Viper is an American action-adventure TV series about a special task force set up by the federal government to fight crime in the fictional city of Metro City, California that is perpetually under siege from one crime wave after another. The weapon used by this task force is an assault vehicle that masquerades as a Dodge Viper RT/10 roadster and coupe (later, the Viper GTS replaced the RT/10). The series takes place in "the near future". The primary brand of vehicles driven in the show were Chrysler or subsidiary companies.

The Viper Defender "star car" was designed by Chrysler Corporation engineers unlike most Hollywood Film/TV cars that are usually customized by film picture designers. The exterior design of the car was produced by Chrysler stylist Steve Ferrerio.

 

    Metro City was under siege from the crime wave that was begun by "The Outfit", a crime group led in the pilot by a man known only as Mr. Townsend (played by William Russ), and later led by Lane Cassidy (played by Richard Burgi). The Metro City Police Department, or MetroPol, was unable to get a handle on the situation. This led to the creation of the Viper Project, a special top secret task force created by the federal government to fight the wave of violence sweeping Metro City.    

     This task force used a modified 1994 Flame Red Dodge Viper RT/10 Roadster sports car that could, at the flip of a secret switch, transform from a muscle car into an armored machine known as "Defender".   The "Defender" was an invention of technological specialist Julian Wilkes (played by Dorian Harewood), who was paralyzed during a shootout between police and criminals. The project was delayed by numerous setbacks, mainly because regular drivers were unable to handle this deadly machine. A precision driver was needed for this car.

     Michael Payton (played by James McCaffrey), a top driver for "The Outfit", was leading his team from their latest heist when he got caught in an accident and was injured. Captured, Payton's memory was erased and he was reborn as Joe Astor, an officer for Metropol. Astor proves to be the only one capable of handling the Defender.

     Since the Viper Project successfully made a dent into the profits made by The Outfit, they kidnap Astor and demand that he steal the Defender. He agrees to do so, but changes his mind. In retaliation, The Outfit murders his girlfriend, Elizabeth Houston. As for the Viper Project itself, The Outfit bribes Councilman Strand (played by Jon Polito), the man who approved the Viper Project and orchestrated the erasure of Payton's memory, to help them discredit the Viper Project, leading to its cancellation. However, Astor and Wilkes, with the help of mechanic Franklin Waters (played by Joe Nipote), steal the Viper and gain access to Payton's bank account, using both in a private war against crime.     Astor runs the operation for several months before he is sent to Europe to handle deep cover operations for the U.S. Government, leading to the end of the Viper Team's war on crime.

 

 

 

 

    The series originally aired on NBC during the 1993-1994 season, debuting on January 2, 1994 with a two hour pilot movie. After falling ratings, the series was canceled in April 1994.

The music for the pilot and opening theme for Season 1 was composed by Eddie Jobson. Jay Ferguson took over music composition for the rest of the seasons. He composed a remixed theme of the original Season 1 opening and the brand new Season 4 Opening Theme.

The Dodge Viper RT/10 Roadsters used in Seasons 13 were actually not production models. Instead, Chrysler supplied various left-over engineering mules and prototypes of the Viper (still visually the same). Many other cars in Season 1 were left-over prototypes as well. For example, in the pilot movie, the Eagle Premier sedans with yellow vinyl stripes were drivetrain engineering mules for the LH cars (Dodge Intrepid/Chrysler Concorde).

The special effect "hex snake skin" transformation for the pilot and the first season was done by Metrolight Studios. Tim Claycomb & Tim Eilers took over the transformation sequence after the first season. Sources indicate that it cost $50,000 for each "hex snake skin" transformation scene in the NBC season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

:::VIPER CAST:::
 

James McCaffrey Joe Astor 
Dorian Harewood Julian Wilkes
Joe Nipate Franky Waters

SYNDICATED VERSION CAST

Jeff Kaake Thomas Cole
Heather Medway Cameron Westlake
Joe Nipate Franky Waters
Dawn Stern Allie Farrow
J. Downing  Agent Sherman Catlett

   Joe Nipate is the only character to appear from start to finish in both series. Kaake was removed from the series in season four and McCaffrey brought back in. But it was too late to save the series. Jeff Kaake was also the lead in the extremely short lived series... 'Space Rangers'. 

 

EPISODE TITLES...

Season One 1993: 

1.   Pilot pt1 1.2.94
2.   Pilot pt2 pt2
3.   Once a Thief
4.   Ghosts
5.   Safe as Houses
6.   Firehawk
7.   Mind Games
8.   The Face
9.   Wheels of Fire
10. Past Tense
11. Scoop
12. Thief of Hearts
13. Crown of Thorns 4.1.94

 

SEASON 2... 1996 

Season 2 (19961997)

Shortly after Astor's departure, Metro City was hit by a second crime wave, this time in the form of a team of renegade ex-commandos led by Col. Hanson Dekker (played by Tim Thomerson), a former U.S. Army Special Forces officer who served combat tours in Iraq, Bosnia and Cuba. It was against this backdrop that Thomas Cole (played by Jeff Kaake), a CIA agent with evasive driving experience, was selected to head a new Viper Team. He was delivering the new Viper to Metro City when he was pulled over for speeding by two MetroPol officers, Cameron Westlake (played by Heather Medway) and her partner, an officer named Carpenter (played by Roger R. Cross). It was during this traffic stop that Dekker and his commandos hit the Metro City Bank.

Upon hearing of the bank heist on their radio, Carpenter and Westlake left Cole behind to join their fellow officers at the bank to confront Dekker and his commandos. Officer Carpenter saved Westlake's life by knocking her to the ground when the International Transtar 4300 tractor Dekker was driving smashed through the Metropol roadblock, only to die when he was shot by Dekker's second-in-command, Lee Cyrus (played by Dean Wray).[3] Because of the bank heist, the Viper Project was reborn, with a Metropol liaison to ride shotgun. For this assignment, Westlake's superior, Capt. Harold Benning (played by Mike Genovese), promoted her to Detective and sent her to the meeting place, where she found herself meeting Thomas Cole, the very man she and Carpenter pulled over for speeding. She also met Waters, the original mechanic from the first Viper Project, and Allie Farrow (played by Dawn Stern), Viper's systems specialist.

Despite a systems glitch and the kidnapping of Waters by Dekker and his men, the Viper Team defeated them and rescued Waters. Dekker was killed when his Transtar 4300 was blown up by the team to keep it from crashing into Metro Hospital.

After this victory, the Viper Team carried on its crusade against evil, overcoming such obstacles ranging from interference by Special Agent Sherman Catlett (played by J. Downing), a by the book bureaucrat from the FBI, to the team being discredited again, this time by Lee Cyrus, the man who murdered Westlake's partner, Officer Carpenter.

Cyrus' scheme to discredit the team involved a replica of the Viper in the 'Defender' configuration, which he and his men used to commit vicious crimes, including a murder. This would lead Cole's superior, the Administrator (played by Bruce A. Young), to shut down the team. In defiance of orders to stand down, the team cleared their name and Westlake avenged Carpenter's death.

EPISODES 14 - 35   SYNDICATED 

14.  27 Sep 96 Winner Take All
15.  5 Oct 96 MIG-89
16.  12 Oct 96 Condor
17.  19 Oct 96 Talk is Cheap
18.  26 Oct 96 Diamond in the Rough
19.  2 Nov 96 Standoff
20.  9 Nov 96 White Fire
21.  16 Nov 96 Die Laughing
22.  23 Nov 96 On a Roll
23.  30 Nov 96 Street Pirates
24.  11 Jan 97 Breakdown on Thunder Road
25.  18 Jan 97 Manhunt
26.  1 Feb 97 Turf Wars
27.  8 Feb 97 Forget-me-Not
28.  15 Feb 97 Wheelman
29.  22 Feb 97 Shutdown
30.  1 Mar 97 Echo of Murder
31.  22 Mar 97 Thieves Like Us
32.  26 Apr 97 Cold Storage
33.  3 May 97 Whistle Blower
34.  10 May 97 Black Box
35.  17 May 97 The List 

 

SEASON 3... 1997 

Season 3 (19971998)

After serving as the team's systems specialist for several months, Allie Farrow was reassigned to another post, which left Waters to take care of the Defender's systems and mechanical needs by himself. During this period, the team had to contend with new enemies, including Lena Weisinger (played by Stephanie Niznik), a former Stasi agent turned freelance mercenary, who had a personal vendetta against Westlake for killing her lover, Emil Rurik (played by Mike Dopud), during a shootout.

However, after years of successful operation, the team suffered a tragic loss ... not of one of their people, but the car. A notorious criminal named Giles Seaton (played by Peter Wingfield) concocted a plot to steal the Defender by using a criminal named Terry Hawkes (Jeff Kaake in a dual role), who was turned into a Thomas Cole look-alike with plastic surgery. As Cole, Hawkes successfully penetrated the team's headquarters and, despite being exposed by the real Cole, made off with the Viper. To prevent Hawkes from escaping, the team blew up the Viper, keeping its secrets from falling into enemy hands.

36.  23 Sep 97 Triple Cross
37.  30 Sep 97 Cat and Mouse
38.  7 Oct 97 The Best Couple
39.  14 Oct 97 Hidden Agenda
40.  21 Oct 97 Out from Oblivion
41.  28 Oct 97 Storm Watch
42.  4 Nov 97 Cold Warriors
43.  11 Nov 97 First Mob Wives' Club
44.  18 Nov 97 Getting MADD
45.  25 Nov 97 Wilderness Run
46.  6 Jan 98 Breakout
47.  27 Jan 98 The Getaway
48.  3 Feb 98 What Makes Sammy Chun
49.  10 Feb 98 Paper Trail
50.  17 Feb 98 Regarding Catlett
51.  24 Feb 98 Trust No One
52.  3 Mar 98 Double Team
53.  17 Mar 98 Hot Potato
54.  21 Apr 98 Homecoming
55.  28 Apr 98 Old Acquaintance
56.  5 May 98 Internal Affair
57.  12 May 98 About Face 

 

SEASON 4... 1997

Season 4 (19981999)

In the aftermath of the Viper's destruction, Cole was permanently reassigned to undercover work on other fronts. With the team gone, Metro City was again gripped by an enormous crime wave, forcing the feds to restart the Viper Team a third time. This time, the car they used was a 1996 Cobalt Blue Metallic Dodge Viper GTS Coupe, which, thanks to Wilkes, had the equipment of the original Defender, along with some new equipment, most notably the hovercraft mode. Since Cole had been reassigned, Joe Astor, the original driver, was called back to service. However, Astor would be haunted by his old Payton identity once more.

58.  22 Sep 98 The ReTurn
59.  29 Sep 98 Once a Con
60.  6 Oct 98 Wisegal
61.  13 Oct 98 Holy Matrimony
62.  20 Oct 98 Wanted: Fred or Alive
63.  27 Oct 98 The Full Frankie
64.  3 Nov 98 Honest Abe
65.  10 Nov 98 Aftermath
66.  17 Nov 98 Family Matters
67.  8 Dec 98 The Really Real Re-Enactment
68.  5 Jan 99 Best Seller
69.  6 Feb 99 Seminar from Hell
70.  13 Feb 99 People Like Us
71.  20 Feb 99 My Fair Hoodlums
72.  27 Feb 99 Safe House
73.  20 Mar 99 Tiny Bubbles
74.  27 Mar 99 Of Course, It's a Miracle
75.  17 Apr 99 Holy Terror
76.  1 May 99 Hell Hath No Fury
77.  8 May 99 Attack of the Teki-Ya
78.  15 May 99 Split Decision (1)
79.  22 May 99 Split Decision (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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