Knight Rider (season 1)

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Knight Rider Season 1
Knight Rider season 1 DVD.png
DVD cover
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 22
Original network NBC
Original release September 26, 1982 (1982-09-26) – May 6, 1983 (1983-05-06)
Season chronology
Next →
Season 2
List of Knight Rider (1982 TV series) episodes

The first season of Knight Rider, an American television series, began September 26, 1982, and ended on May 6, 1983. It aired on NBC.[1] The region 1 DVD was released on August 3, 2004.[2]

Knight Rider had a 2-hour premiere on NBC, airing at 8PM on Sunday night. The show was put up against Dallas, and would eventually move NBC out of third place in the network race. No other show had ever survived that time slot.[citation needed] The show eventually aired on Friday nights, and in December 1982 became the second-highest-rated show of its day; MASH was number 1. The show was renewed for a second season during the filming of "Short Notice".


A car of K.I.T.T was eventually sent out on tour to various car shows around the country. K.I.T.T. was designed by Michael Scheffe using Pontiac's 1982 Trans Am. Michael Scheffe had worked for Mattel designing toys, and had done some design work on Blade Runner. Scheffe had around 18 days to create his first mock up of K.I.T.T. for the network.

Stuntman Jack Gill says the car was dropped about an inch and a half from GM's stock height. The car also had around $2,000,000 worth of modifications. Spare cars were always on hand, and Universal eventually did all of the modifications that were needed. The hero car was the only one of the vehicles on hand that contained the intricate dashboard. A mock up dashboard was used on a sound stage for closeups of the voice box or other buttons.

Glen Larson wanted the car to have a heartbeat and asked Scheffe to design a beam of light like the Cylons had in Battlestar Galactica to be used on the front of the vehicle. The Pontiac's nose was eventually extended slightly.

Gill claims that they got the cars from Pontiac for $1 apiece. The only car Universal had to pay for was the hero car. Pontiac would call up the studio and ask how many cars were needed. Pontiac often gave the studio vehicles that had already been damaged.

William Daniels, the voice of K.I.T.T., would record his parts after the majority of the episode were filmed. Hasselhoff would work with a guy off camera who would read him K.I.T.T.'s lines. If the vehicle was in motion, the lines would be read through the car radio. The vehicle was usually towed during scenes where Hasselhoff appeared to be driving.

K.I.T.T. received an overhaul in 1984, receiving a new interior to keep up with the times.

The studio had a marketing campaign for Knight Rider. Fans could write the network and they would receive a pamphlet detailing some features about K.I.T.T. The first campaign was held in August 1982. The pamphlet received said, "The Competition is NO Competition!." K.I.T.T was parked alongside a vehicle that resembled the General Lee from Dukes of Hazzard. The General Lee featured a double zero on the door. The pamphlet compared the two vehicles.

In the fall of 1985, an ad came out in TV Guide detailing K.I.T.T.'s upgrades.[3]

Season 1[edit]

The premiere episode featured Larry Anderson as Michael Long. In the pilot, the character is eventually gravely wounded and forced to undergo plastic surgery, becoming Michael Knight, as played by David Hasselhoff. As a result of Hasselhoff's voice being dubbed in to all of his lines, Anderson elected to remain uncredited in the episode.[3]

At the end of Season 1, lead actress Patricia McPherson was fired from the show due to a falling out with producer Robert Foster. McPherson would be replaced by Rebecca Holden. Hasselhoff was reportedly angry about McPherson's firing but was in no position to fight the network or the show's producers for her job. McPherson returned for Season 3.

David Hasselhoff eventually got his girlfriend on the show for an episode titled "White Bird". Catherine Hickland would play Michael Long's long lost fiancée Stevie Mason. Hickland was brought in to help write the episode. The episode was more mature and dealt with solicitation. At the end of season 1 during the wrap party, Hasselhoff celebrated Hickland's birthday. A cake was presented with a replica of K.I.T.T. sitting on top. Written in icing were the words "Look Under the Hood." An engagement ring had been placed under the hood, and Hasselhoff proposed.

The couple honeymooned during the shows second season. During the episode "Mouth of the Snake" Hasselhoff is barely seen, because he was on his honeymoon with Hickland. Hickland returned to the show on "Let it Be Me". NBC was trying to create a spinoff series during the episode "Mouth of the Snake". The couple divorced in 1989, and Hickland later married Michael E. Knight.

Theme Song[edit]

Stu Phillips and Glen Larson composed the music for the show. The decision to use synthesizers was largely a network decision. Larson claims that they used five or six synthesizers, drums and a Fender bass.[3]

Busta Rhymes sampled the theme song in his 1998 song "Turn it Up/Fire it Up".[citation needed]


Stuntman Jack Gill worked on the show, and had previously worked on the Dukes of Hazzard. In the episode, "Give Me Liberty...Give Me Death" K.I.T.T. jumps over a General Lee lookalike. In the book, "Knight Rider Legacy" Gill remembers one jump that was reused several times throughout the show. In the episode, "The Topaz Connection" K.I.T.T. jumps a 90-foot ravine. A camera was mounted inside a cage on the right side of the car for a point of view shot. The cameras had cables attached to it, but when the vehicle neared the ramp, the cables would be cut loose, and the camera would run for about a minute before shutting down. When the jump was performed, the cable came loose, and the camera tumbled in the vehicle. The cable can be seen in the footage. The footage was used in several episodes including, "Nobody Does it Better", "Lost Knight", "Junkyard Dog", and "Knight Flight to Freedom."

Hasselhoff performed a few stunts on the show. Hasselhoff was often seen doing 180 degree turns in the vehicle. In the book, "Knight Rider Legacy," Hasselhoff explains that he achieved this by using the emergency brake while driving around 50 miles per hour. Hasselhoff eventually hit a palm tree and the studio banned him from performing any more of his own stunts due to the liability.

In the episode, "Return to Cadiz" K.I.T.T. appears to glide across water. K.I.T.T. was actually mounted to a submerged platform that had an outboard motor attached.

For the scenes in which K.I.T.T. appeared to be driving without a driver, Jack would sit behind the driver's seat. Jack would extend his arms and legs through the seat out of sight. A two way mirror was created that hid the stuntman during scenes where K.I.T.T. appeared to be driving solo. K.I.T.T. was never seen driving for long periods of time solo due to the difficulty shooting it.

Spin Offs[edit]

Code of Vengeance was a TV show that didn't do very well. The show starred actor L. Charles Taylor who had been featured in the Knight Rider episode, "Mouth of the Snake."

The network was determined to have a spinoff, a show entitled, The Speed Demons was envisioned. The show was supposed to involve motorcycles that had been modified like K.I.T.T. The show never materialized. Street Hawk aired about a year later on ABC.



No. in
No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date Production
"Knight of the Phoenix"Daniel HallerGlen A. LarsonSeptember 26, 1982 (1982-09-26)[1]57375

After Detective Michael Long is shot and left for dead, he is saved by the eccentric billionaire, Wilton Knight and his associate Devon Miles. He is given a new face by plastic surgery, a new identity as Michael Knight, and the Knight Industries Two Thousand (KITT for short) – a dream car with super-spy gadgets and nearly invulnerable armor. Wilton asks Michael to carry on his crime-fighting crusade believing "one man can make a difference." Soon Michael manages to locate his shooter, a woman named Tanya Walker, who is stealing technology secrets and embezzling money from a computer company. With the help of a woman named Maggie, Michael lures Tanya into a trap by showing off KITT's abilities as bait.

  • Originally shown as a two-hour Pilot Movie, but In syndication is shown as 2 separate episodes.
33"Deadly Maneuvers"Paul StanleyWilliam Schmidt & Bob ShayneOctober 1, 1982 (1982-10-01)[1]57305
Michael helps a stranded Army Lieutenant named Robin Ladd who learns her father has died in a suspicious accident. Michael conducts his own investigation which leads to uncovering the theft of nuclear warheads from an Army weapons depot and evidence the top brass may be involved.
44"Good Day at White Rock"Daniel HallerDeborah DavisOctober 8, 1982 (1982-10-08)[1]57303
Michael goes to the sleepy mountain town of White Rock for some rock-climbing, but the place is invaded by a troublesome biker gang. Learning another gang is on its way for a showdown, Michael, with the help of a local woman (Anne Lockhart) and her brother, must find a way to drive off the gangs before they turn the town into a battleground.
55"Slammin' Sammy's Stunt Show Spectacular"Bruce BilsonE. Paul Edwards
& John Alan Schwartz
October 22, 1982 (1982-10-22)[1]57315

Michael investigates a dare-devil stunt show that is plagued with accidents and sabotage. When Michael finds out a disreputable businessman named Blake may be to blame, he joins the show with KITT as his stunt car, hoping to draw out the saboteur and connect him with Blake's scheme to take over the business.

Guest stars: Marc Alaimo (Gul Dukat on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
66"Just My Bill"Sidney HayersDavid BraffOctober 29, 1982 (1982-10-29)[1]57311
Devon assigns Michael to protect Senator Maggie Flynn who has made enemies in her political crusade to fight a new energy bill. After numerous attempts on her life, Michael arranges for her to hide out with Devon, much to Devon's chagrin, while he conducts an investigation with Flynn's assistant Jane Adams, who suspects a rival politician to be involved in the attacks.
77"Not a Drop to Drink"Virgil VogelHannah Louise ShearerNovember 5, 1982 (1982-11-05)[1]57304
Michael is sent to help a group of cattle ranchers who are battling an acquisitive landowner. Getting in Michael's way is a troubled rancher's hot-headed daughter-in-law Francesca, who believes they don't need an outsider's help. After Michael and KITT stop a gang of thugs from destroying a pipeline the landowner resorts to bombing a dam that could flood the valley and kill dozens of people.
88"No Big Thing"Bernard L. KowalskiJudy BurnsNovember 12, 1982 (1982-11-12)[1]57313
Devon is pulled over in a small town for a minor traffic violation, but the officers add "resisting arrest" to the charges and toss him in the slammer. Devon then learns a fellow cellmate, Frank Reston, is an investigative reporter about to bust the county's Judge Paxton on a corruption scheme, but soon Reston is taken away and eliminated. With Devon is a potential witness, Paxton has Devon taken to a maximum security prison. Michael and KITT then break Devon out in order to prove he is being set up.
99"Trust Doesn't Rust"Paul StanleySteven E. De SouzaNovember 19, 1982 (1982-11-19)[1]57307

Two petty thieves, Tony and Rev (William Sanderson), break into a Foundation warehouse and unwittingly reactivate KARR (the Knight Automated Roving Robot) (voiced by Peter Cullen), which was sitting in storage. Responding to the break in, Michael and KITT arrive to see the two thieves make a getaway in KITT's identical twin. After Michael learns that KARR was KITT's prototype and programmed with an unstable self preservation AI, he goes after the vehicle which the two thieves are using to crash into bank vaults. Things become more complicated when KARR has the thieves kidnap Bonnie so she can repair a malfunctioning circuit. Michael and KITT get Bonnie back, and try to disable KARR using a laser. When this fails, Michael sets KITT on a direct collision course with KARR, banking on KARR's self preservation to defeat him.

Guest Star: Peter Cullen as the voice of KARR
1010"Inside Out"Peter CraneSteven E. De SouzaNovember 26, 1982 (1982-11-26)[1]57302
Michael poses as a wheelman named Dugan so he can infiltrate a criminal training camp led by a retired General named Kincaid. Helping him is a woman on the inside named Linda who only follows Kincaid to avoid being blackmailed. The situation becomes dire when Michael, after unwittingly helping Kincaid in a gold heist, faces off with the real Dugan who shows up and points to Michael as an impostor.
1111"The Final Verdict"Bernard L. KowalskiStory by: Tom Greene
Teleplay by: E. Paul Edwards
& John Alan Schwartz
December 3, 1982 (1982-12-03)[1]57316

Michael tries to help a friend named Cheryl Burns who is accused of murdering her boss, and her only alibi lies with a nerdy accountant named Marty Kean who was with her at a bar on the night of the crime. When Michael tries to locate Kean, he finds the man at the center of a police investigation suspecting him of cooking the books of his shady employer. Michael agrees to get the cops, and Kean's employer, off his back if he helps prove Cheryl innocent.

This episode was dedicated to R.A. Cinader, saying "he was an original".
1212"A Plush Ride"Sidney HayersGregory S. DinalloDecember 10, 1982 (1982-12-10)[1]57306
Michael infiltrates a bodyguard-chauffeur driving school the Foundation suspects may be training an assassin plotting to eliminate a group of third world leaders meeting at a secret conference. Michael first suspects a woman named Margo Wells until another student named Jacobs tries to kill him. With Jacobs eliminated, Michael goes on his way, but when Jacobs returns from the dead, Michael realizes he's been duped and the leaders are still in danger.
1313"Forget Me Not"Gil BettmanRichard Christian Matheson
& Thomas Szollosi
December 17, 1982 (1982-12-17)[1]57312
Michael works with Marie Elena Casafranca (María Conchita Alonso), a woman whose father is a South American leader visiting the United States. Marie fears a rival figure, Rudy del Fuego, may have hired an assassin to kill him. Michael infiltrates del Fuego's private party where he meets a drunk woman named Micki, but she lays down in a bedroom and overhears del Fuego's assassin discussing the killing plot. When she is caught, Michael sees her being taken away in a car, and gives chase, but Micki escapes by jumping from the car and injures her head. Now Michael must make the amnesiac Micki remember who the assassin is before he strikes.
1414"Hearts of Stone"Jeffrey HaydenRobert FosterJanuary 14, 1983 (1983-01-14)[1]57322

Michael goes to Texas to meet Father Carlos Laguna whose family is feuding with a group of gunrunners in possession of an advanced assault rifle called the X-19. The situation worsens when Carlos' brother Roberto is shot with an X-19 during a drive-by attack. With the help of a bartender named Angie, Michael poses as a gun collector and makes contact with the gunrunners where he offers to buy the whole shipment of X-19s. They strike a deal, but Angie tricks Michael and steals his suitcase full of money which was charity funds provided by Devon.

Note: KITT's voice modulator is upgraded for the first time into the trio of digital bars seen during the remainder of the series run.
1515"Give Me Liberty… or Give Me Death"Bernard L. KowalskiDavid BraffJanuary 21, 1983 (1983-01-21)[1]57323
Michael enters KITT in an alternative fuel race where the coordinator, Dr. Kempler, believes an oil-producing nation is conducting sabotage to see the advanced fuel technologies fail. Michael investigates every driver's background and zeroes in on a reporter named Liberty Cox who has a long criminal record and a radio detonator device in her luggage. Little does Michael know that Liberty is being set up by the real saboteur; a ruthless cable television sponsor Clark Sellers (Alan Fudge), who stands to make a killing off of the filming rights of the race if every car makes a "spectacular crash".
1616"The Topaz Connection"Alan MyersonStephen KatzJanuary 28, 1983 (1983-01-28)[1]57321
A high-profile "skin magazine" editor named Philip Royce is murdered and Michael helps his daughter Lauren investigate who killed him and why. The clues may be found in Royce's computer, but the file he was working on is password protected under the code name "Topaz". The plot thickens when a private investigator Royce hired calls Lauren to reveal the story, but the man is killed by a sniper. Lauren and Michael then follow the P.I.'s leads to Las Vegas in hopes of uncovering the meaning behind Topaz, but quickly come across more thugs who want them eliminated.
1717"A Nice, Indecent Little Town"Gil BettemanFrank TelfordFebruary 18, 1983 (1983-02-18)[1]57317
Michael poses as a freelance bounty hunter looking to capture a counterfeiter named Ron Austin. He tracks the criminal to the small town of Alpine Crest where Devon is presenting a Foundation award for the city with the lowest crime rate per capita. While following Austin, Michael befriends Jobina Bruce (Jean Bruce Scott), a local reporter looking for a big story, but Jobina is also working for a CIA agent named Larken, who is conducting his own investigation of a local religious printing business, "Hallelujah Press". While Michael tries to make a connection between Austin and the print shop, he is arrested by Sheriff Moore, a corrupt official who also has KITT impounded.
1818"Chariot of Gold"Bernard L. KowalskiWilliam SchmidtFebruary 25, 1983 (1983-02-25)[1]57326
Michael is called to investigate an archeological dig that dug up something strange, but his contact Dr. Litton, suddenly goes insane and slips into a coma. Meanwhile, Devon and Bonnie speak with Dr. Graham Deauville, (Litton's partner) and leader of the prestigious "Helios Society" – an organization of genius minds. Michael learns Litton had stumbled upon a secret excavation and is just the latest member of Helios to fall victim to a mysterious death. Deauville puts Bonnie under mind control and has her reprogram KITT to assist in a museum gold heist which is just one phases of a much larger scheme – to fund the building of an underground complex that Deauville believes will save him from the nuclear armageddon of World War III.
1919"White Bird"Winrich KolbeVirginia AldridgeMarch 4, 1983 (1983-03-04)[1]57330
Michael learns that the woman he was once engaged to, Stephanie Mason (Catherine Hickland), has been arrested for her involvement in a money laundering scheme. Unfortunately, he was engaged to her when he was Michael Long and Stephanie thinks he is dead. The Justice Department has given Stephanie the option of turning in her boss Gilbert Cole, or face conspiracy charges if she refuses. The situation intensifies when Cole sends thugs to eliminate her before she can testify before a grand jury. Now Michael must protect the woman he once loved and capture the people who are setting her up, all the while avoiding slip ups that may give away his secret identity.
2020"Knight Moves"Christian I. Nyby IIWilliam SchmidtMarch 11, 1983 (1983-03-11)[1]57332
Michael goes to New Mexico to investigate for the Alliance of Independent Truckers (AIT) whose rigs are getting hijacked on isolated stretches of highway. AIT is led by Rick Calley (James Whitmore, Jr.) who is the latest victim of the attacks when gunmen stole his trailer filled with valuable equipment. More problems arise when AIT's main client threatens to do business with AIT's biggest rival, Prairie Trucking, whose trucks, suspiciously enough, haven't been hit by thieves. When Michael sticks his nose into Prairie Trucking's business, their owner, Falker, sends his thugs to eliminate him.
2121"Nobody Does it Better"Harvey LaidmanDavid BraffApril 29, 1983 (1983-04-29)[1]57331
A CEO of an electronics firm (Robert Ginty) hires the Foundation to help catch whoever is stealing software from his company. Michael suspects someone on the inside – a programmer named Julian Groves (Tony Dow) when he learns of his involvement with a con-woman named Connie Chason. Soon an overzealous private investigator named Flannery Roe (Gail Edwards), hired by Groves' wife, gets into Michael's way, but things become more complicated when Connie is found murdered in Julian's bungalow and the programmer is on the run. Michael doesn't believe Julian is capable of murder and he and Flannery are forced to tolerate each other to find the real killer.
2222"Short Notice"Robert FosterRobert FosterMay 6, 1983 (1983-05-06)[1]57336
Michael meets a hitch hiker named Nicole Turner (played by actress Robin Curtis) and they share a hotel room together, only to have a gunman bust in who targets Nicole. During the struggle, Michael shoots the gunman in self defense, but to his bewilderment, Nicole flees the scene. Michael is then arrested on charges of murder but Devon bails him out so he can track down Nicole who is his only witness. Michael then learns the gunman was a member of the felonious biker gang and Nicole's ex-husband Harold Turner is their leader. Turner wants Nicole to hand over a microfilm containing criminal evidence and is holding Nicole's young daughter Natalie as a hostage.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v "Knight Rider: Original - Full Episodes - Season 1". Retrieved 2014-06-04.
  2. ^ "Knight Rider - Season One (1982)". Retrieved 2011-02-23.
  3. ^ a b c Knight Rider Legacy

External links[edit]