1984 was the year of the helicopter. The success of the theatrical film Blue
Thunder in the summer of 1983 resulted, the following spring, in series on
all three networks featuring copters - CBS'
Blue Thunder, and NBC's less serious
Most advanced of all the aircraft was Airwolf, a high-tech attack helicopter
of the future. It could outrace conventional jets, travel halfway around
the world, and blast away with enormous fire-power. When its creator stole
it and attempted to sell it to Libya, a super-secret U.S. Government agency
known only as "The Firm" recruited reclusive pilot Stringfellow
Hawke to get it back. He did, but then refused to turn it over until the
government tracked down his brother, who was missing in action in Vietnam.
the government was obligingly hunting up his brother, Hawke agreed to use Airwolf
- which he had hidden in the Southwestern desert - on dangerous missions
for The Firm. Hawke was not easy to deal with, however. A sullen and
uncommunicative type, he could usually be found holed up in his mountain cabin,
surrounded by his collection of impressionistic paintings, playing his cello.
Women found this handsome loner fascinating, but he disdained them. His contact at The Firm was the suave, mysterious Archangel
- identifiable by his white suit, eye patch and cane. Helping Hawke on
his missions was his sensible, middle-aged war buddy, Dominic, and sometimes
one of The Firm's agents, the beautiful Marella. Added to the cast at the start
of the show's second season was spunky
Caitlin O'Shannessy, a lady helicopter pilot who became part of the team.
new episodes of
premiered on the USA Cable Network in January 1987, the cast was completely
changed. In the story line, Dominic was killed and Stringfellow badly injured
when one of their regular helicopters, sabotaged by foreign agents, exploded. Dom's niece
Jo; Archangel's replacement Jason Locke; and a talented but hard-to-control
young agent, Mike Rivers took Airwolf on a mission to rescue Stringfellow's
brother, St. John Hawke. After getting back to the States, St. John
took over for his injured brother as head of the Airwolf team. They still hid
the super-copter from "The Company" (it used to be "The
Firm"), but were willing to use it on assignments they felt were
to keep the budget down on the cable version of Airwolf , production was moved from
Hollywood to other locations in Canada.