CHiPs '99

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CHiPs '99
Episode #
Air Date Oct 27, 1998
Briefing Recent string of carjackings
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Contents

Brief Plot

After a 15-year self-imposed retirement from the CHP, Ponch reunites with his partner Jon to break up a car-theft ring.

"CHiPs '99" VHS tape cover

Plot

It has been 15 years since "CHiPs" went off the air and we are greeted with the opening theme to the first season, but something's amiss. The music gets distorted and soon a red Mustang bursts through with "Born to be Wild" blasting as the Mustang swerves through Los Angeles traffic.

As we cut to CHP headquarters, we see Getraer presenting Bruce Nelson a plaque for his promotion to sergeant. As Jon comments that his "former partner" has long forgotten them, we cut back to the freeway to see Ponch chasing the Mustang. Ponch identifies himself as CHP to one of the pursuing motorcycle officers, but still gets pulled over and ticketed by a young CHP officer named Roulette. Ponch tells Roulette that he just rejoined the department in Marin County a few months ago.

Back at headquarters, everyone is congratulating Bruce when Ponch shows up. He immediately runs up, goes right by Jon, and hugs Bruce. After saying hello to Bruce, Baricza, and Grossman, he finally greets Jon. Ponch complains about being late because he was ticketed by Roulette just as Roulette drives up.

As Ponch and Jon talk, they hear a screech and a crash. They spot a bicycle that caused an accident, smile at each other, and run to the nearest motors. They quickly catch up with the cyclist and pull him over. Jon questions the 28 year-old while Ponch realizes there's something familiar about this. We're then treated to a flashback from the 1977 pilot episode in which Ponch and Jon pull over a six year-old on a bike.

As "7 Mary 3" and "7 Mary 4" patrol the freeways, we hear the song "I Love L.A.". After the song, Ponch reveals that he has been painting for the past fifteen years.

Meanwhile, we witness a gang of car thieves following a Porsche. They make a few phone calls and trigger a smoke bomb under the Porsche. The car pulls over and they pull up to "help", the thieves steal the Porsche and a new set of golf clubs inside.

Back at headquarters, Captain Jon Baker heads up a briefing about a car theft ring. Getraer shows up and offers more information. Assigned to the task force are Sgt. Nelson, Detective Grossman, Roulette, McFall, and Poncherello.

After the briefing, Ponch is greeted in the hall by an excited guy he doesn't recognize...but Ponch sees someone he thinks he recognizes. He goes up and kisses her, then realizes that it's not Bonnie -- it's Sandy Baker, Captain Baker's wife! Outside, Ponch remembers Stormy as a CHP Explorer when he was little, not as the helicopter pilot he is today.

On the streets of L.A., the car thieves plant a device on a blue Dodge Viper. Out on the freeway, they push a button and cause the car to smoke. When the driver pulls over, they steal the car just like last time.

Meanwhile, McFall is called to court. Ponch, Roulette, and Nelson respond to the call about the stolen Viper on the San Diego Freeway. Ponch and Roulette speed ahead while Nelson calls it in. Capt. Baker also responds in his car. Ponch and Roulette pass the street the Viper was reported on and have to go around the block. When Nelson turns the corner of Gaffey and 30th, he is confronted by a tour bus and crashes into a parked car. Jon arrives and carries Bruce away from the accident just before the motorcycle explodes. Ponch and Roulette arrive to find Bruce in very bad condition.

As Paramedics transport Bruce, Jon, and Ponch to the hospital, a paramedic tells them he has lost a lot of blood, but will be okay. At this point, we get a flashback from the "Fast Company" when Bruce became Ponch's new partner.

Back at headquarters, Getraer asks Baker why Nelson was on his own. Baker tries to take the blame himself, but Getraer feels it might have been Poncherello's fault. Getraer asks Jon to join the task force since Bruce is off the task force.

In a warehouse, the thieves are checking out the stolen Viper and Porsche when their boss lady, Monica, yells at them for not checking the guy for a cell phone first. She tells them to get out and go get more.

At a film shoot for the Z-2000, a very expensive car, Baricza is doing traffic control. He says it's just a cover for guarding the car. When Roulette sees a camera, he gets the idea to check with Caltrans for a camera feed. He heads back to headquarters and threatens the Caltrans guy to keep an eye out for carjacking activity.

On the highway, Ponch suggests that he and Jon have dinner in order to catch up. Jon invites Ponch over to dinner with Sandy. Ponch tells Jon to have her set an extra plate since there's someone he wants them to meet. Ponch gets a call that Bruce needs another transfusion, but the blood transport is tied up in traffic. Jon gives the order for Stormy to transport Ponch to the blood van. There's no place for them to land, so Ponch tells Stormy to land on an 18-wheeler. After arguing with one of the guys transporting blood, Ponch gets the cooler, ties himself to a line from the helicopter, and gets lifted out of traffic. He tells Stormy that he's used to it since he's been painting the Golden Gate Bridge for the last ten years.

After a flashback with Getraer complaining about Ponch's behavior and the number of files on him, Getraer is at headquarters again complaining about Ponch's behavior with the helicopter. Ponch says he did it knowing it was risky, but jokes that at least the file cabinet wouldn't tip over since everything is on computers now. Jon interrupts and takes responsibility for letting Ponch go up in the helicopter, but Getraer doesn't want Jon to have to take the fall for Ponch again. Ponch is upset that Jon is taking the blame. As they argue, a young man claiming to be Ponch's dinner date shows up. Ponch introduces Jon to Frank Jr..

That evening, Ponch and Frank Jr. arrive at the Baker home. Sandy warns them to watch where they step and Frankie comments that there are "landmines everywhere!" Apparently, the neighbor's dog has been using their lawn as a toilet for a year now. Jon says he'll have to sue the guy, but Ponch says he knows how to handle it.

As they finish dinner, Sandy takes Frankie out to surf the web and give Ponch and Jon some catching up time. In Jon's garage, Ponch tells Jon how Frankie was two when Carol died. As Jon remembers how Ponch met her, we see a clip from the pilot episode where Ponch saves a woman in a car who rolled over. Ponch says Carol was sick and he took care of her. When Ponch notices some boxes in the garage, Jon says they moved in about a year ago and they're just some things they haven't gotten to yet. It gives Ponch an idea as to how the cars are disappearing.

The next day at headquarters, Jon has McFall look up information on old cases with car theft cases and moving vans while Roulette plays Doom. McFall pulls up a case of a 1976 Bushkin moving van. Ponch figures if it was done with a moving van, why couldn't it be done with a tour bus? McFall asks if he wants them to stop all tour buses. Ponch just smiles.

On the streets, Ponch stops a Wilcox Tours bus full of Russians who don't speak English. Obviously, they're not the car thieves.

On the highway, another smoke bomb is set off under a Mercedes. The woman keeps driving and talking on the phone, so the car thieves ram her. A call comes in for the incident on the 101 Freeway north and Jon and Ponch respond. When the Mercedes swerves onto an exit ramp at Hayvenhurst, it looks like it could be a DUI and they go after that car and ignore the car thieves' Land Rover. They tell the woman to pull over, but she has no brakes. Ponch gets her to climb out of the moving car and onto his motorcycle before it hits a Bill Schirmer Engineering van and explodes.

At headquarters, Getraer tells Baker to stop pulling over tour busses since the tour bus companies have been complaining to the governor.

In the car warehouse, thieves are loading the Porsche into a bus.

Elsewhere, Baker is refusing to go on national TV talking about a dog crapping on his lawn, but Ponch is excited. Ponch promises that nobody will see it because it's in the middle of the day. They're appearing on Judge Judy and everyone at headquarters is watching. It seems like they've got a pretty good case until the neighbor brings in all the neighborhood dogs.

Back at the TV commercial shoot, someone's taking the Z-2000 for a 24 hour road test, but is distracted by the Judge Judy broadcast in the car. At that point, Ponch presents "DNA evidence" in a bag. Figuring that's where the trial was going, the neighbor brings out the "DNA expert of all time", Johnnie Cochran. He says, "If they can't prove the poo, there's not much you can do."

On the street, the thieves spot the Z-2000. Not being able to enter the security code, the test driver leaves the car unlocked. The thieves just hop in and steal it. The test driver brings his girlfriend out and finds the car gone.

As the thieves load up the truck into a bus, the Caltrans guy sees it and writes down the license plate number.

At headquarters, Jon is upset with Ponch because everyone's teasing him about their TV appearance even though they won. He's clearly not fond of Ponch's ideas and his "hot dog impulses", but Ponch is convinced he's right about the tour buses. Ponch calls Jon "boring". Jon calls it "responsible" and says their days of riding together are over.

In the garage, Jon talks with the mechanic and she gives him the names of three places capable of converting a car carrier to a bus.

The Caltrans guy shows up at one of these places and tries to blackmail the thieves with his evidence.

While Ponch and Frankie are out washing the truck, Roulette shows up. They are assigned to find the concept car. When they go looking for the Caltrans guy, they find him missing. Reviewing the tapes, they find the concept car being loaded onto a tour bus.

Checking the last conversion shop on the list, Baker and McFall tell Monica that they're there for a routine inspection, but the thieves point guns at the officers. Poncherello and Roulette arrive to find Baker and McFall's bikes, the stolen Viper, and blood but no sign of anyone. They follow the blood trail to a closet and discover the Caltrans guy.

Baker and McFall are on the bus and Baker manages to turn his radio on. They both try to give out hints on the radio. At headquarters, Getraer figures they're headed south on the 405 toward Mexico. Getraer sends the officers out after them and a fleet of CHP head down the highway as Stormy scouts from the air.

Realizing they're spotted from the air, Monica calls the CHP and threatens to harm the officers while Baker tries to free himself. In the process, he also tells the CHP the entire contents of the bus.

Ponch calls for a felony slowdown and the forward units pull in front of the bus. The bus accelerates and rams the police cars. At the last second, it takes an exit and turns into a construction site. The bus comes to a stop right in front of a large piece of construction equipment. They're trapped.

Getraer arrives at the scene with Sandy Baker. The thieves call with demands and threaten to kill cops if anyone comes near the bus. They demand the helicopter fueled and ready.

Two of the thieves take McFall out to confirm that the helicopter is ready. As they get close to the helicopter, Roulette and Poncherello take the thieves out by surprise. Monica points a shotgun at Jon, but heads to the front of the bus. She turns the bus around and accelerates toward the CHP, smashing through several cars. They make it back to the road and one of the thieves throws smoke bombs out the side of the bus. Monica flips a switch and drops the loading ramp. Ponch and Roulette jump it as smoke bombs explode around them.

Inside the bus, Jon gets free and climbs out the roof. He pulls up the last of the thieves and fights with him on the roof of the bus as Monica continues driving. As the thief falls off, Monica starts swerving the bus to try and get Jon off the roof. She hits the brakes and Jon falls and hangs in front of the bus, looking Monica in the eyes. She spots a gun, but by the time she gets it, Jon is gone. He jumps down from the roof and smashes through the driver's window, hitting Monica. Taking control of the bus, he brings it to a stop.

Back at headquarters, Ponch says his goodbyes. He tells Jon that he's heading back north and hopes it's not another 15 years. Jon tells him that he and Getraer already approved his paperwork for a permanent transfer. Getraer says the governor wanted to know who wrapped up the carjacking case so nicely. He gave Ponch the credit. Ponch gives Jon a goodbye hug. As he's set to go, Roulette gives Ponch a present, glasses with a fake nose and mustache so that nobody will recognize him when he goes to traffic school. They offer him an escort to the freeway and Ponch says he'll see them in about a month. As he pulls out, he turns left where there's a "Right Turn Only" sign. Against McFall's wishes, Roulette chases after Ponch to give him another ticket.

Great Quote

"I'm a by-the-books stickler who uses common sense and cool reason. He's the stubborn, yet crazy risk-taker with an occasional flash of genius. It's a tried and true combination."
-McFall
"Your honor, if they can't prove the poo, there's not much you can do."
-Johnnie Cochran

Cast

Crew

Uncredited

The following person was not credited in the program, but was credited on TNT's CHiPs '99 web site:

References

  • There are a number of references to the pilot episode.
  • There is a flashback of Bruce's first day as a CHP officer from Fast Company.

Fun Facts

Z-2000
  • Filming begin on July 9th, 1998 and ended at the beginning of August.
  • The first script was 150 pages and had to be cut back since it was too long.
  • Michael Dorn did not appear because he was busy with Star Trek: Insurrection, which was due out in December as well as preparing for the final season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
  • Getraer presents an plaque to David Geddes. That's the name of the Director of Photography.
  • He also awards Christopher Morgan, which is the name of a producer.
  • The man on the bike is played by Jonathan A. Baker. He was also in the pilot episode. He is Rick Rosner's nephew. Larry Wilcox's character was named after him.
  • "Stormy" did not actually appear in the 6th season episodes about the Explorer scouts.
  • The "Ultimate driving machine, my butt" guy was played by Stephen J. Cannell who produced The Rockford Files and The Commish. You'll probably recognize him from the end of the credits for those shows where he is typing and then throws the paper in the air to become the production company logo.
  • Sgt. Nelson is riding a Kawasaki instead of a BMW because of money. They found that it was going to be a lot cheaper to blow up a Kawasaki that a new BMW.
  • "Wilcox", the last name of the actor who plays Jon Baker, shows up twice in the episode. Once is on the "Wilcox Tours" tour bus and the second time is on a map drawn on a dry-erase board behind Getraer.
  • The car with no brakes strikes a "Bill Schirmer Engineering" van. Although there is no actual company by that name, there is a Schirmer Engineering corporation. Bill Schirmer is a Hollywood pyrotechnician and special effects wizard. Although he is not credited as working on this show, this is likely a tribute.
  • "Cassar", the last name of the director, appears on the sign for "Cassar's Coachworks" where the stolen cars are stored.
  • The license plate on the bus starts with PCE, just like Ponch's first Firebird.
  • Jon says Ponch was his partner for seven years. While we only got to see five years of them together on the show, it is stated in the pilot episode that Ponch was on probation for six months. That brings us to 5.5 years. Jon left for Wyoming before the start of the 6th season. We can assume that he came back and was Ponch's partner again for another year and a half, until the end of 1984...bringing the total to seven years. After the seventh year, Ponch retired to take care of his son and sick wife. After her death in 1989, he painted for ten years and returned to the CHP in 1999.
  • The first broadcast was rated #5 among cable programs for the week with a 3.5 rating. It was seen by about 3,465,000 people. (In contrast, ER was the #1 network program that week with a rating of 20.5 and 20,400,000 people.)
  • The Z-2000 is a modified 1991 Dodge Stealth, customized by Jay Ohrberg. It originally appeared as the Knight Industries 4000 in the 1991 TV movie Knight Rider 2000.
  • Ponch rescues the Mercedes driver on Roxbury Street, San Pedro. View in Google Maps

Mistakes

  • "Ultimate Driving Machine" is the slogan for BMW, not Porsche.
  • When Ponch is on the highway, he's dressed in street clothes. When he arrives at CHP headquarters, he's in his uniform. When did he change?
  • Bruce is riding a Kawasaki while Ponch and Roulette are riding BMW's. Shouldn't the new Sgt. Nelson get a shiny new BMW?
  • Ponch's wife-to-be was seen in the pilot episode, but is never mentioned again. They obviously weren't dating on the side because Ponch had numerous other dates and was engaged in Head Over Heels.
  • A computer screen pulls up a date of "02.11.76" for the Bushkin van, yet the pilot episode in which it happened aired on September 15, 1977. If the pilot episode happened more than a year before Season 1, it would trigger numerous continuity errors, including Ponch's six month probation referenced in several early episodes.
  • When the Land Rover is chasing the woman in the Mercedes, the right rear passenger door is partially open.
  • There appears to be a camera mounted to a pole on the bumper of a T-Bird they zoom past in the above scene, but it may just be a bicycle rack.
  • Just how fast can someone book their appearance on Judge Judy? It seems like Ponch did it the next day! ... and how can a fool like the defendant even get Johnny Cochran to return his calls, let alone appear in court to defend him?
  • Judge Judy is not a live program. The CHP officers could not have been watching Jon and Ponch the same day they were at the studio.
  • The day after Jon is on Judge Judy, Jon is not wearing his marksmanship badge. After he walks through the door, he is.
  • How did the Caltrans guy get his freeway camera to move off of its mount and around to the back of the bus so that it could zoom in on the license plate? They can only rotate 360°.
  • When Maitlen is using the joystick to zoom in, the shot is reversed. The joystick's label is reversed. The keyboard is backwards too and has the number pad on the left instead of the right.
  • When Ponch and Roulette pull up to the coach conversion warehouse, Ponch takes off his sunglasses while talking to Roulette. In the next shot, he is pointing out the tire tracks and taking off his sunglasses again.
  • When Ponch tells the, "forward units prepare for a felony stop," the squad cars are Fords. When you see the cars in front of the bus, they are Chevrolets. When the bus takes the quick exit ramp, the cars are Chevrolets. When the shot is shown from a wide angle, the cars are Fords.
  • When the bus rams the Explorer and Taurus, it knocks out the headlights and dents the front of the bus. Other shots show no damage and the lights are magically fixed.
  • When Jon is fighting on top of the bus, sometimes you can the safety harness on Jon and the bad guy.
  • When Bruce hits the windshield, it shatters into tiny pieces. Windshields are made of laminated glass and would more than likely remain in one (broken) piece.
  • The thieves go to a lot of trouble to steal a Mercedes that's between seven and twelve years old.
  • Judge Judy's bailiff, Petri Hawkins-Byrd, is missing from the show. There's a fuzzy figure standing in his place when the Judge Judy title comes up, but he's missing when Johnnie Cochran approaches the bench.

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Preceded by:
"Return of the Brat Patrol"
CHiPs '99
Followed by:
"CHiPs Movie"
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