Walker, Texas Ranger is an American television action crime drama series created by Leslie Greif and Paul Haggis, (inspired by the film Lone Wolf McQuade) both 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 was 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 2013, 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 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). 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 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.”
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