Pilot

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Pilot
Episode # 101
Air Date Sep 15, 1977
Briefing Sports car robberies
"CHiPs" title

Brief Plot

Meet the street's elite: Ponch and Jon stop a car-theft ring. And Ponch's antics may keep him on probation.

Plot

Ponch takes a spill as he chases a speeding Porsche
The Porsche disappeared!

The show opens with two California Highway Patrol motor officers chasing after a speeding Porsche. After speeding in and out between cars on the highway, the Porsche speeds off the highway. One of the officers swerves to chase after the speeder, but falls over when his motor hits the curb. He immediately rights himself but loses the Porsche somewhere in downtown LA. "Ponch" complains about how the speeder got away while his partner Jon tells him he's lucky to be alive.

Jon and Ponch as they head to the freeway

After discussing the speeder, Ponch and Jon get on the freeway as the "CHiPs" theme begins. As Ponch rides up next to a woman in a convertible, he directs Jon's attention to her...but Jon is more interested in the car. The theme continues as the officers ride along the highway.

As the officers arrive, they find the morning briefing already in progress. The sergeant tells the officers about a gang of sports car thieves. As "Frank" tries to leave the briefing, he asks him about riding his CHP motor in the dirt last night and warns him not to blow probation with only two days left.

Ponch falls in glue

Out on the highway, Ponch and Jon find a glue truck that spilled all over the highway. As Jon directs traffic, Ponch talks to the truck driver. A few minutes later, Jon pulls over a truck which was leaking oil. While he takes care of that, Ponch tries to get his motor out of the middle of a puddle of glue. As he revs up his motor, the wheel works itself loose. When he breaks free, he slips and falls over in the glue. All the people from the traffic jam applaud his maneuver. After dusting off his ego, he joins Jon and sends the truck with the oil leak on its way.

Getraer examines Ponch's file

When Ponch returns to headquarters, he's riding in a CHP pickup with his motor in back. The sergeant is waiting for him on the steps. He brings Ponch and Jon into his office and shows them Ponch's huge file. After a lecture, Ponch storms out. As they head out to the garage to talk to the mechanic, Chuck, Jon tries to make the sarge realize that Ponch has been a good officer for the six months they've been partners while Ponch was on probation.

Ponch meets his future wife, Carol

Out on the streets, Ponch is riding the sarge's motor. When a guy on a motorcycle speeds by, they chase after him. He causes a Volkswagen Beetle to roll over. Ponch gives the cyclist a hard time until Jon tells him to take care of the driver. He can't get the woman out of the car so he keeps her company by explaining how his name is Poncherello (but everyone calls him "Ponch") and how he's been on the patrol for two years.

Later, Ponch and Jon play racquetball with the sergeant and another officer. As they play, Ponch and the sergeant argue over the citation of the truck.

After the game, Ponch hits on a woman who thinks he's a lawyer. Jon joins in and ruins his fun.

At Sunday morning's briefing, the sergeant informs everyone of more sports car thefts. As Ponch and Jon head out, they pull over a six year-old and tell him to keep to the right side of the road. When a truck that looks like the one that had the oil leak is spotted by another officer, Ponch and Jon head off to find it so they can get a picture of it to prove Ponch's argument.

Ponch poses for a photo by the license plate while covered in beer

As they try to pull over a Bushkin van, the passenger dumps his beer all over Ponch. After pulling them over, they make the driver and passenger get out. They realize the plate is wrong. Ponch and Jon put the facts together and realize that the car thieves were in the "Bushkin" van they stopped yesterday.

After the thieves spot a CHP cruiser, they abandon the trailer of their truck and take off. Ponch and Jon chase after them through the city and manage to lead them right into the Los Angeles County Jail parking lot to arrest them.

When Ponch and Jon return to headquarters, the sergeant says that they've earned commendations and that Ponch's probation is over.

During the closing credits, we see Ponch pull over a black Mercedes Benz. Comments made in a voice-over by the sergeant and Ponch reveal that he directed a relative of the captain into a ditch...and that he'll probably end up on probation again!

Great Quote

"You're gonna become a legend, Ponch."
-Fritz

Guest Stars

Crew

Larry Wilcox's opening credit
Erik Estrada's opening credit
Robert Pine's opening credit
Rick Rosner's opening credit

Fun Facts

  • During what became the start of the show's opening sequence, Ponch and Jon enter the Hollywood Fwy. (101) heading south at the Temple/Hope St. entrance.
  • The boy on the bike was played by a kid named Jon Baker. Coincidence? No. The boy is the only nephew of Rick Rosner and the son of his younger sister, Sandy. Larry Wilcox's character was named after him.
  • The woman in the car that rolls over is named Carol. We learn in "CHiPs" '99 that Ponch eventually marries her and they have a son.
  • The pilot episode had no title.

Mistakes

California is missing from Ponch's shoulder patch.
  • When Ponch is talking to the woman in the car, "California" is missing from his shoulder patch.
  • Location mismatch: When the show opens, Seven Mary Three and Four are reported to be on the Hollywood Fwy. southbound at Vermont Ave. However, they are shown (from behind) heading eastbound on 118 (Ronald Reagan Fwy.) at the Ruffner Ave. overpass. The chase, however, exits the Hollywood Fwy. near the intersection of Temple St. and Hope St.

Buy this episode

  • Pilot on DVD at Amazon.com
  • Pilot from Amazon Unbox Video Downloads
  • Pilot from iTunes Store


Preceded by:
"''' NONE '''"
Pilot
101
Followed by:
"Undertow"