|Air Date||October 4, 1981|
|Briefing||Box office bandits.|
A Hungarian stunt rider causes problems for the CHP as he keeps disappearing from their care to meet his old friend, Maria. Meanwhile, a trio of robbers is stealing money from ticket booths.
Ponch and Jon are escorting Janos (pronounced Ya-nosh), a Hungarian motorcycle star, to the permanently-moored Queen Mary while Grossie covers them in an overhead plane. When two thieves rip off the ticket office, confusion ensues. Jon chases the thieves' car but loses them when they pull into a parking lot with hundreds of parked cars. Later, at the benefit buffet, Janos steals the limo keys from his escort and drives off with Maria. Ponch and Jon chase them in their personal vehicles. Jon blocks him off in front while Ponch covers the rear while the Long Beach PD arrives. On the Queen Mary, Jon helps cook up an excuse so Janos isn't arrested.
The next day, after the CHP has their briefing, Janos escapes from a tour of the Queen Mary's engine room and dives off the ship. When he arrives at Maria's, she is getting on a bus. He steals a truck to chase her. He manages to stop the bus at a park but leaves when Ponch arrives. Ponch goes back to the Queen Mary and Janos pretends he never left the ship. The next day, anticipating a Box Office Bandits theft at the circus, Jon organizes a stakeout. When it happens, the CHP is ready. They catch the bandits, but Janos escapes on his motorcycle...jumping Turner's cruiser.
Bonnie is with Maria so Janos can't kidnap her...but Janos is on the roof of Central. He lights a fire in Harlan's dumpster and kidnaps Maria while the CHP is distracted. Janos abandons the car and steals a truck. Ponch, in the CHP plane, realizes that Jon is closest..."but not close enough." He decides to have the pilot, Bob, bring the plane in close so he can jump on the back of the truck. Janos is so amazed at Ponch's stunt that he stops the truck and praises Ponch while being arrested.
Since Janos is in jail, Jon decides to do the "fire of death" for the widows and orphans at the benefit show. Jon does some minor stunts and then drives the motorcycle through a wall of flames. The Hungarian bodyguard calls Ponch and Jon crazy and everyone laughs as the credits begin.
- Les Lannom as Janos Szabo
- Anita Jodelsohn as Maria Varga
- Zitto Kazann as Imre Kovacs
- Warren Berlinger as Billy Curtis
- Paul Linke as Grossman
- Lou Wagner as Harlan
- Brodie Greer as Baricza
- Michael Dorn as Turner
- Rex Benson as Hubbard
- Alan Abelew as Toby
- Michael Bair as Virg
- Sherri Lubov as Rita
- Gordon Oas-Heim as Garfield
- Joseph Taggart as Long Beach Officer
- James David Hinton as Crest
- Curtis Lynn Taylor as Guard
- Randi Oakes as Bonnie Clark
- Executive Producer: Cy Chermak
- Produced by: William D. Gordon & James Doherty
- Written by: Frank Telford
- Directed by: Michael Caffey
- Executive Consultant: Rick Rosner
- Story Editors: L. Ford Neale & John Huff
- Associate Producer: Randall Torno
- Developed for television by: Paul Playdon
- Music by: Alan Silvestri
- Theme by: John Parker
- Music Supervisor: Harry V. Lojewski
- Director of Photography: Robert F. Sparks
- Art Director: Stephen Myles Berger
- Editor: William Neel
- Unit Production Manager: Donald Gold
- First Assistant Director: Chuck Lowry
- Second Assistant Director: Leslie Jackson
- Script Supervisor: Jack Gannon
- Set Decorator: W. Joseph Kroesser
- Production Consultant: Dave McDannel
- Stunt Co-ordinator: Paul Nuckles
- Recorded at: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios
- Sound: Harlan Riggs, M. Curtis Price C.A.S.
- Wardrobe Supervisor: Shelly Levine
- Makeup: Richard Cobos S.M.A., Walter Schenck
- Hairdresser: Don Lynch
- Casting: Cathy Henderson
- With Appreciation to Glen B. Craig, Commissioner California Highway Patrol
- Motorcycles Furnished by: Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A.
- Filmed in METROCOLOR / Titles and Opticals MGM
- Rosner Television in association with MGM Television
- Anita Jodelsohn (Maria Vargo) previously appeared as Suzanne in The Sheik which had aired in the fall of 1978.
- This is Warren Berlinger's third and last CHiPs appearance. He was previously in Kidnap and The Volunteers.
- Janos sees Maria's bus depart on West Washington Boulevard, just opposite the entrance to Central. He steals the pickup from outside the church on the corner of Bonsallo Avenue. View in Google Maps
- When Janos dumps Bonnie's car and hijacks the truck, there's a airplane in the background. It's Howard Hughes' Spruce Goose in temporary storage while it's waiting to be moved to its new home, the geodesic dome next to the Queen Mary, in 1982.
- This is the only time that we see Bonnie's car, which is a 1980 Ford Fairmont Futura.
- This episode was filmed in the fall of 1980, but didn't air until the fall of 1981 because of the actors' strike.
- In the pre-titles sequence there's a shot of Jon and Ponch escorting the limo over a bridge. The shot has been mirrored - the Queen Mary and docks should be on the right.
"A Simple Operation"