In 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court, for a crime it did not commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem... if no one else can help... and if you can find them... maybe you can hire The A-Team.
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The A-Team was an American action television programme made in 1980s. The show consisted of four people: three on the run from the government and one who is a patient in a mental institution. They also had a fifth member, normally a journalist, but in the last series he was a special effects man.
These were the good guys, they would try to act all hard and money-grubbing; but they helped out the poor and the downtrodden against bullies and big business. The team members all had different skills, each of which is demonstrated by the end of every episode.
'I love it when a plan comes together.'
Cigar-chewing Hannibal is the leader of the motley, rag-tag group. When there's no soldier-of-fortuning to be done, he usually gets a job as The Aquamaniac sea monster at Universal Studios, or something of the sort. He's a master of disguise. He can look like anyone - an old lady, a tramp, a barman, a doddery old man - you name it, he's looked like it. He is the brains of the group, and as the quote suggests, he's the one that comes up with the crazy-sounding plans.
'I ain't flyin... crazy fool.'
BA Baracus, played by Mister T, loaded down with all his jewellery and mohican hair, is the bad man with the big heart. BA, which stands for 'Bad Attitude', is the tinkerer and bodgerer of the group. If you need something made - or changed into an armoured vehicle - out of little more than scrap, then he is your man. He could build anything out of garbage; he puts Blue Peter3 to shame. BA's foible is that he hates flying, so when the A-Team need to fly somewhere, they have to knock him out first, usually with a spiked hamburger. He also drinks large quantities of milk.
Face (Templeton Peck)
Face is the scrounger of the group, a con man if you will. If something needs to be found, or the bad guys' stronghold infiltrated, then it's Face who can do it. He doesn't have a catchphrase as such, but his signature characteristic is that he has a weakness for women and fine living that often gets him into trouble. Face was played by Dirk Benedict, better known as Starbuck from another TV classic, Battlestar Galactica.
'Howlin' Mad' Murdock was the oddball of the group. He was not actually a member of the team in Vietnam, but served as their helicopter pilot. By the time the TV adventures take place, he is locked in a military asylum, and appears to be deranged. Murdock is the coolest character in the whole show. He is the pilot for the Team, and, as a side line, has all the other characters' special abilities. In several episodes, he also has an invisible dog called Billy. His antics irritate BA.
A Typical Episode
This could be the template with which to make an episode of the A-Team, and most episodes follow it faithfully. The most important thing about the A-Team is that, no matter how much lead they pump from their inexhaustible supply of ammunition, no-one ever dies.
The story begins with either a shot of a poor peasant group being bullied into giving up their farm, restaurant, church, or business and having it trashed by some bad guys; or a couple walking down an alley discussing their farm, or restaurant (or something) being trashed and wondering about hiring the A-Team. In either case, they eventually talk to an old man about finding the A-Team. The old man acts stubborn and difficult; and, at the point when the supplicants decide that they are wasting their time and start to leave, he removes his wig and other make-up and says, 'I thought you were looking for the A-Team?' It's Hannibal Smith.
Breaking Murdock Out
The Team needs Murdock for the job, so they have to get him out of the hospital. Face goes in, pretends to be a doctor, officer, nurse, or relation; and walks out of the hospital with Murdock in a wheelchair.
The A-Team's Entrance
The A-Team go to the peasant's farm, church, restaurant, business, or old age home and pretend to be taken on as staff, customers, or farm hands. The bad guys drive up, see the new customers, staff, or farm hands and say, 'I thought we told you that business would be bad'... or something to that effect. Then they start trashing the place again. The A-Team leaps out, throws one of the goons through a window, and piles the rest in a heap. Hannibal gets the chief bad guy and tells him, 'Go to your scuzzball boss and tell him to crawl back under the rock he came from'... or something equally cheesy.
The Goons' Revenge
The bad guys return home and get chewed out by their boss, the mastermind behind the evil plan. The A-Team then either try to infiltrate the Boss's compound, office, or house... or the bad guys return to the peasants' farm, or restaurant, to even the score. The Team then gets captured and put in a garage, toolshed, or factory; which has an assortment of industrial power tools at hand and a big heavy vehicle of some kind.
The Team Triumph
The Team quickly strips down and converts the vehicle into an armoured personnel carrier. They then burst out of the factory, garage, or toolshed and quickly overpower any bad guys still hanging around. Meanwhile, the boss, his chief henchman and some of their cronies are speeding to finish off the poor defenceless peasants. Murdock steals the boss's conveniently located helicopter, after blowing up and overturning most of the bad guys' cars with home made bombs.
The Team leap out of the helicopter and fight the remaining bad guys. Somehow the chief henchman always ends up fighting BA, who quickly disposes of him; and the boss always ends up fighting Hannibal. The boss looks like he will beat Hannibal, but Hannibal keeps struggling on and eventually punches the boss out. The day is saved.
The peasants are so relieved that they offer the Team the money they owe for hiring them, which is everything the peasants own. The Team says no, keep it; but the peasants insist, and they end up giving the Team just a small amount.
Face works out the various costs and such, and it turns out that they either lose money or make $20 each. Then they spot Decker, the military policeman assigned to their case, and have to make a quick escape to be ready for the next episode.