SOS Archive Excerpts Mast


Last Updated: 18 October 2000



Richard Burgi appeared in the pilot of a new show on Fox called Action which will air Thursdays at 9:30, whenever Fox's new season starts. He played an action film star named Cole Riccardi and could possibly become a recurring character.

For more news on Richard Burgi, visit The RBFC site at:

(Thanks Carla and the RBFC)


Thanks to Steffi for the translation of the following article which appeared in Germany's TV Highlights magazine - Issue 141 15 July 99

The Sentinel - in the eye of the Hunter
Sharp Senses, Solid Fists

In old tribal cultures, every village had a Sentinel. The Sentinel was chosen upon a genetic advantage: a sensory awareness which is more developed than of other people. I have hundreds of documented cases of one or two hyperactive senses but none with all five. You could be the one I am looking for..."

With those words spoken by the young scientist Blair Sandburg each episode of the spectacular action-fantasy series The Sentinel - in the eye of the hunter starts, and which is on the air again prime-time PRO7 since June 7.

Caption (left): With the weapon in hand against crime: The Sentinel (Richard Burgi)

Hadn't two theater enthused students met over 20 years ago at a performance of the California State University, this different police-story of the sensitive detective Jim Ellison would never have happened. Danny Bilson, born in Los Angeles, and Paul DeMeo, coming from Buffalo, quickly figured out their same love for adventure stories and old action movies. They sat together and began writing theater pieces. As other famous writer clubs (e.g., Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond) they spent more time together than with their current girlfriends.

In the eighties the both had their breakthrough with Science Fiction B- Movies such as Future Cops (1985), Destroyers, Zone Troopers (both 1986) and the comedy Scout Academy (1988). For TV Bilson / DeMeo wrote 1990 the interesting but only short-lived fantasies show The Flash. Today Paul still goes into raptures about remembering: "Gosh, what did I love this show. We had a lot of new ideas and were going to write the scripts for the second season, when the TV station told us it had been canceled."

The following works Rocketeer (1991) and The Human Target (1992) didn't succeed either. Then the two producers catapulted themselves with two international successful action shows to the top of the US TV charts. Viper (1994) and finally The Sentinel (1996).

CBS wasn't interested in a story about a cop with heightened senses. After Warner didn't want The Sentinel, even though one of the leading producers Ron Taylor voted for it, the script ended up in a desk drawer. When Taylor moved to another company the time for the Cop Ellison had come. UPN wanted a test script but the writing friends Bilson and DeMeo, who were working on two movie-scripts at that time, demanded a warranty for a pilot movie, which they got. The outcome: 65 episodes of The Sentinel and a compassionate fan-community, which goes through hell and high waters for their series.

Caption (right): Sometimes the unequal friends must go to the extreme

Detective James Ellison lives in the fictional city of Cascade and is a successful police officer. After a helicopter accident he was the only survivor of, his five senses became heightened. Since his 18-month stay with a tribe in the jungles of Peru, he has been capable of seeing finger prints with his eyes, smelling scents over great distances, eavesdrop on arguments, feel certain motions in the air and detect microscopic surface breaches by touch. Thus The Sentinel is one sole annoyance for criminals.

But his superior, Captain Simon Banks, is not always enthusiastic since James has problems to deal with his new capabilities. Help comes in form of the anthropologist Blair Sandburg whose dissertation is about the phenomenon of Sentinels. He is more than happy to have found in Ellison the first modern of his kind. A friendship develops between the two private completely different men, which cannot be shaken. Nonetheless, they fight word battles in a funny and sometimes fierce manner in which James calls his ponytail wearing partner ironically 'Chief'.

Besides the especially in the third and the fourth season spectacular chasing and action scenes, the only real replacement for MacGyver has gained a fanatic fan- community precisely because the interpersonal involvement adds spice to the show. When in spring 1998 it became known the series would be canceled the protest streamed. The fans bought entire ad pages in TV and movie magazines to emphasize their protest. On the Internet a Sentinel Webring had been founded to promote a continuation of the adventures of detective Jim Ellison. There are still 90,000 (!) entries for the search string The Sentinel today.

The wave of protest doesn't fail its effect. UPN decided to order a fourth season. Main actor Richard Burgi: "Although the fans had a great deal in this, I hope that a further reason for coming back was the capability of the relevant people working at the TV station to learn. They made an error by canceling a successful and high quality product and had the bravery to correct it."

Caption (left): For the super hearing, safes with number locks are not a problem

For the authors Bilson and DeMeo it had been a wonderful experience in learning not to be completely helpless in facing a sudden cancellation. Due to the bad memories regarding The Flash both of them are immensely grateful for the support: "The enormous fan- echo did put a tremendous pressure on all of us. This made finally the difference."

Admittedly the fourth season only consists of 8 episodes, but they are rich. Each of the particular lavishly arranged stories costs 1.85 Million Dollars: a record for TV shows! All went through much trouble improving their work. This was what we owed the fans (Bilson).

Whether there will be a fifth season isn't decided yet. The last episode The Sentinel by Blair Sandburg is not a cliffhanger but ties-up many loose ends for a harmonic conclusion. Yet everyone, authors and actors, are open for continuation. Should the financial backer decide otherwise they already know what they'll catch!


James "Jim" Ellison
had survived as the only soldier of a covert ops troop a helicopter crash in the jungles of Peru. While his involuntary 18-months stay in the wilderness, his senses became heightened. He can see, smell, feel, taste and hear better than others. After his rescue from the primeval forest he returns to the city of Cascade. As a detective his extraordinary senses stand in good stead. As support and help his superior put the young Blair Sandburg at his site.

Richard Burgi
was born July 30, 1958 in Montclair, N.J. After traveling through Europe and the rest of the United States the son of theater loving parents decides to become an actor. In Manhattan Burgi earned his first money with commercials and small roles before he became known as Chad Rollo in the soap opera Another World. After roles in shows such as As The World Turns and Days of Our Lives, he played his first bigger part in the TV movie Chameleons in 1989 at the side of Stewart Granger. To force his career the nature lover and enthusiastic surfer moves to Los Angeles and soon has success. In the Hit series Viper Richard plays 1994 the diabolic Lane Cassidy and in One West Waikiki he can adore his partner Cherryl Ladd as a detective Mack Wolfe. The producers of Viper were shortly after looking for a main character for their newest project named The Sentinel.

Besides working for TV Richard, who engages himself heartily for ecological themes, plays the drums and likes traveling, still finds time to do movies. Thus we will see the married father of a 2-year old son soon* in the sci-fi movie I Married a Monster. What does only his wife think about this title?

*note: the movie hasn't been aired yet in Germany


Blair Sandburg
is a young anthropology student who is working on his dissertation on Sentinels. He will prove Sir Richard Burton's thesis that people with a certain genetic advantage can improve their senses by spending a longer time in the wilderness and solitude. Up to now this individual lived only in pre civilized cultures but Sandburg considers Jim for the modern version of this kind. Blair is for the Sentinel some sort of 'Guide' helping him to understand and control his senses.

Garett Maggart
comes from an actor family and was born in May 24, 1969. He gave his debut in the series Brothers in which his father played a part. After he had a tiny part in Garp and how he saw the world (The World According to Garp) as a child (1982 with Robin Williams), the boy decides to stay in this business. In the TV series Frasier Garett gives a memorable performance as the crazy technician Bruce before he becomes recognized in April 1994 in the soap opera Days of Our Lives and shortly after as the host of the music show House of Blues. The sports enthusiast and musician in leisure time lives in Los Angeles.


Simon Banks
has been captain for four years and knows as the only member of his department about Ellison's special skills. Over time he had learned to esteem the hot temper of his best detective and trust The Sentinel's instinct. To diminish Ellison's eagerness a little and to give him the opportunity to even improve his skills he agrees to Sandburg being an official observer and thus ride-along for Jim. Banks had been recently divorced and has a fourteen year-old son.

Bruce A. Young
is a well-known TV, movie and theater performer. Bruce who studied theater science is guest star in uncountable popular series such as XFiles, Highlander. In movies the actor could also be seen at the side of Sharon Stone (Basic Instinct), Paul Newman (The Color of Money), John Travolta (Phenomenon), Mel Gibson (Lethal Weapon II) and Madeleine Stowe (Blink). On stage Young played last Shakespeare's Othello. He lives in Los Angeles.

(Thanks Steffi)
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