Airwolf is a new breed of high-tech super helicopter that has been stolen by its designer in order to sell it to Libya. Concerned that such an impressive piece of firepower should be in hostile hands, a covert US Government agency known only as "The Firm" recruit reclusive pilot Stringfellow Hawke (Jan-Michael Vincent) to get it back. This he does, but then refuses to hand it over until the government track down his brother, St John, who has been missing in action in Vietnam. In the meantime, Hawke agrees to use Airwolf, which is hidden in the Southwestern desert, for a series of dangerous missions for The Firm.
Hawke's accomplices on his missions are Dominic Santini, played by veteran Hollywood movie star Ernest Borgnine and an agent supplied by The Firm, Marella (Deborah Pratt). Caitlin O'Shannessy (Jean Bruce Scott) joined at the start of the second season. Hawke's main contact at The Firm is the enigmatic Archangel (Alex Cord), identifiable by his white suit, eye patch and walking stick. Series creator Donald P. Bellisario first toyed with the idea of the adventures of an ace combat pilot in a third season episode of Magnum, P.I.
The theatrical success of the similarly themed Blue Thunder in 1983 was the inspiration for the US Networks to commission no less than three helicopter series the following year - CBS' Airwolf, ABC's Blue Thunder and NBC's more light-hearted Riptide.
The original series ran for 2 seasons on CBS before returning, with a new cast, on USA Cable Network in 1987 and location filming moved from the USA to Canada.
Published on November 27th, 2018. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.