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A Man Called Hawk
Based onlead character by Robert B. Parker
Developed byStephen Hattman
William Robert Yates
StarringAvery Brooks
Moses Gunn
Theme music composerStanley Clarke
Avery Brooks
Lawrence "Butch" Morris
ComposersStanley Clarke
Avery Brooks (final two episodes)
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes13
Running time60 minutes
Production companiesHattman-Yates Productions
Avery Brooks Productions
Warner Bros. Television
Original networkABC
Original releaseJanuary 28 (1989-01-28) –
May 13, 1989 (1989-05-13)
Preceded bySpenser: For Hire

A Man Called Hawk is an American action drama series, starring Avery Brooks, that ran on ABC from January 28 to May 13, 1989. The series is a spin-off of the crime drama series Spenser: For Hire, and features the character Hawk, who first appeared in the 1976 novel Promised Land, the fourth in the series of Spenser novels by mystery writer Robert B. Parker.

Avery Brooks reprised the role of Hawk in four subsequent TV movies: Spenser: Ceremony (1993), Spenser: Pale Kings and Princes (1994), Spenser: The Judas Goat (1994), and Spenser: A Savage Place (1995). Each is considered a sequel to Spenser: For Hire.


On the air for just thirteen episodes, A Man Called Hawk starred Avery Brooks as the title character, who has relocated from Boston to his hometown, Washington, D.C. The series co-starred actor Moses Gunn, who portrayed a father figure to Hawk known only as "Old Man".


On Spenser: For Hire, the character of Hawk was defined by his sharp outfits, streetwise manner, sunglasses (worn even at night), BMW 635csi and the incredibly large long-barreled Colt Python .357 Magnum revolver that he carried with him nearly everywhere. He most often acted as a street resource for his private detective friend Spenser. Notably, Hawk had a clean shaven head, well before Michael Jordan and other celebrities popularized the look in the 1990s.

After spinning off to his own series, Hawk became less of an anti-hero and more of a traditional champion of people that needed help and could not fight for themselves. A deeper personal history was developed for the character, and Hawk became more of a Renaissance man, displaying talents for boxing, chess, playing jazz, and an appreciation of fine African art.

Additionally, the character Hawk appeared in two TV movies with no connection to either Spenser: For Hire or A Man Called Hawk. In Spenser: Small Vices (1999), Hawk was portrayed by Shiek Mahmud-Bey. In Walking Shadow (2001), the role went to Ernie Hudson. See Spenser (TV movies).


A Man Called Hawk was a spin-off of the recently cancelled Spenser: For Hire, which aired on ABC from 1985 through 1988. Brooks co-wrote the theme music for the show with jazz legends Stanley Clarke and Butch Morris, the latter of whom also did most of the incidental music for the show.

The series was also filmed in Washington D.C.[1]

During the first three seasons of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Brooks wore a full head of hair and shaved his goatee, as a means of distinguishing his character Benjamin Sisko from Hawk. However, the goatee was added to Sisko's look near the end of Season 3, and his head was permanently shaven at the start of Season 4. Also on Deep Space Nine, Sisko's old friend and mentor, Dax, was called 'Old Man' by Brooks' character.


No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateU.S. viewers
1"The Master's Mirror"Virgil W. VogelStephen HattmanJanuary 28, 1989 (1989-01-28)17.6[2]
2"A Time and a Place"Winrich KolbeStephen Hattman & William Robert YatesFebruary 4, 1989 (1989-02-04)16.3[3]
3"Hear No Evil"Stanley LathanWilliam Robert YatesFebruary 11, 1989 (1989-02-11)15.2[4]
4"Passing the Bar"Bill DukeJerome CoopersmithFebruary 18, 1989 (1989-02-18)15.5[5]
5"The Divided Child"Winrich KolbeCarleton EastlakeFebruary 25, 1989 (1989-02-25)15.3[6]
6"Vendetta"Sigmund NeufeldJaison StarkesMarch 4, 1989 (1989-03-04)14.6[7]
7"Choice of Chance"Virgil VogelSteve Duncan & L. Travis ClarkMarch 11, 1989 (1989-03-11)12.8[8]
8"Poison"Harry FalkStory by : Joan Parker & Robert B. Parker
Teleplay by : Robert B. Parker
March 25, 1989 (1989-03-25)13.7[9]
9"Never My Love"Virgil VogelSteve Duncan & L. Travis ClarkApril 1, 1989 (1989-04-01)12.3[10]
10"Intensive Care"Virgil VogelCarleton EastlakeApril 15, 1989 (1989-04-15)12.2[11]
11"If Memory Serves"Mario Di LeoJaison StarkesApril 29, 1989 (1989-04-29)6.9[12]
12"Beautiful Are the Stars"Virgil W. VogelStory by : Calvin Hernton
Teleplay by : Calvin Hernton and Steve Duncan & L. Travis Clark
May 6, 1989 (1989-05-06)10.1[13]
13"Life after Death"Harry FalkThomas Huggins & Charlotte ClayMay 13, 1989 (1989-05-13)7.5[14]

Notable guest stars


The TV One network resumed airing episodes of A Man Called Hawk in September 2006.

See also


  1. ^ Gaines-Carter, Patrice (November 17, 1988). "LIGHTS! CAMERA! 'HAWK'!". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 5, 2020.
  2. ^ "Nielsen ratings". USA Today. February 1, 1989. p. 3D. ProQuest 306144802.
  3. ^ "Nielsen ratings". USA Today. February 8, 1989. p. 3D. ProQuest 306179902.
  4. ^ "Nielsen ratings". USA Today. February 15, 1989. p. 3D. ProQuest 306163263.
  5. ^ "Nielsen ratings". USA Today. February 22, 1989. p. 3D. ProQuest 306175741.
  6. ^ "Nielsen ratings". USA Today. March 1, 1989. p. 3D. ProQuest 306152931.
  7. ^ "Nielsen ratings". USA Today. March 8, 1989. p. 3D. ProQuest 306184202.
  8. ^ "Nielsen ratings". USA Today. March 15, 1989. p. 3D. ProQuest 306172200.
  9. ^ "Nielsen ratings". USA Today. March 29, 1989. p. 3D. ProQuest 306173300.
  10. ^ "Nielsen ratings". USA Today. April 5, 1989. p. 3D. ProQuest 306171172.
  11. ^ "Nielsen ratings". USA Today. April 19, 1989. p. 3D. ProQuest 306176608.
  12. ^ "Nielsen ratings". USA Today. May 3, 1989. p. 3D. ProQuest 306197470.
  13. ^ "Nielsen ratings". USA Today. May 10, 1989. p. 3D. ProQuest 306210811.
  14. ^ "Nielsen ratings". USA Today. May 17, 1989. p. 3D. ProQuest 306203436.