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!
★★★★ = 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.
S04E01: Poisoned Snow ★★★★
Original air date: September 11, 1975
Director: William Hale; Writer: Paul Savage
Clu Gulager is Inspector George Turner, a narcotics cop, whose girlfriend Maggie Collins (also a cop, played by Janis Hansen) is shot dead when she attempts to make an arrest during a drug transaction. The hotheaded Turner, who describes the people he deals with as "slime" and "human garbage," accuses his partner Phil (Alan Fudge), who was with Maggie at the time of her death, of bungling the operation. Stone says that they shouldn't give women this kind of work, it is too dangerous. Turner was going to marry Maggie soon after a divorce from his wife was finalized. He seeks vengeance, attempting to track down her killer, a guy named Cajun (Tony Geary, later of General Hospital). Turner gets a tip regarding Woody Parks (George Sawaya), distributor of the heroin. He and Phil attempt to bust Parks, but Turner pretends he didn't find any dope in Parks' car and they let him go. In reality, Turner does find the hidden heroin and laces it with rat poison. This has the desired effect of killing Cajun, but it also kills around 30 other junkies with the cops totally run off their feet dealing with this sudden epidemic of death. Turner's action also has extreme consequences, because his own son Andy (a pre-Star Wars Mark Hamill) is an addict who dies after purchasing some of the contaminated heroin. Turner is devastated by the loss of his son.
Phil, Stone and Keller encounter Turner in the basement of the station as he is being taken away in a paddy wagon. Turner, who is unrepentant, says "Nothing's gonna change," and there's "a different kind of poison" on the street now. When Turner asks his former partner "How's it going?" Phil responds, "I'm still trying", and shuts the paddy wagon door. Phil tells Stone and Keller, "He's wrong, you know. Things are changing all the time. Sometimes just not for the better, that's all."
This is a very good episode, with Stone being intense, interesting photography including sequences with the camera in the back of Stone and Keller's car (no process shots) and extreme closeups when Stone is grilling Turner after the latter's scheme is revealed, some pretty crazy driving by Keller, interesting music (albeit stock tracks) and a great cast including several character actors.
- I could see the plot angle culminating in Andy's death coming a mile away, given that the kid was sniffing from a "cold" during a meeting early in the show with his father.
- When Turner mixes the poison in with the dope, his fingerprints are going to be all over the bag, though it is obvious by this point he doesn't care about this.
- There is a reference to Captain Devitt, the Tim O'Connor character (though he is not seen).
- A "real" phone number -- 386-8271 -- is mentioned.
S04E02: The Glass Dart Board ★★★½
Original air date: September 18, 1975
Director: Harry Falk; Writer: Sean Baine
Martin Truax (Lou Frizzell) is taking shots at the $80 million, 35-storey Balboa Towers using a high-powered German "Handel" rifle. As we find out later, he is aggrieved because his property was expropriated to get land for the building, and he feels he was not compensated enough. Truax wants $1 million or he will keep up his attacks on the place, threatening to "destroy" it. When one of Truax's shots kills an accountant, the cops get even more interested than just investigating the shooting angle. Unfortunately, Stone has to contend with an old pal of his, Jacob Keely (Patrick O'Neal), who has been promoted to captain while Devitt is on sick leave. Keely is a "squint," according to Keller, meaning someone who never leaves the office and squints when he goes outside and sees the sun. Stone uses tried-and-true methods including triangulation from high up in the building to try and catch Truax, but finds himself constantly frustrated by Keely, who micro-manages things and interferes with Stone's work. Keely uses a management technique for complex programming he developed called P.E.R.T. (Program Evaluation and Review), which consists of a large flowchart taped to a blackboard with wheels where data relating to the case is entered. When Keely shows this method to the men, some of them roll their eyes. Stone and Keller have a good chance of capturing Truax one evening, but Keely takes command in the helicopter being used to follow the suspect and sends everyone in the wrong direction. This causes Stone to go totally ballistic, telling Keely that he is "what went wrong" with the operation, because he let the shooter escape. Shortly after this, using P.E.R.T., Keely has a suspect named Harlan Jeffers (Paul Pepper) picked up, and everything about him falls into place except the fact that he does not own the rifle being used. With the help of the Balboa Towers' building manager Eli Mason (Joel Fabiani), Stone and Keller add to the lists they already have of people connected to the skyscraper, including those who were responsible for the building's construction. Their last resort is the architectural firm which designed it, and there they find a "nut file" with letters from cranks including Truax, who was complaining bitterly about having to sell his property. Stone and Keller go to Truax's place, where the shooter is undone by his ancient car which won't start and his Airedale Terrier named Scruff. Truax ends up wounded by Keller and is taken into custody.
Devitt returns from the hospital and Keely is promoted to Research and Planning. Keely tells Stone that he is an example of The Peter Principle, having risen to the level of his own incompetence. Stone says the fact Keely is being promoted would counter this criticism, suggesting that Keely planned this move all along.
This episode is good, and when Stone blows up at Keely, it's surprising that even though the two are friends, Keely is technically Stone's superior, so I'm surprised, given his "I'm the boss" attitude (asking for Stone to address him as Captain in front of "the men," for example) that he doesn't take Stone off the case or discipline him in some way. I guess their friendship overrides this. With his use of computers, Keely was obviously ahead of his time, much to the annoyance of men in the department who found his methods to be counter-productive. But I don't know how advanced computers of the day were. For example, Keely tells Keller to check out employees who work in the Balboa Towers, which currently totals around 2,500 people, as well as people who previously were employed there. Then in the next scene we see Keller with Stone on the way to the building in their car and Keller is holding a large sheaf of computer printouts (not a "paperless" solution already). This is not from Mason, because Keller asks for that in a subsequent scene. So what are these papers? I don't think SOSF was like Hawaii Five-Zero where you can log into a Supercomputer and, starting with a facial recognition search, come up with obscure information in a few seconds like the results of a suspect's driving test 20 years ago or their high school records. Frizzell gives a very good performance as the edgy and irrational Truax.
- Truax's car is a 1953 Lincoln, license number AXO 995.
- Part of Jeffers' alibi is that during the shooting the night before, he was watching the "Blazers" play hockey. Was there such a team in San Francisco in the 70s? Keely discounts this, saying that the "Blazers didn't play last night. Refrigeration went bad. No ice, no hockey."
- Headlines are seen in the bogus San Francisco Dispatch paper: "Building Under Seige" and "Sniper Captured by P.E.R.T. Chart."
- The Balboa Towers is supposedly located at 8th and Saint Andrews.
- When Stone and Keller are driving after their first visit to Keely's office, you can see the shadows of the cameraman and the production crew on the street.
- At the end of the show, because his car doesn't start, Truax is going to take shots at the Towers from the roof of his apartment building, which seems very far away, unlike his previous attempts on the building.
S04E03: No Place to Hide ★★★
Original air date: September 25, 1975
Director: Virgil W. Vogel; Writer: Robert Malcolm Young; Music: Richard Markowitz
When a young woman is shot dead in a laundromat, Stone and Keller find themselves involved with the world of gangs at the fictional and nasty Holton Prison, including those outside who have been paroled but have connections to two bosses in the jail, Carl Metzger (Todd Martin) of the White Brothers and Lafayette Delacroix (Ji-Tu Cumbuka), leader of the black Cadre. Jennifer O'Brien, the murdered woman, was refusing to co-operate in a plan devised by Metzger to smuggle drugs into the prison to her incarcerated husband Robert (Michael Bell) via kissing. Taking advantage of the fact that Robert now feels his life is over because of his wife's death, Delacroix slips him a shiv and tells him to knock off Metzger, but O'Brien himself is murdered. (Metzger and Delacroix are surprisingly chummy in a meeting in the prison shower room later which suggests that the murder of O'Brien was planned between the two of them.) The next prospect for Metzger's smuggling plan is Lou King (Paul Carr), who is in Holton for embezzlement. King's wife Rita (the hot Stefanie Powers) is visited by Holton parolee Jack Constantine (Chris Robinson) who convinces her to co-operate if she wants her husband to remain healthy. Keller enlists the help of Pepper Collins (Stan Haze), a black guy out on parole from Holton who he has had dealings with in the past, to get the scoop on members of the White Brothers who are possible suspects in Jennifer O'Brien's murder. Collins is only to glad to co-operate to "get back at the honkies." Rita, who was pals with Jennifer O'Brien, meets with Constantine at some out-of-the-way location which looks like a garbage dump to discuss the dope smuggling. Joe Max (Ben Frank), another ex-con from Holton who Constantine has "contracted" to knock off Collins also shows up and is shot dead by Constantine when he complains about his assignment. Rita flees the scene but some guy at the dump makes a note of her car license plate, which leads Stone and Keller to her. (Stone already talked to Rita, a friend of Jennifer, once before.) Rita refuses to talk unless Stone makes a deal to have her husband released, otherwise he is as good as dead. Stone makes the deal with a judge late in the evening and he and Keller go to see Rita to tell her, just as Constantine, who has broken into her place, is threatening her with a knife. Constantine is taken away and soon after this, Rita spills the beans.
Stone and Keller escort the Kings to a bus depot in downtown San Francisco near the Columbia Hotel which will take them to the airport and a new life under the Witness Protection Program. Keller gets to imitate Marlon Brando in The Godfather (not very well) when he says that Rita made "an offer that [Stone] couldn't refuse." As they are leaving the scene, Stone tells Keller that King's new name is "John Louis Smith," which Keller thinks is pretty lame.
The subject matter for this show is unsettling and helped by Robinson's slimy performance as Constantine, especially the scene where he demonstrates how he wants Rita to pass the drugs to her husband with a deep kiss, and Martin's menacing portrayal of Metzger. The attack by Constantine on Rita at the end is kind of over the top, though, verging on slasher film territory. There are a few odd things, though, like Joe Max showing up at the garbage dump to talk to Constantine which doesn't make any sense at all. Is this Constantine's default meeting place for people?
- It's an odd coincidence that Metzger, leader of The White Boys, has the same last name as Tom Metzger, described by Wikipedia as an "American white supremacist, skinhead leader and former Klansman [who] founded White Aryan Resistance [and] was a Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s."
- The prisoners at Holton are allowed to kiss their loved ones through a small window in the screen between them. I'm surprised that the guards can't figure out that something fishy is going between Rita and her husband.
- After Stone talks to the judge about getting Rita's husband released, he and Keller walk out of the building in a reverse tracking shot which goes on for more than a minute.
- As Constantine arrives at Rita's place and breaks in, piano music by Bach is heard playing on the stereo. The sound of Constantine breaking the window glass is almost inaudible. Rita leaves her key in the deadbolt on the inside of the door, which is not too smart.
- Keller shows mug shots to Stone of ex-Holton convicts who may have a connection to the White Brothers: Abe Sugar (number 2572), Dix Hennessey (566725), Ernie Porter (2527) and Joe Max (215727), all of whom are on probation. Metzger's prison number is D85112. The deputy warden Norderman at Holton is played by character actor Charles Napier
S04E04: Men Will Die ★★★
Original air date: October 2, 1975
Director: William Hale; Writer: Shirl Hendryx
While she is working alone late at her job, Stone's daughter Jeannie's roomate Nancy Price (Deirdre Lenihan) is raped by two men: Jack Marlin (Michael Parks) and his friend Caddison (uncredited actor). Although Nancy just wants to forget about what happened, Stone convinces her to attend a lineup at police headquarters, where Nancy identifies Marlin who was picked up after the assault and charged with suspicion of burglary. Accompanying Nancy to the police station, Jeannie makes the acquaintance of Catherine Wyatt (Vera Miles), a lawyer who defends rape victims. Based on a tattoo which Marlin has on his arm, Stone figures there is some connection to a case in June of 1975 where another woman named Jensen was raped in Golden Gate Park. Jensen died of her injuries, but there was a witness to this attack named Mildred Parker (Anitra Ford), whose ID of the rapist was not conclusive. Stone and Keller talk to Parker, but she brushes them off. Nancy and Jeannie go to the Women's Assault Center where Wyatt acts as a legal adviser. Later, Nancy takes a gun from her office and when she arrives at home, she is attacked by Caddison, who was previously seen stalking her in the neighborhood. Caddison tells Nancy words "I have to teach you a lesson for the both of us," but is interrupted when Jeannie suddenly pulls up outside the place in her car. Caddison starts to run away, but Nancy pulls her gun and shoots him in the back, killing him. Wyatt is prepared to defend Nancy in court, though she knows what to expect, typical rape-related arguments of the day like "there is insufficient evidence," "the victim had prior knowledge of the rapist," as well as a verdict like a three-day suspended sentence as a result of plea bargaining. Very disturbed by the way Nancy is being treated, Jeannie engages in "street-sheeting" along with Carol (Paula Kelly), one of the women at the center. They leave leaflets at places like the restaurant where Marlin is having a bachelor party prior to his marriage to his fiancée Angie (Jenifer Shaw) telling everyone that Marlin is a rapist. They also contact Angie, letting her know what kind of a guy her boyfriend really is. Marlin spies Jeannie in the neighborhood putting up posters near the restaurant and chases her. Jeannie escapes, but Marlin grabs her address information from inside her car. He tracks her down and threatens Jennie for harassing him just as Stone shows up and tells Marlin to get lost. Stone is just as angry at Jeannie as he is at Marlin for making his case much more difficult. In court, Wyatt makes an impassioned plea that Nancy is the victim, but the judge disagrees and says she will be tried on a charge of first degree murder. Taken away, Nancy jumps from a balcony in the court building, trying to commit suicide, ending up in hospital with a multiple concussion. Stone convinces Jeannie to go and talk to Parker, who finally admits that Marlin was the rapist in the earlier case, saying he is "scum." Wyatt, upset at the direction the case against Nancy is taking, calls Marlin at home and tells him that she will destroy the evidence against him in the Golden Gate Park rape if he agrees to her terms. Marlin shows up at Wyatt's office, where she tells him to sign a paper that he and Caddison raped Nancy. Her plan is to get Marlin to touch things all over the office, making it look like he showed up with the intention of raping and/or killing her. Wyatt pulls a gun out and is just about to knock off Marlin when Stone and Keller arrive, having been tipped off by Angie, Marlin's girl friend. Marlin seems relieved to see them, but Stone says "We've got you for murder."
Stone, Keller, Wyatt and Jeannie are all in Nancy's hospital room. Jeannie tells Nancy that the judge will dismiss the complaint against her. Jeannie stays with her friend, the others leave. Wyatt says "I'm afraid it won't be over for Nancy for quite a long while." Stone offers Wyatt a ride, but she says "I have another Nancy Price to meet." As she leaves, Keller says "There's a lady, huh?" Stone says "Yeah, and I'm afraid she's right, too. If the courts don't do anything about those guys that rape, the victims will." Keller replies, "Well, times are changing. So are the women, Mike." Stone says, "I'll tell you one thing that's changed. My Jeannie. She's not a girl any more, she's a woman." Keller tells him, "Yeah, she's not gonna let you forget about it." As Keller walks away, Stone says, "What a way to grow up."
This episode is pretty good, but there is one huge flaw. When Stone and Keller go to talk to Parker who witnessed the Golden Gate Park rape, she is shown one picture, that of Marlin. Later, when Jeannie goes to the restaurant where Parker works to talk to her because she was not co-operative earlier, the same procedure is repeated, that she shows Parker one picture of Marlin, which she finally identifies. You can't have someone make an identification like this with only one picture. You must show them a picture "lineup," and they have to pick the bad guy out of several. So, what will happen is that the case against Marlin, if it is based on Parker identifying one picture, will be thrown out of court, just like many other cases involving rapists where there is insufficient evidence or other "technicalities" which cause the criminal to get off, as mentioned during the show! Vera Miles is very good as the cynical Wyatt.
- Statistics from the center: There were almost 600 rapes in San Francisco and 10,000 in the state in the previous year. It is estimated that there are 5 times that amount that are not reported.
- The place where Nancy works is right next door to Bill Graham's at 1333 Columbus Street, where one would buy tickets for the concerts at Graham's auditorium. The rape at the beginning of the show is depicted a photographically ambiguous manner.
- At the end of the show, the scene where Marlin is in Wyatt's office and is standing behind her touching the back of her neck is very creepy. The issue of whether Wyatt herself was raped is alluded to when Keller is at the center and says "I realize you're a female attorney, but does that give you some kind of copyright on the psychology of rape?" She tells him, "I had to learn the hard way, just like everyone else in this office."
- When Wyatt is threatening Marlin with a gun in her office, the camera has a point of view from Wyatt's perspective with the gun in the foreground out of focus.
- It is mentioned that a medical exam that Nancy had was inconclusive because there was "no trace of semen." But Nancy was never taken for an exam after the rape at the beginning of the show and there is a suggestion that she took a shower soon after the rape and before she ended up at the Stones' place, thus destroying this evidence.
S04E05: School of Fear ★½
Original air date: October 9, 1975
Director: William Hale; Writers: Brad Radnitz, Gordon Basichis & Marcia Basichis; Music: John Parker
When Walter Randolph, a teacher at Manual High School, attempts to break up a fight between two students, he is shot dead. One of the students, Jim Riley (Don Stark), is busted, but the other, Richie Martino (Bob Hegyes), flees the scene. A few days later, Martino still has not shown up, and some other students have also gone missing. Leopold Summers (Maurice Evans), an older teacher who was fired from the school because of his disciplinary methods, has kidnapped Martino and three of his other former students and chained them to desks in a classroom at the abandoned Thomas Paine Academy where Summers himself went to school many years before. In addition to the Chicano-looking Martino, the others are the black Billy Jeffers (Erik Kilpatrick), Randy Pruitt (Mark Lambert) from the poor side of town and the mouthy Judy Harris (Barbara Stanger). Judy was reportedly the one who "ratted out" Summers after he struck a student (Jeffers) which resulted in him getting canned, but Summers says that he won't hold this against her. Summers wants to improve his captives' education on topics like world history, literature and so forth. Keller manages to track Summers down to his old neighborhood and goes to the abandoned academy where he finds the room where the kids are being held, but gets knocked out by Summers and also chained to a desk. When Keller starts to question Summers' methods, the teacher tells him to shut up. Prior to Keller's arrival, Judy got Martino to throw her purse out of the building with a message for help. It was found by some neighborhood bum, who called her father (Geoffrey Lewis) with hopes of getting a reward. The father arrives at the school with a gun and starts fighting with Summers after Judy suggests that the teacher molested her. Stone then shows up and punches Harris out in a particularly violent manner. Summers escapes to the upper floors of the building and Stone pursues him, as hallucinatory audio flashbacks are heard on the soundtrack. Summers falls through a part of the floor which is rotten and is killed when he hits the ground below.
Stone and Keller find themselves back at Manual High. Billy, who was the only student of the kidnapped four to show interest in what Summers was trying to do, has re-entered the curriculum for his final semester. Billy says, "If old Summers thought I was worth dying for ... well, I can try." The school's principal (John Lehne), says "Some good has come out of all this." Pruitt is back and Martino might return, though Judy Harris has dropped out. As they leave the building, Stone talks about how much Summers cared for his students despite his other faults and Keller says while he was chained up, Summers had the kids listening.
This show sort of has an interesting premise, which these days might form the basis for a dystopian movie like Battle Royale. But I thought it was ridiculously unrealistic. One of the major problems is the students, who are supposedly around 17-18 years old. They are typical "high school students" portrayed by actors who are much older, and it shows. As of the date of the episode's broadcast, Hegyes was 21, Lambert was 23 and Stanger was 26! (I can't find a date for Kilpatrick; Stark was 24.) There is no indication how old Summers is supposed to be, but Evans was 64. Considering he sometimes walks with a cane, he seems very agile in kicking Pruitt down the stairs of the building where he lives and forcing the students to do his bidding, albeit at knife or gun point. But think -- how many times have you seen a film or TV show where someone has a gun pointed right in their face and manages to disarm the person holding the gun? You would expect the street-smart Martino to be able to do this, especially while Summers is standing right beside him in the classroom where Martino is chained up. Just because Summers is a "person of authority" doesn't mean the students have to be terrified of him! Another issue has to do with "people going to the bathroom." Summers tells them that they are "rested, fed and allowed personal hygiene." During all of these, the kids might have an opportunity to escape, though when he lets Jeffers go to the toilet, Summers makes sure that the door is locked while Jeffers is inside. Evans does give a good performance as the kindly "old-fashioned" teacher who is seriously deranged because of the death of his wife 10 years before as well as his dismissal from the school system, but it is all for nothing!
- Summers drives a vintage Mercury, model "61-03," which, according to Michael Timothy, is a 1954 Mercury Monterey 2-DR Hardtop. If you watch the one scene where the camera is inside the car, Maurice Evans drives as if he is someone who is not used to driving.
- When Summers looks like he is making a eulogy for Randolph in a funeral home, he is reciting a passage from Thomas Hobbes' Of Man, Being the First Part of Leviathan, specifically Chapter XIII, Of the Natural Condition of Mankind as Concerning Their Felicity and Misery.
- It seems very odd to me that when Harris comes to the police station after Summers calls him to say that Judy is being held captive but she will not be harmed, that the one major clue to Summers' identity that might help the cops -- that he has an English accent -- is not mentioned.
- One of the books which Summers is forcing the students to read looks like it is called "Adventures in Appreciation."
- Harris's father's phone number is 362-0024.
- As Stone and Keller approach their car which is parked on the school grounds at the end of the show, a couple of students are looking in the car like they want to steal it!
S04E06: Deadly Silence ★★½
Original air date: October 16, 1975
Director: Virgil W. Vogel; Writer: John W. Bloch
A trio from Tennessee -- Jodi Dixon (Meredith Baxter); Jeff, her husband of two days (Gerald McRaney); and Rudy Nolan (Darrell Fetty), her brother -- are robbing the Sonoma Liquor Company. Stone and Keller respond and in the ensuing confrontation, Stone gets run over by their escaping van. Stone shot Jeff as the three left the store; the owner of the place was also shot and later dies. Stone is taken to hospital but insists there is nothing wrong with him. Meanwhile, Jeff dies from his injuries and Jodi swears vengeance against Stone. She disguises herself as a nurse and goes to the hospital where she hopes to kill Stone, but her plans don't work out when Stone decides to go home, despite opposition from his doctor Reynolds (Regis J. Cordic), Keller and his daughter Jeannie (Darleen Carr). Stone begins experiencing problems with vertigo and his hearing, but goes back to work anyway. When the van used in the robbery driven by Rudy is spotted, a patrol car follows it along with Stone and Keller. Rudy abandons the car on the docks, but Stone, who is chasing him, is totally disoriented, and narrowly misses getting killed. To save his partner, Keller shoots Rudy dead. Realizing there is something seriously wrong, Stone consults with Dr. Graber (Gene Blakely), an ear specialist, who tells him that he has an ossicular discontinuity in his right ear -- a real problem, not one made up. Surgery can be performed to correct this, but if the operation is not successful, Stone will be deaf in that ear forever. This causes Stone to do some soul-searching as well as talk to his former partner Sgt. Dave Paxton (Robert Karnes), who lost hearing in one ear because of the sound of a close-up gunshot. Stone cannot sit still at home and when he goes out for a walk, Jodi, who is stalking him, lets off several shots in his direction. After the cops investigate, Stone goes to headquarters where Keller assigns a 24-hour guard to him over Stone's objections. Jodi goes to Stone's place and, pretending to be a witness to an accident involving him, takes Jeannie hostage. Jodi having abandoned the room she and the two men had rented, their landlady Mrs. Oliver (Nora Marlowe), recognizing a picture of their truck from the story in the paper about Rudy's death, contacts police. Keller visits the place and finds the blood-soaked mattress on which Jeff died. Jodi takes Jeannie to the Presidio area and forces her to call her father and tell him to come there, otherwise Jeannie will be killed. Stone, who has returned home, sneaks out the back of his house, but his guard, Drake, is able to figure out where he is going by analyzing the impressions on a notepad by the telephone. Stone arrives at the Presidio, and Jodi takes several shots at him. She runs out of bullets and breaks down, embracing him, just as Keller and other cops arrive and take her into custody.
Stone has the operation; it is successful -- the hearing in his right ear has been restored. Keller tells Stone, "I was getting kind of used to your office, you know." Stone acts if he didn't hear what Keller said.
This show's concept is good, but there are inconsistencies in Stone's hearing problem. For example, when they are chasing Rudy in their car, Keller is yelling directions at Stone full volume, which he cannot understand, but when Dr. Graber tells Stone in a relatively quiet voice what is wrong with him, Stone hears everything perfectly. I also don't understand where does Jodi get the nurse's uniform. She is shown driving up to the hospital in her car wearing the uniform; it's not like she snuck into the hospital and stole one there. Meredith Baxter's performance is OK, but she lacks the acting chops to pull off a portrayal of a woman who is totally deranged by her husband's death. (Baxter was 28 years old when the show was made; she looks much younger.)
- The trio's Tennessee license plate on their car is 5-H36D8.
- Keller's hair seems long compared to the previous episode.
- As the show opens, Stone is talking about a place which sells the "best salami in town." The day he gets run over is his birthday, actually.
S04E07: Murder by Proxy ★★★
Original air date: October 23, 1975
Director: Virgil W. Vogel; Writer: Eugene Price
Bad things are happening during the last few months in the Rafael Street neighborhood. Thugs smash the windows of a car with a pregnant woman inside, a 78-year-old woman has her jaw broken and a kid's dog is killed. There are muggings, arson and vandalism. This is all part of a campaign carried out by a large conglomerate called Communications Consolidated Inc. (CCI), specifically one of their employees, an ambitious developer named Tom Fitz (Bradford Dillman) who has hired the shady real estate broker Quincy Lloyd (Sorrell Brooke) to shake down local residents and get them to sell their properties so CCI can build the "West Coast Towers Project." One local business owner, printer Leo Steiner (Eduard Franz), goes to speak to Stone, an old friend of his. Although this isn't really Stone's department, he and Keller start investigating, especially after Steiner is murdered and his print shop vandalized by two thugs in Lloyd's employ. Stone yells at Captain Lacy (Gordon Jump), whose patrols are responsible for Rafael Street. Lacy says that the crime rate in that area has jumped 300%. Fitz is under a lot of pressure from his boss Harold Buxton (George P. Wallace) to get the house sales finalized, and Fitz's home life is suffering as a result. His wife Cheryl (Marj Dusay) is fed up because they have moved five times in the last seven years and they have no friends other than "business associates." When Lloyd comes to talk to her husband, Cheryl overhears their conversation, suspecting that her husband had something to do with Steiner's murder. She tells him that he is not the man she married: "You get more corporate and you get less human." Steiner's son Johnny (John Ritter) breaks into Lloyd's office and steals several documents relating to recent real estate transactions, which he takes to Stone. Stone promptly books Johnny for theft, but is quite interested in the paperwork. He and Keller go to visit Fitz, who tells them politely to get lost. Fitz then meets with Lloyd in a park, telling him his services are no longer required. Lloyd doesn't take this well, punching Fitz in the stomach and threatening to report Lloyd who told him that "Problems are to be solved, resistance to be overcome, obstacles to be eliminated." When he goes home, Fitz finds that his wife has left him, taking the children to stay with her parents. Stone and Keller go to see Lloyd to talk about information in the stolen documents. They have discovered Lloyd is a con man who was arrested for embezzlement, assault and fraud in the midwest years before. Just around this time, Lloyd's thugs race through the neighborhood firing a rifle and blowing up a truck from the local vegetable store. The residents take matters into their own hands, and track down these two hoods, whose car runs into another. They hold them as Stone and Keller pull up in their car. Both these goons want to speak to a lawyer, and Keller says that they will be back in an hour or so with a public defender and trusts the furious citizens will look after these two guys, who nervously start blabbing about who hired them. Armed with facts concerning Lloyd and Fitz, Stone and Keller pay a visit to the CCI offices, saying that Lloyd has confessed to "certain actions" he took on Fitz's behalf. As Lloyd predicted earlier, Fitz is culpable with words out of his own mouth even though Fitz says he was "only speaking metaphorically" and he "never meant for [Lloyd] to kill anyone." (This last statement alone is enough to get Fitz to hang himself, because no one was accusing Lloyd of killing anyone at that point.) Fitz is arrested for withholding evidence, obstructing justice and maybe even charged with being an accessory after the fact to first-degree murder. Fitz's boss Buxton refuses to let him use the company lawyers and expects his letter of resignation dated yesterday before he leaves the building.
Stone and Keller look at the Rafael Street neighborhood project for CCI's west coast headquarters, which is proceeding after all. Johnny tells them that he took $120,000 for his father's print shop, a large increase over the $40,000 which Lloyd offered him earlier. Johnny says that Buxton has been reassigned to Omaha and Stone says that this is because "a company as big as CCI is like a nation unto itself. They have their own morals, their own codes, their own values. And Mr. Buxton, well, he made a mistake in judgment."
This episode is good, though it's surprising how many people from the neighborhood suddenly come out of the woodwork when the two bad guys terrorize the area (and what a coincidence that Stone and Keller just happen to be nearby). Both Dillman and Sooke play their parts in a very oily manner. Dusay is also very good, though she has to make a big emotional statement concerning her marriage in a relatively short space of time.
- There is a tracking shot that goes on for a minute and 51 seconds as Fitz and Lloyd walk outside where a stiff wind is blowing.
- The CCI project at the end is announced by a large sign which features the name of its architect, D. Elliott, and a real-looking phone number: 421-4701.
- Fitz's department acquires space for CCI's employees,"Office space, warehouse space, computer room space ... up to the year 2005 [!]"
S04E08: Trail of Terror ★★
Original air date: October 30, 1975
Director: Michael Preece; Writer: Jim Byrnes; Music: George Romanis
Some time ago when they were on shore leave, four US Navy sailors arranged with Marty Long (Tony Cacciotti), a dealer in "custom made Indian jewelry" to fence some jade pieces which they obtained in the Orient. These four are Pete (Philip Bruns), Doug (James Woods), Doug's brother Beau (Greg Mullavey) and J.W. Flowers (Charles Weldon). They have returned to San Francisco again via a liberty boat depositing them at the docks and want to collect their money. They go to Marty's shop, but he closed the place a few days ago, according to Swede (Morgan Jones), bartender at Paul's Saloon next door. Swede says that Marty is still living at the same address, so they go and seek him out there. Marty has the $100,000, but has no intention of giving it to them; in fact, he is preparing to skip town. When he finds out from Swede that the four are on their way to his place, Marty hides the 100 grand up inside the fireplace and when they arrive, pretends that he only got $10,000 for the jade. This does not sit well with the sailors, especially Doug, who clubs Marty on the head with a candlestick holder, killing him. Marty's girl friend Nancy Mellon (Meg Foster), who has been overhearing everything that is going on from the next room, runs out of the apartment and manages to elude the men, who chase her. From an old friend of Nancy's, Betty Jo Washington (Aldine King), the sailors find out that Nancy has gone back to her hometown of Oak Grove, located north of San Francisco. They pursue her there, managing to buy a couple of rifles along the way. Stone and Keller are alerted to Tony's death by Garvey, the building's landlord (Al Nabandian). In a box with Nancy's jewelry, Stone finds a newspaper obituary from the Oak Grove Tribune, July 14, 1970, for Nancy's mother, so they figure that is where she is headed. Nancy goes to her home and reconciles with her father Haggard (Ford Rainey); she has been estranged with him for some time. It doesn't take long for the local Sheriff Kenney (Kenneth Tobey) to show up and take Nancy into custody after San Francisco issues an all-points bulletin for her. Keller soon arrives in Oak Grove to take Nancy back to the city. Stone goes to Marty's place one more time and has a brainstorm that the money is hidden in the fireplace, and he is correct. Keller starts to drive Nancy back to town, but his car is forced off the road by the now-armed sailors, who are no longer wearing their uniforms. Keller and Nancy flee into the nearby forest, and when Nancy starts to get too argumentative, Keller handcuffs himself to her. Kenney and his men find the two cars beside the road and launch a search. Alerted by the sheriff, Stone flies to Oak Grove by helicopter. Keller is wounded by Pete, but kills Pete in turn; J.W. decides he wants no more of this scheme, and heads back to the highway. Nancy shoots the handcuffs, separating herself from Keller, but Doug and Beau corner the two of them. While Doug is distracted, Nancy picks up Keller's gun, which Doug ordered him to throw in the direction of himself and his brother; Nancy seriously wounds Doug. Stone lands nearby in the helicopter, and Doug and Beau are taken into custody.
Keller has recovered from his wound. He gets a perfumed letter at the station house. Without opening it, Stone suggests that Keller take a few days off, go and visit Oak Grove, and says "Give my regards to Nancy."
This show was sort of OK, but there were the usual annoyances and inconsistencies. James Woods' character in this show was really irritating, constantly trying to punch people out if he didn't get his way. And, of course, Woods played this very well. Nancy making a big deal about how she knew the forested area because she had grown up in the area was hard to take, because they were not exactly at Oak Grove's town limits as far as I could tell. While I can understand that she knew the locale of the forest ranger station (which was on top of a mountain!), did she play in all of this area when she was a kid or something? At the end, the whole business when Stone arrives by helicopter at the scene where the sheriff has set up Command Central was silly. There seems to be some pretty heavy foliage in the area where the two cars went off the road. Stone is just at the level of the top of the trees but he can seemingly see everything for miles around including J.W. coming back to the highway and the "foothills to the north" where shots were reported. (And can the sheriff communicate easily with Stone from the mike in his car to the mike in the helicopter? Are there established frequencies for this? [I stand to be corrected on this one.]) In the gun store in Oak Grove, Pete is shown buying rifles for himself and the other men to use -- a 30-30 and a 30.06, both for $200 -- using the name "Lawrence N. Powers." He is yelling at the elderly proprietor of the store as if the guy doesn't understand what he is saying, or maybe he is trying to pull a fast one on this guy, saying that he is a Navy man and therefore entitled to buy rifles or something? I don't know. There doesn't seem to be any of the usual waiting period involved to get these rifles, or is that only for pistols and not rifles? In S03E13, Robert Webber's character buys a pistol, but he can only get this after a lengthy approval procedure. Oh yeah -- why does Stone have to keep his hat on when he's in the helicopter?
- Karen Rhodes, author of a book about Hawaii Five-O and who was in the Coast Guard, sent me interesting information about the rank of the four navy men in this show: "Enlisted personnel don't have rank, they have a rating (third-, second-, or first-class petty officer), and a rate, which is their job title (yeoman, storekeeper, boatswain's mate, etc.). Pete [Philip Bruns], the older guy with the crow [the rating insignia on his left sleeve] and all the chevrons, is a chief petty officer. His rate is that of Boatswain's Mate. Since he is a chief petty officer, he wears the regular cover [hat] with the bill. The other three are wearing what were called "Dixie Cups." Pete has 12 years in the Navy, signified by the three red stripes on the lower part of his sleeve. Each one of those represents a four-year enlistment. Beau [Greg Mullavey] wears the crow of a second-class petty officer. He is a yeoman, that is, a clerk who keeps personnel records, and does correspondence, filing, and all that happy stuff. Doug [James Woods] is a Storekeeper second class (finance and supply). J.W. Flowers [Charles Weldon] is a seaman, which is to say he has not struck for his rate yet (hasn't yet decided what job he wants in the Navy). That's the lowest rung on the ladder of enlisted personnel." Thanks, Karen!
- In the show, Oak Grove is in Sonoma County; this is around 60 miles north of San Francisco. There is an Oak Grove in 7 other California counties: Butte (approximately 145 miles northeast of San Francisco); Calaveras (110 miles northeast); San Diego (490 miles southeast); San Mateo (16 miles south); Santa Clara (60 miles southeast); Tulare (224 miles southeast); and Yuba (139 miles northeast).
- Keller has a good line: "'Four sailors and a girl.' Sounds like a musical." Stone replies: "Except for the murder."
- When Pete is trying to remember Nancy's name and a friend that she had so they can track Nancy down, he says "She used to room with that black chick over on Powell." Beau immediately turns to J.W. (who is black) and asks "Do you know her?" as if he knows every black woman in San Francisco.
- Though Pete uses the name "Lawrence N. Powers" while buying the guns, Beau comes up to him and addresses him as "Pete."
- Nancy's father's address in Oak Grove is 144 Eldridge.