Summer Sunday: “Dalton’s Code of Vengeance” (NBC)

"Code of Vengeance" title card (credit: NBC TV)

Near the end of its second season, Knight Rider attempted a spin-off with the two-hour “Mouth of The Snake”, where lone crusader Michael Knight (David Hasselhoff) teamed up with David Dalton (L. Charles Taylor), a mysterious government agent with near superhuman abilities to help beautiful, wealthy widow Joanna St. John (Joanna Pettet) investigate the death of her lawyer husband. Soon, the case led to an international above-the-law criminal, gold, and rocket launchers.

The first spin-off didn’t happen, but the episode may have definitely led to CBS’ short-lived Cover-Up (1984-85).

However, on Sunday, June 30, 1985, NBC premiered the two-hour movie entitled Code Of Vengeance with Taylor reprising the role of Dalton. This time, the character is a Vietnam veteran turned drifter with a camper van and a dog for his companion. The film finds Dalton helping a mother (Erin Gray, Buck RogersSilver Spoons) get justice for her murdered brother, and ends up getting caught in the middle of a war between drug smugglers and gun runners in the Arizona-Mexico border.

With references to Knight Rider and the main character being a cross between Shane and Rambo, the second spin-off Code Of Vengeance was a ratings winner, which led to another two-hour movie in 1986 and two more episodes later that summer. Sadly, the follow-up sequel and the episodes failed to draw in viewers. 

Still, called it bad timing or bad scheduling, Dalton’s Code Of Vengeance had so much potential to be a hit show for NBC, who had success with Knight RiderThe A-Team and Highway To Heaven

Dalton’s Code Of Vengeance would’ve fit right in with the premise of David Dalton traveling across America, going from town to town, helping others in need, righting wrongs with a strong sense of justice. In other words: this David Dalton could’ve been the precursor to Lee Child’s Jack Reacher.

courtesy: NBC TV

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