Knight Rider

Real Name: Michael Arthur Long

Identity/Class: Normal human with high tech car

Occupation: Former Undercover Police Detective; now agent for F.L.A.G.

Affiliations: F.L.A.G. (the Foundation for Law and Government); K.I.T.T. (Knight Industries Two Thousand); Devon Miles; Bonnie Barstow; April Curtis; RC3 (Reginald Cornelius III); KIFT, Shawn McCormick, Russell Maddock

Enemies: K.A.R.R (Knight Automated Roving Robot), Goliath; Garthe Knight; Adrianne Margeaux, Thomas J. Watts, and numerous others

Known Relatives: Stephanie March Mason (wife, deceased), Jenny Andrews (daughter), Michael Traceur (son)

Aliases: Michael Knight, Garthe Knight

Base of Operations: FLAG Headquarters, Knight Estate

First Appearance: Knight Rider #1 "Knight of the Phoenix" (NBC, 26th September 1982)

Powers/Abilities: Michael Knight is a capable detective and competent, if not superhuman, fighter. His police training makes him familiar with firearms, criminal investigation, interrogating criminal suspects, and law enforcement tactics. He was also an expert driver.

During his service as a member of the Foundation for Law and Government, Knight was partnered with a powerful automobile known as KITT (Knight Industries Two Thousand). KITT was built to appear as a black Pontiac Trans Am but was far more sophisticated. Incorporating a complex, highly developed artificial intelligence computer system, KITT could operate and even drive himself and possessed a number of sophisticated equipments concealed in his chassis. KITT's primary purpose was to preserve and protect Michael Knight's life at all costs. In that, he could even kill another human being if the circumstances warranted but his ethical programming forbade him from doing so unless Knight's life was in peril.

KITTThe entire car was treated with a special molecularly bonded shell that rendered it bulletproof to conventional firearms, and virtually invulnerable to explosives, fire, and impacts. Only heavy artillery or the most corrosive chemicals were powerful enough to breech the molecular shell and damage the exterior of the car. KITT could survive in most environments and more to the point, could protect anyone in his interior compartment in relative safety and comfort even in extreme temperatures, when submerged underwater, or in poisonous atmospheres.

KITT was incredibly fast and could attain cruising speeds of approximately 300 miles per hour for extended periods. KITT later received modifications that incorporated a "Super Pursuit Mode" that was an engine overdrive that boosted his speed over 300 miles per hour and a special extendable airflap emergency braking system that enabled him to brake suddenly even at these extreme speeds. In addition, KITT also had the capacity to propel himself over 50 feet into the air through his "turbo boosts". This was accomplished by explosively expanding the volume of air in the tires and a  carefully timed sequence of rocket thruster bursts. Using the "turbo boosts", he could propel himself over a wide variety of obstacles; walls, people, even other cars.

KITT had a built-in arsenal of flamethrowers, smokescreen dispensers, oil slick sprays, a laser beam emitter, grappling hooks, and high-frequency microwave jammers that could scramble and disrupt virtually any electronic system. However Michael Knight most frequently employed KITT himself as a weapon. With sufficient speed, KITT could bludgeon his way through concrete walls, reinforced steel, and most other obstacles and barricades.

KITT was also a sophisticated mobile crime laboratory, loaded with surveillance equipment  - an array of infrared scopes, x-rays scanners, radar mapping, spectrographs, atmospheric chemical analyzers, even television cameras and audio recorders that he could use to record images or conversations, and if required digitally enhance and augment. He could also accept and download data from the FLAG database and other computers and tap unshielded computers or phone lines within a certain radius of himself.

KITT was also outfitted with dual ejector seats and by careful manipulation of the compressed ejection system, could propel someone several stories into the air. Michael Knight occasionally used this capability to boost himself over obstacles or gain access to a building from the upper areas. As a safety measure, his doors contained a fingerprint scanning system that identified authorized personnel as being permitted to open the doors. The windows could be tinted to obscure the driver and passengers from view and KITT could rotate his license plates to preserve his anonymity.

Michael Knight usually wore a two-way radio that enabled him to communicate directly with KITT even if they were separated. This radio was designed to appear as a regular electronic wrist watch. In addition, KITT could utilize the communications device to perform limited sensor scans and other electronic functions and even monitor Michael's life signs to a limited extent.

The Knight Industries Four Thousand model that KITT was later installed in, possessed all of his previous features but was said to surpass them all. This model also had an "aquatic hover mode" that enabled it to drive on water, and a new non-lethal weapons array, a microwave array that could temporarily stun humans in their tracks or generate a beam that superheated tires and caused them to burst.

History: "...A shadowy flight into the dangerous world of a man who does not exist. Michael Knight, a young loner on a crusade to champion the cause of the innocent, the helpless, the powerless, in a world of criminals who operate above the law..."

Michael Long was a police detective until the fateful day he was shot in the face by a gang of criminals. Officially he died on that day.

Wilton Knight was the head of Knight Industries, a powerful high-tech company. After his son, Garthe, had turned to crime (and was subsequently imprisoned on a remote Pacific island), Wilton set up the Foundation for Law and Government, an agency devoted to bringing down criminals whose money and connections made them otherwise unassailable. Knowing he was dying, he made his friend Devon Miles the administrator of FLAG, and together they set out to pick their main field operative. They needed a man of unquestionable integrity, great courage, and with no past for their criminal targets to track back to loved ones. They found Michael Long.

Long had survived the gun shot but was in critical condition in hospital. It was a simple matter to remove him and alter records to have him officially die. Then FLAG hired top doctors to nurse him back to health and rebuild his face...although the didn't give him back his own appearance. Instead, at Wilton's request, he was given the face of Garthe Knight, Wilton's estranged son. When Michael awoke he had a new face and a new name: Michael Knight.

After an understandable initial resistance to the idea, Michael was recruited by FLAG and partnered with Knight Industries greatest achievement, KITT (the Knight Industries Two Thousand), a virtually indestructible car controlled by a sentient computer. Michael Knight was a maverick and a bit of a loose cannon while KITT was more by-the-book, so their partnership was rocky at first, with Michael originally treating KITT as an object, but the human soon found the temperamental, sarcastic wit of the artificial intellect far too human to be merely a machine. Michael Knight would spend the next several years on the road, wandering across America accompanied by KITT. Using the high-tech capabilities of KITT along with some helpful assistance from FLAG, Michael Knight became the champion that Wilton Knight had sought; protecting the innocent, the helpless, and the powerless from those who would prey on them as a modern day knight. He responded to special missions assigned to him by Devon Miles, his liaison to FLAG, but he also answered anyone's plea for help that he chanced upon. KITT received regular maintenance and repairs from a mobile command center based in a large tractor trailer rig by his engineer, Bonnie Barstow (later temporarily replaced by April Curtis, and eventually replaced by Reginald "RC3" Cornelius III).

One of their recurring foes was KARR, the Knight Automated Roving Robot and a prototype of KITT himself. KARR was the first model and represented a tremendous breakthrough in artificial intelligence but also a disappointing failure. KARR was powerful, intelligent, and totally amoral. It felt nothing about maiming or even killing human beings, even innocent ones who got in it's way. KARR was thought destroyed on several occasions but managed to survive.Another nemesis was Garthe Knight, who escaped confinement to become a career criminal, and who sought to sully the law abiding image of his late father. Michael used their resemblance to his advantage on one occasion by impersonating Garthe. Garthe was enraged by his father's replacing him, and sought to kill his double, even building a specialized vehicle, a gigantic armored tractor rig that he called Goliath, to destroy Michael Knight's KITT.

The two worked closely together for many years, until Michael eventually retired. Michael would return briefly to FLAG nearly ten years after he retired, to be reunited with the computer KITT and a brand new vehicle, KIFT (Knight Industries Four Thousand).

Eventually, a weary Michael Knight decided that his crusade was over and retired. Without a driver, KITT was placed into storage. FLAG suffered financially and was danger of shutting down when Devon Miles brought in Russell Maddock to help resurrect the Foundation as they began work on the Knight Industries Four Thousand-KIFT. Unknowingly to Devon, the profit oriented Maddock had KITT dismantled to sell off some of the valuable parts and microchips.

As Russell Maddock was busy forwarding the KIFT Program, Devon was spearheading support for a new law enforcement program in Seattle where he hopes KIFT will eventually serve as the flagship car for the program. A rogue police officer, Thomas J. Watts was determined to undermine the new Seattle law enforcement programs with their ban on handguns and the new cryogenic suspension prison. His plotting was uncovered by Officer Shawn McCormick, who was shot in the head by Watts. McCormick received emergency surgery and some of KITT's microchips to repair her brain. Discovering that she was banned from taking part in the investigation, and also learning that the Police Commissioner had objected to the expense of her surgical procedure, McCormick resigned from the Seattle Police Department in protest.

When the Mayor was killed in a bomb explosion, the Deputy Mayor gave Devon a 30 day deadline to prove that FLAG had not outlived it's usefulness, or else he would revoke their contract, financially ruining FLAG. Desperate, Devon pleaded with Michael to help, who reluctantly agreed on the proviso that KITT be reactivated for service. Both Devon and Michael were horrified to discover that KITT had been dismantled and some of his essential components were missing, including the microchip installed in Shawn McCormick's brain which they could not remove without killing her. Unable to put him back in his original body, Michael placed KITT inside his own car, a rundown 1957 Chevy, which proved sadly incapable, and they both discovered that the critical missing microchips greatly affected KITT's performance and capabilities. Even as Michael and KITT attempted to prove themselves in the field again, Maddock announced that KIFT was completed. On a test drive, Devon Miles was impressed by the performance of the car, superior in every way to the original, except for it's programming; at the very end of the test when KIFT almost ran over an animal before Devon ordered it to stop, Devon angrily demanded to know why KIFT didn't bother to try and avoid the animal, and KIFT responded that the impact would not have damaged the car. Maddock was apologetic but Devon was adamant. KIFT was superior in everyway to KITT except one. His humanity.

McCormick approached FLAG hoping to find help in her private investigating and KITT discovered that he was still able to access the microchips in McCormick's brain, successfully restoring him to his former operating capabilities. Michael and McCormick joined forces and their investigation uncovered a massive illegal conspiracy behind the crime wave; in a desperate move to save Michael and McCormick from rogue police officers, KITT drove off a pier and plunged into the water, saving their lives. Unfortunately, the Chevy was not watertight and salt water flooded KITT's CPU and apparently deactivated him.

Meanwhile, Watts kidnapped Devon in an attempt to find out how much FLAG knew about his plot, resorting to drugs to force the truth out of him. Devon's age and frailty proved fatal and he died. Michael removed KIFT's CPU and replaced it with KITT. Armored in a new and improved body; KITT, Michael, and McCormick successfully brought Watts to justice. Believing that McCormick was a suitable replacement for him, Michael chose to retire once more as McCormick and KITT began their new and somewhat rocky partnership.

Comments: Played by David Hasselhoff. KITT was voiced by William Daniels. The role of Devon Miles was played by the late Edward Mulhare, Bonnie Barstow by Patricia McPherson during the first season and later returned for the third and fourth seasons, April Curtis who temporarily replaced McPherson's character was played by Rebecca Holden for the second season, and RC3 was played by Peter Parros.

Knight Rider lasted four seasons and 84 episodes. It was produced by Glen A. Larson who also produced other TV shows including Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and Magnum P.I. KITT's signature strobing red sensor was probably inspired from his Cylon aliens of Battlestar Galactica.

Knight Rider spawned a made for TV movie in 1991 titled "Knight Rider 2000" which was technically a sequel to the TV series but many fans felt that was a disappointing. Only David Hasselhoff, Edward Mulhare, and William Daniels were apparently seen important enough to return and no mention at all was made of the other regular guest characters such as Patricia McPherson and Peter Parros. Another made for TV movie called "Knight Rider 2010" was released in 1994, but had nothing at all to do with Michael Knight or even KITT. The car in this movie strangely enough doesn't even receive an artificial intelligence system until the very end of the movie.

A new TV series which lasted a single season from 1997 to 1998, "Team Knight Rider" featured multiple cars and multiple drivers and took place several years after the original TV series and apparently ignored the "Knight Rider 2000" movie as well. It had some connections to KITT and Michael Knight but only peripherally. Critics view this "Team Knight Rider" to have totally misinterpreted the entire history of the original show and point out one of the more glaring errors is that nowhere during the entire run of the television series did anyone ever use the phrase "Knight Rider" which the cast used frequently.  

There has been some talk for years of bringing Knight Rider to the movie screen but nothing developed until in 2004, when David Hasselhoff announced his intention to update Knight Rider as a big screen movie which was tentatively titled "Super Knight Rider 3000"; it is currently believed that it will be called "Knight Rider: The Movie". Hasselhoff also announced that he will also star in the movie although he will not reprise his role as Michael Knight.

The idea of Knight Rider was said to have resulted in the problem of having to cast handsome men to lead in a TV series and how many of them could not act. To solve the problem, they created a show that the car did all the talking for him. Knight Rider clearly inspired a whole generation of high-tech television crime fighters who employed special vehicles to battle injustice including Airwolf, Streethawk, and most recently Viper, which owes more than a nod to the original concept of the supercar with a driver who had facial reconstruction surgery (although they put a bit of a modern twist in making him a former criminal suffering from amnesia).

According to Glenn A. Larson after the show became ab hit, Pontiac dealerships complained of numerous calls and visitors who were looking for black Trans Ams with KITT's numerous features and were disappointed to find out that no such car existed.

Thanks to Michael Higuchi for a lot of the above profile.

There are several Knight Rider websites out there, but of the ones I have seen, I'd recommend the Knight Rider Archives, which covers all incarnations of the show, including the books and comics.

CLARIFICATIONS: Not to be confused with

Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.

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