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An '80s crime show focusing on the unlikely team of retired judge Milton Hardcastle and ex-con race car driver Mark McCormick. When McCormick's mentor Flip Johnson is murdered and the prototype race car he designed stolen, McCormick steals it back but is caught and arrested. Hardcastle, the judge who originally sentenced him, proposes a deal: Mark will be remanded to Hardcastle's custody if he helps the judge track down 200 criminals in his files who got off on technicalities--beginning with the guy who killed Mark's mentor. Mark grudgingly agrees, and a partnership is born.

The series lasted three years, with Milt and Mark chasing down the bad guys--who, despite the series premise, mostly did not come from the judge's files--while developing a contentious but solid friendship. The final episode concludes with Mark attending law school due to the judge's influence.

Tropes used in Hardcastle and McCormick include:
  • Boxed Crook
  • Boxing Episode: "The Boxer"
  • Busman's Holiday: Repeatedly, but most dramatically in the third season opener, where they are stranded in the wilderness by a plane crash and chased by killers.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Hardcastle's acidic housekeeper Sarah, who vanished without explanation six episodes into season one.
  • Clear My Name: While both of the guys wind up in jail more than once in the course of the series, the major example of this trope is in the Christmas Episode "Hate the Picture, Love the Frame", where Hardcastle is framed for murder.
  • Cool Car: The Coyote, a shiny red custom racecar.
  • Disappeared Dad: Mark's father walked out on him when he was five; Mark hunts him up as an adult and discovers that the man is no more reliable now than he was then.
  • Fatal Attractor: Mark's taste in women runs to the criminal, the manipulative, and the lethally ditzy.
  • Friend on the Force: While Hardcastle knows just about everyone in the Los Angeles police force (and is on good terms with most of them), he has several recurring contacts, most notably Frank Harper in season three.
  • Mistaken for Dying: In season three's "Do Not Go Gentle", Hardcastle is mistakenly diagnosed as having a terminal disease.
  • Name and Name
  • Replaced the Theme Tune: Season one's striking "Drive" was replaced for part of season two with the light-hearted "Back to Back", possibly to reflect the development of the characters' relationship, but the show reverted to "Drive" halfway through.
  • Say My Name: At the end of "Homecoming, part I", Mark screams "HARDCASTLE!" after the judge's car goes into the water.
  • Wild Teen Party: Although the participants are not teenagers.
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