Sunday, April 5, 2015

Log 52: Good Cop, Handle With Care (Episode 3, Season 2)

Episode 29

You know, I don't think I did such a hot job on last week's episode, Log 153: Find Me a Needle. Which is a shame because it is such a good episode. Oh well, you win some, you lose some. I'm going to blame it on too much travel for work. This week I didn't have to do any traveling and I had a day off, so I am well-rested and ready to blog. Let's get to it!


Two concerned citizens follow Malloy and Reed for several days. Are they observing the police at work or looking to make trouble?

The story:

Pete and Jim are in the patrol car when Reed spots a man down by a tree. They stop to the car and approach the man.
"Hey, friend."

I'm pretty sure this is Marco Lopez. He's a good actor, I would be giggling uncontrollably.
The man is non-responsive to the freckled-finger neck fondle, there must be something seriously wrong with him. While Reed is calling for an ambulance, a red Mustang pulls up behind the patrol car.

Two men get out of the Mustang, one with a camera, and begin asking questions and taking pictures. They want to know why the officers don't just leave the poor man alone.
"For one thing, he can't take of himself or his property," explains Pete.
These two guys think the man is drunk, Pete and Jim think he is ill or injured and in need of medical attention. The men then turn to the crowd that has gathered and begin asking what they think is wrong with the victim.
They don't get much of a response from the crowd, so they continue to spout their own opinions. They criticize the police for throwing a man with a disease, alcoholism, in jail. (These two idiots don't know anything. Jim called an ambulance, not a paddy wagon.)

At the station, Pete and Jim have been called to the Watch Commander's office where Lt. Moore is on the phone discussing the man they found earlier. He says, "overdose victim" just before hanging up. He then asks Pete and Jim about the two men from the Mustang. Pete tells him that the men were trying to start an incident, but didn't have the right crowd. Jim adds that they were also at another one of their calls.

Before they leave, Lt. Moore advises Malloy not to let these two interfere. Pete will have to use his judgement when dealing with these men.

Later, Pete and Jim are back on the street. Jim keeps looking out the rear window for the red Mustang.
"You're gonna get a sore neck, partner," warns Pete."They just bug me, that's all," explains Jim.
"You don't say," remarks Pete
Jim then asks Pete if the men in the Mustang bother him.
"Only the photographer, he still hasn't gotten my good profile."
(Pete has a bad profile?)

Can you really blame Jim for being slightly on-edge about the Mustang? Shouldn't both of these guys have an irrational fear of Mustangs by now? They already have that white over gold Mustang following them everywhere! And don't forget what happened to Pete's Mustang at the college. 

Anyway, they receive a radio dispatch to call the station and Pete finds the nearest call box. As they are leaving to go to their next call, Jim points out that their "friends" are parked nearby.
The Mustang is legally parked so Pete is going to leave them alone. Let's hope the two in the Mustang return the favor.
Their next call takes them to the Sanchez home, where they have to deliver some bad news to Mrs. Sanchez whose husband is in the Merchant Marines.

At first Mrs. Sanchez is defensive with the officers, she thinks they are going to arrest her for traffic violations. Then she thinks maybe they are there because of some obscene phone calls she has reported. Pete finally interrupts her and tells her the real reason they are there. (I think Mrs. Sanchez suspected all along, but didn't want to admit it.) Pete reluctantly begins, searching for the most compassionate way to tell her the news. He finally decides to plainly tell her what has happened.
"Mrs. Sanchez, we have to tell you something. I'm afraid it's bad news." 

"Mrs. Sanchez, I hope you'll forgive me. I tried to think of some other way, a better way to say this. But, I couldn't. 

We've been asked to notify you of the death of your husband."
A stoic Mrs. Sanchez asks if there could be some mistake, but Pete assures her there is not. As she shows them out the door, she breaks down. They turn to leave and Jim notices that they have company.
The Mustang Gang is back.

These two saw Mrs. Sanchez crying and want to know what Pete and Jim did to her.  (Don't these two know that the ladies always cry when Pete and Jim leave?) Jim hears police radio chatter coming from the Mustang and notices that they have a police radio of their own. Pete then asks them for their names. 
Ol' white jacket here is Mark A. Gurney, he accuses Pete of harassing them when he asks for their names.

"Nobody's harassing you and nobody's going to."
The photographer is Gerald T. Bowen.
Pete then asks what their "deal" is. Are they newspaper reporters? Mark answers that they are just a couple of concerned citizens who are interested in law enforcement. A point they prove by continuing to ask questions about 1-Adam-12's latest call. They still think Pete and Jim did something nefarious to Mrs. Sanchez. They begin walking to the house to ask her what went on inside. This infuriates Pete.
"You leave the woman alone! Her husband just died. He was out of town, we had to tell her."
Gurney is surprised that the police are allowed to deliver bad news like the death of a spouse, he thinks they lack tact and sensitivity. Pete reminds him to be sensitive to Mrs. Sanchez's needs and respect her privacy. 

Before they leave, Pete tells Gurney and Bowen that it is their privilege to follow the police around, but it is against the law for them to interfere with the execution of their job.

Gurney has to get in one final dig and asks Pete, "How'd ya tell her? 'Hey lady, your husband just kicked off?'".
Pete just glares at Gurney in response to his query.
Gurney and Bowen get into their...Mustang? Per Mark VII policy, there is silver tape covering the model name. (OK, I don't know if it was actual policy, but they did it all the time.)

These guys are starting to burn Jim up (and me, too). 
Pete tells him to take it easy, Gurney and Bowen are just a lot of talk

We next see Reed and Malloy arresting a suspect. Gurney and Bowen show up just as they are putting him in the patrol car. They take a picture of the officers with the man and ask some questions, Malloy does his best to ignore them.

The prisoner, Henderson, is sitting in the back of the car with Jim. Everything seems fine at first, then he starts yelling some gibberish about knives and blood.
I'm high on pills and alcohol, I'm probably gonna freak out. Just thought I should warn you.

Jim, is that guy freaking out?

He's freaking out, Pete! Stop the car!
Pete helps Jim subdue Henderson. In the struggle he hits his nose on the back of the front seat and starts bleeding. They take him to Central Receiving Hospital for medical attention.

And guess who has followed them?
The next scene takes place days later, Henderson has filed a complaint of excessive force against Pete and Jim. Mac is taking statements from all involved and it's now Jim's turn to give his statement. 
Mac sits him down and shows him the newspaper with the pictures that Gurney and Bowen have taken. (Hey, Pete was wearing his hat when he put Henderson in the car! Scroll up and check out the screen cap.)

I would just like to point out that the hand holding the paper touched my shoulder. Twice.
Although there are statements to the contrary, Jim denies that he was unnecessarily belligerent towards Henderson. He states that he was irritated, but only with Gurney and Bowen because they had been "deliberately  provocative". At the end of his statement he asks Mac what happens next. Mac answers that Internal Affairs will make a decision to clear, set down, or fire him and Pete after they review Mac's and the captain's recommendations.
"It doesn't seem fair," laments Jim.
"Sure, it's fair," answers Pete in the next scene. Jim does not agree, he feels that Bowen and Gurney are abusing a legitimate grievance procedure. The police knock themselves out to do a good job and this is the thanks they get.
Pete suggests that they stencil "good cops handle with care" on the back of their uniforms.

Jim then notices that the Mustang gang are following a few blocks behind them, he wonders what they want. Pete advises his young partner to calm down and not let those two bother him.
"You let 'em get you mad enough, you'll give 'em what they're looking for. You'll make a mistake and then that'll go in the record, too. What bothers me is the mistake you make might cost me my neck."
OK, it's now time for another story about the "Time That I Met Kent McCord".  (If you think you are going to get sick of hearing these stories, you're going to have to find another Adam-12 blog to read.) During the Q&A panel Kent told us how he and Marty were assigned to ride with LAPD officers as part of their training for Adam-12.  Kent was on a call with an officer where a suspect was being verbally abusive to the cop.  Kent wanted to knock the guy out, but the cop told him that you can't let the abuse get to you. The officer told him that it was best to let it roll off you "like water off a duck's ass". (Kent made it abundantly clear that he was only repeating the profanity the officer used, not using such language of his own volition.) Pete is acting exactly as a senior officer should by not letting Gurney and Bowen bother him.

A radio dispatch reporting a 211 that just occurred at the liquor store comes over the radio. The call is not assigned to 1-Adam-12, but Pete thinks they can cut the suspects off on their way to the freeway.
This is Jim's hand writing down the information on the 211. What's that sleeve cuff doing on his arm? They're wearing their class C, short-sleeved uniforms in this episode. Are you trying to tell me that Mark VII productions saved money by using the same stock footage over and over, even if it didn't match up with the surrounding scenes?

Another dispatch describing the suspects and their vehicle is broadcast. Jim is busy looking the out the back window for a red Mustang instead of helping his partner look for the suspect's vehicle.
"Are you with me or aren't ya?" asks Pete.
Jim answers that he's "right here" with Pete. He soon spots a car that is the same make and model as the suspects', but the license plate does match the partial given in the dispatch. Pete thinks that digits given over the radio could have been mistakenly reported by a witness. They chase the brown Ford onto the Universal backlot where the pursuit ends. The suspects try to escape on foot, but Pete and Jim stop them.
Pete reports that they have the suspects in custody.
As Jim frisks the first suspect, the red Mustang pulls into the scene.

Bowen begins taking pictures and Gurney starts asking questions. Since it was reported that one of the suspects is armed, Pete knows the situation could turn deadly. He tells Jim to cover the suspects while he talks to Bowen and Gurney.
Pete tells Bowen and Gurney to get lost.

The middle prisoner turns and fires the gun that the dispatch reported he was known to carry. Jim fires and hits the suspect.

A bystander across the street is hit by the suspect's shot.

Now Gurney is apologetic.
 "This is bad, I mean we had no idea," he explains.
"You do now, don't ya?" counters Pete.
I don't want to play Monday morning quarterback here, but it seems like Pete may have screwed up. They knew from the description that one of the suspects  carried a pistol and they did not find it on the first suspect. Shouldn't Pete have let Jim search the other suspects until the weapon was found? Bowen and Gurney weren't physically interfering with the arrest, they were just taking pictures and shouting questions. Was it so urgent for Pete to stop the search of the prisoners?

We next see Pete and Jim back in Mac's office waiting for homicide to show up and question them about the shooting. 
Mac lets them know that the bystander just died. Reed hopes Bowen and Gurney are happy. Mac informs him that they are not overjoyed by the man's death, they were at the hospital when it happened. 
He goes on to tell Jim and Pete that an application for complaint against Bowen and Gurney has been filed. Reed wants to know what they'll be charged with. Mac can't answer his question, the city attorney decides what the charges will be, the police only provide the facts.
Reed dramatically sighs in frustration.

"What's the matter, Reed?" 
"I don't know, it just seems like such a shame. A man is dead and it shouldn't have happened. I'd hate to be Bowen or Gurney."
"Yeah, too bad they're both so young."
"Why do say that?" asks Reed.
"They're sure gonna have a lot of time to think about it."

The End.

My evaluation:

At first I thought this episode was about a citizen's right to observe the police and how they could do so as long as they did not interfere with their duties. I took it on it's face value and didn't look any deeper. Then as I was writing about the last scene, I began to wonder why Pete, Jim, and Mac were so concerned about Bowen and Gurney and I realized that the underlying theme of this episode is respect.

The cops are obligated to respect a citizen's right to observe their work. They ask in return that a concerned citizen like Bowen or Gurney respect the job that they have to perform. All citizens should respect each other's rights and privacy, as Pete asked Bowen and Gurney to do for Mrs. Sanchez.

Pete has shown consideration for Bowen and Gurney throughout the story. But, at the end of the episode, the Mustang Gang finally views police work with a deference. And Jim learns that Bowen and Gurney are human beings capable of sympathy.

Additionally, this episode kept my attention because (as the kids say) it gave me lots of "feels". Meaning that I experienced a lot of emotions while watching this episode. I was annoyed and angered every time Bowen and Gurney showed up at a call. I was anxious for poor Pete as he searched for the right words to tell Mrs. Sanchez about the death of her husband. I was worried about Jim and Pete when Henderson started wigging out.

I am going to rate this episode among the best. Which used to mean a rating of "Malloy". But, I have a new rating system based on the life events of Jim Reed! So, this episode has earned the new rating of:

Do you agree? See you next time! KMA-367


  1. Poor Marco! He didn't get a line in this one, either.

    Can you say "freckled-finger neck fondle" five times fast? I love that.

    Please continue telling us stories about the time you met Kent McCord. Your blog is basically a lovely Sunday night bedtime story, and the perfect conclusion to my weekends :)

    1. Marco is the Mr. Bean of Mark VII!
      I'll keep telling Kent stories. I'll be the old lady at the home telling those stories to anyone who walks past.
      I'm glad that you choose to end your weekends with my blog, I hope it always gives you sweet dreams of Reed and Malloy.

  2. Please continue to tell us about meeting Kent McCord. I really enjoy your stories.

    1. The masses have spoken! I'll tell the stories until I run out, then I'll change the words and tell them again.

  3. Rita, you are a discerning Adam-12 viewer. I don't always agree with your ratings, but you are right on here. I think this is one of the best episodes of the series, and the scene at Mrs. Sanchez's house from start to finish is particularly good. Malloy is aces here, as he is in 'Find A Needle.' It never dawned on me he might have goofed in the field with the three suspects and Bowen and Guerney. Great catch. I sometimes wonder about your ratings of these early shows because I consider seasons 1 and 2 to be among the best of the series. I like the one storyline episodes (Tell Him He Pushed Back....) because it is a departure from the Adam-12 formula. Your observation on too little Reed in 'I'm Still A Cop' is also right on, though I like that episode. You make me think. Thanks for the blog and the forum to discuss. KMA.

    1. You are welcome, Mary! I'm so glad you enjoy the blog. I prefer the first 3 seasons over the later seasons and I've found that my opinion on several episodes has changed as I watched them in more detail. I used to like "I'm Still a Cop" quite a bit for purely superficial reasons. (Malloy in off-duty clothes for almost an entire episode? Yes!) But once I thought about the importance of Reed to the show, I changed my mind.
      I'm glad we don't always agree on the ratings of the episodes, I love the discussions. That is the whole reason I started the blog. My husband got sick of hearing me talk about the show and suggested I start the blog to "talk" to other fans. So, I did. Best piece of advice he ever gave me. KMA.

  4. I figured your highest rating would be shirtless, mustachioed Kent McCord.

    1. Well, Bryan, that does rate pretty high in my book. But, I was trying to stick to events in the life of Jim Reed. Perhaps, if there had been an eighth season they would have made the locker room scenes more realistic. One can only wonder.

  5. And wish (about the locker room scenes). I just watched this episode again on COZI this morning, 'WAY after your blog, since I discovered your blog very recently. Did you ever look at the Martin Milner Private Family Collection Facebook page before it closed down? There was a screen grab of the scene when Reed's trying to subdue Henderson, the hallucinating man in custody in the back seat of the cruiser, and Malloy's reaching around the open back door to help. The screen grab shows Malloy's hand (per explanation by Diana Downing) cupped to hold the fake blood he applies to Henderson's face. It shows up in the next frame, and is captured in the "agitator's" newspaper photo. (It was common in those days to refer to people who stirred things up as "outside agitators". In this case, the label seems to fit, since the troublemakers have no real involvement in any of the issues in question.) Anyway, I found that to be an interesting tidbit of info, just one of many reasons I miss that FB page. I'm so glad you share the same fascination many of us have with Adam-12. You keep it alive! Thank you so much, Keely!

    1. I did see that post about the fake blood in Martin's hand, unfortunately it was published after I posted my take on the episode so I wasn't able to include that tid-bit.