backwards using a mirror, then finally blindfolded. [gunshots 1-4 with shotgun, not Magnum]

As Doreau listens attently/attentively, Kruggle confesses that Luxley and "some of the old gang" were going to kidnap the mayor's daughter. Kruggle adds that they had one person working on the inside, someone "real close to the mayor," "someone the mayor gives a lot of money too."

Back at Doreau's desk, she accesses everyone on the mayor's payroll, as Hammer only pays attention to his paper airplane.

When she asks why Hammer is so prejudiced against computers, Hammer admits that he met his wife through a computer dating service. Hammer is no longer married, his wife having run off three years ago with "some geek member of the Peace Corps." He volunteers that their marriage suffered from his obsession with being a cop. "All the other cops are wusses, except me."

When Doreau catches him in his sensitive moment, Hammer snaps out of the tenderness and jumps to the conclusion that the mayor's wife is the traitor. Doreau counters that she is one of the most respected women in the city.

Doreau: Mrs. Flambo supports every worthy charity in existence.
Hammer: Yeah, all except my favorite one.
Doreau: What's that?
Hammer: Toy Guns For Tots.

An irate Trunk, now wearing a neck brace, barges in yelling that Kruggle is filing a complaint about the earlier questioning session. As Hammer downplays the "carnival", Doreau tries to help him out.

Doreau: Captain Trunk, uh, Hammer has managed to obtain vital information.
Trunk: Shut up, Doreau! You keep defending this buffoon's actions, and you're going to be in hot water too.
[106 KB WAV file]

As Trunk is walking away, a dejected Hammer nonchalantly tosses his paper airplane from earlier to the side. Amazingly, it gets lodged in Trunk's afro.

Getting back to business, Hammer reiterates that "the traitor is the wife" and wants to have a chat with her. While Doreau disagrees with this theory, she tells him, "but as your partner, I'm prepared back you up a hundred percent." As she walks away to make a few phone calls before joining him, Hammer tells his gun that he likes her. As usual, he is caught talking to his gun by a bystander.

Mayor: My wife? That's absurd!
Hammer: Trust me. I know what I'm doing.
[41 KB WAV file]

As Hammer tells the mayor his new conclusion, Doreau leads Mrs. Flambo into the mayor's office. She is handcuffed yet still carrying shopping bags , and her mouth is taped. As soon as her husband removes the tape, she tells her story.

Mrs. Flambo: (muffled through the tape) Take it off! Take it off! Take it off! (Mr. Flambo removes the tape.) You would not believe the indignity I've been put through! (then screams in pain from the tape removal)
Hammer: I hate to say it, sir, but your wife is a lying, scheming, deceitful, no good piece of white trash.
Mayor: Why, I've known that for years! [164 KB WAV file] But she had nothing to do with the kidnapping.

The mayor holds his wife by his side and tells the chief to "put this numbskull back on suspension for the rest of his life." Captain Trunk approves this with his wide smile on his face. An angry mayor goes on to say that he has no choice but to capitulate to the kidnapper's demands, thanks to Hammer. He wants Doreau to deliver the ransom.

Hammer: Wait a minute. Whoever that messenger is is probably going to get killed! Let me do it.
Trunk: That sounds like a terrifc idea.
Mayor: No. The last thing I need on my hands now is a shootout.

The police chief orders Hammer to stay at his apartment as well as give up his badge. Hammer sincerely tells Doreau to be careful, then exits. As a happy Captain Trunk closes the door behind him with the paper airplane still in his hair, the mayor and his wife look on in disbelief.

Later that evening, Doreau arrives at an industrial warehouse with a metal suitcase. Once inside seemingly abandoned building, a shadowy figure sneaks around and closes the door behind her with a thud.

The leader Luxley then emerges to say, "So they sent us a little lady... and a foxy one at that too." After letting out a maniacal laugh, he tells her to hand over the money. Doreau asks to see Francine Flambo first. Feliz Navidad then drags the kidnapped daughter out at gunpoint.

Doreau: How are you doing, Francine?
Francine: I haven't eaten in a day and a half, and I missed last night's Dynasty.

Another accomplice armed with a machine gun enters from behind to pat Doreau down and verifies that "Police person is clean." Doreau remains unmoved.

Doreau: You can drop the victimized society girl routine. You're an accomplice in your own abduction.
Luxley: Just what are you talking about, pig?
Doreau: Financial records gave me the name of the college Francine that attended four years ago. You attended at the exact same time, Luxley. My hunch is that you two know each other and are an item.
Francine: (aims her previously hidden gun at Doreau) I applaud your ingenuity. See I loathe my father, and now I'll escape from under his fascist thumb along with my lover, my comrades, and one million dollars.
Doreau: Perfect plan, Francine.
Francine: And once we're safely away, I'll kill you... myself.
Doreau: You'd kill me for a briefcase full of shredded paper?

Doreau tosses the suitcase on the ground. (Luxley is now wearing glasses.) The second accomplice opens it and is shocked to only find confetti inside. Just then, a man crashes through a ceiling skylight and lands on a stack of pallets. Of course, it is Hammer, and he declares with Magnum drawn, "Surprise! Party's over, crumbcakes." When asked why is he smiling, Hammer replies that he is "trigger happy."

Just as Hammer jumps down to ground level, Luxley fires and glances Hammer's right shoulder.

Hammer: You just ruined my best sport jacket. Now I'm really mad.

To cause a distraction, Hammer shoots a fire extinguisher mounted on a support beam. [gunshot 10] This allows him to bolt for cover.

A typical climatic gunfight ensues. Swinging from a hanging lamp, Hammer is able to kick Navidad's gun out of his hands. Running through the warehouse, the A.V.O.N. members trade shots with Hammer. [gunshots 11-14] As you would expect, the white statues of Venus de Milo, Birth of Venus (Botticelli), and similar works get caught in the crossfire.

Navidad is able to retrieve is gun. Even though he is outnumbered, Hammer charges forward and manages to back Luxley and his cohorts behind some wood shipping crates.

Hammer remembers he has a grenade in his pocket and tells his gun, "Lucky this jacket didn't go to the cleaners."

He pulls the pin and tosses it high into the air. It bounces off the ceiling and settles somewhere behind the villians. Hammer is initially disappointed with his miss. However, the grenade detonates knocking over the crates behind the kidnappers. They try to escape, but they are trapped and crushed. "Three down, one to go," Hammer says.

Hammer converges on Francine, still holding a gun to Doreau's back, and tells her she deserves a good spanking. When Francine orders Hammer to drop the gun or "this broad gets it." Hammer encourages her saying that he'll then kill her right after. A concerned Doreau reminds Hammer that Francine is serious, but Hammer retorts, "As a policewoman, I know you're prepared to die in the line of duty."

Francine then shoves Doreau to the ground and points her gun at Hammer.

Francine: All right, stud. It's just you and me. Now drop the gun this instant. I know you'd never shoot at a woman.
Hammer: (shoots gun out of her hands, also knocking her back to the floor [gunshot 15]) Sorry, Francine. Call me a feminist.
[108 KB WAV file]

Doreau gets up to check on Hammer's shoulder wound.

Doreau: Does that hurt?
Hammer: Anytime a really nice sportsjacket gets ruined, it hurts.
Doreau: Thank goodness you followed me here.
Hammer: No, don't thank goodness. Thank gun. (twirls gun before returning it to his holdster)
Doreau: Thanks, Sledge.
Hammer: Enough warmth.


Mayor: My own daughter, just like her mother, an idiot.

In the mayor's office, he congratulates Doreau. She tries to deflect credit to Hammer, but neither Trunk nor the mayor will have any of it. The police chief tries to give her a full promotion, and the mayor has even written her acceptance speech.

Mayor: Basically it just says how much you admire my administration and how well you think I react under fire. I wrote it myself.

Doreau respectfully declines the promotion. When the mayor and Trunk wonder if they are hearing correctly, Hammer fires a sound test. [gunshot 16] When the chief tells Doreau she is "off her rocker" as she is leaving, she responds, "True, but I know what I'm doing." She puts on a pair of black sunglasses, and a chagrined Hammer follows suit.

Closing Credits

NoteFor the pilot only, seven scenes from the episode are shown during the closing credit roll. Only after selecting frames for this episode review did I realize they are very similar to mine. However, they include a frame from the omitted final scene where Doreau and Hammer talk outside City Hall and begin to understand each other.

Guest Starring: John Vernon (Mayor Flambo), Judie Aronson (Francine Flambo), Don Stark (Kruggle)
Co-Starring: Joanne Baron, D.W. Brown, Jesse Aragon, Larry Wilmore (Cottage Cheese Clodman), James Carrington, Joe Unger, Mie Hunt, Barry Cahill, Dorothy Dells, Ed Dogan, Tino Insana, Robert Stoneman
Director of Photography: Arthur Albert
Production Designer: Alex Tavoularis
Editor: Peter White
Theme by Danny Elfman
Music by Arthur Rubenstein
Additonal Music by Arthur Kempel
Casting: Cathy Henderson (C.S.A.), Barbara Hanley (C.S.A.)
Unit Production Manager: Alan C. Blomquist
1st Assistant Director: Richard Graves
2nd Assistant Director: Margaret Nelson
Second Unit Camera: Philip Holahan
1st Assistant Camera: Tony Balderama
2nd Assistant Camera: Jerry Chan
Sound Mixer: Russell Williams
Sound Boom: Doug Kent
Set Decorator: Marya Delia S. Javier
Costume Designer: Tracy Tynan
Stunt Coordinator: Edward J. Ulrich
Location Manager: Tim Healey
Script Supervisor: Karen Golden
Make-up Supervisor: Cynthia Cruz
Hair Stylist: Dina Carone
Property Master: Tommy Estridge
Gaffer: Jim Gilson
Key Grip: Crazy Bear
Production Accountant: K. Lenna Katich
Production Coordinator: Harry Haskell
Music Research: Vanessa Hayes
Transportation Coodinator: Gary Littlefield
Assistant Editor: David Semel
Special Effects: All Effects Company
Director of Production: Vicki-Niemi Gordon
Re-Recording Engineer: Phillip J. Seretti
Post Production Audio Facility: Post Sound Corporation
Post Production Sound: Scott Stambler Productions
Electronic Laboratory Services: Pacific Video
Edited on the Ediflex
New World Television

Copyright © 1994-2002 Frank Yeean Chan. All Rights Reserved.