Sanford and Son: Top Five Smitty, Hoppy and Swanny Episodes.

Kendall Rivers
5 min readMay 19, 2023
Image Source: Tandem Productions.

It’s the end of an era… or rather the end of a fun series of articles within four months time. For our final Sanford and Son Top Five character episodes we put the spotlight on the hippest, coolest and funniest tv cops in the world, Smitty, Hoppy and Swanny. I know these days the relationship between the police and the public is a little… let’s just say rocky. But back in the day, the 70s’, cops didn’t get any cooler than the ones in tv and film like Starsky & Hutch, Kojak, Columbo, Dirty Harry etc. But the most righteous and cool as silk boys in blue in the 1970s were Smitty and his interchangable partners Hoppy and Swanny. Who doesn’t love the long running gag of Smitty having to translate some super techincal thing Hoppy or Swanny said to Fred and company? The joke never gets old and only gets funnier with age. Now, let’s jump into the top five best episodes featuring our favorite tv cops.

5. We Were Robbed. Season 1, episode 6.

Image Source: Tandem Productions.

Synopsis: While cleaning the house, Fred knocks over Lamont’s glass figurine collection. Trying to cover up the fact that he broke them, Fred makes up a story about how the house was robbed and how he fought them off. In the process, he is labelled as a hero and Fred takes advantage of it.

We all mostly love and remember the partnership of Smitty and Hoppy, but before Hoppy there was Smitty’s first partner Swanny who filled almost the exact same role Hoppy would later. Played by tv director Noam Pitlik, Swanny was super serious all the time which was in itself funny and played well against Redd Foxx in the classic “we were robbed” scene.

4. The Suitcase Case. Season 1, episode 12.

Image Source: Tandem Productions.

Synopsis: While collecting junk, Lamont runs across an old suitcase and decides it could be worth something. However, once he gets it home, Fred makes a shocking discovery when he opens the case to discover that it is stuffed with money. Lamont wants to turn the money in and Fred wants to keep it and locks in a safe. Just then a gunman shows up wanting the money.

Smitty and Swanny save the day yet again. It was great to see them being heroes and saving Fred in a tight situation using street smarts and common sense. The boys in blue made us all proud.

3. The Shootout. Season 2, episode 9.

Image Source: Tandem Productions.

Synopsis: Lamont pays $50 for an antique gun and brings it home to show Fred. Fred begins re-enacting war stories and accidentally pulls the trigger not knowing it’s loaded. The blast shoots through the next door neighbour’s window, who suddenly drops from sight just after having a heated argument with Fred. Fred jumps to the conclusion that he killed him.

Image Source: Tandem Productions.

While Smitty and Swanny made a nice duo, the real magic came when actor Howard T Platt was cast as Hoppy paired with Hal Williams’ Smitty. The translation jokes landed even better with these two doing the gag, and they actually felt like real partners.

2. The Merger. Season 4, episode 15.

Image Source: Tandem Productions.

Synopsis: Julio and the Sanfords decide to merge their junk businesses into one.

Smitty and Hoppy’s chemistry always added a spice to the scenes they were in and this was no different. Their interaction here added much more to this already funny scene.

  1. Fred’s Treasure Garden. Season 4, episode 11.
Image Source: Tandem Productions.

Synopsis: A fun time is had by all when Grady serves his friends, including two policemen, a salad made with marijuana.

This is one of the all timers of Sanford and Son episodes and without a doubt the greatest Smitty and Hoppy episode of them all! The two guys seemed to have a blast doing their scene and the hilarity of their getting high and the panic on Grady, Lamont and Rollo’s faces make the episode.

Honorable Mentions: Have Gun, Will Sell, The Kid, and Would The Real Fred Sanford Please Do Something?

Image Source: Tandem Productions.

This has been a tough but fun series to do for me and I hope it was just as fun for all of you. I’ll be doing more of these type of top five characters from some of my other favorite shows in the future, but for now just enjoy this one over and over in the meantime if you wish. Till next time, folks! !

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Kendall Rivers

Kendall is a screenwriter who’s a huge fan of classic tv and movies. He enjoys creating good stories and characters. https://www.facebook.com/kendall.rivers.3