Walker, Texas Ranger is an American television action crime drama series created by Leslie Greif and Paul Haggis. It was inspired by the film Lone Wolf McQuade, with both this series and that film starring Chuck Norris as a member of the Texas Ranger Division. The show aired on CBS in the spring of 1993, with the first season consisting of three pilot episodes. Eight full seasons followed with new episodes airing from September 25, 1993, to May 19, 2001, and reruns continuing on CBS until July 28, 2001. It has been broadcast in over 100 countries and has since spawned a made-for-television movie entitled Trial By Fire. The movie ended on a cliffhanger, which, as of 2014, has not yet been resolved. DVD sets of all seasons have been released (with the three pilots packaged with the first regular season). At various times since 1997, reruns of the show have aired, in syndication, on the USA Network and Action in Canada. As of September 13, 2010, the series is shown on WGN America.
The show was known for its moral values. For example, the characters refrained from the use of drugs, and they participated in community service. Martial arts were displayed prominently as the primary tool of law enforcement and occasionally as a tool for Walker and company to reach out to the community. The show has since become one of the most popular action shows in television history and has gained a cult following for its camp appeal.
The show was initially developed by executive producer Allison Moore and supervising producer J. Michael Straczynski when the series was still being produced by Cannon Television. While Straczynski had to depart to get his new series Babylon 5 on the air, executive producer David Moessinger remained to finish developing the series. The show is centered on Sergeant Cordell Walker (Norris), a Dallas-Fort Worth–based member of the Texas Rangers, a state-level bureau of investigation. Walker was raised by his paternal uncle, a Native American named Ray Firewalker (Floyd Red Crow Westerman, pilot episode, Season 1; Apesanahkwat, Season 2). The surname being, possibly, a nod to the 1986 Norris film, Firewalker. Cordell, prior to joining the Rangers, served in the Marines' elite recon unit during the Vietnam War. Both Cordell and Uncle Ray share the values characteristic of Wild West sheriffs.
His partner and best friend is James "Jimmy" Trivette (Clarence Gilyard), a former Dallas Cowboys player, "Go Long T", who takes a more modern approach. Walker's young partner grew up in Baltimore and used football as his ticket to college education. He was dropped from the team after he tore up his shoulder in a major game, which led to his career in the Rangers (often making references to watching the "Lone Ranger" and how C.D. Parker mentored him as a Rookie Officer). Trivette also works inside the office using computers and cellular phones to collate information of the people who have been taken into custody. Walker also works closely (and shares a mutual attraction) with Alexandra "Alex" Cahill (Sheree J. Wilson), a Tarrant County Assistant District Attorney, who on occasion puts up a frown if Walker does not obtain results in time. He also gets advice on cases from C.D. Parker (Gailard Sartain, pilot season; Noble Willingham, Seasons 1-7), a veteran Ranger (later inducted into the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame) who worked with Walker (and is the only character on the show to address Walker by his first name Cordell) until retiring to operate a small restaurant and bar called "CD's Bar and Grill", a restaurant widely known in the series for its chili. In Season 7, two rookie Texas Rangers, Sydney Cooke (Nia Peeples), and Francis Gage (Judson Mills), are assigned under Walker and Trivette's command. "Most of the heroes in mystery dramas are veterans. They are brave, tough, independent, and good shots."
Cast and characters
|Cordell Walker||Chuck Norris||Texas Ranger
|James Trivette||Clarence Gilyard||Texas Ranger||Seasons 1-8|
|Alexandra Cahill||Sheree J. Wilson||Assistant District Attorney||Seasons 1-8|
|CD Parker||Noble Willingham, Gailard Sartain||former Texas Ranger, bar owner||Seasons 1-7|
|Francis Gage||Judson Mills||Texas Ranger||Seasons 7-8|
|Sydney Cooke||Nia Peeples||Texas Ranger||Seasons 7-8|
|Raymond Firewalker||Floyd Westerman, Apesanahkwat||Walker's uncle||Seasons 1-2|
|Trent Malloy||Jimmy Wlcek||karate instructor, private detective||Season 6|
|Carlos Sandoval||Marco Sanchez||police detective||Season 6|
- Chuck Norris as Texas Ranger Sgt. Cordell Walker, a former Marine and a modern-day Ranger who believes in the Code of the Old West. He is a decorated Vietnam vet and a martial arts expert. He is the show's main protagonist. Appeared in all episodes.
- Clarence Gilyard as Texas Ranger Sgt. James "Jimmy" Trivette, Walker's partner and best friend. Appeared in all but two episodes.
- Sheree J. Wilson as Tarrant County Assistant D.A. Alexandra "Alex" Cahill-Walker, whom Walker dates for a while and ends up marrying. Appeared in all but five episodes.
- Noble Willingham (Gailard Sartain pilot) as retired Texas Ranger Captain C.D. Parker, Walker's buddy and ex-partner who owns a bar-restaurant in Fort Worth, Texas. Appeared in 141 episodes.
- Nia Peeples as Texas Ranger Sydney "Syd" Cooke, a rookie Ranger who joins Walker in Seasons 7-8. Appeared in 47 episodes.
- Judson Mills as Texas Ranger Francis Gage, another rookie Ranger who joins Walker in Seasons 7-8. Appeared in 46 episodes.
- Floyd Westerman (Apesanahkwat, Season 2) as Walker's paternal uncle Ray Firewalker (also known as Uncle Ray), who raised Cordell after his parents – John and Elizabeth Firewalker – were murdered. Ray disappeared at the end of Season 2. Appeared in 14 episodes.
- Marco Sanchez as Detective Carlos Sandoval, a detective for Dallas PD. Best friend of Trent Malloy. Often teamed up with Walker and Trivette in cases. Appeared in 16 episodes.
- Jimmy Wlcek as Trent Malloy, son of a pastor and former martial arts student of Walker. Black belt in Karate and runs both his own Dojo and Protection Agency. Often teamed up with Walker and Trivette in cases. Appeared in 13 episodes.
- Cynthia Dorn as M.E. Mary Williams, a medical examiner in most of the murder cases that occurred on the show.
- Vanessa Paul as Josie Martin. Ran 'H.O.P.E.' center created by Alex after a near-death experience. One of Alex's bridesmaids at Alex and Walker's wedding. Did not play a major role in her appearances.
- Frank Salsedo as White Eagle, the spiritual leader of the Cherokee reservation Walker grew up on. Debuted during Season 3.
- Rod Taylor as Gordon Cahill, the once-estranged father of Alex. Also an Attorney.
- Eloy Casados as Sheriff Sam Coyote, the sheriff of the Cherokee reservation and a very good friend of Walker.
- James Drury as Texas Ranger Captain Tom Price. He only appeared during the pilot season.
- Peter Onorati as Sergeant Vincent Rosetti, a New York Police Sergeant with a strong New York accent and a little arrogance.
- Terry Kiser as Charlie Brooks, a clumsy and fast-talking informant for Walker and Trivette.
- Robert Fuller as Ranger Wade Harper, a retired El Paso Texas Ranger who came on board to work for Walker and Trivette.
The show was quite successful in the ratings throughout its run, ranking among the Top 30 programs from 1995 until 1999, and ranking in the Top 20 in both the 1995–1996 and 1998–1999 seasons.
- 1993–1994: 11.7 rating, No. 41
- 1994–1995: 11.2 rating, No. 41
- 1995–1996: 12.3 rating, No. 18
- 1996–1997: 11.0 rating, No. 24
- 1997–1998: 14.4 million viewers, No. 21
- 1998–1999: 14.4 million viewers, No. 15
- 1999–2000: 12.2 million viewers, No. 34
- 2000–2001: 10.3 million viewers, No. 62
In October 1993, Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly gave the series a C+.
Walker, Texas Ranger contains a number of factual inaccuracies between various facets of the show and their real-life counterparts. While many differences are minor and exist solely for the sake of creativity or drama, others are more prevalent. For example:
- Texas Ranger Company B is depicted in the series as being based in Dallas, and it is later implied that the Rangers are headquartered in Dallas; while Dallas is in Company B, the company is actually headquartered in Garland, and the Rangers as a whole are based in Austin.
- Various characters occasionally refer to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) as a seemingly separate agency; however, the Texas Rangers are themselves a division of the Texas DPS.
- It is implied at various points throughout the show that characters have been hired by the Rangers out of civilian jobs; this is impossible, as official requirements stipulate that an applicant for the position of Texas Ranger must have first served for eight years with the Texas DPS.
- The Rangers, such as Walker and Trivette, are often shown working in pairs or larger groups to investigate crimes; in actuality, this is extremely rare, as there are currently fewer than 150 rangers for the entire state, and were even fewer when the show was in production.
Other inaccuracies, while frequent, are less noticeable or severe.
- Walker and other rangers are often shown wearing blue jeans and dark-colored cowboy hats while on duty - violations of real-life Texas Ranger dress code. Texas Rangers use Department of Public Safety cruisers, but these cars have the words "Texas Rangers' in addition to the regular DPS seal. Also, other than plain clothes investigators, Texas Rangers uniforms are identical to DPS officers, but with a Texas Ranger patch.
- Cahill is depicted as an Assistant District Attorney for Tarrant County, but is often shown conducting business in Dallas; Dallas, however, is not in Tarrant County.
- The Texas Highway Patrol is often depicted as using solely Ford Mustangs as patrol vehicles; although the Highway Patrol did operate several Mustangs in the late 1980s and early 1990s, most of these units were retired by the time the show began production.
CBS DVD (distributed by Paramount) has released all seasons on DVD in Region 1, the last set being released on March 9, 2010.The Complete 1st Season contains the three pilot episodes and the first full season being labeled as just the first season. This has confused some fans, as the seasons are wrongly numbered. Seasons 1–6 have been released in regions 2-4.
|The Complete 1st Season||26||June 13, 2006||October 2, 2006||October 12, 2006|
|The Complete 2nd Season||24||January 23, 2007||March 8, 2007||April 12, 2007|
|The Complete 3rd Season||26||June 12, 2007||December 4, 2007||January 10, 2008|
|The Complete 4th Season||26||February 19. 2008||May 28, 2008||July 31, 2008|
|The Complete 5th Season||25||July 1, 2008||October 21, 2008||October 2, 2008|
|The Complete 6th Season||23||January 13, 2009||February 19, 2009||March 5, 2009|
|The Complete 7th Season||25||March 9, 2010||N/A||March 3, 2011|
|The Complete 8th and Final Season||24||June 14, 2005||N/A||March 3, 2011|
|Walker, Texas Ranger: Trial by Fire||1||N/A||January 2, 2007||N/A|
Spin-offs and merchandise
CBS broadcast the television movie Walker, Texas Ranger: Trial by Fire, produced by Paramount Network Television (now CBS Television Studios), on October 16, 2005. Chuck Norris, Sheree J. Wilson and Judson Mills reprised their roles, and Clarence Gilyard shot a cameo for the movie but was not featured due to the filming's conflict with a long-planned family vacation. To fill the void, Judson Mills, who was not in the original script, returned to reprise the role of Francis Gage. Nia Peeples, who played the role of Sydney Cooke for Seasons 7 and 8, was also not featured in Walker's return to prime-time television. The explanation given was that producers decided not to follow much of the original Walker Texas Ranger series, as to give the movie a fresh look. Even the show's original opening credits with the theme "Eyes of a Ranger" performed by Chuck Norris, was absent from the TV movie.
Although the return of Walker Texas Ranger did not garner the ratings CBS had hoped for, indications were that CBS was green-lighting future Walker Texas Ranger "movie of the week" projects. But as of spring 2006, both CBS and the Norris camp have been silent as to the future of the franchise, leaving many to wonder if it will return. Trial by Fire ended with Sheree J. Wilson's character the victim of a courthouse shooting, leaving many viewers to believe that there would be a follow-up movie.
When they announced their fall 2006 prime-time schedule, CBS said that they would no longer be producing "Sunday Night Movie of the Week" projects, which severely impaired any hopes of Walker's return to television in the foreseeable future.
On May 15, 2007, CBS announced its fall line-up, but this did not include the return of the "Sunday Night Movie of the Week."
Sons of Thunder
Most episodes were based on true stories. A short-lived series, Sons of Thunder, featured recurring character Carlos Sandoval, who resigns from his post with the Dallas police and teams up with childhood friend Trent Malloy (a protégé of Walker's), to start a private investigation firm.
Three Walker, Texas Ranger books, written by James Reasoner, were published by Berkley Publishing Group in 1999. The books are now out of print.
- Walker, Texas Ranger (1998, ISBN 0-425-16815-8)
- Hell's Half Acre (1999, ISBN 0-425-16972-3)
- Siege on the Belle (1999, ISBN 0-425-17112-4)
Notable guest stars
|Marshall R. Teague||Orson Wade||"One Riot, One Ranger"||1993|
|Randy Shrader||"Codename: Dragonfly"||1996|
|Rudd Kilgore||"Last of a Breed: Part 1"
"Last of a Breed: Part 2"
|Lieutenant Tracton||"Fight or Die"||1999|
|Emile Lavocat/Mills "Moon" Lavocat||"The Final Showdown"||2001|
|Luis Guzmán||Gomez||"Storm Warning"||1993|
|Judith Hoag||Lainie Flanders||"Family Matters"||1993|
|Brian Thompson||Leo Cale|
|M.C. Gainey||Tingley||"She'll Do to Ride the River With"||1993|
|Craig||"The Bachelor Party"||2000|
|Giovanni Ribisi||Tony Kingston||"Something in the Shadows: Part 1"
"Something in the Shadows: Part 2"
|Tom Virtue||Peter Needham|
|Tobey Maguire||Duane Parsons||"The Prodigal Son"||1994|
|Carli Coleman||Georgia Douglas||"Silk Dreams"||1994|
|James Morrison||Ned Travis||"Mustangs"||1994|
|Danica McKellar||Laurie Maston||"Stolen Lullaby"||1994|
|Ray Wise||Garrett Carlson|
|Doris Roberts||Elaine Portugal||"The Big Bingo Bamboozle"||1995|
|William Smith||Silas Quint||"Final Justice"||1995|
|Dirk Benedict||Blair||"Case Closed"||1995|
|Marshall Colt||Lt. Lee Corbin (his last acting role)||"Whitewater: Part 1"||1995|
|Alex Cord||Larry Curtis||"The Guardians"||1995|
|Officer No. 1||"Sons of Thunder"||1997|
|Rodgers||"Fight or Die"||1999|
|Clifton Collins Jr.||Fito||"El Coyote: Part 1"
"El Coyote: Part 2"
|Robert Englund||Lyle Eckert||"Deadline"||1996|
|Burt Young||Jack Belmont||"Lucky"||1996|
|Rod Taylor||Gordon Cahill||"Redemption"||1996|
|"Texas vs. Cahill"||1997|
|"Wedding Bells: Part 1"
"Wedding Bells: Part 2"
|Terry Kiser||Charlie Brooks||"Mayday"
|Marco Sanchez||Detective Carlos Sandoval||TBD||1997-1999|
|James Wlcek||Trent Malloy||TBD||1997-1999|
|Mila Kunis||Pepper||"Last Hope"||1997|
|John Amos||Pastor Roscoe Jones||"Sons of Thunder"||1997|
|Haley Joel Osment||Lucas Simms||"Lucas: Part 1"
"Lucas: Part 2"
|Mackenzie Phillips||Ellen Simms|
|Gwen Verdon||Maisie Whitman||"Forgotten People"||1997|
|David Gallagher||Chad Morgan||"Brainchild"||1997|
|Paul Gleason||Dr. Harold Payton|
|Randolph Mantooth||James Lee Crown||"Rainbow's End"||1997|
|Dan Lauria||Salvatore Matacio||"A Father's Image"||1997|
|Kyla Pratt||Kyla Jarvis||"The Neighborhood"||1997|
|"Rowdy" Roddy Piper||Cody "The Crusader" Conway||"The Crusader"||1998|
|Paul Winfield||Pastor Roscoe Jones||"The Soul of Winter"||1998|
|Danny Trejo||Joe Lopez||"Circle of Life"||1998|
|Jose Rodriguez||"Rise to the Occasion"||1999|
|Lila McCann||Kelly Wyman||"Eyes of a Ranger"||1998|
|Tobin Bell||Karl Storm||"The Wedding: Part 1"
"The Wedding: Part 2"
|Dean Norris||Powell||"War Cry"||1998|
|Camilla Belle||Cindy Morgan||"Code of the West"||1998|
|Lee Majors||Sheriff Bell||"On the Border"||1998|
|Mitch Pileggi||Paul Grady||"Money Talks"||1998|
|Deion Sanders||Himself||"Rise to the Occasion"||1999|
|Gary Busey||Donovan Riggs||"Special Witness"|
|James Remar||Keith Bolt||"The Principal"||1999|
|Judy Herrera||Rachel Falcon||"Team Cherokee: Part 1"
"Team Cherokee: Part 2"
|Michael Greyeyes||Brian Falcon||"Team Cherokee: Part 1"
"Team Cherokee: Part 2"
|Robert Mirabal||Tall Bear||"Team Cherokee: Part 1"
"Team Cherokee: Part 2"
|John Schneider||Jacob Crossland||"Jacob's Ladder"||1999|
|Rex Linn||Leland Stahl/Lester Stahl||"Way of the Warrior"||1999|
|Randy Savage||Whitelaw Lundren||"Fight or Die"||1999|
|Frank Shamrock||The Hammer|
|Lane Smith||Reverend Thornton Powers||"Power Angels"||1999|
|Scott Weinger||Bradley Roberts||"Full Recovery"||1999|
|Joe Penny||Sonny Tantero||"Suspicious Minds"||1999|
|Dwight Schultz||Lloyd Allen||"Safe House"||1999|
|Frank Stallone||B.J. Ronson,
|David Keith||Cliff Eagleton||"The Day of Cleansing"||2000|
|Sammo Hung||Sammo Law|
|Deron McBee||Luke Warley||"Black Dragons"||2000|
|Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa||Master Ko|
|Byron Mann||P.K. Song|
|Tzi Ma||General Nimh||"The General's Return"||2000|
|Christopher B. Duncan||Defense Attorney Lime||"The Bachelor Party"||2000|
|Joan Jett||Dierdre Harris||"Wedding Bells: Part 1"||2000|
|Mark Cuban||Groomsmen||"Wedding Bells: Part 1"
"Wedding Bells: Part 2"
|Tom Bosley||Minister||"Wedding Bells: Part 1"
"Wedding Bells: Part 2"
|Ernest Borgnine||Eddie Ryan||"The Avenging Angel"||2000|
|Michael Ironside||The Chairman||"Winds of Change"
|T.J. Thyne||Wallace 'The Wizard' Slausen|
|Dionne Warwick||Dionne Berry||"Faith"||2000|
|Barbara Mandrell||Nicole Foley||"Showdown at Casa Diablo: Part 1"||2000|
|Robert Fuller||Ranger Wade Harper||"Matter of Principle"||2000|
|"The Final Show/Down"||2001|
|Hulk Hogan||Boomer Knight||"Division Street"||2001|
|Ryan Bittle||Harley||"Reel Rangers"||2001|
|Laura Bailey||Roberta||"Saturday Night"||2001|
|Mercedes McNab||Heather Preston||"6 Hours"||2001|
|Josh Holloway||Ben Wiley||"Medieval Crimes"||2001|
|Carlos Bernard||Raoul 'Skull' Hidalgo||"Without a Sound"||2001|
|Mitchel Musso||Josh Whitley||"Trial by Fire"||2005|
The series began with Cannon Television, but after the folding of Cannon, CBS assumed production responsibilities and is the ancillary rights holder for this series. Other companies as listed below have also been involved with the series production and/or distribution.
|Amadea Film Productions||TBD|
|Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS)||TBD|
|Columbia Pictures Television||(1993-1996)|
|Columbia TriStar Television||(1996-2001)|
|The Rudy Grief Company||TBD|
|Norris Brothers Entertainment||(1998-2005)|
|CBS Entertainment Productions||(1993-1995)|
|CBS Broadcast International||TBD|
|CBS Television Distribution||(1993-2001), US, TV, original airing|
|Columbia TriStar Domestic Television||(2001-2002)|
|FX||TBD, Italy, TV|
|Italia 1||TBD, Italy, TV|
|Paramount Home Entertainment||(2006-TBD), Germany, DVD|
|Paramount Home Entertainment||(2008, US, DVD, Season 5|
|Sony Pictures Television||(2002-TBD)|
|CBS Television Distribution||(2008-present), DVDs and international|
|TF1||2004, France, TV|
|TV2||(2000-2006), Hungary, TV|
|UFA Film- und Fernseh GmbH||1993, Germany, all media|
- List of Walker, Texas Ranger episodes
- Walker Texas Ranger 3: Deadly Reunion
- at the Internet Movie Database
- at TV.com
- at the Wayback Machine (archived July 9, 2010)