Pilot is the premiere episode of The CW series Walker. It premiered on Thursday, January 21, 2021.
SERIES PREMIERE – Texas Ranger Cordell Walker (Jared Padalecki), a widower and father of two with his own moral code, returns home to Austin, TX, after being undercover for ten months, only to discover there’s harder work to be done at home. As Walker attempts to reconnect with his creative and thoughtful son August (Kale Culley) and his headstrong, somewhat rebellious teenaged daughter Stella (Violet Brinson), he finds that he needs to navigate clashes with his family – Liam (Keegan Allen), Walker’s ADA brother who stepped in during Walker’s absence, his perceptive mother Abeline (Molly Hagan) and his traditional rancher father Bonham (Mitch Pileggi). Walker’s former colleague, Larry James (Coby Bell), is now his Ranger Captain. And Walker finds unexpected common ground with his new partner Micki Ramirez (Lindsey Morgan), one of the first women in Texas Rangers’ history while growing increasingly suspicious about the circumstances surrounding his wife’s death (guest star Genevieve Padalecki).
Cordell Walker drives home after his shift, meeting with his wife Emily in the long driveway leading to their house. She asks if he caught his guy, which he did, of course, asking if she’s heading out already. She has to meet with Geri. They kiss and he ensures she’s going on the approved route, with her telling him not to worry. She tells him to go on up to the house for game night, though he still isn’t sure about the rules of the game. She assures him that they just want to see him, though teases him about losing the game. They kiss again telling one another to be safe.
The family plays a board game with Walker completely lost on the rules. He claims it isn’t fair that he’s losing as he doesn’t know the rules. Stella cheers as they all get a bonus turn if someone says the game isn’t fair. Abilene notes that Stella knew he would fold. Walker’s phone chimes with an SOS message from Emily, so he excuses himself to call her back. She runs while talking to him as she claims something isn’t right. She doesn’t get the chance to explain as two gunshots ring out followed by her scream. The line goes dead. Walker goes outside to try and reach her. He doesn’t get ahold of her. She lays on the ground with a bullet wound, the phone ringing beside her. Her voicemail comes on and Walker lets out an emotional scream as he sobs and slides to the ground.
Eleven months later, the Walker family gathers for Cordell’s anticipated return. August is certain Walker is coming, but Stella sarcastically shoots the idea down. Larry asks if Liam has heard from Walker but he hasn’t, but wonders if he knows his old partner is his new boss. A truck drives up but it isn’t Walker, much to August and Stella’s disappointment. Stan Morrison greets the children before heading inside. Liam guesses that Cordell is on the lookout in Lady Park Lake, as it used to be Cordell and Emily’s place. Larry sends a patrol car to check on the lookout.
Cordell sits in the back of his truck looking at the gazebo, fidgeting with a poker chip in one hand and a bottle of liquor in the other. He remembers Emily by the gazebo with a smile. A state trooper, Ramirez pulls up and asks for his license. He obliges after a witty remark. She takes him home as he can pick his truck up in the morning. He struggles to fit in the backseat as they talk about his unplanned trip to the lookout. He claims he’s still carrying the work with him so he decided to visit a ghost instead. His rambling leads her to believe he was undercover. He introduces himself as Cordell Walker, Texas Ranger. She drops him off his house as this is her last good deed as a trooper, explaining that she just got promoted. She gives him his keys and he stumbles through the door. He sits on the couch for a moment to look at photos of his family. He then lays down and falls asleep.
In the morning, Cordell jogs to the lookout to get his truck and hat. He drives through town and to his parent’s house, where Bonham Walker is watching horses ride in the corral. They greet each other with a handshake as Bonham remarks that it would have been nice to see him last night when everyone gathered to express their awe and gratitude. He makes his feelings on Walker’s extended absence clear. They make small talk over the horses before Bonham tells Walker to go up to the house to see his mother.
Walker obliges and is greeted by two dogs followed by his mother’s hug of gratitude. Abeline notes that if she knew he was coming she would have kept Stella home, but Cordell claims he’ll see her tonight. August runs up to hug his father, who remarks on his growth. Liam greets him moments later and they hug before playfully wrestling until their mother yells at them to stop. Everyone hurries to finish their morning routines with August grabbing his lunch to leave for school. Walker is confused if Liam’s been living here, with Liam explaining that he has his own place in town though Bret wasn’t too keen on playing “my Two Dads” so soon. He assures Walker everything is fine. Walker thanks Liam for his help.
Walker heads to work where he greets Larry James, his former partner who is now his Captain. James remarks on how he had to eat several slices of pie and listen to Stan Morrison ramble about Walker’s greatness for an hour last night, with Walker teasing him about it and his promotion. They clasp hands as Walker explains he just needed a minute to pull himself together. He then asks what the case is about. James explains that an officer was attacked when he pulled over for roadside assistance, though he isn’t talking as he’s called in his union rep. Ranger Micki Ramirez remarks that something spooked him, as James elaborates that because an officer was attacked they called in the Rangers. He introduces Micki who is Cordell’s new partner, and the officer who drove him home last night. James notes that Walker just closed the Rodeo Kings case, to which she goes to ask him a question but Walker shoots her down as he doesn’t want to talk about it. James tells her to fill Walker in on where she’s at and walks off. Walker notes that he has some catching up to do.
Walker and Micki eat lunch as he congratulates her on the promotion. She explains that Captain gave her patrol to do some recon on Walker, and he asks for her report. She explains that he’s the edge of a coin - not quite heads or tails just his way. She has a lot riding on the job and doesn’t want him to mess it up. He asks why she wanted to do this job, but she felt it was something she had to do even though it burned bridges with her family. He notes that Curtis was scared and she theorizes that he was afraid of something in the truck. He suggests they go through the traffic cam footage, but she knows that he means her. He quips that she doesn’t seem like the type to want special treatment.
That night, Cordell comes home for dinner where the animosity between him and his parents becomes clear. Stella is absent as she’s out with a friend, Isabel, who is a friend from school. Abeline tells Walker that she enrolled the kids at Sacred Heart High, a Catholic school. The idea still doesn’t sit well with Walker, as he and Emily didn’t want to raise their children in religion. Bonham sharply retorts that he should thank Abeline for giving them a proper education. Walker learns that Stella is in soccer now and August has been using Emily’s old camera. Walker’s phone rings much to his parent’s chagrin. He excuses himself as he needs to pick Stella up from the police station.
The police officer, Randall, tells Walker that Stella and Isabel were picked up on possession of marijuana. He thanks Randall for the call but Randal tells him to thank Stan Morrison. As Walker finds Stella and Isabel, the tension between Walker and Stella becoming clear. He introduces himself to Isabel’s parents and he hopes they can meet to talk about their daughter’s. An officer asks to speak with Isabel’s parents. Stella hugs her friend and leaves with her father. At home, before she can leave the car, he asks what she was thinking. She deflects that mom always said he wouldn’t be on a case too long, though he never meant to be, things got complicated. She is angry that he didn’t talk to her for three months and bailed on his homecoming. He thinks it’s time they both stop acting like Emily is coming back. She leaves the truck in tears, storming past Liam who witnesses the ordeal.
Micki comes home to find Trey’s duffle bag on the floor. The two reunite with a hug and a kiss, as he’s staying for two-weeks. He wants to know one thing about her day to which she explains that her new partner is a mess. He served as a marine after 9/11 and he recently lost his wife. She’s trying to understand him but Trey wants her to be in the present. They begin to flirt over Micki’s new buckle.
Cordell and Liam go to a bar with Walker not wanting to talk about Stella. Geri gives the boys two drinks, though Liam excuses himself to call Bret. Geri notes that it’s been a while and she was worried but thought it just wasn’t helping to talk to her. He explains that he just had so many questions that she couldn’t answer. He invites her out to dance, insisting on calling her by her full name. He eventually convinces her despite her protests. They dance and laugh, though a text from Micki distracts him. He has to get up early now. He leaves while she watches.
Walker and Micki meet in the office where she tells him about the car she spotted on the traffic footage. The car comes from a company called Green Thumb & Grace, a rehabilitation center for former criminals. They head to the store where Walker picks up a ceramic cross, pretending to talk to JC about his kids going to Sacred Heart. Micki is unamused by his antics, though he tosses it to her when Milo and his sister, Cheryl, approach them. Micki has him confirm that the truck is the company’s and they direct the rangers to Jordan and Alex.
Jordan recognizes Walker as the Ranger with the dead wife who was shot by the border. He snidely remarks that Walker couldn’t protect her. Walker quips back that he won’t be engaging with a low-life sparking Jordan to swing at Walker. Walker gains the upper hand and slams him repeatedly into a crate, though Micki pulls him off angrily. Walker’s hand is sliced open from the fight. Micki arrests Jordan while Walker storms off to bandage his wound.
Micki brings Walker to her house where she criticizes his handling of the situation while trying to find something to bandage his wound. Trey emerges from the kitchen and she introduces the two men, with Trey recommending more than antiseptic. She goes with Trey’s recommendation as he’s a medic, not her. Walker tries to justify his actions but his antics don’t entertain her. Trey returns and bandages his hand while Micki chews Walker out, with Walker making quick remarks back, much to Trey’s amusement. Micki storms out to return to work, while Walker receives a call from Stella’s school. Trey gives him a reassuring pat on the arm.
Walker hurries to Stella’s school where he sees Liam leaving the building. Stella didn’t come home forms school, nor did she appear in her afternoon classes. This is typical for Stella, though Walker’s frustration over not knowing his daughter seeps through. Liam reminds him that now isn’t the time for this. They can’t track her phone as it’s on airplane mode, so Walker calls a friend at APD for help. He thanks Liam for his help.
Walker meets with Mrs. Munoz in the hopes she’s seen Stella, but she hasn’t and neither as Bel. The woman is flustered as she thought Walker was here for her husband and herself, as they don’t have their papers yet. Bel didn’t know as she was born here. Walker understands and promises to do what he can to help.
He returns to work where he fills Micki in on the situations with the Munoz family and Stella, which frustrates Micki as she disagrees with the deportation risks. He is going to have Liam, his ADA brother, speak to the feds to speed up their papers. She explains that she isn’t speaking to her mother as she disagrees with her being an officer. To change the subject, Micki tells Walker about the intake interviews with Jordan and Alex. Alex requested extra protection upon his arrest out of fear. Walker thinks the charitable business is a good cover and remembers Officer Curtis dusting himself off after falling into the back of the truck. He asks if she still has the figurine she swiped. When they run it underwater they find a small bag of heroin inside, confirming their suspicions that the cartel is involved. Micki refuses to let Walker come as he needs to be with Stella. He hurries off to find his daughter.
Walker finds Stella at the lookout and their tension rises as they exchange sharp remarks. He asks what she’s playing at but she expresses this isn’t a game. He wants to end whatever is going on as she’s scaring everyone while he’s in the middle of a case. He can’t juggle everything She retorts that mom did it all but he lists everyone that she does have, but she just wants him. They argue before he tells her to get in the truck.
Micki goes to the Green Thumb & Grace with an officer to confront Milo about the drug operation. Milo acknowledges that Jordan and Alex weren’t ready for the program, but Walker interrupts as he walks up that the pair were on a heavy packing and shipping schedule. Cheryl emerges and things escalate quickly as she pulls a gun on them. Micki kicks it out of her hand and they chase her down. Walker pushes over rows of shelves to block the van while Micki tackles Cheryl to the ground and arrests her.
The partners visit Captain James to brief him about their arrest. James tells them that by taking down Clark’s ring, they unearthed a bigger link to the cartel. He offers Walker a job with a task force effectively immediately. Walker is honored though he has to think about it. James then tells Walker the way he handled the suspects earlier won’t be tolerated and created an unneeded mess. He tells Walker to do better.
Walker goes home where he finds Liam on a bench outside. He’s looking for Stella, though Liam notes that she’s inside and Walker realizes she’s hiding from him. Walker fidgets with the poker chip again and Liam calls him out on his mind not being at home. Liam knows the chip only helps him worry, with Walker asking why Emily had a poker chip on her the night she died. She and Geri were just supposed to drop supplies by stations in the desert. Liam tells him to stop thinking about it as it will make him crazy. Walker presses that her eyes were closed as if someone laid her to rest, and the perp today said that Walker couldn’t protect Emily. It made him start thinking about what he missed. Liam reminds him that Carlos Mendoza confessed, and Walker looked him in the eye and believed him. There’s nothing he can do to bring back Emily so he just has to be here.
Walker goes inside to speak with his parents. Bonham is still angry with Stella, though a look from Abeline makes him leave. Cordell talks with his mother who recommends he leave Stella alone for a while. She advises him that parenting doesn’t come automatically, as he has to take a minute to get ot know them again. She’s feisty and smart as just like him. August is good but Abeline warns Walker not to take him for granted. She thinks Walker needs to be here with his parents and recommends moving into the farmhouse on the edge of the property. He realizes that she’s already refurbished it and prepared the home. He tells her about the job opportunity to be in a task force, though August walks in before Cordell can explain. He wants to show his father the farmhouse. Unbeknownst to Walker, Stella overheard his conversation with Abeline.
Walker and August visit the farmhouse and Walker hallucinates a smiling Emily surrounded by warm light. August shows Cordell the farmhouse, including a table he recently refinished. Walker is proud of him. He then apologies for making him shoulder a lot and forcing him to grow up so fast. August asks if they can sleep out here tonight, which Walker is happy to do. August falls asleep on the couch and Stella brings in a blanket on request of Abeline. She heard him before about the task force and sits on the floor as opposed to next to her father. He tells her he won’t accept the job, nor will he feel differently about it in the morning, or her, or being here. He explains that he’s learning but right now is all they have.
- Jared Padalecki as Cordell Walker
- Lindsey Morgan as Micki Ramirez
- Keegan Allen as Liam Walker
- Mitch Pileggi as Bonham Walker
- Molly Hagan as Abeline Walker
- Violet Brinson as Stella Walker
- Kale Culley as August Walker
- Coby Bell as Captain Larry James
- Jeff Pierre as Trey Barnett
- Odette Annable as Geri Broussard
- Genevieve Padalecki as Emily Walker
- Gabriela Flores as Isabel Muñoz
- Jeffrey Nordling as Stan Morrison
- Karina Dominguez as Alma Muñoz
- Ricky Catter as Lorenzo Muñoz
- JJ Summers as Milo Clark
- Molly Berg as Cheryl Clark
- Chris Labadie as Jordan
- DAniel Mooney as Alex
- Michael Wagemann as Police Officer
- Grand Redmond as Sgt. Owen Curtis
- Andrew Williams as Officer Randall
- Walker debuted on The CW with 2.43 million viewers and a 0.4 demographic. This makes Walker the network’s most watched Thursday primetime series since 2018. The episode is also the highest rated CW series premiere in five years.
- Walker grew +52% over L+7 (live and seven days), bringing its total viewers to 3.71 million.
- Walker: Congratulations on the promotion. Should have celebrated last night.
- Micki: I think you celebrated enough for both of us last night.
- Walker: Micki. I figured you'd be a guy.
- Micki: So did my mom.
- Bonham (about Stella): I hope you came to put a bell on that girl.
- Micki (about Stella): Look, I was that kid once. I always wanted to be found.
- Stella: This is so embarrassing.
- Walker: For who?