In the pilot episode of the NBC television series The A-Team
, which airs on this day in 1983, the go-getting newspaper reporter Amy Allen (Melinda Culea) seeks the help of a mysterious group of Vietnam-veterans-turned-soldiers-for-hire to find her missing colleague in Mexico. An elite commando unit in Vietnam, the so-called A-Team was wrongly imprisoned by the Army. They escaped and began working as mercenaries, doing whatever needed to be done for their various clients while consistently eluding the fanatic Army officers sent to catch them. The A-Team
went on to become a huge hit and make a star of the-then little known actor Mr. T.
Produced by Stephen Cannell and first envisioned by Brandon Tartikoff, NBC’s president, as a volatile combination between films such as The Dirty Dozen
, The Magnificent Seven
and The Road Warrior
and TV programs such as Hill Street Blues
, The A-Team
became a bona fide phenomenon during its five-year run. Despite its late entry to the 1982-83 ratings season, The A-Team
was on its way to a No. 1 ranking by season’s end. It also topped a list of the most violent shows on TV, compiled that year by the National Coalition on Television Violence.