Sunday, February 1, 2015

Log 102: We Can't Just Walk Away From It (Episode 21, Season 1)

Episode 21

Pete and Jim deal with a teenaged suspect who is threatening suicide.

Pete and Jim are in the coffee room before at the start of their shift. Jim is telling Pete a story. Pete is barely paying attention to him. Until Jim says something that piques his interest.
Jim: Blah, blah, blah
Pete: Pretend to do something important so I don't have to give him my full attention.

Jim: "...and there was this girl standing there."
Pete: "What'd she look like?"
Jim: "Well, you know, 17 maybe. Kind of cute, nice smile."
Pete: Mm hmm, too young. Back to work.
Even though Pete is dying to hear the rest of Jim's story, he will have to wait to since it is now time for roll call.

Fortunately, there's lots of time in the car for Jim to finish his tale. His story is about a girl who came to his door claiming that she was collecting votes for a contest at her high school. However, she was really there to sell magazine subscriptions. Of course, Jim did not buy any. He is not a pushover for every sales pitch.
"Jean wouldn't let you, huh?"
Jim is not amused by Pete's comment. He was only trying to help Pete.
"Anyway, I thought I'd tell you in case you answered your door someday."
[When I heard this, I immediately felt sad for Jim. I imagined that he has knocked on Pete's door and walked away with his head hung low after Pete didn't answer.]

 Pete appreciates Jim's concern, but he already has a plan if an unwanted subscription solicitor should come to his door.

"Right. I'll call Jean, have her come over and kick the girl out." 
This look, right here, that Jim gives Pete is the funniest thing in the whole episode. He doesn't say anything, he just stares and it's gold.
Before Jim can tell Pete what he thinks of him and his sense of humor, the radio interrupts instructing them to "see the doctor" at Central Receiving Hospital about a juvenile narcotics suspect.
Is this really what a hospital looked like in 1969? Or is this set just a hallway with some random waiting-room type stuff in it?
Nurse Sally tells them where to find the narcotics suspect, 15-year-old Harvey Franklin.
Harvey's not doing so well. If the doctor hadn't pumped his stomach, he would have died.

Harvey's father came home in the middle of the day and found his son acting strangely. He didn't smell any liquor, so he knew Harvey wasn't drunk. Since he was unable to determine what was wrong with his son, he brought him to the hospital. According the doctor, Harvey had taken a "mixed bag" of "bennies, barbs, you name it". Mr. Franklin does not know where his son obtained the drugs. Unfortunately, Harvey isn't able to talk now and won't be able to do so until tomorrow.
Harvey's father is very concerned about his son. I am more concerned about Mr. Franklin's jacket choice. That lapel is too narrow for a man of his size.
Mr. Franklin has what he thinks is Harvey's jacket with him. After closer inspection, he discovers that the jacket really belongs to Harvey's friend, Larry Harris. When Mr. Franklin reaches in the jacket pocket, he finds a clue to the mystery of where Harvey got the drugs.
Malloy immediately tells him to the drugs back in the jacket.

Malloy and Reed now want to talk to Larry. Mr. Franklin tells them that they need to hurry, though, the Harris family is leaving for a trip today.
Before they leave, Reed calls R & I (Records and Identification) to see if they have any information on Larry Harris.
Help, Pete! I'm stuck!
R & I has nothing on Larry Harris, but that may be about to change.
"Let's go out and see if Larry Harris is about to start himself a package."
As they are driving to the Harris apartment, Reed and Malloy speculate on whether or not Larry sold drugs to Harvey. It is also possible that Harvey could have gotten the pills from someone other than Larry. Malloy is not too worried about solving this conundrum. All they will have to do is turn Larry over to Juvenile, it will be their job to figure out all of this.

Larry Harris lives here.
The apartment door is answered by Mrs. Harris, who confirms that she has a son named Larry and identifies his jacket. She tells Malloy and Reed that Larry is in his room. Although she does not understand why the police want to talk to her son about narcotics, she agrees to let them talk to Larry when they reveal that his friend Harvey is in the hospital.
"Narcotics?"
Mrs. Harris, Malloy, and Reed arrive at Larry's bedroom door and find it is locked. 

They also find that Larry is listening to another of Mark VII's greatest musical hits, "The Generic Indian Sitar Music". This tune was also featured in episode 7 when the two gurus were fighting and the Dragnet Big Prophet episode. At least I think the music is coming from Larry's room. It is heard throughout the episode, even when they are not standing near Larry's door. But, surely Mrs. Harris is not listening to this music. Respectable 1960's adults do not listen to music from a place like India.
Anyway, Malloy lets Larry know that if does not come out they will have to come in. Larry makes it perfectly clear that he is not coming out nor he does not want them to come in. Larry fires a gun and the bullet goes right threw the door!

"That's just to let you know that I've got a gun!...Leave me alone or I'll kill myself!"
It doesn't look like this is going to be as easy as Malloy thought. They won't be able to just turn this over juvenile. Now they'll have to get Larry out of his room and prevent him from committing suicide in the process. Malloy is stumped for a solution. He knows he needs the help of a supervisor and tells Reed to call the Sergeant.
"You can tell him it's a nice, clean-cut situation. We can't use gas 'cause we're on the 10th floor with nothing across the street and no other access. So either we kick the door or talk him out or walk away and leave him in there."
While Reed calls the station, Malloy asks Mrs. Harris if Larry is serious about killing himself. However, she is overwhelmed by all of this and really isn't much help.
"Do you think I understand any of this? Do you think I understand him?"
Mrs. Harris just wants Malloy and Reed to go away and leave them to work this out together as a family. Malloy explains that he wishes he could, but it is not that simple. 
Things are about to get even more complicated because Mr. Harris has just come home. He is rude and overbearing as soon as he walks through the door. Now, I would think that most people who come home and see two police officers in their living room, a distraught spouse, and a missing child would immediately ask if the child is all right. Not Mr. Harris, he is angry that the police are there and demands to know why they are in his home. When Malloy tells him why they are there, Mr. Harris scoffs at the idea of his son selling narcotics or threatening suicide.

"Kill himself? Don't you worry, I'll knock that out of his head."
This jerk seems to think that he has complete control over his entire families' actions, including their thoughts. He is appalled at the situation that has developed while he was not at home and blames his wife for letting it become deadly. 
"Why'd you let him get the gun for? I leave for five minutes. Don't you do anything right?" 
Malloy tries to give him some advice on dealing with Larry. He tells Mr. Harris that yelling at Larry may push him over the edge. But, Mr. Harris continues to believe that he can take control of the situation.
"He does what I tell him!" explains Mr. Harris.
"Did you tell him to take drugs? asks Malloy.
Mr. Harris tries to get Larry to come out of his room by loudly banging on his door and letting him know that his personal problems are affecting the rest of the family.
"Larry, you're holding up our trip!"
"Thanks, but I'm on my own trip."
Since Mr. Harris' method did not work, Malloy tries speaking to Larry in a more calm tone. But, Larry doesn't want to talk to the police, he is afraid that their only objective is to arrest him. 
Listening to Malloy and Larry speak infuriates Mr. Harris.
He then flies at Larry's door in a rage. 
Mr. Harris' outburst does not impel Larry to come out of his room, instead it pushes him closer to the act of taking his own life. He informs everyone that he will kill himself in 10 minutes.This further upsets Mr. Harris, a son has no right to disobey his father.
Now, with the clock ticking, Reed asks Malloy if it would be a good idea to break down the door and surprise Larry. Malloy doesn't want to risk it. Since Larry's parents and the police have failed to bring him out of his room, Malloy thinks someone closer to Larry may be able to help. He asks the parents if they know any of Larry's friends. Mr. Harris insists that they do not. Mrs. Harris starts to say something, but she is cut-off by her husband.
"Flo, quit interrupting. We're trying to figure."
"No. Go ahead, Mrs. Harris", insists Malloy.
She suggests that Annie, Larry's girlfriend, may be able to help. Mr. Harris announces that he broke the relationship up over a month ago, so Annie would not be any help. Despite the father's objections, Malloy sends Reed and Mrs. Harris down to Annie's apartment. With time running out, the situation is becoming more tense and Malloy is losing his patience with Harris.
"Mr. Harris, he said 10 minutes. Now have you got any better ideas?"
While Reed and Mrs. Harris are on their way to Annie's apartment, Malloy decides to check in on Larry. He approaches the door and asks Larry if they can talk.
"What do I care? I only have to listen for a couple of more minutes," answers Larry.
"Not a couple, Larry, eight. You won't short change us, will ya? You promised eight minutes."
On another floor of the same building, Reed and Larry's mother have reached Annie's door. They ring the bell and knock loudly, but there is no answer. Then Reed discovers that the door is unlocked and enters the darkened living room. They shout for Annie, but again, there is no answer. They finally find her lying on the couch listening to music through headphones.
This our first glimpse of Annie. When I first saw her hand limply hanging over the couch I thought, "Oh no, she's overdosed! That's why Larry wants to kill himself."
But, it turns out that Annie and her miles of beautiful hair are just fine.
Reed and Mrs. Harris convince Annie to try and talk Larry out of suicide, even though she is unsure of what she should say.
"We'll think of something. Now come on," insists Reed.
Back at the Harris apartment, Larry's father is feeling frustrated and impatient. He tries to think of some way to get his "dumb kid to come out of there". Malloy tells him that there isn't much to do. They either wait for Larry to come out or go in and get him. Since there isn't much to do, Mr. Harris doesn't understand why the police have to be involved. Can't they just go away let his family handle it on their own?
"You had your chance to handle it for all of Larry's life up to an hour ago.  Now it's our problem and we can't just walk away from it."
At this point, Mac finally arrives. Malloy gives him an overview of what has happened so far. Mac feels that having Annie talk to Larry is a last resort. If she is not able to bring him out of the room, they will have to kick the door. Malloy is still afraid that this will push him over the edge.
"The way I figure either he's made up his mind or he hasn't. If he has, he'll be dead in about four minutes unless we get to him first," surmises Mac.
Reed and Mrs. Harris return with a scared and nervous Annie. Mr. Harris doesn't think Annie will be much help. Mrs. Harris is sick of listening to her husband's opinion.
"I told you she couldn't do any good."
"John, will you shut up? Will you for once, shut up!"
With Reed coaching her, Annie begins talking to Larry through his bedroom door.
"Try and give him some kind of reason to go on living."

 At first her efforts are met with silence from the other side of the door. Finally, Larry answers Annie. He tells her to go away and accuses her of telling the cops that he sold drugs to "that jerk Harvey and the rest of them". After Annie has gone into the other room, Malloy signals to Mac that there is only one minute left. There is no more time for talking.
One minute left.

"Harris, this is Sgt. MacDonald. You've been giving everybody a lot of trouble. Now knock it off. Put down the gun, open the door, and come out. You've got ten seconds to think it over."

Mac begins audibly counting to ten. Silently he holds up four fingers.

When Mac reaches four, Malloy kicks in the door!
The officers burst through the door with their guns drawn.
When I first saw this shot of Larry, with his back to the camera and his neck and head not visible,  I thought he had hung himself.
Larry lets everyone know that he regrets his decision to not take his own life.
"I should've done it. I should've done it. This gets me nothing. Nothing"
"It gets you time, Larry. Time to change your mind," adds Malloy.
Reed and Malloy lead Larry away in handcuffs and the scene ends with a distraught Mr. Harris standing alone in his son's room.
Is that a tape "mark" on the floor where he is standing?
Next, we see Malloy and Reed back at the station ready to head out on the streets again. Reed lets Malloy know that Harvey is going to be OK. He then realizes that they have not had 7 yet. They drive away in search of somewhere to eat.

The End

I like this episode so much more than the last one. This episode has all of the elements that the last one was missing, Reed, Mac, action, suspense, and the black and white. Yes, there was a lot of standing around and talking in this episode. But, there were no long-winded debates to slow down the story.
Like the previous episode, this one also touched on the problems of 1960's youth. Unlike episode 20, it didn't try to answer why young people rebel or argue how the police should treat the problem. The episode just told the story of what happened to one family and the police officers who were there to help in a entertaining manner. 
The Harris family is one of the most memorable Adam-12 families. You don't soon forget a father like Mr. Harris. I kept thinking about the Harris family long after their story was over. Did his father's domineering attitude drive Larry to rebel by taking and selling drugs? Will Mr. Harris change his ways now that his family is falling apart? Will Mrs. Harris continue to speak her mind? What became of kids like Larry who were arrested on "narco raps" in the 1960's? Did their arrest ruin their lives? 

Since this story stuck with me for more than than 24 minutes, I give it a rating of:
Do you agree? See you next time! KMA-367

4 comments:

  1. Evil Dad in this one cracks me up. "Suicide? Why that little pansy, I'll kill him before I let him commit suicide!"

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  2. "When Mac reaches four, Malloy kicks in the door!" = Trouble no more.

    Not a bad ep, but I usually prefer when they handle two or three incidents during a shift.

    The Central Receiving set is strictly bargain-basement, courtesy of MarkVII in the early years of the series. (The show gained some gravitas once on-location neighborhood and business filming became more commonplace circa '70.)


    "Switch to Tac-2"

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  3. Just watched this again on COZI, and I found the threatened suicide segment just as unsatisfying as my previous viewings of it. I don't find the acting of Larry and Annie to be very believable, and Annie's repeated pronunciation of "La-ree" grates on my last nerve. (I did, on initial viewing, share your impression that Annie's lifeless-appearing hand, visible above the sofa, explained Larry's suicide threat.) Of course, Malloy & Reed are as easy on the eyes as usual, and I always enjoy their dialogue. To me, the high point of the episode is Reed's hands resting on Annie's shoulders while he whispers intimately in her ear,making suggestions for encouraging remarks she can pass on to Larry. If I'd been in her place, even MY acting might have been believable.

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    Replies
    1. Agree with the acting of the girlfriend. Her dialogue was odd and hollow. It seemed a bit of filler to show the attempt failed before kicking in the door. Reed's coaching didn't work either.
      Good call outs on first sight of the teen who is too tall to be in the camera. Didn't think about a possible hanging, as he had a gun. but why leave it on the bed? He wanted to get caught.

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