Judge Milton Hardcastle (Brian Keith) was retired from the Los Angeles Superior Court, but he hadn't quit the fight for justice. In 20 years on the bench he had seen scores of criminals walk free thanks to legal loopholes. Now he was going after the ones who were still committing crimes.
Hardcastle recruited Mark "Skid" McCormick (a racing driver who had been falsely accused of car theft) by getting him paroled into his custody, in exchange for assistance in his crusade.
The Judge was irascible and a little eccentric (wearing T-shirts with slogans such as "Blast 'Em, Tonto!" and "No Plea Bargaining In Heaven"). He lived on a Malibu estate called Gulls Way, which he inherited from his late wife, and his 'no prisoners' approach to criminal justice was at times a little much for the laid-back McCormick.
Hardcastle and McCormick was dismissed by some as just another cops and robbers show. Nearly all of the 65 one-hour episodes included the obligatory car chase (which was understandable since since their car was a bright red Coyote X).
The creator of the series, Stephen J Cannell, was also the creative force behind other action series of the 1980s, including The The A-Team, Hunter and 21 Jump Street (and also the 70s series, The Rockford Files).