Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Log 33: It All Happened So Fast (Episode 17, Season 1)

I have been looking forward to writing about this episode, which is one of my favorites, for 2 weeks now. On paper, it doesn't seem that exciting. The episode mostly consists of 4 men talking in a room. But it's what they're talking about, the events leading up to one of the officers killing a suspect, that makes this episode compelling. Emotions run high as the officers recount the occurrences of the evening leading to several dramatic confrontations. The intense emotions and dramatic clashes are what make this episode one of my most loved.
So, now without further ado, I present:

Episode 17

Reed learns firsthand about the investigation that takes place after an officer kills a suspect.

The story starts near the end of the shift. Pete is weary and suggests they get some coffee. Jim doesn't want any, he's fearful that drinking coffee now will keep him awake past his bedtime at the end of the shift.
Soon, Reed realizes that he, too, could use some caffeine to make it through the rest of their patrol. 
In the middle of their mundane conversation about where to get coffee,  the night takes a frightening turn.
An unseen sniper has fired at the patrol car and hit the windshield!
Malloy brings the car to a sudden stop at 11th and Wellborn, he and Jim take cover.

The sniper shoots again and Jim returns fire.
The sniper emerges from his hiding spot and falls to the ground.
After some time has passed, Malloy asks a frozen Jim how many shooters there were. Jim responds that there was only one.
"I think I got him, Pete."
Jim leaves his spot behind the car door to check on the suspect. What he sees renders him motionless.

He is soon joined by his partner, who brings Jim out of his stupor by handing him the shotgun.
With his hands now free of the LAPD-issued shotgun, Pete picks up the suspect's  firearm and checks the suspect for a pulse. There is none.
 Soon, the street is filled with black and white patrol cars echoing the voices of the radio dispatchers in the night air.
After Lt. Moore gathers some details from Pete and Jim, he orders Mac to take them back to the station.

Back at the station, the other officers are curious about what has happened. But  Mac will not let Reed or Malloy answer any questions.
"Don't bother him right now, he's not going to answer any questions."
Mac ushers them into the empty analytical office and inquires about Reed's physical and emotional state.
Mac, "How do you feel? A little shook up?"
Reed, "Yeah, some."
"You feel sick or anything?"
"Well, if you do, just give me a chance to get a wastebasket."
Reed, almost chuckling at Mac's concern,"No, I'm all right."
"I mean it, I'm okay," insists a slightly annoyed Reed to an unconvinced Malloy.
Reed then asks Mac what happens now. Mac answers that a shooting team from Homicide will question Reed and that he will be there with him.
"Hell, they couldn't pry me away."
He goes on to tell Reed that he will be taken off of field duty for awhile and that he will also have to face a Shooting Board and an inquest. Even with all of this facing him, Reed's mind is still at 11th and Wellborn.
"Pete, I didn't see how old he was."

Mac answers a knock at the door and Detective Jerry Miller enters with Bob Calkins. Sgt. Miller will be conducting the interview and Calkins will be recording it. Miller immediately informs Reed that this is an interview, not an interrogation. Some of the questions may be pointed, but those points will only be used to dig out the details.

(Speaking of details; see the calendar behind Miller? It is a January/ February calendar. This episode first aired on February 1, 1969, but would have been filmed many months earlier. I love that the calendar matches the air date.)
The interview starts with Malloy and Reed stating their names, serial numbers, and time on the job.
"Malloy, Peter J., 10743. It'll be 7 years on November 15th."
Reed, James A., 13985.
"I started last July 11th."
Reed is anxious to start telling Sgt. Miller about the shooting, but Miller stops him. He needs to hear about their entire shift, starting at the time they went on duty.
When Malloy reaches the time of the shooting in the recap of the evening's events, Reed asks if he can take a break to call his wife. While Reed is on the phone with Jean, the more experienced officers discuss how Reed is handling the situation.
"Well, I've seen 'em giggle for no good reason, get sick, or just sit there and cry like babies. But, Reed, he seems to be taking it okay," observes Sgt. Miller.
Malloy does not agree with Miller.
"I don't think so",  counters Malloy.
"No?" asks Miller.
"I know him, it's really working on him," adds Malloy.
Meanwhile, Reed is telling Jean that he will be home late. He assures her that he is fine, then pauses and checks if the other officers are watching him. He then sits down and hesitates before telling Jean why he will be home late tonight.
"Tonight, I killed a man."
After he gets off the phone, Reed laments to Malloy that the shift may have ended differently if he only had more time to think before he fired his gun. 
Malloy tells him that, unfortunately, it doesn't work that way.
"The guy on the other side gets all the time he wants. You get maybe half a second, if you're lucky. That's why they train you and lecture you on law and policy till it's coming out of your ears. You gotta do your thinking ahead of time, so you know what to do and what not to do."
Sgt. Miller re-enters the office to continue the interview. During a break in the questioning, a spent Reed asks Malloy if a cop ever gets used to this. Malloy answers, "No, you don't. You try to learn to live with it."
"I don't know. Can we talk about it later?"
"Anytime you like, Jim," replies Pete, intimately referring to his partner by his first name.
Later, Sgt. Miller asks Reed and Malloy to draw a diagram of the area where the shooting occurred. 
Things get heated when Miller asks Reed what kind of wall was behind the sniper.
"What am I supposed to do? Run up and look at the wall before I start shooting?"
Reed's frustration builds as the detective asks him why he choose to fire at the suspect instead of waiting for backup.
"Because he was trying to kill us. He wasn't in any school yard and his next shot could've killed either one of us."
Malloy recognizes that his partner has reached his boiling point and suggests they take a break.

Malloy tries to comfort his partner.
Jim tells Pete, "I can't stop shaking".
Sgt. Miller then reveals that he knew the wall was concrete block and that Jim's third shot hit the wall. Reed asks why Miller didn't tell him this.

"Because we've got to know what you thought, not what I told you."
Sgt. Miller tells Reed to "relax a little bit", but he finds hard to do that. Malloy tries to take his mind off of the situation with humor, but Reed just wants to be left alone.
"I feel like a darn fool, I can't stop shaking."
"Can I get you anything? A sandwich? Some soup? Aspirin? Six dancing girls?"
Mac is also worried about Reed. Miller apologizes for shaking him up, but Mac and Malloy both know that it had to be done.
"Sooner or later he'd ask himself the same questions, anyway. He'll have to work it out for himself."
Miller then explains to Reed why the interview is necessary.
"You're a police officer. Anytime you fire that gun of yours out in the street, no matter if it's just an accident and you blow the bottom of your holster out, you're going to get questioned, you're going to go before a shooting board. We got to know exactly what happened right or wrong."
Reed agrees to continue the interview and Miller questions him on what he saw when he starting firing. Did Reed shoot at the muzzle flash or the figure holding the gun? 
"I saw a man shooting at me and I shot back, now that's all I know."
After Reed's statement, Miller asks if he or Malloy have anything else to add. They don't and Miller ends the interview. They will now go back to the scene and reconstruct the entire incident. Before they leave the room, Miller tells Reed that it looks like he has nothing to worry about it. This seems to buoy Reed's spirits.
As they leave the office, they are confronted by a group of news reporters and photographers just outside the door. They immediately begin asking Reed and Malloy for comments and snapping pictures.

Lt. Moore lets them know that the officers will not be answering any questions. One of the reporters shows Reed a headline about the shooting, he thinks Reed will like it. Reed does not look happy about his newly found fame, and he looks to his partner to make sense of it all.

The episode ends with the officers leaving the station, but this long night is still not over for them. They will now return to the scene of the shooting to reconstruct the events. The reporters and photographers follow them down the hall.
The End

God, I love this episode.
 I love it because, once again, Adam-12 has taught me something. Until I started watching Dragnet and then Adam-12, I never knew everything a police officer had to go through when they fire their gun on the job. I wish everyone who thinks that when a cop kills a suspect they just go back to the station for a round of high-fives and celebratory doughnuts, could see this episode and learn what really happens.
I also love it because it is different from most of the other episodes. Instead of seeing the partners respond to 3 or 4 calls, it focuses on 1 event. It is also much more emotionally intense then other episodes. Usually, when they are responding to calls, the officers remain stoic, so this is a real change.
 I often wonder what it would have been like if Malloy were the one being vigorously questioned. Even though it would have been interesting to see how Milner would have handled the subject matter, it wouldn't have worked. Malloy would not have responded as passionately to the questioning, he has already experienced an interview like this and knows how to handle it. I wouldn't change a thing.

Of course, I rated this episode:
Do you agree? See you next time! KMA-367


  1. I agree that this is one of the finest episodes of the series. (I avoid "favorites." There's something about ranking that way that rankles me.)

    The performances all around are terrific, and I really enjoy that Malloy -- who ordinarily treats Reed as a wet-behind-the-ears kid, to keep him from getting cocky -- is unhesitating in his friendship and support for Reed.

    Those moments, both in person and when they're apart, are really at the core of the series for me. The early episode in which Jim is having a hard time dealing with his first child molester has such a scene, where Mac is troubled by Reed's hostility toward a man who clearly merits it, and Pete leaps to his defense, telling his sergeant that Jim Reed is a better cop -- smarter, better educated, better trained -- than Malloy or MacDonald ever dreamed of being. You just know that Jim would be stunned to hear Pete say that: when they're out working, Pete's always a tough taskmaster, and never seems at all impressed with him. But Pete Malloy is almost in awe of his young partner, and takes his duty as his training officer very seriously: To Pete Malloy, training Jim Reed is like being the caretaker of a previously unknown Michelangelo. That, to me, is what Adam 12 is all about.

    1. You've summed their relationship beautifully, Mr. Sheen.

    2. If you go back and watch the two-part finale, you may realize, as I did, that although the show has two co-leads, it's really Jim's story arc that the series portrays.

    3. You're right. Milner may be the "star", but the focus of the story arc is on McCord's character.

  2. This one is right up there with "Log 122" - the best of the first season.

    "Six dancing girls." A classic Malloy moment of levity.

    As for Malloy being interviewed, we'll have to wait until the fourth season's "Back-up 1-L-20" to see him being grilled by Internal Affairs. It was possibly one of Milner's finest moments in the series, and should have earned him an Emmy nod.

    "Switch to Tac-2"

    1. I've been so focused on Season 1 that I have completely forgot what happens in the other seasons! I'll have to re-watch Back-up 1-L-20, I can't remember Milner's performance at all. I'm sure it's great.

    2. I just watched this episode again on COZI (not nearly as good an experience as watching my DVDs, but I never pass up an opportunity to watch the show) and I realized that this is really some of the finest acting in the entire series. This happens every time I re-watch (for the kazillionth time)the series---I see something new with each viewing. Then I read your review of the episode and noted that you and some of your readers feel as I do. It's clear that you and your followers know far more than I do about the film industry and police work, but this entire series just goes right to the core of the issues, and it touches my heart every time. I DO have favorite episodes, and this one has now been added to my list. I LOVE Adam-12, Kent McCord, and Martin Milner! It all just increases my hero worship for LEOs, firefighters, and all first responders.

    3. I just love this one! I was so happy when Kent told me that he thought it was one of the finest of the entire series.