Murdock of the A-Team

Fun Fact:

'The Grey Team' was the very last episode of the series so Murdock's shirt said Fini (finished). The episode was shown out of sequence. In 'Without Reservations', Murdock's shirt said 'Almost Fini' meaning it was the second to the last episode. 'Napoleon' was the word on the first shirt he ever wore on the show. 

The A-Team

Since the story referred to an elite army team which was arrested for a crime they didn't commit and manage to escape, it was only natural that someone from the army would chase them. In the first season, that man was Colonel Lynch. He was the director of the prison the A-team escaped from. Decker chased them from second to the fourth season; Fullbright during the fourth season and Stockwell during the fifth season. 

The A-team

The A-Team

The A-Team was an incredible show. Right out of the gate, the ratings for this show were through the roof. By the time the series was over, it was a mere shadow of its original concept - as the team were no longer on the run and forced to complete "spy missions" rather than battling local thugs.

The show was certainly based on ACTION and it didn't disappoint.

The A-Team was created by writers and producers Frank Lupo and Stephen J. Cannell (who also collaborated together on Wiseguy, Riptide and Hunter) at the behest of Brandon Tartikoff, NBC's Entertainment president. The show was originally conceived as a vehicle to get Mr.T on television after his warm reception in a big screen Rocky sequel.

The A-Team always acted on the side of good and helped the oppressed - even though they were constantly pursued as mercenaries. The show ran for five seasons on the NBC television network, from January 23, 1983 to December 30, 1986 (with one additional, previously unbroadcast episode shown on March 8, 1987), for a total of 98 episodes.

The show is widely known for its cartoon-like use of over-the-top violence (in which people were seldom seriously hurt), formulaic episodes, featuring the ability to form weaponry and vehicles out of old parts, and its distinctive musical theme. The show also served as the springboard for the career of Mr. T, who portrayed the character of B.A. Baracus. Mr.T would go on to have his own Saturday Morning cartoon show and breakfast cereal. In a rather unusual manner, Mr.T would often be considered Mr.T even when portraying B.A.Barachus due to his style being so distinctive.

Some of the show's catchphrases such as "I love it when a plan comes together", "Hannibal's on the jazz" and "I ain't gettin' on no plane!" have also made their way onto T-shirts and other merchandise.

Although not directly referenced in the series, the name of the show comes from "A-Teams", the nickname for Operational Detachments Alpha (ODA). The US Army Special Forces uses the term ODA for their 12-man direct operations teams.

Season One of the A-Team

Season One ratings: 1982–1983: #10 – audience 16,743,300 

The first regular A-Team episode aired after Super Bowl XVII on January 30, 1983 and reached 26.4% of the television watching audience, placing fourth in the top 10 rated shows, according to the Nielsen ratings. Ironically, Dirk Benedict did not play Faceman in the very first episode. Stephen J. Cannell had insisted on Dirk Benedict for the part - based on his performance on Battlestar Galactica as Starbuck. The studios saw it differently and cast actor Tim Dunigan in the role of Faceman. Ultimately, Tim looked too young to have served in the Vietnam war - and Cannell got his way by re-casting the part to Dirk Benedict.

The pilot also did not feature the trademark van, instead we see B.A.Baracus driving a convertible Cadillac. This car can been seen in the show's intro as it features a shot of a very mean Mr..T turning around from the steering wheel of this car with a very mean look on his face.

The first season also featured the character of Amy A. Allen played by Melinda Culea. Rumor has it that George Peppard utterly despised working with her, resulting in her short run on the show. The first season is unique in that the Colonel in charge of tracking and imprisoning The A-Team is the character of Colonel Lynch. In later seasons this character would be known as the more memorible Colonel Decker.

This season looks to have sponsoring from GMC as prominent red GMC emblems are seen on the van at this point in time.

Season Two of the A-Team

Season Two ratings: 1983–1984: #4 – audience 20,112,000

The second season of the A-Team would not only see it's highest ratings ever, but establish minor changes that would carry for much of the rest of the show. Halfway throught the second season, the team lost their "real world" contact Amy A. Allen (a character even developed into an action figure) and saw the implementation of her replacement character Tawnia Baker. Tawnia would be played by Maria Heasley.

It is reported that Peppard and most of the cast objected to a recurring female character as part of the A-Team - but it seemed forced on them for much of the series.

Early in this season, the red visable GMC logos on the A-Team van would become blacked out - signaling a loss of sponsorship or support from GMC.

Most people remember Colonel Decker as being the person constantly after "The A-Team". He would first appear in the show's second season played by actor Lance LeGault.

Pictured above, the season two DVD set would feature an odd error of sorts. Looking closely at the character of B.A.Baracus's left arm prominently shows the name "Mr.T" in the form of a tattoo. Seems odd that the television character would feature the actor's name so obviously.

Season three of the A-Team

Season Three ratings: 1984–1985: #6 – audience 18 593 100

A unique third season episode titled "Showdown!" would feature the brief return of Colonel Lynch, who had not chased the A-Team since the first season. While most third season episodes featured Colonel Decker as usual, he was replaced for one episode by a character called Colonel Briggs. Briggs was played by Charles Napier - who is most famous for playing the character of MURDOCK in Rambo: First Blood Part II.

Season four of the A-Team

Season Four ratings: 1985–1986: #30 – audience 14,517,100

The fourth season would see the A-Team pursued by General Fulbright. In the season finale of the fourth season, General Fulbright would become the first gunfire casualty - after thousands of rounds fired on the show. Ratings at this time were obviously beginning to slip, and the shows very repetitious nature of avoiding pursuit, helping the innocent, busting Murdock out of the mental ward and building a tank out of scrap metal was proving tiresome. A revamp was coming, but unfortunately would not win back the viewers.

Season Five of the A-Team

Season Five ratings: 1986–1987: #53 – audience 9,361,000

The final season of "The A-Team" would almost completely depart from the original concept. No longer were they on the run - but now actually working with and for the government. A new "special effects expert" was added to the team in the character of Frankie Santana. Sadly, the trademark voice-over part of the shows intro was dropped and even the music was changed. The theme song, while the same, was played in a characteristically 80s electronic, punk rock fashion. It would not sit well with the fans - and only 13 episodes of the fifth season would be filmed.

The show then went into sydication - and a previously unbroadcase "lost" episode would premier on March 8th, 1987 - four months after cancellation.

The A-Team on DVD:

From 2004 - 2006 the original series trickeled out on DVD in region one and region two formats.

There was also a box set released that looked similar to an army issue ammo can. in connection with the new movie release - all five seasons of "The A Team" will again be re-released in a unique box shaped like the famous GMC van.

 

The A-Team is being re-released on DVD soon in a A-Team Van Box