Hawk (TV series)

Hawk is a crime drama series starring Burt Reynolds, which aired on ABC from September 8, 1966 to December 29, 1966. The Screen Gems series was Reynolds' first starring role in a television series since leaving Gunsmoke the previous year.

Reynolds as John Hawk.
GenreCrime drama
Created byAllan Sloane
Written byAllan Sloane
Edward Adler
Don Mankiewicz
Albert Ruben
Directed bySam Wanamaker
Richard Benedict
Paul Henreid
Alexander Singer
StarringBurt Reynolds
Wayne Grice
Bruce Glover
Leon Janney
Theme music composerKenyon Hopkins
Nelson Riddle
Composer(s)Kenyon Hopkins
Nelson Riddle (one episode)
Shorty Rogers (one episode)
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes17
Executive producer(s)Hubbell Robinson
Producer(s)Paul Bogart (producer)
Stan Schwimmer (associate producer)
Kenneth Utt (associate producer)
Production location(s)New York City
Editor(s)Norman Colbert
Arline Garson
Murray Solomon
Donald W. Starling
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time60 minutes (with commercials)
Production company(s)Screen Gems
DistributorColex Enterprises
Original networkABC
Original releaseSeptember 8 (1966-09-08) 
December 29, 1966 (1966-12-29)


Reynolds stars as police lieutenant John Hawk, a full-blooded Iroquois working the streets of New York City as a special detective for the city's District Attorney's office. Hawk is assisted by his African American[1] partner, Dan Carter (played by Wayne Grice). Hawk and Carter deal with various common cases such as murder, organized crime and arson. While facing the brutal daily life of being a detective, Hawk's native heritage and ancestry also cause him to be subjected to discrimination and racism, both on the streets and in the office.

Many of the scenes were filmed on location in New York City, with some interior scenes filmed at the Filmways Studios in East Harlem.

The series also co-stars Bruce Glover as Assistant D.A. Murray Slaken, and Leon Janney as Assistant D.A. Ed Gorton.

Notable guest stars who appeared in this series include Gene Hackman, Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall, Diana Muldaur, Scott Glenn, Diane Baker, James Best, Bert Convy, Elizabeth Ashley, Kim Hunter and Lou Antonio.

While his character is a full-blooded Native American, Reynolds himself has some Cherokee blood from his father's side.[2]


The show was announced in June 1966. ABC made a commitment for 17 episodes. The lead role was given to Reynolds who had some Native American ancestry and played Native Americans in Gunsmoke and in Navajo Joe.[3][4]

"I wanted the Indian thing to come naturally," said Reynolds.[4]

"The emphasis will be on how cops function at night," said producer Paul Bogart. "The people who come out at night would astonish you. They're the weirdos of all time."[5]

A representative of ABC said "it won't be another Naked City where they want to know why the killer pulled the trigger. Hawk won't answer that question."[5]

"We're not going for the psychological approach," said Reynolds. "We're an action adventure show. It's fast paced the music is all brass there's a lot of cutting."[6]

"Hawk is quite a character," said Reynolds. "He's very hostile. I'm hostile too. I don't know why."[5]

Reynolds says his performance was inspired by Kirk Douglas in Detective Story and John Garfield. "Tough and hard... I play Hawk as a catalyst. And how things affect me."[4]

"We're placing no special emphasis on the fact that Hawk is an Indian," said Reynolds. "I'm not running around in moccasins or anything like that."[6]

Reynolds added,"Having been in two TV series... where I hold the horse for someone else this feels great. But I'm not going to fall into the trap of thinking this is my one big chance and if I blow it Im finished. I've had so many disappointments over the years that I've made up my mind: if it doesn't go it's the audience's fault, not mine."[5]

Reynolds says Hawk was originally meant to wear knives on his sleeves but he got that changed feeling it was too gimmicky.[5]

The show was shot on location in New York.[7]

"I do all the stunts because I can do them better than anyone else," said Reynolds.[4]

Repeat broadcasts

Despite being a short-lived series, repeats of Hawk have resurfaced at least three times, as a way to present Reynolds' early work before he became a successful movie celebrity:

  • Repeats of Hawk aired on NBC in the Spring of 1976, to capitalize on Reynolds' success in the same manner as CBS did with his later series, Dan August, in 1973 and 1975.[8]
  • Hawk would later be syndicated to local stations in 1984 through Colex Enterprises.[1]
  • Episodes of the series have also appeared on the digital multicast network GetTV.[9]


No.TitleWritten byOriginal air date
1"Do Not Mutilate or Spindle"Allan SloaneSeptember 8, 1966 (1966-09-08)
Hawk is on a case of a murdered office worker, with its possible link being a religious fanatic named Houston Worth (Gene Hackman).
2"The Longleat Chronicles"Albert RubenSeptember 15, 1966 (1966-09-15)
Hawk falls in love with a girl involved in a murder (Diane Baker).
3"Thanks for the Honeymoon"David Ellis (story)
Don M. Mankiewicz (teleplay)
September 22, 1966 (1966-09-22)
Hawk tries to prove that a man is innocent of murder.
4"Game with a Dead End"George BellakSeptember 29, 1966 (1966-09-29)
Hawk searches for a missing girl. Guest stars include Bert Convy.
5"Death Comes Full Circle"Lou Shaw (story)
Edward Adler and Lou Shaw (teleplay)
October 6, 1966 (1966-10-06)
With the help of his shrewd lawyer, a hit and run killer avoids prosecution. Guest stars include Martin Sheen.
6"The Theory of the Innocent Bystander"Edward AdlerOctober 13, 1966 (1966-10-13)
Hawk is in search of a stolen limousine. But its contents are even more valuable -- $1 million in securities. Guest stars include Robert Duvall.
7"The Man Who Owned Everyone"Andy LewisOctober 20, 1966 (1966-10-20)
Hawk catches a crook, known to have friends in the political arena. Diana Muldaur guest stars.
8"How Close Can You Get?"Lewis Reed (story)
Don M. Mankiewicz (teleplay)
October 27, 1966 (1966-10-27)
A Shakespearean actor receives anonymous letters from a murderer, telling him of his heinous crimes.
9"The Living End of Sisterbaby"Ellen M. ViolettNovember 3, 1966 (1966-11-03)
A model gets murdered, and Hawk suspects that the murderer works in the upper ranks of the business. Guest-starring Vincent Gardenia.
10"The Shivering Pigeon"Leon TokatyanNovember 10, 1966 (1966-11-10)
Hawk is in search of a stool pigeon (Lou Antonio), hoping that he finds him before the mob does.
11"Ulysses and the Republic"Edward AdlerNovember 17, 1966 (1966-11-17)
Hawk's old friend, Ulysses, was murdered in his apartment building; it is up to him to find out who was responsible.
12"Legacy for a Lousy Future"Albert RubenNovember 24, 1966 (1966-11-24)
Hawk tries to recover $250,000 that a crook has hidden before he was sent to prison.
13""H" is a Dirty Letter"Philip S. Goodman (story)
Robert Hamner (teleplay)
December 1, 1966 (1966-12-01)
Hawk searches for the ringleader in New York City's heroin trade. Guest stars include Frank Converse.
14"Some Devil Whispered in His Ear"Mann RubinDecember 8, 1966 (1966-12-08)
A killer threatens customers at an East Side bar.
15"The Hands of Corbin Claybrooke"Robert Van ScoykDecember 15, 1966 (1966-12-15)
Hawk looks for answers when an artist is framed for murder.
16"Wall of Silence"Robert CreanDecember 22, 1966 (1966-12-22)
Hawk reaches out to a mentally disabled girl (Emily Prager), who was an only witness to a murder. Guest stars include Kim Hunter.
17"Blind Man's Bluff"Edward AdlerDecember 29, 1966 (1966-12-29)
Hawk is on a hunt for a murderer with an unusual motive -- all his victims were cab drivers with 7-year-old daughters. Guests include James Best.



Reviewing the pilot the New York Times said it was "too shrill and intense to be entirely winning but it did have enough virtues to suggest the series may find a niche for itself."[10]


Ratings were poor and ABC announced the show's cancellation in October, when 12 episodes had been filmed.[11]

Reynolds later called it "a good show but it went off quickly."[12]


  2. "Burt Reynolds". Inside the Actors Studio. Bravo.; can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YY3cuILM698
  3. Cloak and Dagger Shows Still Strong. Gowran, Clay. Chicago Tribune. June 5, 1966: pg. n8.
  4. Hawk 'Murdered' by TV Movies; Burt Reynolds Looks to the Future. Lowry, Cynthia. Chicago Tribune. November 6, 1966: p. j13.
  5. Television: Honest Injun. By JOAN BARTHEL. The New York Times. July 24, 1966: p. 77.
  6. CAMERA ANGLES: Hawk: flying high. Dutton, Walt. Los Angeles Times. September 18, 1966: p. L4.
  7. Filming Street Scene Draws Bad 'Actors'. Gowran, Clay. Chicago Tribune. August 10, 1966: p. 25.
  8. The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present, by Earle F. Marsh and Tim Brooks (2007), page 592; via Google Books.
  9. Pena, Jessica (April 6, 2017). "Hawk: getTV to Air Burt Reynolds Series from 1966". TV Series Finale. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
  10. TV: N.B.C. Tarzan, He Urbane and Sophisticated: Ron Ely Takes to Vine for New Series A.B.C.'s 'Hawk' Among Shows in Debut. By JACK GOULD. The New York Times (1923-Current file); New York, N.Y. [New York, N.Y]. September 9, 1966: p. 91.
  11. 2 TV PROGRAMS DROPPED BY A.B.C.: 'Shane' and 'Hawk' Going Off at End of December. By VAL ADAMS. The New York Times. October 21, 1966: p. 68.
  12. BURT PRELUTSKY: Two Centerfolds. Los Angeles Times. December 24, 1972: p. K14.
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