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Episode # 1x01
Air Date Sep 15, 1977
Briefing Sports car robberies
"CHiPs" title

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



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.

Act One

As the officers arrive at CHP Central, 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.

Act Two

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.

Act Three

Later, Ponch and Jon play racquetball with Sergeant Getraer and Fritz. 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, Sergeant Getraer 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.

Act Four

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.

Act Five

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 Getraer and Ponch reveal that he directed a relative of the captain into a ditch...and that he'll probably end up on probation again!

Memorable Quotes

"Attention Hollywood freeway units. Seven Mary Three and Four are now in pursuit, southbound at Vermont."

- Dispatcher on the radio, the first lines of the entire series

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

- Fritz

"Do not pass 'Go'. Do not collect $200."

- Ponch

"Anyway, the captain spoke to the commissioner and there'll be a commendation for both of you. They also told me to tell you that, ah, he and I are very proud of what you did today."

- Sgt. Getraer

"I'm comin' up at one minute to six months. You wanna synchronize watches?"
"Probation's over."

- Ponch and Sgt. Getraer



Also Starring





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


  • 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.
  • Scenes at CHP Central (Central Los Angeles Area Office of the California Highway Patrol Southern Division) were shot at its actual location at 777 W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles 90015-4113.
  • Baricza spotted a Bushkin van headed southbound on the San Diego Freeway at Mulholland.
  • Fritz spotted the Bushkin van headed northbound on the Harbor Freeway at 3rd. This is just north of CHP Central.

Fun Facts

  • This pilot episode had no title on screen.
  • Jon mentions having a brother.
  • When Ponch and Jon return to Central after the glue truck accident, they walk in with Getraer. Unlike future episodes which were shot on a soundstage, you can see outside the building while they're inside.
  • Ponch mentions having been with the CHP for two years.
  • 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.
  • Ponch references Monopoly after catching the car thieves.


  • 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.
California is missing from Ponch's shoulder patch.
  • When Ponch is talking to the woman in the car, "California" is missing from one of his shoulder patches.
  • When Fritz calls in the Bushkin van, he says he is "northbound at third", but never says what highway he's northbound on. When the dispatcher repeats it back to all units, she says, "Attention Harbor units" indicating that it's the Harbor Freeway. How did she know?
  • When the car thieves in the Bushkin van exit the freeway, they cause an accident. Why was everyone going so fast that they couldn't stop in time. The Bushkin van was right before a stop sign. If the van wasn't there, the cars would never have been able to stop at the stop sign.

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