This show was almost cancelled in its first season. Ratings drastically increased after it was re-scheduled to follow Magnum, P.I. (1980).
The pilot was originally shot in South Florida, and the show was called "Pirates Key". It was moved to California (set in San Diego, filmed mainly in Los Angeles) after the pilot was filmed.
Rick's (Gerald McRaney's) truck in the show was a "Macho Power Wagon", a series of specialty 4x4 trucks manufactured by Dodge from 1977 through 1981, part of the "Adult Toys" campaign to appeal to younger buyers. The main truck used in the show was a 1979 model long bed, in sierra red, with special Macho paint job and decals. Midway through the first season, a second truck was added, a 1980 Dodge long bed 4x4 cloned to look like the '79 Macho. The easiest way to tell the difference between the two trucks is in the roll bar. The '79 Macho roll bar is padded and has perfectly straight diagonal supports. The '80 Macho clone uses an after-market roll bar that isn't padded. Also, the diagonal supports bend horizontally before adjoining the main bar. Shots often alternate between the two trucks in the same scenes.
On the show, Rick is a few years older than A.J. In real-life, Gerald McRaney is four months older than Jameson Parker.
The show was set in San Diego, but mainly filmed in Venice and Marina del Rey in Los Angeles County, and near and around Universal City, next to its production base at Universal Studios. San Diego appeared in many episodes, but usually limited to a few scenes, and what is known as "B" roll.
Rick's boat is anchored at slip F-18 in an homage to John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee.
The character "Temple Hill" was named after the street in the Hollywood Hills, which is below the famous Hollywood sign.