Knight Rider

Season 1 Episode 3

Deadly Maneuvers

Aired Friday 9:00 PM Oct 01, 1982 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
58 votes

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Episode Summary

Deadly Maneuvers
Michael stops to offer a stranded Army Lieutenant a lift, only to learn when they arrive at her base that her father has died under mysterious circumstances. With the events surrounding the death highly suspicious, Michael decides to investigate.

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  • Michael stops to give a stranded female Army Lt. a lift to her new posting. But on arrival, they learn the girl's father has been killed in mysterious circumstances, and find themselves driving into a very explosive situation. Good first regular episode..moreless

    'Deadly Maneuvers' is the first regular 'Knight Rider' episode after the Pilot. It's not one of the classics of the series, but as the first standard-length story, it does pretty well, and it's an episode that I like.

    With the template already set in place by Maggie (Pamela Susan Shoop) in the Pilot, here Devon Ericsson, a regular 1970s & '80s guest star (see 'Magnum, p.i.'s second season episode 'Tropical Madness', 'The A-Team's first season 'West Coast Turnaround', several 'Airwolf's et al), is the first of many attractive young females that Michael comes across on the road in the series.

    Likewise, sandwich vendor 'Sanj' continues in the steps of the inept car thieves in the Pilot as the episode's guest "comedy character", a device that would be used in many future episodes.

    Also, people such as myself who grew up in the 1980s might want to look out for Alan Oppenheimer, who besides acting, also did voice work for many popular cartoons of the era, notably 'He-Man and the Masters of the Universe' (voicing Man-At-Arms, Skeletor, and many other characters).

    As – I expect – with many other viewers, I was left rather bemused with the whole thing about K.I.T.T. towing and damaging his "Alpha Circuit", a rather bizarre inclusion to the plot, especially for such a "super car". It seems the writers and producers had not yet got a handle on K.I.T.T. and his abilities at this point.

    As with a number of early episodes, we get a number of scenes with Michael using his own initiative (later on, in some episodes it seemed the writers didn't dare have him be separate for K.I.T.T. for more than two minutes). His posing as a sandwich vendor is reasonably fun, but it's certainly not up to the quirky type of cons Stephen J. Cannell would write for characters in his shows (see 'The Rockford Files', 'The A-Team', etc.).

    Something that stands out with this first regular episode even more than it did with the Pilot, is the early in-episode music. It is very orchestral based, noticeably different to the much more electronically-based scoring that would be phased in later in the season, becoming standard from season two onwards. But – although a bit clunky and corny sounding in places – I for the most part like the in-episode score for 'Deadly Maneuvers'; I particularly like the gentle, relaxed version of the theme that plays as Michael and K.I.T.T. head to the Knight Industries truck mid-episode.

    This is the first time we see Bonnie in the series, although she is not really presented to the viewer as a 'new' character, as if we should already know her (possibly due to it not being sure at time of production the exact order the episodes would air in).

    Also to note is that the Knight Industries truck at this stage has an all-white trailer; it would not have its more familiar black and gold design until later in the season. (The truck can be briefly glimpsed in the background at the end of the Pilot, but with a different black and gold design).

    Devon is much harsher and rather haughty at this stage, seeming to having little time or respect for Michael; this had very much worn away by the end of the season.

    'Deadly Maneuvers' is not without its faults, but I like this one. The story definitely sags a bit in the middle, and is certainly not as slickly produced as some of the later episodes, but on the whole it's a decent plot, and is worth sticking around for the explosive climax, of Michael and K.I.T.T. almost being blown to smithereens on the ammunitions test range. (Much of this, especially the shots of artillery and gun crews, is clearly pre-existing stock footage, but there are also a number of "new" shots mixed in that make for an exhilarating sequence).

    As covered on my reviews for the Pilot, due to only being a young child at the time, my parents only designated me a couple of videotapes during 'Knight Rider's original run on ITV, and so I only had literally a couple of recorded 'Knight Rider's surviving on VHS for a few years. So when my adjoining ITV region Meridian started running the series again in 1994, by this era I could afford to buy my own videotapes, and recorded every episode Meridian broadcast. After they played the two-part Pilot (which I already had a recording of) in the previous two weeks, this was the first "new" episode I had seen for some time. As a result, I watched this one back on video a LOT that following week, and as such, the episode does hold a special place for me.

    All-in-all, whilst 'Deadly Maneuvers' would certainly be surpassed by stronger instalments as the series progressed, as a first regular episode after the Pilot, it does well; I like it enough to give it a very respectable 9.5.moreless
  • Why I watch!

    This is why I watch the show as I really

    Love Knight Rider and was only getting better and better

    At the time. As Michael helps an Army LT as well

    As investigate the murder of her father. Michael shows great

    Martial art skills as well as driving skills in the show!

    No wonder why I love the show and watch it!
Devon Ericson

Devon Ericson

Robin Ladd

Guest Star

Alan Oppenheimer

Alan Oppenheimer

General Duncton

Guest Star

Allen Williams

Allen Williams

Major Sanderson

Guest Star

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Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • In this episode, we see Michael playing a computer game on one of KITT's monitors, and later sitting with his hands arched front of him. The directors & producers deliberately included a number of similar examples (reading a book, etc.) in early episodes, to highlight to new viewers that KITT could drive himself.

    • The sign in front of the tank Lt. Ladd is trapped in misspells "ordnance", reading "ORDINANCE TESTING FIELD, DANGER".

    • When Michael turns KITT around to go into the FLAG semi, the road is shadow free due to overcast skies, but the ensuing shot taken from the perspective of inside the semi shows shadows and sunlit pavement.

    • When KITT skids to pin two MPs to a wall, the long shot shows so much sunlit pavement visible underneath that he clearly was several feet further from the wall than in the close-up that shows him snug against the MPs.

  • QUOTES (7)

    • (playing a video game)
      Michael: Well, these computer things are just a waste of time anyway.
      KITT: Ahem.
      Michael: Oh... Present company excluded, of course.

    • Michael: KITT, go to manual. We're stopping.
      KITT: Why, is there a young lady in the vicinity?

    • Michael: Devon, someone tried to kill me last night.
      Devon: I have an alibi.

    • Michael: What do you say we pay the general a little visit, huh?
      Robin Ladd: Is this a car or a spaceship?
      Michael: A little bit of both.

    • Major: You're gonna be in big trouble, Knight: accosting army personnel, destroying government property.
      Michael: Oh, really? Major, these shells are blue. According to that chart over there, they're armor-piercing shells. What if somebody repainted them? I know it's an awful thought, but just suppose. Well, then they might be... tactical nuclear weapons.

    • Bonnie: What's wrong with you?
      KITT: It's my alpha circuit, Bonnie.
      Bonnie: Your alpha circuit? KITT, the only way that you could damage that is to do something stupid, like (looks at Michael) towing another car... Right?
      KITT: Bonnie, no comment.
      Michael: You're one in a million, pal.

    • KITT: Michael, I detect a certain tone in your voice.
      Michael: Oh, what tone is that?
      KITT: The one where you're convinced you've come up with a brilliant idea. The next thing you know, you're doing something foolhardly and I'm in my surveillance mode.
      Michael: KITT.
      KITT: Yes, Michael.
      Michael: Go into your surveillance mode.
      (KITT beeps into surveillance mode)

  • NOTES (4)

    • There is no narration over the opening sequence, just instrumentals.

    • This is the first of Alan Oppenheimer's two, unrelated appearances on Knight Rider. He can also be seen in season three's "Custom Made Killer."

    • Music: Steely Dan's "Rikki Don't Lose That Number"

    • This is the first episode to feature Patricia McPherson as Dr. Bonnie Barstow, though she just appears as if we're already familiar with the character. It's also the first episode to feature the Knight Industries semi, though here the trailer section has a plain white side, not its familiar black side with gold stripe and Knight logo that it acquires in episode 14.