Series: Walker, Texas Ranger
Walker, Texas Ranger
was a combination of martial arts and modern Western, starring Chuck Norris
as Texas Ranger Cordell Walker. Other characters include Cordell's best friend and partner James "Jimmy" Trivette (Clarence Gilyard), Assistant District Attorney Alex Cahill (Sheree J. Wilson), who also serves as his love interest, and veteran Ranger C.D. Parker (the late Noble Willingham).
Subject to much Memetic Mutation
in the 2000s. This is thanks, at least partially, to Conan O'Brien, who used to play unintentionally humorous
clips from the series on his show by way of the "Walker Texas Ranger Lever". As well as the general Memetic Badassness
of Chuck Norris
Features the following tropes:
- Action Girl: Ranger Sydney Cooke from the last two seasons. She hits exactly as hard as her heavier-built male counterparts.
- Action Series: To the point there is a fight scene at least Once per Episode.
- The Aggressive Drug Dealer: Commonplace in cartel-centered episodes, usually a Mexican drug dealer.
- A Day in the Limelight: Usually Walker is the undisputed hero. In "A Deadly Vision", he is almost absent and we see Trivette and CD run around solving the case together, along with a one-shot psychic. Also played painfully straight in the episode "Behind the Badge," where Walker is in the spotlight for a documentary show and Trivette wants to impress them. Too bad it happens to be the one day crime is in a dry spell.
- Alan Smithee: The "Louise McCarn" who wrote "One Riot, One Ranger" and co-wrote "Storm Warning" is actually Leigh Chapman (The Wild Wild West and others as a writer, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and others as an actress) - they were her final scripts.
- All Just a Dream: Blood Diamonds. Big time.
- Always Murder: Most episodes revolve around a murder mystery, usually because some poor schmuck was in the wrong place at the wrong time and got capped for being nosy.
- Amoral Attorney: Basically anyone who isn't Alex. Even those working for the DA's office with her are often shown to be corrupt or at the very least, incompetent.
- And This Is for...: Walker does this to a known cop killer on death row as he beats him down in a mall.
Walker: "This is for that ranger's family. *hits killer with a triple kick combo* And this one's for me. *kicks him through a store window* "
- Anticlimax: Given the amount of law-breaking, cop-fighting kickboxers Texas seems to have, when a villain is arrested with relative ease, it can feel like this.
- Backstab Backfire: The fate of those who try to do this on Walker.
- Badass Beard: Guess who? In his own words:
"The Lone Ranger wore a mask. I wear a beard."
- Badass Police Force: Texas Rangers.
- Bears Are Bad News: Walker gets mauled by one in "Swan Song". Worse, there is a rabid bear in "The Bachelor Party" who easily shreds apart several innocent and not so innocent people. Gage is one of the people attacked by this bear from Hell.
- Big Damn Heroes
- Big Brother Is Watching: "When the eyes of the Ranger are upon you, any wrong you do he's gonna see; when you're in Texas, look behind you, 'cause that's where the Ranger's gonna be."
- Billed Above The Title: Chuck Norris
- Black Best Friend: Trivette
- Bloodless Carnage: When a man in cowboy boots kicks multiple criminals in the head, without drawing blood, this trope is active.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: The cast wishes the audience a Merry Christmas at the end of "A Matter of Faith", C.D.'s last episode before leaving the show at the end of 2000.
- Broken Aesop: How many characters stood up to bullies and thugs, only to get cut down by said thugs a scene or two later? Sometimes, it's because they themselves have been guilty of being in the wrong and are having a change of heart, or they aren't wise enough to deal with their oppressor in an manipulative or calm, controlled manner.
- Not so broken: Stand up to evil, even if it means making the ultimate sacrifice.
- Bulletproof Human Shield: Played ridiculously straight in an episode with a young woman who has been taken hostage and placed in front of a shotgun set to go off at a certain time. Walker finds the villain's hideout, beats him up, and drags him in front of the gun just in time to protect the girl and make the bad guy take the blast. Of a shotgun. True to form, only the bad guy is killed, when in real life, the shot probably would have gone through him, Walker, and the poor girl.
- Bullet Proof Vest
- Bully Hunter: Walker to a T. He will not stand for anyone trying to intimidate or violently imposing their will on others who can't even defend themselves. Walker will then proceed to systematically beat the ever living crap out of any tormentors, proving they're nothing but stupid wimps when up against someone who can actually fight back.
- Bus Crash: Noble Willingham left the show mid season 7, and in the series finale the Big Bad says that he killed his character.
- Technically he was said to have died earlier (the tail end of the episode, "The Avenging Angel") seemingly from heart failure, and in the finale the villain claims the murder, prompting a second autopsy that confirms cause of death was due to poison.
- Butt Monkey: Trivette.
- California Doubling: One of the most notable aversions, filmed on location in Texas.
- Specifically the DFW Metroplex. Many locals were used as extras or even had a line or two.
- Casting Gag / Celebrity Paradox: In "The Moscow Connection", at the very beginning, Trivette reads out a piece of literature describing in an almost poetic way of a stand off between two men. Walker questions what book this is, and Trivette says it is The Secret Power Within. Walker follows this question by asking who wrote it, and is told that Chuck Norris had. He simply shrugs and claims to have never heard of him, earning a track record telling by Trivette of Chuck's achievements in martial arts. Again, Walker says he never heard of him—yet corrects Trivette when the latter makes a mistake in listing Norris' accomplishments.
- In Season 7's "Code of the West", the four main characters talk about who would play them in a movie. Trivette get Denzel Washington, Alex gets Helen Hunt, C.D. gets Paul Newman (kinda sad in hindsight because both actors are now dead) and Walker gets...Chuck Norris. When Walker complains they got Oscar winners, Trivette points out that Chuck was a six time World Karate Champion, which pleases Walker. Good thing since, of course...
- The Cast Showoff: Nia Peeples' vocal talent is featured on several episodes after she joined the cast.
- Clint Squint: Could've easily been called "The Norris Squint".
- Cowboy Cop: Taken literally, and a key element of the show's premise, though he isn't usually rebellious or rule-breaking.
- Crash Course Landing: Played for Drama in the season 8 finale, when an assassin hijacks the plane that newlyweds Alex and Walker boarded to Paris and ends up not only killing both pilots, but destroys part of the controls with his high-caliber bullets smashing into the systems. Walker is forced to radio in a mayday to flight control, which prompts them to give him specific instructions to land the plane, with Alex's help, of course. Said landing is actually not clean; Walker creams a billboard, high-rise parking complex, and the cars inside on the way down to the airport runway because he flew too low. Fortunately, he lands that bird on the money in the end.
- Later becomes a Call Back and Chekhov's Skill for Walker during the Chairman 4-parter in season 9. Gage and Sydney badger an accountant for a rich scumbag into testifying against him and board a private flight back to Fort Worth. However, the Chairman's lackey, the "Wizard," has hacked into the plane's controls and proceeds to depressurize the cabins, knocking everyone out, while cutting off the radio contact and opening up the fuel tanks to help incite a horrific crash. Gabe is lucky enough to get an oxygen mask on, but has no clue on how to fly the plane. Luckily, he has a mobile phone on him that allows Walker to contact him at the first sign of trouble, and Walker has a splendid memory, telling Gabe exactly how to land the plane since his own brush with fate- which ends successfully.
- Crazy-Prepared: In one episode, Walker, in his pickup truck, is being chased by a bad guy in an attack helicopter. How does Walker deal with this? By pulling out an M72 LAW rocket launcher from the back of his truck. There's no explanation offered; he's just that kind of crazy.
- It's pretty much implied the military supplied him with it, as they knew how to counter their own weapon.
- Crossover: Cordell Walker had teamed up with Sammo Hung of Martial Law at least twice.
- Crossover Cosmology: Despite the heavy Christian undertones of the show, there's also episodes that involve other types of spiritual and cultural magic and mythology.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Often at the beginning of the show, or when C.D. Parker was a target, the bad guys would brutally beat up hapless individuals to try to impose their will, or to attempt to intimidate – always unsuccessfully – Walker and his Rangers. C.D.'s disadvantage is his old age and out of shape body. Powerfully subverted in the episode, "Hall of Fame," where C.D. proves he can still take down a wanted criminal.
- Cut-and-Paste Note
- Disneyfication: The series starting around "Brainchild" in Season 5. The episode with the kid and his supercomputer best friend, with a script that would have been more at home in a Disney flick. The show usually had grittier plots beforehand, but as it went on, the episodes began focusing on young kids or teens staying on the right path. CBS and the writers caught wind of the growing kid audience and wanted to reassure the parents the kids weren't watching flat, abhorrent violence.
- Distressed Damsel: Alex Cahill, nearly an example of Once an Episode
- "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: "The Eye of the Ranger" is written and performed by Chuck Norris himself.
- Does Not Like Guns: Villains shoot people. Walker may flash his gun to make an arrest, but he very rarely pulls the trigger. But if you shoot at him...
- The only true subversion is Victor LaRue, who, after three consecutive murder/mayhem sprees, gets shot down by Walker himself when he attempts to train his gun on the Ranger. Trying to rape Alex three times and remorseless killings of innocent people left him beyond redemption.
- Drowning Pit: "No Way Out" centers around this, as Trivette, and whoda guessed, Alex, get kidnapped and imprisoned by Caleb Hooks in a water tank at a sewage treatment facility, which gradually fills up and threatens to drown them, while they reminisce on happier times in hopes Walker will save them a la Clip Show style.
- Dynamic Entry: Chuck Norris flying kicks himself into so many scenes one would be forgiven for thinking this to be his primary mode of travel.
- Every Car Is a Pinto: Amusingly, once, after the villain flies through the back of a pickup truck carrying water cooler tanks, the WATER explodes.
- Everything's Better with Spinning: His "roundhouse kick" is a vital part of the Chuck Norris jokes. Even though what he actually does is called a spinning wheel kick.
- Evil Is Hammy: Oh yeah.
- Expy: All the characters in the initial Hayes Cooper story; later stories use the actors in different roles.
- Fair Cop: Sydney and most of the other female cops who showed up from time to time. Gage too.
- Fantastic Racism: The hate groups Walker and company would go up against and soundly kick their asses. It was also revealed that Walker's parents were victims of this.
- Good Cop/Bad Cop: Walker and Trivette. Who plays which depends on the situation- or who's more pissed off at the time. When Gage and Sydney were introduced, they both played Bad Cop by hard-balling arrested baddies.
- Good Guns, Bad Guns: Strangely applied even to cars.
- Grand Finale: "The Final Showdown."
- Groin Attack: It's even worse when it comes from Chuck's cowboy boots.
- Handy Cuffs
- Hello, Attorney!: Alex Cahill
- Hero of Another Story:
- There was an additional pair of Texas Rangers that showed up when the plot required more police be involved.
- Action Girl Sydney Cooke and Francis Gage, who, amazingly, after being added to the cast got just as many or more story lines as the Originals - Trivette, Alex and Walker.
- Hit Stop: It is guaranteed that Walker and Trivette will each dish out one of these per episode to the bad guys, and probably many more. Sometimes this effect goes all the way into Overcrank. Their fellow Rangers give out a few as well. You can tell who the bad guys are; they never hit hard enough to deliver a Hit Stop.
- Holding Out for a Hero
- Identical Grandson
- I'm a Humanitarian: The villain of "Swan Song" survived a plane crash after it was shot down and got lost in the mountains, going insane and strapping plane parts to his face, then ending up so feral that he began to eat humans and use their bones and skulls as furniture.
- Indian Burial Ground: Focus of the episodes "On Sacred Ground" and "Evil in the Night", both involving burial ground desecration.
- Idiot Ball: To go along with their over-the-top capital-E Evil, most of the criminals in the series seem to lack common sense to a ridiculous degree. It gets to the point where it becomes hard to believe that these so-called evil masterminds were ever capable of accomplishing anything.
- Instrumental Theme Tune: The three pilot movies (aka the first season) and the second season featured an instrumental theme tune. The first half of the third season featured a different instrumental theme, before being replaced by the more familiar tune with lyrics halfway through the season.
- Invincible Hero: Most "fights" in the series are short, one-sided beatdowns, though this is partly due to most of the criminal population of Texas having "punch cop" as their default response to feeling threatened.
- If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: Walker's dilemma in "Final Justice", when he encounters a racist criminal gone free who helped murder his parents. Walker spares the man's life, but still beats him like a bass drum and brings him in for arrest.
- It Never Gets Any Easier
- Kick the Dog: The villains tend to do half a dozen of these before the episodes are over.
- Kung-Foley: Every blow delivered merits these. Earlier episodes had less copious usage of foley and the foley itself was not so over-the-top, but when the show hit its Camp years, the foley got exaggerated, full stop.
- Large Ham: The episode's villains will raise your cholesterol. And the main cast. And the guest stars. Basically the whole series is a Large Ham and Cheese Sandwich.
- Later Installment Weirdness: By its final seasons, it was still an action-adventure series based on Texas, but many odd episodes occured, including several Very Special Episodes with faith-based special guests, rampaging evil spirits, an All Just a Dream episode occurring on the Old West, people stealing super-weapons to use to take on Walker, an episode where Walker and friends must find a missing kid that is being helped by a stereotypical Robot Buddy, and the final episode featuring as a foe a genetically-engineered Implacable Man Super Soldier who's creation was funded by a Right Wing Militia Fanatic group.
- Lighter and Softer: Starting around Season 6. The "Brainchild" episode in particular seemed like it had been written for some '80s Disney flick. There were also more Very Special Episodes, such as a plot involving a mentally disabled child, school bullying, teens using drugs, and young kids getting swept up into the wily ways of bad street gangs. And "Thunderhawk", a late season episode, was a really fluff sci-fi story.
- If one looked at the earlier seasons of Walker it resembles close to a gritty cop show than the later seasons which are more toned down and cartoony in comparison.
- The later seasons also have their share of dark moments. For example Halloween episode "The Children of Halloween" dealt with satanic cult kidnapping young children and planning to kill them. "Lucas" two-parter is also rather dark, dealing with young boy with AIDS and it ends with him and his mother dying.
- Magical Native American: White Eagle, and later on, the Skinwalker.
- Multiple-Choice Past: The mythical accounts of Hayes Cooper's life don't add up, with the very first saying he died and his spirit emerging to help Walker out (or possibly a snake venom-induced hallucination, as Walker had been poisoned at the time he saw Cooper), while another account says he turned in his badge to raise a family, Retconning his so-called death.
- Never Bring a Knife to a Fist Fight (all the damn time)
- New Old West
- Obviously Evil: Some minor episode characters may make a Heel-Face Turn, but the episode's Big Bad or evil group is usually so over-the-top that there is no doubt from the first appearance who Walker's foe will be.
- Only Bad Guys Call Their Lawyers: Played very often, even with frequent criminals who usually know to keep their mouths shut and ask for an attorney. It's so badly done that even Alex—a DA who is not allowed to lie to a suspect—is often seen telling suspects that if they ask for a lawyer, any chance of a deal is off. An especially bad example involves a bratty kid demanding a lawyer before he talks to the cops. His father refuses and basically threatens to beat the crap out of him if he doesn't tell the cops what he knows. The Rangers stand there looking downright amused at the whole thing. Never mind that they just violated the rights of someone who explicitly asked for an attorney.
- Or Was It a Dream?
- Poorly Disguised Pilot: Sons of Thunder.
- Averted and played straight. To elaborate, the two-parter Sons of Thunder spends an absorpent amount of time focusing on new characters Trent Malloy, a Mini-Walker expy that Doesn't Like Guns, his best friend Carlos, and Trent's troubled family. Despite the set up, Trent and Carlos continue to appear on the show afterwards to help the main characters. It wasn't until two years later that a spinoff did happen. It didn't last long, and the characters were never seen or mentioned again in spite of Walker lasting for several years after the fact.
- Rapid-Fire Typing: Trivette, on noticeably dated computers.
- Reality Is Unrealistic: Walker is clearly White, so why are they trying to get the audience to believe that he's half Native Am—wait, what do you mean Chuck Norris is half-Cherokee?
- Redemption Rejection: Mad Dog in the "Mr. Justice" episode where a group of teens with known felonies were brought to Walker's Boot Camp in order to direct them on the just path as opposed to being thrown in jail. Mad Dog only tried to use it as an opportunity to run by stealing a gun and knocking Walker out. Fortunately, the other delinquents chose to help Walker and capture Mad Dog. They even call him out on his choice of actions. In the end, all the other delinquents came out better people, even became officers of Camp Justice, tasked with rehabilitating other teen felons. Mad Dog, however, is sent to real prison with no way out. Had he just accepted the rehabilitation, he would've been free as well.
- Remember the New Guy: The series finale revolves around a gang of criminals, that we had never seen before, breaking out of prison and taking revenge on Walker who supposedly arrested them around the time the first season would have taken place.
- Repeat Cut (Walker's signature roundhouse kick, often in slow motion, no less)
- Roundhouse Kick (Walker's famous finishing move)
- Salt and Pepper: Walker and Trivette.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: In "Family Matters", where a guy acts out of control, believing himself to be over the law due to his sister being in the witness protection program by the FBI. When one of his stints goes too far, he winds up accidentally shooting and killing his sister, and thus the FBI no longer have any reason to keep him out of prison.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: The antagonists who are the arrogant offspring of rich families thinking they are entitled to do anything because of their money and social statuses. Special mentions in "Eyes of a Ranger", where the son of a rich man stalks and terrorizes a teenage girl, claiming her as his "soulmate", even going so far as to leave threatening messages on her answering machine. Thanks to his father, he was kept out of jail. However, a deal with the father by Walker took away his safety net and is put away for good.
- Serial Killings, Specific Target: One episode dealt with a man and woman hitman pair who covered up their targets by killing 7 other random people alongside their target. Their current target being ADA Alex Cahill.
- Sidekick: Trivette, though he insists he's not. This was the joke of one commercial, where Trivette showed a clip of Walker kicking something and commented. "That's his side kick."
- Sniff Sniff Nom ("A plane crashed here.")
- Stock Footage: The episode "The Deadliest Man Alive" mixes footage of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders (the main plot involves Walker and an Interpol agent attempt to stop a would-be assassin from killing an Israeli ambassador at a Dallas Cowboys game) with stock footage of the short-lived United States Football League; which had folded over a decade prior.
- Spy Catsuit: Several, most notably Joan Jett's character in "Wedding Bells".
- Stuffed into the Fridge: Many murder mysteries result in the victim getting a grizzly fate.
- Tempting Fate: In "The Principal", a corrupt drug-dealing high school teacher was about to throw a student off a rooftop for refusing to deal his drugs and threatening to expose him to the authorities. Walker comes in and stops him, the teacher then declares that he'll throw Walker off the building, too. Guess who winds up falling over the building instead?
- The Resolution Will Not Be Televised: The conclusion to the 2005 TV movie Trial by Fire was never made, because CBS pulled the plug on their made-for-TV movie stint. Most fans of the original series will disown the movie as non-canon for straying too far from the roots of the original series.
- Those Wacky Nazis: Neo-Nazis appear in one episode, trying to drive minister Paul Winfield out of town.
- Too Powerful to Live: The Chairman.
- Tranquil Fury: Walker whenever he beats the crap out of mooks and the villain of the week.
- Turn in Your Badge: Trivette is temporarily suspended due to accidentally shooting a child but it turns out the shot came from the criminal.
- Walker made a deal with a known stalker's father that he would do this if his son wasn't caught dealing with drugs in his building and if he is, the father will not try to bail him out this time.
- Very Special Episode: Later seasons began preaching the classic moral ethics children should follow in response to the increasing number of kids tuning in to watch the show, which kept parents from citing the show was too violent.
- Visions of Another Self: The Series Finale has parallel stories of the modern day characters and a set of Old West counterparts.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: One episode where Cordell Walker was supposed to rescue a girl who was trapped in a Christian cult camp ended up having the last several minutes of it focused on Walker rescuing Alex Cahill from the cult camp, leaving the intended rescue target's status in question.
- Another episode, a season finale, had a group of assassins stalking the members of a wedding party (a never-before-seen female Ranger and a never-before-seen assistant DA, along Walker and Alex, of course) who had previously put them in jail. Alex is shot in the ensuing chaos. The next episode opens with Alex being rushed to the hospital and there is never again any mention of the engaged couple, even though the dialogue in the previous episode implies that they were all good friends.
- World of Badass
- Would Hit a Girl: Walker May be chivalrous, but there are times when he is smart enough to make exceptions when the situation demands it, like when he double palm strikes an armed woman trying to shoot him, then the time he backfists another when she was trying to kill Alex and her friend with a time bomb.
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl: There are rarely female villains presumably because of this, and if it comes to a fight, another woman has to do it. That said, the moments where Chuck does indulge in this showed up quite frequently on Conan, such as the third one in this segment.
- However, this trope has not applied to villains, as there are many episodes where the bad guys freely and remorselessly strike women at will, only to get it from Walker and Trivette in the end.
- You Have Failed Me: Many crooks of the week will off their mooks if they screwed up the job. It also applied to those who became defiant or got cold feet during a crime spree and tried to bail out.
- You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry: Walker did this to interrogate a tight-lipped arsonist, effectively getting his message across.
Arsonist: "Forget it! I know the drill. Good cop, bad cop, he [the sheriff] threatens to bust my butt, then you come walking in here."
Walker: "That's right. (Beat) But he was the good cop." *suddenly breaks the table in half with his fist, scaring the arsonist shitless, then pins him to the wall and punches a hole beside his head* "That would've taken out ALL your teeth."
Arsonist: "OKAY OKAY! I'LL TALK!"
When the eyes of the Ranger are upon you
Any wrong you do he's gonna see
When you're in Texas, look behind you
...'Cause that's where the Ranger's gonna be.