Sledge Hammer! – A Cult Classic TV Show Ahead of Its Time


“Sledge Hammer!” is a cult classic TV show that first aired in 1986 and ran for two seasons until 1988. It was a satirical take on the traditional cop show, which featured David Rasche in the lead role as Inspector Sledge Hammer, an exaggerated version of the stereotypical trigger-happy, tough-talking detective. The show was created by Alan Spencer, who was inspired by the over-the-top action films of the time like “Dirty Harry” and “Rambo”. Though “Sledge Hammer!” didn’t receive much attention when it first aired, it has since gained a cult following, and many fans now argue that the show was ahead of its time. In this blog post, we will explore why this cult classic deserves more recognition and how it was ahead of its time.

  1. A Satirical Take on Popular Cop Shows

“Sledge Hammer!” was a parody of popular cop shows of the time. The show’s humor often derived from the absurdity of the situations and the excessive use of force by the main character, Inspector Sledge Hammer. He was a caricature of the typical action hero, with his catchphrase “Trust me, I know what I’m doing” becoming a running joke throughout the series.

The show poked fun at various tropes from the cop show genre, such as the buddy cop dynamic, with Sledge’s partner, Dori Doreau, played by Anne-Marie Martin. Doreau was a competent and intelligent detective, often contrasting with Hammer’s reckless and impulsive approach. This dynamic provided a fresh perspective on the genre, which resonates even today as we continue to see similar partnerships in modern shows.

  1. Absurdism and Surrealism as Comedy

“Sledge Hammer!” also stood out for its unique blend of absurdism and surrealism. The show featured outlandish storylines and character interactions that were intentionally over-the-top, leading to a unique comedic experience. For instance, Sledge’s attachment to his gun was so intense that he would often sleep with it and even take it into the shower.

This comedic style was ahead of its time, as many shows that followed in later years, like “Arrested Development” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”, have incorporated similar elements of absurdity and surrealism into their humor.

  1. Social Commentary and Parody

Another aspect that made “Sledge Hammer!” ahead of its time was its subtle social commentary. The show often poked fun at prevalent social issues, such as gun control, police brutality, and sexism, all of which are still relevant today. By mocking these issues, “Sledge Hammer!” was able to raise awareness about them in an entertaining and accessible way, a feat that not many shows of the time were able to accomplish.


“Sledge Hammer!” was a cult classic TV show that deserves more recognition for its unique blend of satire, absurdism, and social commentary. Though it may not have been appreciated during its time on the air, the show was undoubtedly ahead of its time in many ways. Its fearless approach to parodying the cop show genre, incorporating absurd and surreal elements into its comedy, and providing subtle social commentary on pressing issues make “Sledge Hammer!” a must-watch for fans of cult classics and innovative television alike.

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