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Discovery was the 47th episode of Airwolf and the 14th episode of Season 3. It first aired on 1/18/1986.

This is a full ensemble episode with plenty of action for everyone. Archangel has Samantha for his aide but Caitlin gets to accompany Archangel as an aide some of the time.

Plot synopsis

Hawke's arch enemy, John Bradford Horn has sent his thugs to execute a couple in the desert. The woman escapes from her executioners and stumbles onto the Wolf's Lair. Now Horn is after her because she can help him steal Airwolf! [1]

Episode summary

(spoiler alert - click on expand to read)

Quist, a hitman working for John Bradford Horn, is driving Tom Billings and his girlfriend Grace Harrison out into the desert near the Valley of the Gods. Ostensibly it is to take Billings for a secret meeting with Horn, but Quist's mission is to execute them. Billings soon senses something is amiss. When they are told to get out of the car, Billing scuffles with Quist, and yells at Grace to run away. Quist shoots Billings dead, then he and Eddie, the driver, try to hunt down Grace. Quist manages to hit her once with his gun but she disappears behind some rocks. A gang of bikers are in the area, forcing Quist to break off the pursuit.

Over at Santini Air, an alarm goes off. Someone has entered the Wolf's Lair! Hawke and Dominic go over and discover the unconscious Grace. They bring her to a ranch which is some kind of F.I.R.M. ops room and safe house. There Grace is given medical treatment.

Archangel tries to question Grace about what she was doing in the desert and why. Grace may look silly but she knows that what she had seen and found is worth something. She tells blatant lies about being in the desert to take photos but can't even name the brand of camera she uses. Nobody really believes her, but then again, she doesn't look like a professional spy. Hawke decides against turning up the pressure on her. They must find some other way to make her talk.

Samantha brings in Grace's clothes and Grace senses an opportunity. She dresses up and escapes from the safehouse. By a desert road, she tries to hitch a ride, and on cue, Hawke drives by and picks her up. They talk but Hawke doesn't learn much that is new.

Hawke drives her to a desert resort hotel. May be he can continue chatting her up. But meanwhile Quist has reported back to Horn and Horn and Quist have come to stake out the hotel. Horn spots Hawke with Grace. Now that's very interesting! They don't waste time. Grace is in the basement parking lot and Horn's limo drives by and Quist grabs her and bundles her into the car. Up at the hotel reception, Hawke learns that Grace has not been to her room. She's gone, so Hawke and Dominic need to find a new hiding place for Airwolf.

Grace tells Horn what she had seen and how she had lied to the FIRM. Horn is pleased and tells her he wants her to help him find Airwolf. "It's a matter of life and death", he tells her. She understands what he means.

Grace brings Quist to the Wolf's Lair, but the place is empty. Not even an oil stain. But from the FIRM safehouse, Hawke and Dominic can overhear her conversation with Quist. And they learn that they are working for Horn. So Horn is after Airwolf. And it is easy to understand why--with it he can take over a small island country and live without fear of expulsion. For Hawke and the FIRM, it's also a chance to get Horn. It's a dangerous game--who will utsmart who?

Back with Horn, he tells Grace that she needs to make contact with the FIRM again. She is at first reluctant, but Horn reminds her what he does to people who are no longer useful to him. Remember Billings? But he has to let the FIRM think they have found Grace on their own.

Grace is planted back at the hotel resort. She is taking rehab classes in the pool. Hawke arrives and spots her. Just then, Quist also turns up and takes a few shots at her. Hawke shots a warning, allowing Grace to dive for cover under the water. Hawke grabs Grace and bundles her back to the FIRM safehouse. There Archangel tries to persuade her to help them get Horn using Airwolf as the bait. Grace is non-commital. She needs assurances. It's too dangerous. Outside Hawke tries to talk to her: she shouldn't be involved in this mugs game. But she doesn't tell him anything.

The FIRM mounts helicopter surveillance on Grace but she evades them by switching cars in a tunnel. It looks like Grace isn't going to help the FIRM get Horn. So Archangel tells them, we have to do it the hard way.

Back with Horn, Grace tells him she thinks Airwolf is at the ranch safehouse. She could tell by their glances and hints. But Horn thinks it is too obvious. Probably a trap. They must look for it elsewhere, and there is only one logical place....

At the ranch, Archangel has prepared a fake Airwolf under camouflage nets but no one seriously expects Horn to fall for such an obvious trap. And they are right. Hawke and Dominic are back at the Wolf's Lair and report that Horn has lifted Airwolf. It's underslung from a Bell UH-1 headed somewhere.

There's a tracker on board Airwolf. Caitlin and Archangel track it's movements and tell Hawke that Airwolf is being transported towards San Pedro harbour. They head there with a FIRM Zebra squad.

At San Pedro, Quist and Grace watch Airwolf being loaded on a ship. They think they have succeeded and look forward to their reward. But Horn prepares to execute them. He no longer has any use for them! But just then, the FIRM assault team arrives. Quist grabs Grace and dives for cover.

Horn and some of his henchmen escape on the UH-1. Quist tries to get after them but is shot. The rest of his men surrender. Grace has also been shot. Hawke tells Dominic while he goes to Grace. She will be all right, he says. They will get her medical attention. But Grace tells him it's only one miracle to a customer.

Hawke and Dominic lift off in Airwolf and shoot down the UH-1. So Horn is gone? Hawke senses something is wrong. It has been too easy. Over on the radio, Horn pipes in. "Very perceptive, Mr Hawke...." "Better luck next time". Horn is shown escaping in a harbour tug. How did he get there so fast? Dominic tries to track him and his boat but he is long gone.

Story locations

  • Wolf's Lair
  • Harbour at San Pedro

Aircraft seen

  • Airwolf
  • Bell 206 Jetranger - FIRM surveillance, callsign "Bird Dog"
  • Bell UH-1 - Horn's helicopter, armed with guns and rockets
  • Bell 206 Jetranger - Santini Air

Firearms seen

  • Detonics Combat Master - Hawke
  • Micro Uzi - Horn's men
  • M16 - Horn's men

Research notes


  • Jan-Michael Vincent as Stringfellow Hawke
  • Alex Cord as Michael Coldsmith Briggs III
  • Jean Bruce Scott as Caitlin O'Shannessy
  • Ernest Borgnine as Dominic Santini
  • Anne Bloom as Alma Grace Harrison
  • Asher Brauner as Quist
  • Christie Claridge as Samantha
  • John Vernon as John Bradford Horn (as John R. Vernon)
  • Kurt Grayson as Tom Billings
  • Blake Marion as Horn's #1 Man
  • Brynja McGrady as Denise
  • Ken Sagoes as Desk Clerk
  • Louie Elias as Price
  • Tony Epper as Horn's #2 man (uncredited) Addressed as "Eddie" in dialogue
  • Charlie Picerni as Horn's Man #1 (uncredited)



External Links