“State of Sledge”
(Airdate: Jan. 10,1987). When Hammer arrests the leader of a Satanic cult, Internal Affairs insists that the cultist be allowed his one phone call. Soon after the cultist makes the call, the precinct headquarters is surrounded by hundreds of demented devil worshippers. With communications to the outside cut off, Hammer devises a risky plan to lift the state of siege.

Guest Cast: Tom Henschel as Perkins, Darren Powell as Ricky, Mark Blankfield as Slag, Debra DeLiso as Angel, Toni Attell as Officer Grace.

Writers: Al Jean and Michael Reiss.

Director: Daniel Attias.

Trivia: This episode marked the welcome jettison of the network-imposed laugh track, an action brought about by the producers when the show was renewed for the second half of the season.

The concept of devil worshippers wasn’t the usual sitcom fodder, and caused great hand wringing at the network.

In hindsight, this episode bears similarities to the big screen action flick “Die Hard”, despite the fact that it aired long before that influential film’s release.

The makeup worn by the actress portraying “Angel” was intentionally meant to resemble Daryl Hannah’s character of “Pris” from the movie “Bladerunner”.

John Dunsmore, a member of the legendary rock group “The Doors” who also happened to be a fan of the show, played the janitor in this episode.

Guest star Mark Blankfield is a wonderful comic actor who was featured on the late night TV show “Fridays”. Mark also starred in the feature film “Jekyll & Hyde… Together Again” as well as the Mel Brooks directed “Robin Hood: Men In Tights”. He would reappear two other times on “Sledge Hammer!” as completely different characters. A great testament to his talent.

This episode caused mild controversy by a thinly veiled reference to the “Iran / Contra” scandal, which went over the head of broadcast standards, when Hammer imperviously stated: “I’m an American, I don’t negotiate with terrorists.”