Sam Kowal is a helicopter pilot and owner of a helicopter service who makes a one time appearance in the Season 2 episode titled "Random Target".
Sam Kowal is a friend of Hawke and Dominic and runs the rival Kowal Air Service also based at Van Nuys. At the beginning of the episode, Sam tries hard to persuade Hawke and Dominic to fill in for him and complete an aerial survey job because he has another commitment. Dominic is reluctant because Sam had secured the job by under-bidding Santini Air and now Sam is offering to pay Dominic and Hawke even less than what he would get himself. But it turns out that Sam's other commitment is a date with a pretty model (played by Kari Lloyd) who turns up at Van Nuys to collect him. "I can't pass up on a relationship like that, can I?" He tells Hawke. Hawke agrees to do the job, telling Dominic, "A fella does need some recreation."
Unfortunately, Sam's job is a film survey of an area of desert and during the flight, Hawke and Dominic overfly the remote desert resort of George Dent where crime boss Kenneth Langhorn is hiding out, having returned to the country for a meeting with other crime syndicate bosses. Langhorn spots the chopper and the camera and orders his hitmen to retrieve the film.
Since the helicopter carried Kowal Air Service markings, the first stop for the hitmen, Stark and Rayco is naturally the Sam's office at Van Nuys. Sam returns from his day out with his girl and the hitmen jump him, demanding to see the film. Not knowing about how the survey flight went, Sam naturally doesn't know what they are talking about. Rayco then hits him hard, knocking him down and killing him.
The next morning Dominic and Hawke arrive at Sam's office to find the police there. Det. Sergeant Anne Brannen who is in charge of the case asks them if they know anyone who might want to hurt Sam. Dominic can think of no one. Sam had no enemies, he said. Later, however, he admitted that San's life was pretty messed up: he is divorced three times, he went bankrupt and his partners got hurt and he did "play the ponies". This isn't much to go on and Brannen is inclined to attribute Sam's death to a random act of violence by some junkies wanting money.
But Hawke cannot let it go so lightly. He feels guilty about Sam's death and is determined to hunt down his killers. Dominic later tells Caitlin that some months back, Sam had wanted to sell out his business and drift but Hawke had talked him into staying and putting his life together.