The Streets of San Francisco - Season 2 Episode Reviews

The Streets of San Francisco —
Season 2 Episode Reviews


Copyright ©2017 by Mike Quigley. No reproduction of any kind without permission.
Episodes without music credits use stock music.

WARNING: The following contains spoilers and the plots are given away!


SEASON ONE   SEASON THREE

SEASON FOUR   SEASON FIVE

PILOT EPISODE    MAIN PAGE


RATINGS:
★★★★ = One of the very best episodes, a must-see.
★★★ = Better than average, worthy of attention.
★★ = Average, perhaps with a few moments of interest.
= Below average, an episode to avoid.

S02E01: A Wrongful Death ★★½
Original air date: September 13, 1973
Director: Don Medford; Writer: Edward De Blasio
"Buddy Boy" count: 2

Keller and Stone respond to a robbery at The Cannery, a shopping center near Fisherman's Wharf, where Patrolman Burgers (Gregory Sierra) has already been shot. One of the robbers, a young kid named Spencer Davies, is only supposed to be a lookout, but he picks up a gun which his older brother Jack (Andrew Rubin) has dropped. When he points the gun at Keller, Keller shoots him dead. Because Jack grabs the gun and escapes, there is no weapon found, so shit is soon flying. Commissioner Rudy Olson (Robert F. Simon) tells Keller that he may be indicted for manslaughter and there is talk of a $500,000 civil suit against the police department and Keller for "wrongful death." At a subsequent deposition, Al Davies (Michael Constantine), the dead boy's father, goes beserk and almost assaults Keller. Stone goes to a local high school to see if he can track down Lonnie Carter (Damon Douglas), who was seen during the robbery. The kid is there, but leads Stone on a chase and escapes. Later, after talking to Lonnie's mother (Norma Connolly), Stone tracks him down to his job at the Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum. Lonnie gives a statement regarding what happened the night of the robbery, which clears Keller. However, after Stone confronts Al Davies with the statement, which says that his son Jack had committed other robberies in addition to the recent one because he was a dope addict and needed the money from the stolen goods he fenced, Al goes to the waterfront where Jack has a job unloading a fish boat. There is a tense scene as Al confronts Jack, but fortunately Keller shows up to separate the two and the important gun is recovered.

EPILOG

Keller goes to Pastine's Dugout sports bar where Al Davies works to talk about how Jack is doing. Al has mellowed towards Keller and says that Jack is currently in a methadone program which will hopefully get him off his habit. Al is also glad that Burgers has recovered from his injuries. Keller returns to the car outside where Stone is listening to a baseball game featuring Johnny Bench who hits a home run.

REVIEW:

A good episode when it focuses on the main theme, particularly what's happening to Keller and the angst of the dead boy's father. Keller suddenly has major doubts about whether or not there really was a gun, but Stone brings him back to reality by saying that "You said there was a gun. Then there was, and we're going to find it! " It's hard to understand why Stone suddenly shows up at the high school searching for suspects, because he hasn't received a tip that would really lead him in this direction, other than what Burgers said to Keller in the hospital earlier, that there was some young skinny blonde kid involved in the robbery. Lonnie fits this category, but how many others also would and how many high schools were there in San Francisco at the time? The students Stone encounters playing basketball are not co-operative, calling him "fuzz." Stone sees Lonnie far away in the school yard and chases him. However, it is ridiculous to think that Stone can catch up, because Lonnie was a star athlete when he attended the school for one year before he dropped out because of drug issues. Later when the principal of the school shows Stone a picture of Lonnie in an annual, Stone says "That's him." The attractive Ina Balin plays Elaine Russo, who waitresses at Jack's bar, and who provides a shoulder for him to lean on while he is dealing with his son's death.

MORE TRIVIA:

  • Watch the shadows of Stone and the school principal as they walk down the hallway -- obviously from the lights of the show, not the lights in the hall.
  • Calendars for February and March 1972 and June 1973 are seen in the background at The Cannery during the robbery.
  • Stone and Keller's car has whitewall tires now.

S02E02: Betrayed ★★½
Original air date: September 20, 1973
Director: William Hale; Writer: Mark Weingart
"Buddy Boy" count: 4

Martin Sheen is Dean Knox, a young stockbroker who stole money from his firm -- Fox, Crane & Gorman & Company Inc. To replace it, he robs the Bay International Bank using an elaborate scheme involving the Howard Hotel with information about the bank obtained from Kate Evans (Collin Wilcox-Horne). Knox is having a relationship with Evans, who is 41 years old, seemingly older than Knox by several years, and who works part-time at the bank. When Knox shows up at the bank wearing a ski mask and carrying a gun, Kate -- who unexpectedly is working at the bank that day -- recognizes his voice. He hits her on the head with his briefcase and shoots a security guard dead. When Keller sees the footage from the bank's security camera, he is convinced that Evans knew who Knox was, based on her movements prior to getting knocked out. Despite some kind of live-in arrangement with Evans, Knox is seriously interested in another woman, the very rich Lindsay Campbell (Lenore Kasdorf), to whom he is engaged. Based on an odd military expression which Knox used during the robbery ("duck squat"), Stone and Keller track down a suspect named Binx Taylor who used this expression when he was robbing banks, but Taylor has an airtight alibi. Evans follows Knox when he goes to Campbell's place and observes the two of them smooching. Freaked out, Evans drives away, but is cornered by Knox who follows her. They are confronted by a cop, but pretend they are a couple having difficulties. Knox confesses about the robbery to Evans. Despite this, she says that she loves him. Evans goes to Campbell's place by herself and, in a very awkward scene, tells Knox's fiancée to give him up. Campbell tells her to get lost, and later goes to Knox's office to break off their relationship just as Stone shows up, thanks to some detective work by Keller with the phone company. Knox doesn't have much of interest to tell Stone about Evans. Later, Stone wants to see the bank security footage again, which confirms that both Knox and the robber were wearing a gold bracelet on their right wrist. Knox convinces Evans to go away with him to the Pine Woods Lodge in Marin County. Stone and Keller find out this is their destination from a woman who is babysitting Evans' budgie bird. Knox takes Evans to Battery Spencer, an abandoned military post at the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge, with the intention of throwing her off the cliffs there. Evans tells him that she knows he brought her there to kill her. She pulls a gun out of her purse, but Knox grabs this and fires it at Stone and Keller who are approaching, and attempts to escape. Evans, who Knox pushed in the direction of the cliffs, is rescued by Stone and Keller arrests Knox.

EPILOG:

Stone and Keller pull up at the newspaper stand of Johnny (Johnny Silver), who provided Stone with some clues about the taxi which Knox used during the robbery earlier. After they drive away, Stone is annoyed that a stock tip that Knox gave him which he never invested in has paid off big time.

REVIEW:

Overall, the story is kind of logical -- a spinsterish woman falls in love with a younger man who is pursuing the relationship only to take advantage of her in some way. But there are a lot of questions. The house Evans and Knox are living in belongs to Evans, who has been at this address for 17 years, according to information which is dug up when the cops are checking her background. It seems like a very nice place, somewhat beyond the means of a woman who is a part-time bank employee. Knox is seen there getting up in the morning wearing his dressing gown, which suggests he is living there and, quite likely, they are "doing it." Has Knox been there for some time? Or has he only been there recently to pump information out of Evans connected with the bank, like the fact that every Thursday there is $100,000 in cash brought in for people in the neighborhood to cash their paychecks. It seems unlikely that when Knox is robbing the place, there is $100,000 at the tellers' wickets. Did Knox get to know her through his company, that Evans is one of his clients, as he suggests when he is talking to Stone? Then there is the business of the bank surveillance cameras. It is very likely these are video cameras, so, if this is the case, why does Keller get the video transferred to 16mm film which he projects in the office? Video recorders would be able to play tapes forward, reversed or with a freeze-frame. Keller can do all of these things with his projector, and while there was a Bell and Howell model, the 173 Time and Motion Study 16mm projector, which would do these three things, there is no way the projector can show a closeup of the bracelet on Knox's wrist as requested by Stone which isn't even a blow-up of what's on the screen, but a view from a totally different angle (below)! I literally screamed at my TV when I saw this nonsense, though, mind you, there are similar photograph and projector stupidities in other cop shows of the era like Kojak and Hawaii Five-O. As well, the bank camera has the ability to pan, following Knox as he walks across the bank with the gun to the back of the manager' s head! Despite these issues, both Sheen and Wilcox-Horne give very good performances, especially Sheen, who is very oily.

MORE TRIVIA:

  • According to the trivia section for this episode at IMDb, Knox's yellow sports car is a a yellow Jensen Healey roadster. Its license number os 864 ORE.
  • There is a goof reported at IMDb as follows: "When Martin Sheen is robbing the bank and hits the bank lady [meaning Evans] in the head with his briefcase, he hits her on the right side of the head. Later, she is seen with a band-aid on the left side of her face." But the injury on the left side of her face is not from the case. She falls down and hits that side of her head on this door which separates the bank lobby from the employees' area.
  • Keller is able to figure out who Evans was calling when she was in the hospital and using a pay phone because she deposited too much money and was asking the operator for a 15¢ refund, which was to be mailed to her address (3217 Union Street). Despite the fact that he was not that close to her, Keller overheard her conversation and then was supposedly able to get the phone company to synch this transaction with that phone and also give him the number she was calling. This seems kind of far-fetched.
  • There are several humorous exchanges in this show between Keller and Stone, like one to do with "gut instinct" and the fact that Stone is always mooching dimes from Keller to pay for coffee in the squad room.
  • Johnny the newspaper vendor describes the driver of the cab Knox was using who had long hair and a moustache (but was hardly a hippie type) as "a real weirdo ... long hair ... a real loose end." He adds of the cab company, Golden Gate Cabs: "They got a lot of those ding-dongs driving for them." Golden Gate Cabs' phone number is 421-4701.
  • Why does the cop suddenly appear as Knox is talking to Evans who has pulled over after Knox was chasing her? Did the person who Knox almost ran into because he was driving in the wrong lane prior to this report him? It's not like the cop was hiding behind a billboard or something.
  • Lindsay Campbell's car is a Rolls-Royce with a UK license plate: 834 HYV. The second time we see her in the show, Lenore Kasdorf who plays this part, is very attractive in a bikini.
  • As of the date of broadcast of this show, Sheen was 33 years old; Wilcox-Horne was 38. Wilcox-Horne gets "special guest star" mention during the opening credits, whereas Sheen is just a "guest star."

S02E03: For the Love of God ★★★
Original air date: September 27, 1973
Director: Virgil W. Vogel; Writer: Richard N. Husk
"Buddy Boy" count: 2

Peter Strauss plays a very different role than his previous two on the show, a paranoid-schizophrenic religious fanatic named Martin Novack who is murdering priests. Novack was confined to the Pacific State Hospital, where he met Joseph Shea (James Gregory), who had been denied access to the priesthood nearly 20 years before when he had a nervous breakdown while studying at a seminary. A group of students from this institution, members of an advisory council, had told the faculty advisors of Shea's condition, and Novack, who is currently an outpatient from the hospital, is taking revenge against these people who kept Shea from achieving his vocation as a priest. The most recent member of the clergy to get killed is the Catholic Father Tom McGowan. Stone takes his murder personally because the two of them were childhood friends. When detective work suggests that the next priest to be killed will be Father Henry Driscoll (Leif Erickson), Stone wants to don the collar and pretend to be him, which Driscoll at first rejects, until news reaches them that another of the council members has been assassinated. Sure enough, Novack appears after the Sunday service where Stone is in disguise, but there is confusion when both Stone (who is pretending to be Driscoll) and the real Driscoll each respond in church when Novack says "Father Driscoll?" Stone is wounded as Novack flees the church, and so is another cop. After Stone releases himself from the hospital quickly, he, Keller and several other police go to Mount Davidson, the highest point in San Francisco where Novack has a job as a caretaker. They recognize Novack, who kidnaps a nun and tries to flee driving a school bus. Fortunately, he is blocked by some patrol cars, captured and taken into custody.

EPILOG:

Stone talks with Driscoll about the San Francisco Giants, saying they should catch a game by the team some time. Driscoll says that at one point he thought of pursuing a baseball career, but he figured he was better cut out for the priesthood. Driscoll tells Stone that nothing is going to take away the pain of losing a friend like McGowan. Stone remembers an Irish benediction that he and McGowan once knew. Driscoll bids them farewell. As they drive away, Keller says Stone looked good wearing a priest's collar. Stone replies that someday he may need something to fall back on.

REVIEW:

Despite all the psychiatric mumbo-jumbo from Lenny Murchison (Fred Sadoff), SFPD's resident shrink (some of which just annoys Stone), this is a good episode. It seems odd to me, though, that if the cops outside the church where Stone is shot near the end can hear the sound of Novack's gun inside the church, that no one has heard this noise when the other priests were killed. It also seems to me that Novack would be taking a big chance to carry out his killings in a church where there might be people outside the confession booths at any time, but then he is a deranged nutbar. It is never established in the show that Novack speficially has the caretaker job at Mount Davidson, just that he had a part-time job arranged by the Department of Human Resources, according to Dr. Walden (David Lewis), an administrator at the hospital. When Novack hijacks the bus and Keller tries to get on via the ladder at the back (he fails), I had visions of a rehash of a scene from Dirty Harry, but this was not to be.

MORE TRIVIA:

  • Driscoll's address that the police have on file is 4211 Farrell Street.
  • We learn that Stone was an altar boy at St. Vincent's.
  • A 1972 calendar is seen on the wall in Stone's office.
  • Karl Malden playing a priest harkens back to his iconic role as Father Barry in On the Waterfront.
  • The nun who Novack kidnaps in the bus is actually kind of hot looking.
  • James Gregory is the "special guest star" in this episode.

S02E04: Before I Die ★★★★
Original air date: October 4, 1973
Director: William Hale; Writer: Albert Ruben; Music: Duane Tatro
"Buddy Boy" count: 3

Inspector John T. Connor (Leslie Nielsen) and his partner Murray (James Wainright) have been after local gangster Al Royce (Ray Danton) for a year and a half. Among the criminal activities Royce has engaged in are bribery in connection with a liquor license, a phony pension fund and shylocking. At the beginning of the show, using an undercover truck camper, Connor and Murray are pursuing Royce's henchman Joey who has an attaché case to be put in a "safe place" during Royce's upcoming trial. Despite a lot of cops being involved, the chase ends with the car, Joey and the case being burned to a crisp. At a hearing later, the case against Royce is thrown out because of a lack of evidence. Connor is frustrated with the assistant district attorney Capiello (Paul Cavonis), and nearly collapses on the courthouse steps. Connor goes to see his doctor, who tells him that he has an aneurysm which could have him suddenly dropping dead any time. Connor decides to kill Royce, since he has nothing to lose. He takes a shot at Royce, but ends up killing his chauffeur Sullivan instead. Stone and Keller go to visit Royce on his yacht. He does not seem overly concerned about attempts on his life. Stone tells Royce "You have enemies. I don't mean people who hate your guts, I mean people who want to kill you." When Connor gets together with his ex-wife Rosemary (Joanne Linville), one of Royce's thugs who is shadowing him almost runs him over. Connor buys a long-range rifle. He pretends to leave town for Portland, but is seen in surveillance footage outside the funeral for Sullivan. Murray confronts his partner at his place. Connor tells him that what he has to do, he will do alone. Stone also goes to talk to Connor, but gets punched out. Murray is seriously conflicted between loyalty to his partner and the police force and letting Connor eliminate the scummy Royce. He goes with Stone and Keller to find Royce and protect him from Connor. They track Royce down to the Bay Meadows race track where Royce has an interest in a horse that is running that day. Connor is also there, taking up a position on the roof of the grandstand with the intention of killing Royce. Murray and Stone arrive on the roof, and just as Connor is about to knock off Royce, Murray shoots his partner dead.

EPILOG:

Stone and Keller prepare to leave the race track. Keller tells Stone, "What happened back there, it really didn't have very much to do with justice, but had a hell of a lot to do with the use of power. A man and his gun. It just isn't the answer. Were you tempeted [to shoot Connor yourself]?" Stone replies,"That's between me and John T. But you know what? What Murray did is what I'd want you to go if that had been me."

REVIEW:

This show is the equal of the season three opener where Leslie Nielsen is an alcoholic cop, with fine acting by all concerned. The chase at the beginning is very exciting, given the show's avoidance of using process photography (though I can't swear that none of this was used). There are a couple of shots taken from a camera which is attached outside by the driver's side door and at one point, both the pursuer and pursued drive down what looks like an unused railway siding over the tracks and ties.

MORE TRIVIA:

  • Murray has been Connor's partner for 12 years; Connor has been on the force for 32 years.
  • At around 4:30 on the DVD when the cop car does a fast U-turn, you can see skid marks in the intersection from where they rehearsed.
  • James Wainright gets "special guest star" treatment; the other principals -- Nielsen, Linville and Danton -- are all just "guest stars."

S02E05: Going Home ★★½
Original air date: October 11, 1973
Director: Robert Day; Writer: Jack B. Sowards; Music: Patrick Williams
"Buddy Boy" count: 2

A small-time crook named Eddie Coughlin (Tom Bosley), who spent 15 of his 46 years in Alcatraz, breaks into a store owned by Eugene Beal (Milton Selzer) with the intention of robbing the cash register. Instead, after knocking out Beal, he finds two bags containing $100,000 in the open safe, the proceeds of a number drop which were being prepared for the racket's "Mr. Big,", Grady McClain (Barry Atwater), along with a book containing vital information and various policy slips. When Stone and Keller show up at the store, Beal tells them nothing is wrong, and the two of them leave since no complaint has been filed. After Beal goes to see McClain, McClain gets his right-hand man Baxter (Paul Mantee) to put in a call to a professional hit man from Cleveland named Keech, who shows up the next day and shoots Beal in his store, killing him. Coughlin goes to see his ex-wife Donna (Sheree North), who lives in San Francisco with his son Martin (Brad Savage). Eddie tells Donna that he wants them to be a family again. When he shows her the money, to which she reacts badly, he finally realizes what he has stolen. Eddie goes back to his fleabag hotel, but Keech and Baxter are waiting for him. Eddie runs away, takes a bus, and goes to visit a drug addict friend named Pulley (James McCallion), who tells him to get lost, because word is on the street that Eddie's days are numbered. Eddie calls Donna at home, but her sister Sylvia Wagner is there, and she tells him that Donna has gone to the park with their son. When he arrives at the park, Eddie sees Donna with her new boyfriend. He gives a large panda bear to his son. Stone and Keller go to visit Donna. When they ask where Eddie might be, she suggests that he might return to Alcatraz, because this was the only real home he knew, where he felt secure. Eddie steals a motorboat and heads for the former prison, but Keech and Baxter are on his tail. Eddie returns to his former cell once he arrives on the island. He knocks out Baxter, but Keech pursues him and takes potshots at Stone and Keller, who have arrived at Alcatraz by helicopter, as well as its pilot, who is wounded. Eddie, who was shot in the confrontation with Baxter, kills Keech with Baxter's gun. Stone and Keller find Eddie in his cell, but not before Eddie has passed away.

EPILOG:

Eddie hid the money inside the panda bear he gave to his son. Recovering the cash, Stone tells Donna that she is entitled to 10% of it as a reward. When Martin complains that Stone damaged his bear, Stone says he will fix it and bring it right back. When the kid asks Stone if he is a friend of his father's who saved his life, Stone says, "As a matter of fact, he did."

REVIEW:

Given Tom Bosley's kindly family man/everyman persona (later exploited big time on Happy Days), it is hard to accept him as a crook, even if he is playing against type. Eddie is a very simple-minded kind of criminal, but this doesn't jibe with the typical convicts who were sent to Alcatraz like troublemakers at other federal prisons, including notorious bank robbers and murderers. It's also hard to imagine Eddie as husband to Sheree North's character, even though Donna at this point in her life is kind of haggard looking. It is amazing in the show how everyone from the cops to the hitmen are able to identify Eddie given the sketchiest information and, not only that, where he will be at a moment's notice. Who is the guy at the docks who points out Eddie in his stolen boat on his way to Alcatraz to Keech and Baxter? And why are there no tourists on Alcatraz? (This may depend on what time of year the show was taking place, though.)

MORE TRIVIA:

  • When Eddie is in the prison, there is some lens flare in the camera at around 43:45.
  • The score to the episode by Patrick Williams (actually credited for the score for a change) is pretty good.

S02E06: The Stamp of Death ★★
Original air date: October 18, 1973
Director: Seymour Robbie; Writer: Robert I. Holt
"Buddy Boy" count: 5

A thief gets into a fancy dress party thrown by an old rich guy named James T. Sturdevant. In the house's library, the thief makes it look like he came in through the window, then opens the safe. He exchanges an insurance document and steals some rare 2 cent yellow stamps from 1850 British Guiana. Then he plants some evidence which makes it look like the safe also contained an extremely rare, similar-looking 6 cent magenta stamp from the same country issued around the same time. Sturdevant, having been alerted by a phone call, goes to the library where he is shot dead by the thief. After reviewing the crime scene, Stone goes to visit Edward T. Hawkins (Robert Emhardt), a philatelic expert at the United States Stamp Company, who tells him that the extremely rare stamp which was seemingly stolen was in fact the world's rarest, of which there is only one known specimen. There is a certain aura of mystery surrounding this stamp, because no one knows who really owns (or owned) it. Stone and Keller then go to Grand Colonial Indemnity, the company which handled Sturdevant's insurance policy, which included a clause covering the rare stamp. The boss of the company, Thomas Wood (Richard Derr) tells them that the policies they handle are written by independent agents. In order to insure a very rare stamp without specifying exact details about it, such as was done, they would have to secure the opinion of at least three expert appraisers before his company would underwrite. In this case, the agent who created the policy died two months before, and the appraisers' names are unknown, which is unusual. The company has an investigator on the case, Chris Conway (Earl Holliman), who turns out to be the thief from the beginning of the show. Stone goes to see an informer named Doc (Woodrow Parfrey), asking him to keep his ears and eyes open in case someone tries to fence the rare stamp, which is worth upwards of $300,000. Conway is getting Arnie Jenkins (Harry Davis), a printer, to forge copies of the magenta stamp using the similar yellow stamps which will be altered by bleaching and dyeing. Conway meets with Glen Williams (Jessica Walter), the insurance company's receptionist, and we find out that the two of them were formerly married, but separated three years ago. Williams "did it" with Sturdevant, who had a passion for younger women, and then put Conway up to getting involved in the scheme to steal the yellow stamps and create bogus magenta ones which will make them both rich. In other words, the ex-wife is the brains of the operation, which is reinforced after Keller finds out that Conway is not such a smart guy after all from his record with the Los Angeles police. Both Stone and Keller are having various brainstorms about why Conway is the guilty party in the theft and murder, especially after they are contacted by someone from the Chinese consulate who tells them that a stamp collector in Hong Kong has proof that he has the rare magenta issue. When they go to talk to Conway, he tries to escape, but is captured. Prior to Stone and Keller arriving, Conway's ex-wife got a mysterious phone call from someone who she goes to meet at the beach. This turns out to be Doc, who knew Jenkins the printer from having ratted on him to Stone years before. Doc has already killed Jenkins (maybe, see below), and now possessing all the magenta stamps that Jenkins made, he wants to make a deal with Williams. Tracking the cab which took Williams to her meeting, Stone and Keller show up as Williams pulls a gun on Doc and take them both into custody.

EPILOG:

Keller brings supposedly official paperwork received from the collector in Hong Kong which proves that he owns the rare stamp. Stone shows Keller a telegram he just received from a lawyer in England whose client also claims that he owns the stamp. Stone says "This is one mystery we are never going to solve."

REVIEW:

If you don't think about this show too hard, it is sort of OK, but its plot is overly complicated as well as having a couple of "AHA!" moments and other moments which just had me scratching my head. The first "AHA!" moment, which I could see coming from a long way, was the one where Stone and Keller arrive at the insurance company and, after we see the back of the investigator's head, he is revealed to be Conway. The other such moment at the end of the show was actually pretty clever. Williams arrives at the beach, and Doc has not shown up yet, but there is a guy sitting nearby with his back to her. This guy from the rear is a dead ringer for Hawkins, the stamp expert, but when he turns around, we get a big surprise, because it is a totally different person. That is all fine and dandy, but then there are the head-scratching moments like:

  • Conway shows up at the party at the beginning, but despite the fact that it has a guest list and seems to be by invitation only, somehow manages to get in. It is not clear how he does this, it looks like he sneaks in between two couples and the doorman doesn't say anything.
  • Why did "Glen" (Williams, who we first assume is a man) phone Sturdevant during the party to let him know there was something going on in the library (i.e., Conway was stealing the stamps)? Was this part of the plan, that Conway would then knock off Sturdevant to make the robbery look more convincing?
  • It is obvious there was some kind of monkey business with the insurance policies, aside from the fact Conway switched them when he was robbing the safe. But how would he know the combination for the safe and which books to manipulate on the wall to expose the safe behind its door as well as which album in the safe contained the stamps he wanted to steal? (There don't seem to be very many albums, considering how much of a stamp collector Sturdevant supposedly was.) Did Williams get information about all this from Sturdevant during their "relationship"? (This seems very far-fetched.) Or would the combination and the way to get to the safe, etc. be something that was known to the insurance company?
  • Though it is possible that Jenkins bleaches and dyes the paper from the yellow stamps to make the magenta one (the real super-rare stamp was created by dyeing white paper with purple, after all), I really don't understand how he can change the printing of the value of the stamp from 2 cents to 6 cents. Surely there were experts even back in 1973 who could have determined if a stamp was a forgery!
  • Was it really Doc who killed Jenkins, the printer, by running into him up against a wall with a car? Doc doesn't look like he owns a car, let alone can drive one. If so, then he would have had to take the body back to the print shop to dump it there (how close the killing is to the print shop is not determined), gotten the stamps Jenkins made from wherever they were and somehow gotten Conway's phone number from Jenkins (if he was still alive) or found it somewhere in the place to call him.
  • How does Conway escape from his apartment, which is on the 10th floor, when Stone and Keller are at the door? Did he go over the balcony to the next place or something and then down through the building? It is strange that Stone or Keller do not run into him on the way down. Instead, Conway seems to leave by the back of the building, jumping into an alley, where he is captured by Keller.

The show gets kind of soap-operatic over the relationship between Conway and his ex-wife. He calls her "a real live man-eating cannibal" and says "You set him [Sturdevant] up. You gave me the gun and you told me what to do. All because he jilted you. Because he turned you down for some other dumb skirt." (!!!)

MORE TRIVIA:


S02E07: Harem ★★½
Original air date: October 25, 1973
Director: Virgil Vogel; Writer: John D.F. Black

This show is a two-for-one. Teenage hookers are being killed, and dealing with these crimes, Stone takes them personally because of his daughter. Stone gets on the phone to Jeannie (Darleen Carr) in Arizona where she is studying, wondering if she is OK, which prompts her to wonder if everything is OK with him, so she immediately comes home after finishing her last exam to check. When Stone is too embarrassed to tell Jeannie why he is suddenly concerned about her, Keller gives her all the scoop right in front of him. The first dead hooker, who is fished out of the bay, is Diane Marks (Ninette Bravo). Tracking down a list of numbers taken from Diane's body leads Stone to a phone booth where he busts Sarah Holt (Kay Lenz). She gives him a lot of mouth, calling him and Keller "pigs." Released after the D.A. says he can't make the charge against her stick, Sarah talks to Billy Jeffers (Rick Nelson), formerly a musician with the Washburn Five, who is now her pimp and that for several other girls, including the late Diane. Sarah tells Jeffers she knows he killed Diane, but doesn't blame him, because Diane had "the bug" (V.D.) which would have had bad repercussions for Jeffers if clients had complained. Sarah tells Jeffers that the cops picked her up, but she is not going to blab about his racket. Jeffers says he is going to take Sarah shopping, but instead they go to a place on the ocean near the Golden Gate Bridge, where he stabs her to death with a knife. When the cops find Sarah's body, there is that of another girl nearby. Stone and Keller go to Diane's apartment using an address she gave when arrested, but they find almost nothing. Keller talks to Jeffers, who lives in another apartment nearby and is playing the flute which he does in public for small change. Jeffers, who pretends to be gay, says he has no connection to any of the women in the building. In order to make a charge that will stick, Stone decides to again monitor the phone booths in the list from Diane. Doing so, they grab another girl named Kim (Laurette Spang) and, after putting pressure on her, Kim helps them identify Jeffers as the man in charge of the girls' "stable." As Jeffers is taken away, he is yelling abuse at Kim, calling her a "phony little tramp."

EPILOG:

Jeffers is positively identified by comparing his sandals made from used tires with tread marks found at Sarah's murder scene. Keller makes a lame joke that it was "pretty good that he didn't get a retread." Stone's daughter is asleep in his office. When they wake her up, they decide to go out for a night on the town. When Keller starts to argue about Stone's choice of a place to go (Barney's, which makes "the best chili dogs in town"), Stone says Keller and Jeannie can choose whatever place they want and he will pick up the tab.

REVIEW:

As Jeffers, Ricky Nelson gives a low-key but insidious performance. Some of his dialogue is kind of dopey. Considering the subject matter of the episode is already kind of rank (underage prostitution, rape, venereal disease), I think the producers did not want to push things by making Nelson's character into some crazy Charles Manson type (and remember, Manson began his post-prison career as leader of his "family" in San Francisco). Jeffers' routine of acting "gay" is kind of silly, consisting of him quickly attaching an earring before he talks to Keller. When asked if he was friends with Diane, Keller says "That's not my scene." Keller later tells Stone: "He's not what you call 'a ladies man'." The only reason Stone's daughter comes home seems to be so she can help identify Jeffers and the members of his former group, which sold 6 million records. Although the group was called the "Five," it only had four people in total. Keller speculates that when Jeffers was a musician, he learned to manipulate young women like the groupies who would typically follow a band.

MORE TRIVIA:

  • This is another show with "statistics": Stone tells his daughter that 600,000 kids run away from home each year and that 74% of all prostitution arrests are girls under 25. In Boston, the average age is 20; in Miami, it's 18.
  • Diane's body shows signs of a beating, and she was supposedly thrown off the Golden Gate Bridge the night before. But when her body is dragged out of the harbor, the bridge is far in the distance. How could she be "thrown off" the bridge? It's highly unlikely that a car would stop and someone would throw her body off -- this would attract a lot of attention.
  • As Jeffers and Sarah prepare to go out, Jeffers grabs his knife from a drawer nearby. Can't Sarah see him doing this? He is at sort of an angle to her so maybe not, or perhaps this is something she would expect him to take with him when he went out for protection.
  • The medical examiner (Stu Klitsner) is named "Bernie," but it is not the same Bernie who will appear in season three.
  • Nelson's lip synching of his flute playing is very good, or else he is actually playing it.
  • When Sarah propositions Stone, the price of a trick is $10. Sarah smokes when she is in Stone's office.
  • A Telautograph machine, a precursor to faxes, is seen during the show transmitting information about Sarah, whose real last name was Carlyle.
  • When Kim gets her "one phone call," she calls Billy (the number is 555-6412), but he does not answer. Stone overhears her say the number and immediately gets Keller to trace it.
  • Jeffers played bass in his group. The other members were Christy Johns (drums), Jeff Washburn (piano), and Shawn Dennis (lead guitar and vocals).

S02E08: No Badge for Benjy ★★★½
Original air date: November 1, 1973
Director: Seymour Robbie; Writer: George Bellak
"Buddy Boy" count: 2

This is a two-for-one, slice-of-life episode, with the cops investigating the murder of a Japanese businessman named Shimada who was in town investigating financial irregularities in a local company he was interested in taking over and who was found murdered. Benson, the owner of the local company, had dinner with Shimada the previous evening, after which Shimada supposedly left for his hotel room in a cab. Stone talks to Benson, but gets "a feeling" about the guy. An informer named Cappy (Eddie Firestone) tells Stone that he saw Shimada late the previous evening with a hooker named Mary Cantrell, who lives at 2911 Taylor. It turns out Benson arranged for a dinner party between Cantrell and Shimada and picked him up personally at 11:45. Soon after this, Shimada was found killed with a knife that had an elk-horn handle. Stone confronts Benson with this information, asking Benson if he -- a hunter -- possesses such a weapon. Combined with the fact that Benson's own mother had sold the company out from under him, making her son more possessive about it, it is case closed for this one. The other investigation has to do with Benjy Hoskins (Charles Lampkin), a happy-go-lucky street-mart hustler who looks out for the best interests of people in his neighborhood. Benjy gets a tip regarding a shipment of drugs connected with local gangster Canetti (Pat Renella) and is trying to get in touch with Milt Dedini (William Watson), his contact at SFPD, when he is shot in the back by two of Canetti's stooges while making the call from a phone booth. Keller has had a connection with Benjy some time ago, and when he goes to the hospital, he encounters Benjy's daughter Vi (Judyann Elder) who is very bitter about whas has happened to her father. When Dedini shows up, things don't get better, especially when he starts asking Vi questions about a phone number found on a piece of paper in her father's pocket and he starts yelling at Benji about this number when he regains consciousness. After the nurse kicks them out of Benjy's room, Vi calls Dedini "Judas" when she encounters him in the hall. She is somewhat less confrontational with Keller, who comes on like "the cop who cares" and gives her a ride home. Vi tells him how her father looked after her and encouraged her to get ahead in life, unlike what happened with many of her friends. Back at the hospital, one of Canetti's goons (Tony Young) comes into Benjy's room and starts slashing at his oxygen tent with a knife, but is scared off by a nurse who freaks out. Vi is brought back to the hospital, and has a confrontation with Dedini, wondering why there was no guard outside her father's room and accusing the police of ignoring her father because he was not a "big man." Keller returns to the hospital, freed up from the Shimada case, just as Vi has been told that her father has died. Vi asks Keller how could her father have a crazy idea that someone would care if he was helping the police the way that he did. Keller calls Stone, asking him to get everything that Dedini has on Benjy. He also asks Vi about one of the phone numbers in her father's pockets, for a Larry Hayes at 1145 Kearny. Back in the office, Keller tells Dedini -- who considers Benjy to be just a garden-variety stoolie -- that Benjy has been without any arrests for the last 12 years while he has been working with the cops. Dedini apologizes and says he will check out Hayes, but Vi has already contacted Hayes using the information that Keller gave her. She tells Hayes that she has "names, dates and places" that her father gave to her and people will pay for this information: "No reason my daddy had to die for nothing." Hayes passes this information on. Stone and Keller go to check out Hayes, who flees when they find Vi's number in his address book. Grabbed by Keller, Hayes gives them only basic information. They go to Vi's place and catch her just about to take a cab with a gun in her purse. Knowing she is going to meet Canetti, they agree to let her act as bait so they can arrest him. At the corner of Sacramento and Battery, a car swap is made, and Vi is taken to one of Canetti's warehouses. There he tells Vi that she is a "nice broad." His thug played by Tony Watson is about to waste her when the cops show up, and Canetti is taken into custody, having narrowly avoided being shot by Vi.

EPILOG:

At Benji's funeral, Dedini tells Vi at the graveside that "I'll be back from time to time. He was a man I want to remember." She asks Stone and Keller if Dedini meant what he said. Stone says, "He sure did."

REVIEW:

Judyann Elder as Benjy's daughter Vi gives an outstanding performance. Her character has a real attitude and her acting reminded me of Nichelle Nichols playing a tough-assed take-no-shit mama in the blaxploitation movie Truck Turner. Anthony James, who specialized in playing creepy psycho guys like the villain in the movie In the Heat of the Night is relatively restrained as Hayes. Benjy presumably had James' phone number, because he got a tip from him about the shipment of drugs, maybe because Canetti wanted to knock off Benjy and this was an easy way to do this, because they knew he would try and pass this information along to the cops. William Watson is also very good as the hyper Dedini.

MORE TRIVIA:

  • The second punk who shoots Benji at the beginning of the show (the first is Watson) is played by Herman Poppe.
  • Someone named Armbruster from the mayor's office is seen in Stone's office at the beginning of the show for a few seconds. I think this actor is Tom Luddy.
  • Vi's phone number is 555-7214.
  • Hayes' salary at his "real job," a clerk at a freight company, is $94.50 a week.

S02E09: The Twenty-Four Karat Plague ★★½
Original air date: November 8, 1973
Director: Don Medford; Writers: Robert Malcolm Young, Robert Sherman; Music: John Elizalde
"Buddy Boy" count: 2

A shipment of radioactive gold from California Northern University is being transported to a decontamination facility when it is hijacked by a gang who want to melt down the gold and turn it into planchets, plain metal disks from which coins are made which will be sold to counterfeiters. The leader of the gang, Vic Tolliman (Vic Morrow) knocks out the driver of the truck, Fisher (Bern Hoffman) with a billy club. Fisher and the truck's other driver, Joe (Roy Applegate), who is also knocked out, are dropped off in the middle of nowhere. Joe recovers and flags down a passing car, and eventually ends up talking to the cops. Fisher later dies of his injuries. The truck containing the gold is driven by Lew Morrison (Herb Edelman) to a warehouse on the docks in San Francisco which contains a foundry to melt the gold down. Eddie Whitney (Anthony Zerbe), who gained experience at a foundry in San Quentin years before, is in charge of this part of the operation. When Professor William Mason (Simon Scott) and his aide Les Slauson (Wright King) from the university visit Stone and Keller, Mason tells them that typical radioactive gold that they dispose of is relatively safe to handle after 2.7 days. However, the gold in the hijacked shipment was mixed with uranium, and is extremely dangerous. Slauson, who plays poker with the members of the gang, was not aware of this and when he meets with them soon after, he lets them know the hazards of being around the very radioactive gold. Vic goes to talk to Eddie, but does not tell Eddie about the risks involved. Soon Eddie is smelting the blank coins. Vic tells Lew and Charlie Durand (Paul Jenkins), the other member of the gang, that he didn't stop Eddie from doing his job, and the two of them are horrified. Vic says he couldn't care less, that Eddie is "dead already." Eddie develops radiation poisoning quickly, and this is confirmed by his doctor. Freaking out because of what is happening to his body, Eddie goes to visit Vic. He says he is going to talk because he doesn't want anyone else to go through what he is going through. Vic clubs him to death with a tire iron and dumps his body in the harbor, which is later found by the cops. The truck in the warehouse is soon discovered, but the gold is missing, hidden at Lew's restaurant in a lead-lined box. Vic picks it up and takes it to a fence in Chinatown (Dale Ishimoto), who offers him much less than he was expecting. Tipped off by both Charlie, whose real job is a real estate agent who helped get the gang the deserted warehouse where the foundry was set up, as well as Lew, who wanted to use his part of the proceeds to turn his restaurant business into a chain, Stone and Keller arrive in Chinatown and pursue Vic who is escaping with an attaché case of cash after knocking out the fence. Vic is run over and killed by a florist's truck as he flees across a busy street.

EPILOG:

As they leave the scene of the accident, Stone and Keller note that, according to a newspaper headline, the price of gold has reached a record high. They refer back to a case which they were investigating at the beginning of the show. Stone says "We probably never will nail that clown now, will we? Maybe it doesn't matter if you lose some of the little ones." Keller replies, "As long as you win some of the big ones?" When Stone says "That's right," Keller says, "Can I quote you on that?" Stone says, "Oh, sure."

REVIEW:

This show is interesting, though I don't know if it all makes sense scientifically speaking. There are a lot of issues with time in the show -- whether events happen from one day to the next, or there are gaps of more than one day between these events. For example, Eddie develops radiation poisoning and within a very limited time frame, gets all sweaty and twitchy. But the thing that really bothers me about this show is: how do all these people involved in the scheme know each other? They are:

  • Vic Tolliman (Morrow), the leader, who is a parking lot attendant;
  • Eddie Whitney (Zerbe), ex-convict with foundry experience from San Quentin, who works at a floral company;
  • Lew Morrison (Edelman), who runs a fast-food place called Clown Alley and who wants to impress his "child bride" girl friend with the money he will make;
  • Charlie Durand (Jenkins), a real estate agent who owes $20,000 in hospital bills because his kid is sick.

In a typical "group" situation like this, there should be some reason for those people to be together. For example, in Hitchcock's movie Lifeboat, all the people were on a ship which got sunk. In one of those Agatha Christie-type shows like Murder on the Orient Express, the people are all together on a train. I can see that with a poker game, you might invite a pal of yours to join, but I can't see these people who are there in the show as really socializing with each other. It's not like they put a notice on a bulletin board at the supermarket that "there is a poker game tonight." It would have made more sense if all the people involved were ex-convicts who knew each other.

These guys all get together to play poker at the apartment of Gordy Sondheim (Milt Kamen), who is the manager of the floral company where Eddie works. Sondheim was not in on the plan to rob the gold, and Slauson, who also participates in the poker game, seemingly planted the idea for the robbery in everyone's mind during a conversation about where he works a month before, and is also not involved in the hijacking scheme.

Some other things that don't make sense:

  • When they are talking about how long it takes for the gold to become "safe," Vic says that the gold has been in the truck for "two days" already, therefore, they only have to wait .7 of a day for Eddie to handle it. This conversation happens soon after the gold arrives at the warehouse. We see scientist types loading the gold in the truck at the beginning of the show and when this is finished, it is driven away and is hijacked shortly thereafter.
  • Eddie has to make 5,000 planchets, but this would seem to be a very long project. Not knowing anything about smelting and related stuff, it looks to me like Eddie is pouring the liquid gold into one mold, but I think this goes down below into another mold where there are four coins. You can see a sample of these next to Eddie, where there is a large pile of coins that are already made. It looks like four coins are made connected to each other via these "branches," and Eddie breaks them off the branches to make individual coins.
  • The truck which transported the radioactive material is discovered in the warehouse when a kid's Frisbee flies through the window of the building. Why would kids be playing Frisbee on the docks?

If you don't think too hard about the time issues in the show, it's not that bad, and there are the usual non-process shots when people are driving combined with a chase through San Francisco's Chinatown at the end, accompanied by a funk/jazz score.

MORE TRIVIA:

  • What is the significance of Charlie lighting a second cigarette when Stone and Keller are at his office? He is already smoking one. Is this to suggest that he is very nervous? In addition to Charlie smoking, Mason the professor is also smoking when he is in Stone's office earlier,
  • At the beginning of the show, Stone and Keller are shown meeting some woman named Penny at Johnny Porter's 007½ club on Lombard Street.
  • It is a strange coincidence that when the truck with the gold is driven into San Francisco by Lew, it almost runs into Stone and Keller who seemingly fail to stop at an intersection. Stone tells Keller that the truck had the right of way, but Keller says that it was driving too fast.
  • Charlie's real estate company is Ellsworth Hogan Inc. The warehouse offers 37,000 square feet of what is advertised as "office space," but when he meets with Stone and Keller, Charlie tells them that the place was actually condemned by city inspectors and demolition of it was supposed to start the next Monday.
  • Eddie's address is 816 Junipero Lane. Eddie is 46 years old and a widower.
  • Monthly parking at the lot where Vic works costs $55. A sign at another lot suggests that its hourly rate is 45 cents.
  • The truck that runs over Vic at the end is from Kaleialoha's Florist.
  • The review of this episode at IMDB has some goofs: "Making things ever worse for him Tolliman [Morrow] now completely losing it had also since murdered his Chinatown fence --Dale Ishimoto -- for cutting the price for the gold he offered him in half from $300,000.00 to $150,000.00." There is no indication that the fence was killed, and the guy didn't offer Morrow half the money, he paid him half and then said Morrow would get the rest when the gold had "cooled off" (which would be several million years, I think).
  • Speaking of goofs, there is one at around 43:50 where a microphone's shadow and then the mike itself very obviously creeps into the scene.

S02E10: Shield of Honor ★★★
Original air date: November 15, 1973
Director: Eric Till; Writer: Dorothy C. Fontana; Music: Richard Markowitz
"Buddy Boy" count: 3

Martin Cahill, a protected witness, is knocked off by a hitman named Larwin (Steve Sandor) as he is being transported in an elevator to a hearing in the Criminal Courts building where he will testify against local prostitution kingpin Al Lyman. Suspicion as to how the high level of security surrounding Cahill was breached immediately falls on Riggs and Holeck, the two cops who were escorting him, as well as the two officers who were investigating the case for the D.A.'s office, Lt. Vincent Bondini (Peter Mark Richman) and Officer Andrea "Drea" McCormick (Mariette Hartley). Stone has known Bondini for about 20 years, and McCormick is an old girl friend of Keller's. Both Stone and Keller find it hard to believe their friends could have tipped someone off about Cahill's arrival at the courts, though Keller finds out that Bondini's wife is stricken with cancer and the medical bills are adding up. Larwin was badly wounded when he escaped after killing Cahill and is currently hiding out along with Ted Cullen (Robert Foxworth), who drove him away from the scene. Larwin tells Cullen to go and talk to Lyman about getting a doctor. Cullen does this in the guise of a TV repairman from a company where he used to work. Lyman tells Cullen that Larwin is a liability and orders Cullen to waste him. Bondini and McCormick are doing surveillance outside Lyman's place and they follow Cullen back to the hideout. After he arrives, Larwin realizes something fishy is up and is about to kill Cullen when a dog barking alerts him to the two cops outside. A gun battle follows and McCormick shoots Lyman dead with pin-point accuracy through the heart. There is also a big "AHA" moment when Cullen encounters McCormick, when we realize that she is the leak in the department. After Keller drives Drea home, she goes to visit her sister Liza (Ayn Ruymen) and we find out that Cullen is her sister's husband! Back at the station, Stone has a brainstorm and comes to the same conclusion, comparing an employee list from the TV repair company to McCormick's personnel file which has details about her sister. D.A. O'Brien (John Kerr)tells Stone that he doesn't want McCormick, but Cullen, who can make connections to Lyman. If McCormick is busted first, the whole operation will be blown. Cullen returns to the apartment where Drea is talking to Liza and says he is leaving town for a few days. He and McCormick exchange words about what kind of trouble they are both in. Stone organizes a sting where Keller takes Drea to dinner and after taking a phone call, tells her that they have figured out that Cullen is involved and an APB is out for him. McCormick excuses herself to go a phone which is tapped by Stone and calls her brother-in-law, who did not leave town but is holed up somewhere locally. McCormick is nabbed and so is Cullen very quickly after.

EPILOG:

Liza meets Keller and Stone who are on their way to her sister's hearing. She asks them not to attend, and they agree. Keller tells Liza that Drea will be dismissed from the department and probably charged as an accessory to murder. When Liza says Drea will be away for a long time, Keller says that she will need a lot of help when she gets out. Liza says that she will be glad to provide this help, considering what Drea has done for her in the past. When Stone suggests that Drea was thinking about Keller, Keller says "It's too bad she wasn't thinking about them," referring to a plaque on the wall commemorating those policemen who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

REVIEW:

Overall, this episode is good, but there are a lot of unanswered questions. Drea's relationship with her sister is strained, perhaps due to the fact that Liza was formerly a hooker and a junkie. Liza tells Drea "You're never gonna like Ted" despite the fact that "Ted did pull me out and put me back together." (Physically, Drea and Liza look like they are not related at all.) After we realize that Cullen and McCormick are connected and Cullen comes to the apartment, the two of them have a heated discussion, despite the fact that Liza is in the other bedroom right next to them. Drea tells Ted: "No one knows about all this except me. I killed a man because you lied to me; you set me up. Gambling debts, huh, Ted? You couldn't pay and my sister was going to nurse a cripple for the rest of her life if I didn't help some way. Some little tip, some piece of information." All this doesn't really tell us exactly how the behind-the-scenes business between the two of them transpired. The choice of the word "cripple" is bad, because Cullen is not physically crippled; presumably she means he is "crippled" from his gambling habit. So is Cullen in debt to Lyman because of these debts? Later Cullen tells Drea "With Lyman, I can be somebody, I can do things. And I'm gonna do it," suggesting he is striving for a position in Lyman's organization. It's hard to understand how Drea could have given information to Ted about the exact time Cahill was going to arrive at the court, considering how secret the whole operation was, providing other details about what elevator was going to be used and so forth. Robert Foxworth is very good in the show, playing kind of a miserable, nervous loser who is trying to improve his life by working for Lyman. Hartley's performance is very good too.

MORE TRIVIA:

  • The cops trace the phone call McCormick makes at the restaurant immediately and Ted is busted soon after that with address information that is provided to Stone. There are three pay phones in the restaurant; McCormick ends up using the one in ladies' room. Presumably the other two were being monopolized by cops so that Drea would be forced to use that one which was tapped by Stone. Drea phones her brother-in-law at 555-2178.
  • Peter Mark Richman gets "special guest star" status in the opening credits.
  • When he goes to visit Lyman, Cullen borrows a truck from Ajax Television, phone number 788-2347. It seems kind of far-fetched that he can do this, having not worked there for about a year.
  • Liza is very obviously pregnant. Was this something unusual for a TV show in 1973?
  • Drea's car is a Mustang.

S02E11: The Victims ★★½
Original air date: November 29, 1973
Director: George McCowan; Writer: Jerome Coopersmith
"Buddy Boy" count: 2

Three convicts break out of a prison work gang, stealing a truck and taking a guard hostage. As they are fleeing, they throw the guard out of the truck as it is going 70 miles an hour. Seriously injured, he later dies. The three are Lee Wilson (Henry Silva), 32, doing one to 14 for assault with intent to commit murder; John "Chickey" Phalen (Bill Vint), 26, convicted of armed robbery and assault, doing five to 20; and Ben Vargas (Valentin de Vargas), 41, a former bookkeeper and embezzler, doing one to ten. Keller returns to work from a interrupted day off with his girl friend Connie Moore (Jo Ann Harris), but she insists on hanging around with him. A journalist who does a food column for the newspaper, perhaps she senses a scoop and a promotion connected with a story about the escapees. Meanwhile, the three convicts enter a clothing store with the intention of getting rid of their prison duds. They check out various items while suggesting the store caters to a gay crowd, calling the young clerk (Danny Michael Mann) "pretty boy." When the clerk tries to escape, they strangle him to death with a necktie. The shopkeeper in the next building, Louis Fenwick (Lou Frizzell), sees what is going on and calls the cops, but when Keller and Stone show up, he will not provide them with any information. Outfitted in their new clothes, the three convicts hitchhike a ride with an elderly couple named Lockwood (Robert Williams and Ann Doran). They force them to drive to an auto junkyard where they murder the old folks in cold blood, then steal their car. Connie, working on her story, follows Stone and Keller back to the station, where she starts saying things like "They're [the cons] three human beings who've been caged up like animals. How can we expect them to really act differently? That is how we have treated them." Keller asks what gives criminals like them the right to escape from jail and kill people. Relations between the two of them seriously deteriorate and are not improved when Stone decides to take Connie along to the junkyard murder scene. She is totally shocked, but starts asking Keller how can he not feel emotion when dealing with a violent crime. He is almost at a loss for words and gets a cop to drive her home. The "kill-crazy spree" continues, with the three men parking their stolen car in the garage of a residential house. They go inside the place and wait. Soon Doug and Betty Thompson (Dan Ferrone and Gaye Huston) come home, preparing for their daughter's birthday party. Wilson takes Betty upstairs in the house and rapes her while Phalen taunts her husband. When Doug starts to get heroic, Vargas takes him aside and tells him the other two are "hospital crazy," and advises him to "play it straight" or both he and his wife will end up dead. When Wilson and Betty come back downstairs, Doug flies off the handle but is restrained. The three cons decide to leave in the couple's camper car with Betty as a hostage and Vargas knocks Doug out. Connie comes to the station again and wants to return Keller's house key, but he is busy. Stone takes her in a room and, closing the door, has some stern words. He asks Connie how would she like to see Keller do his job, telling her to either take Keller or leave him and, above all, don't get him killed because of her interfering. The three convicts are headed for a tool shed in the San Francisco Zoo where Phalen used to work, but the camper runs out of gas. When they stop for a fillup, men at the gas station recognize them and confront them, but Wilson and Phalen drive away, leaving Vargas in the station's washroom. The men beat Vargas senseless, but when Stone and Keller show up, he tells them where the others are headed. Thompson shows up at the zoo, knowing where they likely have taken his wife based on something Phalen said back at their house. When Stone and Keller arrive, they see Thompson and follow him. They surround the tool shed, but Wilson says he wants a car or Betty will be killed. As they emerge from the shed, a sharpshooter wounds Phalen and Wilson surrenders. Thompson approaches Wilson with a gun, but is talked out of killing him. Before he is taken away, Wilson spits on Keller's shoes.

EPILOG:

Stone drives Keller home, where Connie is waiting for him on the steps. As Stone gives Keller the key which Connie gave him earlier, they are called away to deal with a homicide. Keller yells "No!", but Stone tells him he is the lieutenant and the lieutenant gives orders, and Stone orders Keller to let him start this case on his own. He tells Keller to put his phone in the fridge so if he calls, then he can say no one answered. Keller greets Connie with "What a lovely surprise," and they go into his place.

REVIEW:

Keller and Connie's opening scenes have them travelling around the harbor at high speed on a powerboat. (Who owns this boat?) Douglas and Harris play their romantic scenes well and Harris is very sexy. The bad guys in this show are particularly nasty. Connie's "sickeningly liberal" lines are well-balanced with the brutality of the murders of the old couple, which must be very shocking (at least 18 bullets were used, based on the number of shells collected at the scene). Betty Thompson's rape is not described as such, but as an "attack." The psychotic behavior of Wilson and Phelan reminded me of the senseless murders of innocent people perpetrated by Charles Starkweather in the late 1950s. At the end of the show, to dissuade her husband from wasting Wilson, Betty says to him "I can live with it [i.e., what Wilson did to her] if you can."

MORE TRIVIA:

  • A radio report says the number of victims of the fugitives is four, meaning the clerk, the old couple and someone else ... who is presumably the guard. Is the guard's death actually announced anywhere prior to this?
  • Keller tells Connie she is "the adventurous Nellie Bly," referring to a legendary female journalist from the turn of the 20th century.
  • Stone has been on the force for 27 years.
  • Assuming that is Connie's car in front of Keller's place in the Epilog, it is a Mercedes 450SL. Its license number is 864 OBE.

S02E12: The Runaways ★★½
Original air date: December 6, 1973
Director: Seymour Robbie; Writer: Robert Malcolm Young

Three kids from Oregon whose family name is Morgan have been living on the streets since they arrived in town three and a half months ago. Currently they are squatting in an abandoned building and the youngest, Sharon (Debbie Lytton), is sick. 19-year-old George (Larry Wilcox), who promised their late father three years before that he would look after Sharon and his younger brother Jack (Barry Livingston, of My Three Sons), breaks into a pharmacy to steal antibiotics to help Sharon. The elderly pharmacist Chesley (Ben Niems) who lives in the building hits his head on a radiator during a scuffle, killing him. George flees, taking the druggist's gun with him. Stone and Keller soon arrive and find Sharon and Jack in their building nearby, thanks to a tip from Sumner Stamp (Ty Henderson), a newspaper delivery carrier, and take them to the hospital where the doctor says Sharon has symptoms of pneumonia and anemia. Both Jack and his brother George, who had a troubled background including escape from a reform school where he was serving one year for assault, don't want their family unit to be broken up by public health officials. A social worker named Wilson (Gail Cameron) gets Judge Millie Cox (Jeanette Nolan) involved with Sharon and Jack's case. George kidnaps Millie at gunpoint when she is taking Jack to lunch at the International House of Pancakes, then calls the authorities and says that Millie will not be freed until Sharon is released from the hospital. George then hides himself, Jack and Millie in one of the Golden Gate Park windmills. Millie's close friend Harlan (Kent Smith), who works with her, is concerned about Millie's fate, but Stone will not release Sharon. Stone describes Millie as "one of the two best women I ever met, and I married the other one." Millie, who has been a advocate for the rights of children for about 30 years, at one point tries to escape, but she gets stopped on her way out of the windmill. Sharon, still in the hospital, is not co-operative with Stone at all, especially after she finds out he is a cop. Things get complicated when the kids' uncle Alvin Sparling (Ted Gehring), comes to San Francisco from Oregon to "reclaim" them. After his brother's death, Alvin tried to give the children a "Christian upbringing." George was charged with assault against his uncle after the two of them fought, and George gave Alvin a cut which required 37 stitches to close. Stone speculates Alvin abused Sharon, and was responsible for a second-degree burn on her left hand. (We find out elsewhere that Alvin burned Sharon's hand with a hot iron after she broke her glasses.) Stone tells Alvin that they will not need his help to get the kids back and later says to Keller "I think there's a real criminal." Jack shows up at the railroad depot where George has demanded Sharon be dropped off, but she is not there. Jack escapes, but Keller, who is in a police helicopter, tails Jack to Golden Gate Park. Stone and cops show up at the windmill and Stone gets Keller to fly around the place to distract George and sneaks inside. There, George is finally convinced to give himself up.

EPILOG:

George is taken away to face consequences of the pharmacy robbery and the pharmacist's death. Millie is reunited with Harlan. Millie says she will also make efforts to have the children adopted and deal with the children's uncle Alvin. The show ends with a warm and fuzzy moment between Stone and Keller as they watch Millie and Harlan get into a car.

REVIEW:

This episode has a serious element of déjà vu, inasmuch as it resembles S01E20 where Stone was held captive by a gang who wanted one of their members also released from a hospital. Millie gives George a lot of "speechifying" while she is being held captive, sort of like Stone did to his captors in the earlier episode.

MORE TRIVIA:


S02E13: Winterkill ★★½
Original air date: December 13, 1973
Director: Seymour Robbie; Writer: Jack B. Sowards

Senior citizen Wade Tillman is a "fixer," ironically played by veteran actor Paul Fix. When he hears that fellow tenant at the Pacific Haven Home for Senior Citizens Frank Casey (John Qualen) is getting relocated because he can't pay the rent, Tillman robs a gas station. The attendant there (Doug Chapin) resists and Tillman shoots him during a struggle, but then Tillman acts sympathetic and calls for an ambulance before he leaves. Later, when Casey falls down the stairs in the home because he has cataracts and is going blind, Tillman investigates how much it would cost for an operation to restore Casey's sight -- $10,000. Tillman then goes to visit his friend from 40 years ago Carl Armstrong (Denver Pyle), a self-made millionaire who owns several San Francisco buildings. Armstrong does not react well to Tillman's request for a "loan" of 10 grand, telling his old pal that "I made my own luck." As a result, Tillman, who used to be a "blaster," a person familiar with dynamite, plants multiple bombs in Armstrong's buildings and says that they will be detonated if Armstrong doesn't pony up the bucks to pay for Casey's operation. Stone and Keller have their hands full trying to track down Tillman for both the robbery and the extortion, because he has no criminal record. They end up talking to Elmer Pierce (Burt Mustin), who does have a record, but he is also confined to a wheelchair. They finally track Tillman down with help from his son Robert (Linden Chiles), who is in town on business. The old man hangs out at his wife's grave twice a week. When he sees his son approaching with Stone, Tillman runs away, only to suffer a heart attack, just as the clock is ticking with the deadline for the final bomb in Armstrong's building (the others have all been defused or detonated). Keller and Stone have to put in double-duty to find the last explosive because the bomb squad is in the basement of the building. In a nail-biting conclusion, Keller holds the bomb on the way down in the elevator; it explodes seconds after he deposits it in a special barrel in front of the place.

EPILOG:

Tillman wakes up in the hospital to be told that Casey had his operation, and the doctor performed it pro bono. Armstrong shows up and says that he has had a change of heart and will get his lawyers to help Tillman beat the rap. As Stone and Keller leave, Armstrong and Tillman are arguing like old geezers.

REVIEW:

Like S03E14, which features the elderly Sam Jaffe and Luther Adler, this episode deals with "old folks issues." There is a certain cuteness to it, despite the serious business of the bombs. In addition to Fix (born 1901), Pyle (1920), Mustin (1884!) and Qualen (1899), Ruth McDevitt (1895) completes the gallery of older character actors. One question, aside from how does Tillman get into the buildings to plant the bombs, is how does Tillman get the dynamite? He used to be a "blaster," though I don't know if you have a license to do this work, it would still be valid after 40 years. The bomb squad in this show is laughable, sort of like the Keystone Cops. The first bomb they are dealing with is put in a cannister that looks like a Rubbermaid garbage can, which doesn't even have a top on it. They quickly throw this into a Ford Econoline van instead of the usual highly-insulated truck which can withstand a bomb going off and rush to a dock where the container is isolated and the bomb explodes. The results really don't look like something which would "blow off the top of the whole building," as Tillman tells Armstrong on the phone. The 1970's equivalent to CGI for the final explosion is very lame, sort of like some of those seen on Hawaii Five-O. Winterkill, the title of this episode -- what does it mean?

MORE TRIVIA:

  • Tillman and Armstrong worked together in Arkansas on the WPA (Works Progress Administration), a public works project during the 1930s which employed millions of people.
  • Statistics: over 14% of the people in San Francisco are over the age of 65.
  • Adding to the "cuteness" of Tillman's robbery of the gas station at the beginning of the show is some music which is usually heard during "cute" epilogs.
  • Stone gets to reminisce in this episode, thinking of his grandfather. He and Keller are seen arguing over food, specifically a couple of cold hot dogs which are dished up at a roadside stand by a burly chef named Walt, played by professional wrestler Tiger Joe Marsh.
  • Tillman says he stopped smoking on June 3, 1958.
  • Keller drives up in front of Armstrong's building and brakes hard, almost rear-ending a truck, which looks like the one used by the bomb squad.

S02E14: Most Feared in the Jungle ★★★½
Original air date: December 20, 1973
Director: Robert Day; Writer: Jerome Coopersmith; Music: John Elizalde
"Buddy Boy" count: 2

Barbara Talmadge (Kitty Winn), a single girl, has a baby boy in an operating room in the New Choice Home for unwed mothers on September 12, 1973, and some time after he is born, she returns to the place to claim him, but is told that the child was stillborn. She is not satisfied with this response, wanting to speak to the doctor who delivered the child. She fights with Mrs. Davenport (Ysabel MacCloskey), who is like a den mother to the girls in the home, and knocks her to the floor, killing her, then leaves. Stone gets some information about what happened from another girl at the home named Rayfield (Beverly Washburn), but it is sketchy. Keller talks to Barbara's mother (Nan Martin), who is a professor at the University of San Francisco and a bitch. The mother tells Keller that Barbara is not a rational person, having had a mental breakdown; she also attempted to commit suicide. The mother says she gave Barbara money to pay for an abortion, but her daughter wanted to have the child. When he returns to the office, Keller tells Stone that the mother was ashamed of her daughter and her kid's mental problems were like a slap in the face to her. Using information on a piece of paper which Davenport was trying to hide from her, Barbara goes to see Dr. Hyland (Stewart Moss), who she thinks delivered her baby. But Dr. J.D. Hyland is a young man, whereas the doctor in the operating room at the home was much older. Barbara recognizes the old man from a photo in Hyland's office, and using a gun that she took from Davenport's desk, she shoots Junior (not seriously), forcing him to admit that his father (Dr. Joseph Hyland -- played by John McLiam) was the one who delivered her son. When interviewed by Stone and Keller, Hyland Junior says he never saw Barbara before in his life and that she struck him as psychotic, especially because of her creation of a "fantasy child." (He almost slips up in this discussion, making it obvious to us that he really does know who Barbara is.) Barbara goes to Hyland Senior's place and, despite the fact that his son warns him about her coming there, she confronts the older man and forces him at gunpoint to drive her to the hospital so she can check the records regarding her son's birth. On the way there, Senior attempts to get the attention of a cop by driving erratically. When pulled over, he fights with Barbara whose gun discharges and hits the cop in the shoulder. Barbara makes Senior drive her back to the unwed mothers home where she locks him in a closet with a nurse and checks the filing cabinet to discover that despite her son being listed on one piece of paper as stillborn, he also had a birth certificate registered as being born to a couple in Daly City named Hunt (Walter Brooke and Patricia Smith). Stone and Keller go to visit Matthew Starr (Joel Fabiani), a private investigator who employed Davenport. When they start questioning him about his relationship with his former employee and why she was carrying a gun that he had licensed, Starr attempts to run away. Captured, he is taken back to the station and gives Stone and Keller a lot of mouth, finally admitting he, Davenport and Hyland Senior were involved in a baby-farming business, arguing that it is preferable to let people who can't have children adopt the kids (for a fee of $2,000-$3,000 or even higher!) rather than kill them with an abortion. Barbara goes to the Hunts' home in Daly City and threatens to kill the husband unless they give up her son. Stone, Keller and Barbara's mother arrive there too, and Keller gives Barbara a big speech which convinces her to give up the gun and she is taken away.

EPILOG:

Barbara goes to court and the judge deciides that she should go to a mental institution for treatment of her emotional problems. The Hunts will look after her son until Barbara is released. When Barbara holds her son before leaving the court building, Stone and Keller look very serious.

REVIEW:

This show is actually very good and surprisingly logical with a few minor issues. At the beginning Barbara is seen being taken to the home on a stretcher in a Ford Econoline (not even an ambulance). So where was she coming from? A real hospital? It seems kind of far-fetched that Davenport would have a gun in her desk at the home; it's not like her life would be in danger there (except possibly from Barbara!). Keller's speech to Barbara at the end is quite incredible -- obviously he must have mastered in hostage negotiation at the police academy. I don't understand why he and Stone bring Barbara's mother to the Hunts' place. After all, she and her mother hardly get along, based on what the mother said earlier. When her mother says that Barbara is not being reasonable her daughter says "What is your idea of reasonable, mother? Pill in the morning, sex at night, abortion at the end of a careless month? It's not my idea of reason." I also find it very odd that the Hunts, who were quite complicit in the "adoption" of the baby, are allowed to keep him. Surely the child would have been taken out of their hands and put into foster care, considering that they took him under false pretenses. The ending of the show is kind of a tear-jerker.

MORE TRIVIA:

  • Hyland Senior's phone number is 555-6412. He lost his medical license 15 years before for performing abortions, which were illegal at the time.
  • Keller tells Stone that Connie, his girl friend from three episodes previous, has gone to Chicago, because she "couldn't handle the cop routine."
  • Davenport's home address is 939 Ellis Street. Hyland Senior lives at 50 Fulton Street. The Hunts' address in Daly City is 28 Burnham Street.
  • Aside from Rayfield, the girls in the unwed mothers' home hang around on the staircase looking like zombies.
  • A Veterans' Cab is seen, its phone number is 552-1300.
  • Hyland Senior tries to convince Barbara that because she was under the influence of the bogus drug Varathion when she was having the stillborn baby, she was confused about thinking her son was still alive.
  • Like the previous episode, the title of this one is hard to understand.

S02E15: Commitment ★★½
Original air date: January 3, 1974
Director: Richard Donner; Writer: John D.F. Black

Undercover narcotics cop Gino Carlino (Johnny Weissmuller Jr.), who has been trying to infiltrate the world of gangster Al Lyman (Don Michaelian) for the last year and a half as a biker with the name of George Caren, meets with two of Lyman's men, Mickey Sims (William Smith) and Sims' driver (Denny Miller). The two of them tell Carlino they know he is a cop, and when Carlino attempts to flee, he is grabbed and badly beaten. Stone has been spending the evening at a gym where he is watching a couple of boxing hopefuls. Lyman, who is there, approaches Stone and tells him a dirty joke; Stone ignores him. Stone goes home and gets a call from Sims (who he does not know). Sims says he has information on the location of Nate Baxter, formerly a big man in Lyman's organization who has plenty of beans he can spill about his former boss, who he tried to kill 2 weeks before. Baxter is currently in hiding. Stone goes to meet Sims at the east end of Pier 36. He is punched out and Sims takes Stone's gun and uses it to the finish the job on Carlino, shooting him in the head. Sims then cleans Stone's gun and puts a bullet in the empty chamber. The next day Stone meets with Milt Dedini (William Watson) and Inspector Glenn Decker (Geoffrey Deuel), an Internal Affairs type who is investigating what happened to Carlino. Decker gets Stone's gun to compare a bullet shot from it to the one which killed Carlino, and they find that they both came from this gun. Stone is grounded while the investigation continues. Decker has various theories about why Stone would want Carlino dead, all of which just pisses Keller off more and more. Dedini tells Decker that he saw Stone and Lyman together the night before watching the boxers. Sims' driver follows Stone later, but after Stone finds out that Decker doesn't have a tail on him, he turns around and the pursuer becomes the pursued. Stone eventually loses him. Meanwhile, Sims phones Stone's daughter Jeannie and tells her that he is a "friend" who has some information that can be used to help her father. She arrives at a street corner and accepts a package which contains $10,000 in cash. A couple of cops who "just happen to be nearby" witness this transaction and take Jeannie down to headquarters. Earlier, Keller had asked Stone's informer pal Cappy (Eddie Firestone) for help in finding Baxter, and he delivers, except Dedini takes the call which gives the location of Baxter's ex-wife who is the only person who knows where her husband is, since Keller is unavailable. Decker goes to visit Carlino's widow (Tyne Daly), who, when pressed to name someone who might be able to help find who killed her husband, mentions a woman named Pam Greenfield, a junkie, who her husband knew from school. Keller finally gets the message from Cappy, but when he goes to Baxter's ex-wife's place, she has been very badly beaten by "a badge." On the way to the hospital, the ex-wife tells Keller where to find her husband, but when Keller arrives at this address, Baxter has been shot dead by Sims, who escapes, but not before Keller wounds him in the shoulder. Decker and Keller team up and go to Greenfield's apartment. Only after a lot of intense questioning does she reveal that she "sold" Carlino to Sims for a fix. Keller asks Stone, who is still suspended, where they might find Sims, and with this information Keller and Dexter go to Sims' place where they grab the driver and bust Sims himself. Decker knows that the "badge" who beat up Baxter's ex-wife was not Stone, because Keller arranged for surveillance on Stone 24 hours a day. They set up in a sting in Baxter's ex-wife's hospital room, and when a cop comes there to unplug her IVs, it is revealed to be Dedini, who tells Stone that he hooked up with Lyman for "the money."

EPILOG:

Dedini is taken away to hopefully tell all he knows about Lyman's operation. It is mentioned that he has been on the take for three years. Decker tries to apologize to Stone for making his life a living hell the last few days, but Stone says "For what, doing your job? You don't owe me anything." When Stone says the headlight on his car is busted, which was from the chase with Sims' driver, Keller points out that "Driving with one light, that's against the law." Stone says he is not worried, "I've got friends in the department."

REVIEW:

I originally didn't like this show much, because I thought the script was bad, but the main issue is that hotshot Decker's investigation is bad. This is not to say the script doesn't have problems. At the beginning, Stone is called away to the docks late at night by Sims. Obviously this is a setup! Stone doesn't tell anyone and he doesn't call for backup. This is dumb. When Stone arrives at his destination, Carlino is already beaten up and Stone is knocked out. Then Stone's gun is used to shoot Carlino in the head. Sims cleans up Stone's gun and puts a bullet in the chamber to replace the one that was used for the killing. Later Decker comes up with some cockamamie theory that Stone was desperate and under pressure and because of this "he [would] do anything to save himself. And that includes doing something dumb like using his own gun. Carlino was killed when he was down. Stone took a blow to the head. That means they could have argued, fought. And then because there was no other choice, Stone shot him." But this makes no sense at all. Stone was knocked out. When did this happen? If Stone got knocked out during the fight, he couldn't have killed Carlino unless he suddenly regained consciousness, shot Carlino and then passed out again. If Stone shot Carlino first, how did he then pretend to be knocked out? Obviously someone phoned the cops to report everything (though this was on the docks in the middle of the night), because Dedini later points out where Stone was found lying down at the crime scene. As well, Stone had a nasty bump on the back of his head. Did he give this injury to himself? This is far too complicated. No one is considering the fact that Carlino was badly beaten, his face was bloody, etc. Why doesn't Stone show any evidence of his hands being bruised or blood on his clothes or whatever? Stupid! I don't understand what is the point of Pam Greenfield. Why would she give Carlino away to Sims? She is just a junkie, and he is a hit man in Lyman's organization who lives in "the high-rental district on Pacific Heights," according to Stone. Sims would not search her out for information, and it is unlikely that she would search him out either. At the end of the show, Decker tells Stone and Keller that Lyman "knew about him [Carlino] all along anyway" (no doubt from Dedini). The fact that Dedini is the bad guy is no big surprise. Barring some character who has never been seen in the show up to the point where this big reveal comes, it has to be some major character, and he is the only one by a process of elimination!

MORE TRIVIA:

  • While Dedini is a recurring character as is Cappy the informer (played by the same actors as in No Badge for Benjy, 7 episodes earlier), Lyman (who appeared in Shield of Honor, 5 episodes before) is played by a totally different actor.
  • This movie has two Tarzan connections. Carlino is played by Johnny Weissmuller Jr., and Smith's driver is Denny Miller, who also played Tarzan. Miller is very fat and puffy unlike a 1969 Hawaii Five-O episode he appeared in.
  • The show is directed by Richard Donner, one of the last TV shows he did before going on to bigger and better things like The Omen, Superman and Lethal Weapon movies. Like one of the episodes he directed for Kojak, this one has its good points (the Kojak one's beginning is brilliant), but overall they are both disappointing. But you can't fault Donner for that, he is only the director!
  • As Stone takes clothes out of the closet as he is about to leave for the docks at the beginning of the show, there is some strange ringing noise, perhaps the sound of the coat hangers hitting each other?
  • Contrary to what was said in S02E11, The Victims, where it was said Stone has been on the force for 27 years, in this show the number of years is 23. He has known Dedini for 11 years.
  • During the chase with Sims' driver, Karl Malden is doing his own driving (at least in the shots inside the car), which is very fast!
  • When Sims' driver is busted at the end, how does he know the cop who "smashed up the old lady" (meaning Dedini, who beat up Baxter's ex-wife)?
  • Dedini is seen smoking in this show; so is Pam Greenfield.
  • William Watson gets Special Guest Star status in the opening credits.
  • Am I bad for thinking Darlene Carr (Stone's daughter Jeannie) looks very sexy in this episode?

S02E16: Chapel of the Damned ★★½
Original air date: January 17, 1974
Director: George McCowan; Writer: Robert Schlitt
"Buddy Boy" count: 2 (once by Stone, once by Keller replying to him)

Julie Sloane (Pegi Boucher) is kidnapped as she returns home to the apartment she shares with her mother Adele (Diana Douglas, mother of actor Michael (Keller)) in the morning after an evening spent with her boyfriend Mark Dillon (Stephen Oliver). On the way out of the parking garage, the kidnappers run over and kill a newspaper delivery boy. A ransom request for $100,000 is received shortly thereafter. When Stone and Keller arrive at Mrs. Sloane's apartment, they also encounter Mme. Olga Vasiliev (Signe Hasso), Russian-accented head of a psychic phenomena circle to which Mrs. Sloane belongs. Vasiliev has encouraged Mrs. Sloane to use the services of the police and co-operate with them. Stone, surprisingly, lets Vasiliev touch a recorder which contains a ransom message (seemingly constructed out of lines from old movies) so that the psychic can get an "aura" from it. A couple of suspects become obvious very quickly. Dillon, an ex-con, is disliked by Mrs. Sloane, who says "He has long hair and no manners and no prospects and no education." Dillon is brought to the station, Stone plays the "bad cop" in a very heavy-handed way which is kind of ridiculous. The car used in the kidnapping is located, and inside it a broken contact lens is found. When reconstructed, this turns out to be a special sports lens which is traced to Carlos Rubiro (Steven Marlo), a gigolo type who made a specialty out of romancing rich widows like Mrs. Sloane, whose husband died 6 years before. Stone and Keller go to Ribero's place, where they find a connection between him and Dillon, but when they go to the cold storage company where Dillon worked, they find he was just fired by his boss because he had been picked up by the cops. They find Rubiro there frozen in a block of ice, which was predicted by Vasiliev who said that one of the people connected with the kidnapping had something "blue" about him (suggesting water or ice). Stone and Keller go to Dillon's place to pick him up, but he escapes. When they go to talk to Vasiliev, she tells them that Rubiro was a member of her group, but he was a "dilettante" who was asked to leave the congregation 6 months before. Dillon shows up at the station saying he needs help, because prior to Stone and Keller arriving at his place, he got a phone call saying that he was going to be busted, from someone who Keller determines is the same guy with a stutter (Richard Kelton) who has been giving Mrs. Sloane instructions on how to organize the ransom money. The ransom is duly assembled, and Sloane gets instructions to take it to the airport. There she is instructed to go to a phone booth and leave it in its attaché case, exchanging it for another case in the booth which is empty and told to go to another part of the airport. Although there are cops all over the place, including Stone and Keller, they don't notice when this other guy then goes to the phone booth and puts the case with the money inside a suitcase and walks out of the building. This mystery guy meets at some isolated location with Mr. Stutter to presumably split the money, but shoots him dead with a shotgun. Turns out Mr. Mystery is actually a disguised Vasiliev. A couple of cops show up later and find Julie in the trunk of Mr. Stutter's car. Dillon's prints are all over the shotgun, which is traced to Ribero, but it turns out the two were pals, and there is no way that Dillon could have been the one where Stutter was killed, because he was in the police station all the time. With only one suspect remaining, Stone and Keller go to Vasiliev's "chapel" where there is some kind of ceremony taking place. Stone accuses Vasiliev of several things and it looks like swhe has him over a barrel until Keller rushes in with the case supposedly containing the money. But it isn't the real case, and Vasiliev looks in the direction of a nearby china cabinet where the real case is stashed. Stone is only to happy to go and get retrieve it.

EPILOG:

Julie will be coming home the next day after staying another night in the hospital, and Mrs. Sloane's money has been recovered. Keller tells her that Dillon is really not such a bad guy, to which Mrs. Sloane says that it's up to Julie to make a decision about him. When Mrs. Sloane says she wants to call Vasiliev to tell what has happened (she does not know that the psychic was arrested), Stone says, "I don't think I'd call her. I bet she already knows what happened." Sloane replies, "Of course she does!"

REVIEW:

This show has some amusing sarcastic lines from the two leads regarding psychic phenomena, because both Stone and Keller think that Vasiliev's racket is a lot of hooey. The ending of the show is quite delightful, with Stone having a big grin on his face as he and the psychic face each other off until the case is wrapped up in a manner highly reminiscent of Columbo. There are some things about the show that are disappointing, though. Finding Rubiro's body in the block of ice is a "chilling" development, but it makes no sense. Who killed him and entombed him in this manner? Unlikely it was Vasiliev. Maybe it was Mr. Stutter acting on her orders? But if so, how would he have gotten into the cold storage place and put Rubiro's body into the machine which made the blocks of ice? Another issue has to do with a relationship between Dillon and Rubiro. At Rubiro's place, Stone and Keller find a skeet shooting outfit with the shotgun missing. Rubiro got Dillon to handle this shotgun, leaving his fingerprints all over it, so he would seem to be the killer of Mr. Stutter. At Rubiro's place, they also find a note that Dillon left for Julie, which they incorrectly think was left for Rubiro. But where in the show is it specified that the two men were pals? At the airport, the cops totally bungle the way the money is picked up. And how did Vasiliev know the exact kind of attaché case which Mrs. Sloane would be using, so they could duplicate it?

MORE TRIVIA:

  • It seems extreme that they can track down Rubiro based on the smashed up contact lens. Were contact lenses really not that common when the show was madet? Surely it would have been difficult to track down the optician who supplied this lens to Ribero!
  • At one point when the central dispatch pages Stone's car, they refer to "Inspectors A-1" rather than the correct "8-1."
  • When Keller first meets Dillon in the cold room at his company, the temperature is 20°F, but Dillon is not wearing any gloves!
  • According to Julie, it was only a few minutes from the time Mr. Stutter was killed until the cops found her in the trunk.
  • Some of the scenes in the show are filmed while it is raining.
  • Dillon works at National Ice and Cold Storage Company. According to a web link, this company had warehouses throughout California, and the San Francisco one was at Battery Street and Union Street. But the picture with the Wikipedia article does not exactly match the building in the show.
  • Dillon's arrest two years before was for grand theft auto of a Ferrari.
  • Stone has a good quote for Vasiliev: "It's my business to be skeptical."
  • Mrs. Sloan is seen smoking.

S02E17: Blockade ★★★★
Original air date: January 24, 1974
Director: Virgil W. Vogel; Writers: James Menzies, Jack Morton
"Buddy Boy" count: 1

Airplane mechanic Chet Barrow (Don Stroud) installs a device in the car belonging to Cliff House waitress Susan Ellen Morley (Cheryl Stoppelmoor, later Ladd) to stop her car after it has been driven two miles. Morley gets off work and drives the car and, sure enough, it stops where expected. Barrow pulls up behind her, pretending to offer help, but slices open the roof of the convertible, then takes her somewhere (exactly where is not shown) and rapes her. Accompanying Barrow is the somewhat slow-witted and younger Russell Jamison (Charlie Martin Smith) who works at the airport washing down planes. Jamison seemingly doesn't participate in the rape, but just watches. He follows Barrow around like "a puppy dog," as is said later; their relationship is creepy. Morley's body is found the next day in a public park lake and her car is nearby. At home, Jamison tells his mother Wilma (Ida Lupino) that he doesn't want to go to work. His mom has worked for 16 years for superior court Judge Fraser Cameron bringing up his children, something which annoys her son, who says that Cameron's children didn't have a mother and neither did he. Wilma says the judge's daughter Jill (Patty McCormack) is moving back home, perhaps because of marital difficulties. Stone talks to Morley's father (Jock Mahoney), who wants vengeance; Stone tells him, "Please go home and stay there." Keller talks to another waitress at the Cliff House (Gloria LeRoy) who says that there were a couple of creepy characters hanging around the restaurant the night before who had "dirty hands, dirty fingernails." Stone and Keller recall a case some time ago which involved a similar fuel cutoff gizmo and a boat mechanic named Burt Masters (George DiCenzo), who is currently in San Quentin. They visit Masters, who tells them that the device which got him busted was planted in his locker at the marina by another guy, who they track down and find out he is Barrow. They track Barrow down further to one of the local airports, but when he sees the cops arrive, he jumps on his motorcycle and escapes. Meanwhile, at the Jamisons, the judge's daughter Jill shows up, saying "I had to talk to someone." Russ wants to leave, saying this has nothing to do with Jill showing up. His mother gives him a big speech about how, despite her neglecting him, he has turned out OK, which only makes him more agitated. Russ finally admits "I'm in real trouble," confessing that he was with Barrow when Morley was raped and murdered: "I just wanted her to like me ... It was just Chet. He did it. I never touched her, Mom, I swear." Barrow shows up at the Jamison place, wanting to talk to Russ. When Wilma tells him to get lost, he punches her in the face. Stone and Keller arrive there, having been tipped off to the location by Russ's boss. Barrow takes Jill and hides upstairs. The two cops grill Russ, who becomes confrontational and starts talking about his rights. When his mother invokes Judge Cameron's name, Stone leaves with Keller, saying "We didn't mean to come in here and ask you all these embarrassing questions like this." This is all a ruse, though, because they have seen various clues that something fishy is going on, like the bruise on Wilma's face, Barrow's bike outside as well as Jill's car, which they identify with a DMV license request, and Jill's luggage in the house. Barrow intends to wait for nightfall, then he and the others will leave. Stone requests all available units report to a place near the Jamisons and prepare for a Code 300, "blockade." Considering a radio is on at the Jamisons non-stop, Stone wants a bogus news item prepared which will say they already caught Morley's rapist, but he is ordered to cut the odds down by going back himself and telling the Jamisons to come downtown to ID the "arrested suspect." Keller enters the house by an upstairs door. Barrow is acting like he wants to rape Jill. When Jill starts screaming, Keller comes downstairs and shoots Barrow dead.

EPILOG:

Russell is taken away in handcuffs. Wilma tells Jill to go back to her husband and straighten things out. When Jill offers to let Wilma stay at her place, Wilma says that she will wait for Russell because "Russell's waited all these years for me to come home, I guess I can wait for him." Keller, who was slightly wounded during the final confrontation, is upset because he killed Barrow. Stone offers him some consoling words that he saved three lives and probably helped to get Masters free from San Quentin.

REVIEW:

An excellent episode, primarily because of the acting, but also because of the procedure that Stone sets up to deal with the hostage situation. Don Stroud as the psychotic Barrow has only one thing on his mind: rape. His performance is disturbing, but so is that of Charlie Martin Smith.

MORE TRIVIA:

  • Russ is listening to a radio at his house, which takes on a major role in the show, because the radio is actually not turned on when Stone's bogus broadcast about how they caught the killer is heard. (Stone does not find out about this until he goes to the house, asking Wilma and Russ to come downtown.) There is some Canadian content in one of the news items: "In Belfast, a Protestant legislator charged that Canadian troops who were used for peacekeeping duties in Vietnam are being trained for mob control in Northern Ireland. The member of the Northern Ireland Assembly said he received the information from a Canadian member of the Vietnam mission. And later had it confirmed by an unnamed source in Toronto. Government sources in Canada, however, deny..." As far as I can tell, this is totally made up.
  • I wondered if the hood latch on Morley's Mustang was accessible only from outside the car or if there was an internal latch. According to Michael Timothy: "This is a 1968 Mustang GT Sportsroof (fastback) in Highland Green. This car has an external latch only. It is above the chrome horse and immediately below the anodized aluminum trim at the edge of the hood. The hood itself on these weighs nothing and is amenable to blowing off unless positively restrained."
  • At the end, Stone gets a cop to drive Jill home. But what about her car, which was parked in front of the Jamisons?
  • The case involving Masters belongs to Devitt, the Tim O'Connor character, who is not seen.
  • The license number of Jill's car is 298 BZE. Stone's license is 864 ORE, a number used more than once on the show and for different cars.

S02E18: Crossfire ★★
Original air date: January 31, 1974
Director: Virgil W. Vogel; Writer: Jerry McNeelyn
"Buddy Boy" count: 2

A sniper has been shooting on a San Francisco campus recently. Stone and Keller are doing a stakeout when he strikes again, wounding a 20-year-old woman named Peggy Dunnigan (Pamela Franklin) and then kills psychology professor David Shaninger (Brent Davis, who is only seen when he is dead!). Keller pursues the sniper, but he escapes. Shaninger worked part-time on campus, but also had his own lucrative practice. He authored an academic book about sex. Keller interviews Peggy in the hospital. When he tells her that Shaninger was killed, she is very upset. Stone goes to interview Shaninger's wife (Celeste Holm), who the professor's sister Vera Day (June Dayton) is visiting at the moment. He gets kind of a chilly reception from both of them. Keller tracks down a phone number through Shaninger's answering service which turns out to be an apartment that he rented. When he and Stone phone the place, they get Peggy. They go there to talk to her, and Stone asks if her relationship with Shaninger was "a father-daughter relationship," to which the answer is no. The professor was putting Peggy through college, among other things, but she broke up with him three days before because she decided to get married to Alan Melder (Nick Nolte), a captain in the Marine Corps who she knew before and had recently returned to the States from Vietnam where he was a prisoner of war in Hanoi. When she met Melder again recently, she tells Stone and Keller "suddenly my relationship with David seemed all wrong." Keller goes to talk to Shanigan's wife, who becomes very upset about suggestions that her husband was keeping a woman who was connected with "the Wildbrook Crowd," a group living in a center on campus which was notorious for a "swinging singles atmosphere." When Keller tells her that he is only following up on "new facts [which] have turned up," Day says "Facts, Inspector, or obscene rumors?" Keller flies to San Diego to talk to Melder, who is at The Naval Hospital in Balboa Park. Melder says that he was in San Francisco the day Peggy was shot, but he didn't see her because he was buying a house to surprise her for when he got his discharge papers, which should be very soon. Melder didn't know that she was shot, and Peggy told Stone and Keller earlier that Melder didn't know about her relationship with the professor. Keller realizes that it would have been difficult to Melder to have run across campus after injuring Peggy and shoot Shaninger, because Melder was wounded in Vietnam and sports a brace on his left leg. The next day, a woman who is a waitress named Sheila Davis who is a dead ringer for Peggy is shot dead on campus. An "AHA" moment follows when the mysterious sniper (Frank Stell), who goes under the alias of John Jones, phones Mrs. Shaninger and tells her that his job is done and he wants to get paid. She berates him, calling him "stupid" because he killed the wrong woman. Stone greets Keller at the airport coming back from San Diego. He runs some ideas past his partner, like the possibility that the sniper shot at random people to distract the cops from his real victims and that there is a triangle situation involving Shaninger, his wife and Peggy, because the wife knows a lot more than she is letting on. Stone and Keller return to Mrs. Shaninger's place where she acts huffy and wants to get her lawyer involved when they grill her. But there is another "AHA" moment when Day realizes that her sister-in-law was the one who arranged to have her brother killed (see below). Back at headquarters, Mrs. Shaninger spills her guts confessing to her scheme, where she hired Jones, who her husband described as having "homicidal influences" after he came to her husband for help. The price to knock off her husband was $25,000. Peggy is being guarded by a policewoman, Officer Powell (Kate Harper) at the apartment, but she manages to get out of the place after she gets a phone call from Melder, who has been released from the hospital and is returning to San Francisco soon that day. Stone and Keller rush to the apartment, but Peggy has left. Powell gives them a few clues based on Peggy's conversation she overheard, and Stone and Keller are soon on their way to the airport, but so is Jones, who had actually arrived in the apartment building in pursuit of Peggy, who just missed him. Stone and Keller arrive at the airport, and Keller yells at Peggy and Melder to duck down as Jones takes aim at them. Keller wounds Jones, and pursues him on to a rooftop where Jones says he is going to commit suicide. As at the end of S02E14, Keller gets to use psychology on a suspect. He grabs Jones just as he is about to kill himself, and takes him into custody.

EPILOG:

Jones is taken away in a cop car. Peggy and Melder tell Stone and Keller that they have caught up on what's been going on in their lives, including Peggy's affair with Shaninger. After passing along an invitation to their upcoming wedding, Peggy and Melder leave. Stone and Keller argue about who is going to fill out the report for what happened, then Keller calls Stone a "romantic," to which Stone says he has feelings produced by the San Francisco skyline at night, Rick Barry shooting baskets and Bobby Bonds hitting home runs. (This is pretty bad.)

REVIEW:

This show has a lot of potential, but there are several annoyingly dumb things:

  • The whole business about Mrs. Shaninger hiring Jones is ridiculous. He is described as "never a patient" of her husband, but her husband referred Jones to a psychiatric clinic. He showed up one night at the Shaningers' place when her husband was out of town and was rambling, "angry at everything that frustrated him" and complaining that "someone as smart as he should [not] be working at a car wash all his life." Mrs. Shaninger later tracked Jones down by making a list of all the car washes in town. When she found him, she hired him to kill her husband and Peggy, who she describes as "that tantalizing little tramp." Not only is Jones the man Mrs. S needs for her scheme because of his "anger issues," but he is an expert sharpshooter to boot. Duh! And where did Jones get the M-16 rifle that he used?
  • Why did Jones kill the waitress? Did he think she was Peggy because of the resemblance? Did he not think that he had killed Peggy the day before? Wasn't news of the shooting and the victims in the newspaper? (There is no indication that the police suppressed this information.) How did Jones figure out the location of the apartment where Peggy and Shaninger were shacked up? Did Mrs. S tell him the address? If so, why didn't Jones just go there and shoot Peggy and/or her husband directly instead of the elaborate scheme to do a Charles Whitman-like number on the campus where it would be much more likely that he would be caught?
  • When Mrs. S takes the call from Jones, she pretends that her pen has run out of ink, so her sister-in-law goes to look for another one and Mrs. S can have some privacy and talk to Jones about his failed assignment. Later when Stone and Keller show up, there is this second "AHA" moment when Day suddenly notices that this pen does write, which is a big clue that Mrs. S tricked her. Day then says "That phone call from the young man when you sent me out of the room. Was--? Was that the man you hired to murder David?" I started screaming at the TV when I heard this. Does this mean that Day knew all along about Mrs. S's scheme and was playing along with her when Stone and Keller were asking questions earlier? Hello, the person who was murdered was her brother! It's not very nice if someone wants to kill your brother and you don't say anything about it!
  • I find it very difficult to accept Mrs. S blabbing away everything at the cop shop, totally incriminating herself. Surely this woman, because she is rich, would have an expensive lawyer who would tell her to keep her trap shut!

The episode has a lot of repartee between Stone and Keller, some of it humorous, including an argument over anchovies on a pizza that Keller buys from a place called Tony's. Some of this almost falls into the category of gallows humor, considering the seriousness of the case that they are working on.

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  • The phone number for the "love nest" where Peggy and the professor hang out is 555-3417. There is something very peculiar the way Peggy tricks officer Powell so she can get out of the place. The phone there has two lines and there are two phones, one in the bedroom and one in the living room. So Peggy phones the other line which rings and pretends it is Stone calling for Powell, except he has "had to leave the line for a minute," telling Powell to take the call in the bedroom because "the extension out here [in the living room] ... doesn't work," so Peggy can slip out when Powell is in the bedroom.
  • Speaking of phones, when Jones calls Mrs S and Day takes the call, she puts the phone against her chest as if that would cover up the fact that she says it is "Just some brash young man. One of David's students maybe."
  • At the airport, there are "security checks" which keep Jones from taking his gun beyond any place which would have metal detectors.
  • Celeste Holm gets "special guest star" mention in the opening credits.

S02E19: A String of Puppets ★★½
Original air date: February 7, 1974
Director: Richard Donner; Writers: Mark Weingart, James Schmerer
"Buddy Boy" count: 2

Harry Gates (Hari Rhodes), who recently participated in a jewel robbery where a guard was killed, tries to contact Keller late at night. Keller is on vacation at Lake Tahoe, so Stone takes the call. Gates says his life is in danger, that Wilson Tubbs (James Sloyan), who was with him on the job, wants to kill him. Stone says he will meet Gates shortly, but before he arrives, Tubbs runs into the phone booth Gates is using with his pickup truck and kills him. Tubbs is IDd by a "wino witness' (Sam Edwards) but when Tubbs is hauled into the station, he starts giving Stone a lot of mouth. Tubbs has an alibi, which is that he was visiting Bob Mason (Claude Akins), his parole officer, around the time Gates was wiped out, which is confirmed by Mason later. Mason tells Stone that Gates "woke me out of a sound sleep [and w]anted to get married to an ex-hooker." Stone thinks this is a lot of B.S., and wants to put an undercover man on Mason. The big brass think this idea is ridiculous, because Mason, whose reputation has been spotless for 27 years, is "the best parole officer in the whole department." Stone finally gets his way, and employs Keller to be "Lew Felton," recently paroled after serving time in Arizona, a "torch" (safecracker) with a history of drug use who served 1 to 5 years for robbery. Keller sports a moustache and looks liks his hair has been permed. Felton is a musician who plays trumpet, which Keller used to play in college, an instrument which Gates also played at the Yellow Brick Road Club. Keller attempts to join the band at the club, but his jazz stylings are laughable. Keller befriends Gates' girl friend Jackie Stirling (the sexy Lola Falana), who is the club's house singer. Stone interviewed her earlier after Gates' murder, but she was evasive in her responses. Mason gets Felton a job at the Pacific Car Wash, which is managed by Tubbs. Tubbs has a scam where he blackmails convicts Mason sends there to commit crimes under threat of squealing to Mason about some issue which would put them back in the joint. When one of these guys, Ben Driscoll (Roger E. Mosley) threatens to spill the beans about this racket, Tubbs clubs him over the head and Driscoll falls under a car which is going through the wash cycle and is seriously injured. Keller manages to avoid being seriously grilled by some convict friend of Tubbs who was in the same prison in Arizona when Stone and cops raid the bar where the three of them are talking. Tubbs and this other con are much more sympathetic towards Felton after Stone punches him in the face during an "interview" in the alley behind the bar. Mason talks to Jackie, trying to find out if she knows who killed her boyfriend. After Mason leaves, she finds a key in her pocket which Gates slipped there at the beginning of the show which is for a locker at the train station. She goes there and finds Harry's trumpet in the locker. Mason snoops around Tubbs' place, where Keller has been crashing, looking for something he can use against Kelton, but finds nothing. After Mason leaves, Tubbs takes this as an opportunity to get Kelton involved in one of his schemes, the upcoming robbery of a jewelry store. The cops show up during this heist because Keller has tipped off Stone. Tubbs, Keller and Scotty (Ben Frank), another con, manage to escape. Meanwhile, Jackie finds a cassette tape in Gates' trumpet case which details information about Mason's involvement with Tubbs. The case also contains jewelry from the robbery. Jackie phones Mason, telling him that she has evidence as to who killed Harry. Meanwhile, the trio from that day's failed robbery arrives at Mason's because Tubbs want to talk to him. Mason realizes that Tubbs is now a liability and shoots him. Scotty and Keller, who reveals to Scotty he is a cop, go into the building and find Tubbs seriously wounded. After calling headquarters as well as an ambulance, Keller goes to Jackie's where Tubbs said Mason was headed. Jackie has been listening to Harry's rambling confession on the tape. When Mason comes to her place, she turns it on at a point which she hasn't listened to, where Harry implicates Mason as "calling all the shots." Mason leaves the building with Jackie as a hostage as Keller and other cops show up. Keller shoots Mason fatally.

EPILOG:

Stone returns to work with Keller, who is now himself. As they enter the building, they encounter Driscoll who tells Stone that he has been released because of some "new evidence" on his case which cleared him, and wonders if Stone had anything to do with that. Stone echoes back something Driscoll told him earlier, "You're a con. You're black. You're the bottom of the barrel, remember? Why would I want to help you?" They both laugh about this. Keller tells Stone he is going to file a charge of police brutality against him for the punch he got outside the bar. Keller says that this will be the first blemish on Stone's record.

REVIEW:

This episode turned out a lot better than I expected, especially after hearing about Keller going undercover, which almost caused me to not review the episode. Stone figures that Keller can grow a moustache in 10 days from the stubble that he accumulated during his trip to Nevada. I did some Google searching and there are different theories about how long it would take to do this, depending on a variety of factors. The general consensus seems to be that it would take at least 3-4 weeks, but then it is not specifically said that from the time Keller came home from his holiday until he walked into Mason's office was exactly 10 days. The whole business of Keller changing his identity reminded me of the 11th season episode of Hawaii Five-O where Danno goes undercover as a Nazi. Both Keller and Danno are hardly low-profile cops with their respective forces, and you would expect that Mason would have run into Keller some time during his travels around police headquarters. Not only that, remember that Harry was calling Keller before he got killed, which means that someone like Tubbs or his numerous "associates" might have seen the two of them together or known of their connection. I also find it hard to believe that Keller hs been carrying his badge around which he whips out when forcing Scotty to help him find Tubbs at Mason's place near the end of the show. It is very dumb for him to have the badge anywhere on or near his person -- what if Tubbs or Mason had found it? The direction of this show by Richard Donner was OK, and Lola Folana was very nice to look at!

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S02E20: Inferno ★★½
Original air date: February 14, 1974
Director: Virgil W. Vogel; Writer: James M. Miller

Stone and Keller team up with fire investigator Jack O'Moore (John Larch) after there are four fires in six weeks in warehouses, all heavily insured. Stone has a personal interest in the case, because one of the conflagrations kills two firemen, including Harry Firpo (Bill Zuckert), his old poker buddy. O'Moore's digging suggests that these warehouses contain merchandise which is no longer saleable, and the people who own these goods are being approached by an arsonist named "Jason" who will set a fire for a price so they can collect insurance money. Stone goes and talks to Marty Wallach (Barry Sullivan), the boss of a company dealing in art supplies which was affected by the most recent blaze. His son Paul (Glenn Corbett) reacts badly to Stone's questioning, thinking he is implying they had something to do with the fire. Paul says they had insurance, "but not enough to even cover the loss." His father tells Stone, "We figure to lose between seven and ten thousand dollars," and all their material that was lost in the fire was "saleable merchandise." Paul plants a bug in Stone's ear that their main competitor, Herb Rockwell, may have had something to do with the fire, because "He's been after our business for years." After Stone leaves, Paul gets a call from Jason (Kaz Garas), the firebug. He tells Paul that he wants his final payment, and if he doesn't get it by Friday, Paul's house might get torched. Stone goes to visit Rockwell (Curt Conway), who says that while he and Wallach have been fierce competitors for years, he could never use fire against anyone because 20 years before, his wife and son died when their house burned to the ground. Rockwell also tells Stone some dirt about Paul, saying that he has been a disappointment to his father because all he is interested in "is a buck. How fast he can make it. How fast he can spend it." Meanwhile, Wallach Senior gets a visit from Nick Green (Anthony Charnota), a slimy bookmaker, who says that Paul owes him $15,000. When the old man says he gave Paul the money to pay off this amount owing, Nick says that Paul gambled it away as well. The old man calls Paul at home and has terse words with him. O'Moore's investigation is continuing. A clothing retailer named Gil Porter (David Moses), who has a warehouse full of out-of-fashion lines, has been approached by Jason, who wants payment made through a postal box. Paul goes to the bank and borrows $10,000, using the collateral on his life-insurance policy, but in the bank's parking lot he runs into Nick and some thug (Dick Durock) who works for Nick who gives him a working over. Nick takes the $10,000. At his home, Paul's pregnant wife Katherine (Katherine Justice) is concerned about what her husband is not telling her recently. He finally confesses about his dealings with Nick, the fact that he has lost a lot of money gambling recently, and that he cannot go to the cops or he will be charged with murder because of the fire. At the post office where a money drop for Jason is to be made, Stone and Keller arrest a guy named Carpenter (Richard Ely), a magazine publisher specializing in hardcover pornography. Carpenter has a warehouse full of this material which is going nowhere in San Francisco because of local edicts and wants to use Jason's services. The fire in Carpenter's warehouse is supposed to happen at noon that day. Keller enters the place when he and Stone show up with fire engines, expecting action. Jason is there setting fires already and Keller is knocked out and almost in big trouble until Stone helps him out of the building, which is now on fire. Wallach Senior goes to Paul's house and berates his son, saying "I want to know what he thinks is so important, it's worth destroying everything I've ever had. Worth destroying everything he could have had. Worth destroying the lives of two brave, decent men." Suddenly Jason shows up at Paul's place, demanding his final payment. The old man says that he will get the money within an hour, leaves and returns with $7,800 in cash. At Stone's office, O'Moore brings up an idea that the fire in the building which destroyed Wallach's goods may have been intended for the floor below, where there were sewing machines from a company which went bankrupt. There was a hole in the floor with Wallach's merchandise which gasoline was poured through, and if anyone would benefit from the machines being burned up, it would be the creditors. A quick trip to the courthouse reveals there were no creditors. Someone purchased the sewing machines for 28 cents on the dollar with a $500 deposit. The buyer of the sewing machines was Paul Wallach, who stands to receive $45,000 in insurance money if the machines are torched. With this information in mind, Stone and Keller race to the Wallachs' house, where Jason is attempting to flee, forcing the pregnant Katherine to drive him to Sacramento. Paul attempts to stop this, and is shot. Jason drives at high speed, followed by Stone and Keller. At a corner Jason loses control of the car, causing it to fly over an embankment and catch on fire, incinerating him. Viewing the scene, Stone comments that this is "poetic justice."

EPILOG:

Despite his injuries, Paul will survive. Stone gets a present of some hideous pants from Porter of the clothing stores. A fire engine goes by the building, so O'Moore, who is there, says he better leave. Stone offers to buy Keller a breakfast of chili, which is where he was at the beginning of the show before he was interrupted by the fire where his friend perished.

REVIEW:

This show uses a lot of fire engines and related equipment as well as what is presumably stock footage of a building on fire at the beginning of the show. Some of the footage in the torched porno book warehouse must have been pretty hairy to film. I find it hard to believe that Nick's goon who punches out Paul actually works in the bank where Paul borrows the money. As O'Moore, John Larch is kind of laid back; Katherine Justice's part is not particularly well-written.

MORE TRIvIA:

  • Statistics: There are over 90 fires a day in San Francisco, thirty-three thousand a year. O'Moore: "Some part of San Francisco is always burning."
  • Jason uses two postal boxes for his bogus company Butek Incorporated: 3098 and 3182. They are located in the "Central Post Office," which on the show is in the Rincon Annex. Carpenter is going to open 3182 when he is caught by Stone. Keller pursues him through the post office, where it looks like hardly anyone is working!
  • At fire department headquarters, a reel-to-reel tape is being played of a call that Jason made to Porter. O'Moore tells Norman, the guy operating the machine, to "run it back to [a] point" where there is some specific information, but he actually fast-forwards it. Keller knows exactly where the tape should stop.
  • The car Paul is driving is a Porsche 914, pre-1973 (thanks to Michael Timothy).