Pilot special (March 24, 1985)
Rod Taylor plays Gen. George Lavin, deputy commander of NATO, in this two-hour pilot
The mid-season TV series
starred Joe Pesci and lasted six episodes.
In "Rod Taylor: An Aussie in Hollywood,"
author Stephen Vagg writes that Rod did this as a favor to executive
producer Glen A. Larson (who produced "Masquerade").
The pilot sets up the New York back story and first L.A. case for pint-sized Rocky "Half" Nelson.
After making a big drug bust, Nelson is hailed a hero and is
offered the chance to be the lead actor in a movie about his life
story. He quits the NYPD and heads to Hollywood, but he is rejected
by the director for being too short -- too short to even play
himself! Before he leaves the studio, he meets a security guard who
encourages him to join the Beverly Hills Patrol, a private security
firm tasked with protecting celebrity residents.
Nelson's primary client is Dean Martin, who is part owner of the Beverly Hills Patrol. Nelson
lives in his guest house, providing security and fixing gadgets
around the estate.
Pesci's other co-stars were former football player Fred
Williamson as the chief operating officer, comedian Victoria Jackson
as a ditzy assistant, and a dog named Hunk. Many former athletes had roles in the series, including football players Dick Butkus,
John Matuszak and Bubba Smith; baseball player Jerry Reuss and boxer Larry
In the pilot plot, two of Nelson's co-workers -- Monica and Jerry
-- have acquired tapes
that show powerful people in compromising positions -- including General Lavin. When Monica is killed
and Jerry mortally wounded, the police captain (played by George Kennedy)
declares the case open-and-shut: murder-suicide. But Nelson suspects foul play and
pursues the investigation.
The source of the tapes is voyeuristic millionaire Arthur
Harrison (played by Robert Webber). He warns his cronies that tapes
have disappeared that show them in compromising positions. In
addition to Rod (General Lavin) the subjects of the sex tapes are Tony Curtis (Antonio Marco, restaurant owner
and mobster), Gary Lockwood
(astronaut Jack Taylor) and Bernie Kopell (entertainment executive).
General Lavin, of course, turns out to be the most honorable of the group of