Just recently finished revisiting this show on DVD, i say revisiting, what i actually meant was watching the whole seven seasons on the all inclusive box set.
To set the picture, i had only seen upto the end of season two back in 87/88 when the ITV here in the UK suddenly decided that they didn't like American action/drama shows anymore and stopped showing them or shuffled them off to the wee hours of post midnight television. A few episodes of season three did pop up sporadically and then it went over to SKY TV for its seventh and final season.
This was the turning point where ITV and i parted company, gone were the days of The A team, Knight Rider, The Fall Guy, Airwolf, TJ Hooker, The Greatest American Hero, The Equalizer etc and of course, Hunter. In came shows with all the entertainment value of picking your nose and on it goes to this day with X factor, anyway, Hunter.
Now i've finally seen all the episodes, i can say that Hunter has to be one of the all time great American cop shows, what started, admittedly as a "homage" to the Dirty Harry movies, fought through that to establish its own relevant and unique persona.
Yes, the action was toned down post season two, but after watching the entire run now, it seems clear that this move is what guaranteed the show its seven season run, if it had relied on purely shoot outs and car flips, it would have folded much sooner.
It became more layered as it progressed, the characters became more three dimensional and even "issues" were tackled within the story lines. Effort such as this, at that time, is the beginning of the evolution to the cop shows of today, to move beyond being subservient to property destruction.
That said, the new Hawaii Five 0 seems to be back in this old vein and Justified is very much "old school" in its approach and consequently both a firm faves of mine.
Fred Dryer, considering he was a professional sportsman at the beginning of his career, managed to take Rick Hunter beyond being just an imposing presence against the scum he had to deal with and made him laconic, witty and even warmly human on occasion. Likewise Stepfanie Kramer, over the course of the shows run, made Dee Dee McCall a fully formed, professional law enforcement officer.
As with Hunter's character, it was revealed she had thoughts and feelings and was far more than just an attractive foil to Hunter and could crack skulls just as well as he could. Again, these efforts made at that time are what has helped to round out the TV tecs of today.
In summation, i was truly surprised and impressed by Hunter when i finally got to see all of them recently, yes a few episodes go clunk, but the ones that really work easily surpass them.
I recommend this show unreservedly, if you like good cop shows, you'll like this.