Rainy Day

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Rainy Day
Episode # 120
Air Date March 2, 1978
Briefing The car thieves / The "creeper gang" stealing cars and Ponch's field trip
Title screen

Brief Plot

Nothing can stop them from their appointed rounds. During a deluge, the motorcycle duo patrols in a car.


Ponch thinks it's going to be a nice day, but Jon feels raindrops. As it starts to rain, a motor home is driving along in front of them with a casino hidden inside.

Down the road, a couple guys on a motorcycle convince a woman to pull over by saying there's something wrong with her wheel. When one of them walks her to the other side of her car, the other guy hops in and steals the car. Claiming he's a hitchhiker, the first guy hops on his motorcycle and "chases" him, leaving the woman all alone.

While Ponch and Jon wait under a bridge on the Hollywood Freeway for the rain to stop, they witness an accident involving a school bus and a car. A car involved in the accident catches on fire. Ponch gets the bus driver out while Jon puts out the fire and everything turns out okay. To win her affection, Ponch offers to take the bus driver's kids in a tour of Central sometime.

Returning to Central, Getraer is starting to assign all motor officers to cars. Hunter is assigned to Appleton. Ponch and Jon arrive soaked to the bone and get ridiculed by Baricza and Grossie. Grossman is assigned to car 26 while Ponch and Jon are assigned to car 18.

At the briefing, Getraer goes over the latest car thieves on the motorcycles. As the briefing ends, he reminds Baker and Poncherello that car 18 is brand new.

In the car, Ponch tells Jon that he read the manual and names what various buttons do. He presses the trunk release button and has to get out in the rain to close it while Getraer watches in disbelief.

On the highway, a man by the name of Sanders accuses the rolling casino operators of cheating him. The casino operators rough him up and leave him on the side of the road. Ponch spots the man on the side of the road. After dropping him off at Valley General Hospital, the partners go to talk to the man's wife. From the conversation with her, they realize he's a compulsive gambler.

Out in the rain again, they notice a man who had an umbrella open out his window. Jon inspects his car and finds a lot of guns hidden all over the place. He also admits to having a "shower gun" because of Psycho. After impounding $1000 worth of weapons (except the "shower gun"), Ponch and Jon spot the car thieves in action and chase after them. They end up in the LA River. After the thief on the motorcycle is cornered by Baricza and Grossman, he slips and our favorite officers nab the guy.

Back at Central, the school bus driver shows up with a bus load of kids. Since their trip to the zoo was canceled, she brought them for a tour of Central instead and Getraer ordered Ponch to give them the full tour. In the other room, Getraer is conducting the afternoon briefing. He updates everyone on the "creeper gang" that is holding gambling operations somewhere in the vicinity. Then Ponch brings the kids through on his tour and explains what goes on at briefings.

Meanwhile, we see Mr. Sanders grab a rifle at his home. His wife sees him and he swears that he's going to get his money back.

When Ponch's field trip tour is over, Ponch gets a date for pizza and Jon gets a call from the gambler's wife. Ponch and Jon head out to find the guy.

They spot him north bound on a closed section of the Glendale Freeway chasing after the rolling casino. Ponch uses the police cruiser's bullhorn to instruct the casino motor home to stop but Mr. Sanders refuses, rams the cruiser, and ends up rolling over. With the help of Baricza and his shotgun, everyone is arrested.

When Ponch and Jon return to Central, the cruiser is all washed and shiny..."except for one minor detail." They debate over who should tell Getraer that there's now a dent in his nice, new cruiser. Just as they're about to tell him, Grossie backs into the dent.

Great Quote

"Good afternoon, Ponch!"
-Twenty little kids
"Anything you need?"
"Yeah. Bus."
-Ponch and Baricza after Baricza has an RV full of people to arrest

Guest Stars



Fun Fact

  • The thunder at the start of the episode is a sound effect known as "Castle Thunder". Originally recorded for Frankenstein in 1931, it has appeared in countless movies and television shows since then. In the late 1980's, Hollywood stopped using the sound effect except for comedic effect.
  • The school bus crash was filmed at the same location as the helicopter crash in Cry Wolf. In this episode, the traffic flows in the opposite direction to real life.
  • When MeTV aired the episode in September 2014, the first briefing was cut.
  • The establishing shot of Valley General Hospital is identical to a shot used in Cry Wolf.
  • This is the first time Ponch or Jon are seen searching a vehicle they've pulled over.
  • When Jon searches the umbrella man's car, he picks up a gun from the seat. This is the first time any CHP officer is seen actually holding a firearm.
  • Baricza holds a shotgun in this episode. It's the first time any CHP officer is seen holding their own firearm in their hands.
  • The final chase takes place near the intersection of the Glendale Freeway and Foothill Freeway. View in Google Maps The guy on the motorcycle who attempted to steal a car also takes an exit at this freeway interchange before leading the CHP into the LA river.
  • When Jon notices Sanders's truck, their patrol car is sitting on the East Mountain St. overpass over the Glendale Freeway. View on Google Maps


  • When the guys on the motorcycle tell the woman there's a problem with her wheel, she drives pretty far before pulling over to check. It seems like she had plenty of opportunity to pull over, but she doesn't until she gets to a deserted side street.
  • In the school bus accident, it doesn't seem like any of the vehicles were going fast enough to cause a car fire or knock the bus driver out temporarily. The lack of damage to the vehicles makes it seem even more improbable.
  • Why does Jon decide to search the umbrella man's car? They've never searched a car before. Seems rather convenient that the first car he decides to search is loaded with guns.
  • Before chasing the car thieves, Ponch tells the woman that a patrol car will be along for her. Although he calls in the pursuit, he never calls for anyone to assist the woman...at least not on screen.
  • The siren while Ponch and Jon's patrol car chase the car thieves is that of a motorcycle. The cruisers don't sound the same. The wrong one was probably dubbed in by the sound editor. Later, when they chase the motor home, we hear the real siren.
  • When we see the casino motor home drop off some passengers, it looks a lot like they're doing it in the CHP Central parking lot.
  • C-18 (Ponch and Jon's assigned car) changes from a 1977 Dodge Monaco when they pick it up at Central into a 1975 Monaco for the remainder of the episode. The interior also switches back and forth (including colors!) IMCDb
  • Although the motorcycle chase enters the river bed at Moorpark Park View in Google Maps, they approach the junction from a different arm of the river. Also, if the guy on the bike had carried on in his original direction after the jump, he'd have had a big lead on the patrol car as they would have had to go around the center channel. View in Google Maps
  • When Jon notices Sanders's truck, their patrol car is sitting on an overpass over a freeway that's still under constructions. Why did they stop there? They're not going to catch many speeders on an empty road.
  • Through the magic of television, the final chase ends on the same section of freeway where it began.

Buy this episode

Preceded by:
"Crash Diet"
Rainy Day
Followed by: