Sunday, July 5, 2015

Log 14: S.W.A.T. (Episode 14, Season 2)

Episode 40

There are some episodes that I can't wait to cover and there are others, like this one, that I dread. I was not looking forward to this one for completely superficial reasons, I hate the SWAT uniform and I don't like seeing Pete and Jim wearing it. When I watched this again, I was pleasantly surprised, they wear the SWAT uniforms less than I thought. Maybe this won't be so bad.


Pete and Jim deal with a sniper situation.

The Story:

A city street in chaos, people running, sirens wailing, shots ring out, and 1-Adam-12 speeds through the middle of all this.
They almost hit a woman in red as she runs across the street.
She makes it across the street and a bullet narrowly misses her head. 
Pete and Jim take cover. Jim fires at the man who started all of this confusion, a sniper on a nearby roof. Pete gets on the radio and requests an ambulance.

The sniper disappears behind a ledge and the terror subsides for a few seconds. In that time Pete uses the car's loudspeaker to tell everyone on the sidewalk to stay calm, stay near the buildings, and not go out in the street. 

Their next order of business is to rescue a man who has been shot and is lying in the middle of the street. Just like the time they rescued an injured Ed Wells, they lie down on the seats of the car. Pete tells Jim, "Stay low, don't give him an angle."

They reach the man and pull him inside the car while staying low to the ground.
Jim: "Doesn't look too good."

Pete:"Neither will we if we don't get out of here."

Pete then speeds away out of the sniper's range. After the ambulance takes away the injured man, Pete makes a radio broadcast to advise that all units stay away from Ninth between Grove and Elm and Tenth between Grove and Elm.

He then begins the next order of business: sealing off the area. He requests eight units to establish a perimeter and direct traffic away from the sniper's range. Pete also recommends that Mac set up a command post, roll a SWAT team, a logistics truck, and a sound truck. Finally, he requests that another ambulance be sent to the location.

Before the area can be sealed off, a motorcycle officer comes down the street. Pete yells at him, "Get back, sniper!" But, his warning is too late. The officer is hit by one of the sniper's bullets. A man then runs out to the street and helps move the officer to safety.

Once they have the motorcycle cop safely in an alcove, Reed watches for the sniper to go behind a ledge. When he is out of sight, they begin to move the officer towards the patrol car.

They pass some bystanders on their way to the car, Malloy tells them to follow and stay close to the buildings.
Marco Lopez is the cool guy in the middle of this train, Reed is the caboose.

They meet the ambulance where the black and white is parked. Malloy asks the motor officer if he heard the broadcast about the sniper. He didn't, his radio was B.O. (bad order).

As the ambulance leaves, Mac arrives to set up a command post. Malloy lays out the situation for him, there is a sniper on the roof of the Rex theater and they've been told by the ambulance attendant that there is a victim four blocks away on an apartment sundeck. Reed adds that they have cleared the sidewalks, but they have not been able to evacuate the apartments across the street.

While Reed and Malloy are talking to Mac, Officer Parks joins them. He and his partner have checked out the inside of the Rex, there's a stairway from a balcony to the roof which leads to a steel door. The sniper has barricaded this door from the outside. Parks' partner is staked out on the door inside the theater. He asks Mac how they will get the sniper down. Mac replies that they will use SWAT teams, who are due to arrive soon.

This is Parks talking to Mac. Alfred Shelly plays Parks, he was on sixteen episodes of Dragnet and five episodes of Adam-12.

Mac sends the officers to evacuate the nearby area, telling them, "Right now, though, the main thing is to get any potential targets out of his way."

But, before Malloy and Reed can get to the apartments across the street, there are more potential targets to get off the sidewalk. They happen upon this dog barking on the sidewalk.

The dog's owner, an extra from an all-male version of Annie, tells him to come back, "You might get killed!".

The sniper shoots at the dog and hits the sidewalk near the dog's feet. The dog, Tippy, runs away from the gunshot and his master. The boy takes off after his furry friend and our boys in blue spring into action. While Reed covers him, Malloy runs towards the boy, scoops him under his arm, then he also grabs the dog and runs down a stairwell with both of them.

Malloy, the boy, and the dog wait in the stairwell for Reed's signal.  After he reloads, Reed begins firing at the sniper again. Malloy, carrying the boy and Tippy, runs from the stairwell to a doorway around the corner. Once they are safe, the boy asks why that man is trying to kill people. Malloy does not have any answers for him.
"I wish I knew, son."

After they rescue the boy and Tippy, Reed and Malloy make their way to the apartment building. In the building, Katy Anderson shows them to Mrs. Bell's apartment. She is worried about Mrs. Bell, who is still in her apartment and has not answered the door. The officers aren't able to get a response from Mrs. Bell, either. Reed then points out there are bullet holes in the door. Malloy, sensing that the situation may be dire, kicks down the door. Inside the apartment, they find Mrs. Bell lying on the floor. She has been shot, but is still alive. Reed uses the CC unit to call Mac and request an ambulance.

Using a blanket as a makeshift stretcher, they carry Mrs. Bell to the hallway. Katy then tells them about Mr. Bunch. He is also still in his apartment. He sleeps days and didn't want to go anywhere except to bed when the evacuation started. They go around the corner to Mr. Bunch's apartment, he answers the door and makes it clear that he is not leaving.
"I'm not going anywhere. You got some nut out there with a gun, that's your problem. I'm gonna get some sleep."

That is until we hear a gun shot and glass shattering, then Mr. Bunch runs down the hall in his bathrobe.

On their way out of the building, Reed and Malloy meet the ambulance workers who are transporting Mrs. Bell.  She did not survive the gunshot. This brings the bodycount to two, a telephone lineman was also killed.

Our heroes return to the command post just as the SWAT team arrives. (Finally, we're over ten minutes into this thing!) Sgt. Baron, apologizes to Mac for being late. Mac tells him he's right on time.

If I wrote the dialogue, it would have gone more like this:
Baron, you know this episode is named "S.W.A.T.", don't you? You might want to show up for more than the last twelve minutes of it. You were late when Malloy was a hostage, too. Said you were doing "research". Next time you may want to research getting to the scene a little earlier. Now get out of here and go put on that hideous coverall you call a uniform.

Apparently, Malloy and Reed have trained with Baron because they are going to be SWAT One. Parks and two other officers are going to be SWAT Two. Mac sends them to go get their gear in the SWAT truck. 

But, before that can happen, the same guy who helped save the motorcycle cop comes up to the command post with some important information. He thinks he might know the identity of the sniper. He used to work at the Rex theater and suspects one of his former co-workers, Johnny Kursko. Kursko was an assistant manager who had a key to the roof. He also blamed the neighborhood for the Rex going out of business. On top of all that, Kursko didn't show up for his business class today and he's not at his apartment. 

While Ron Thompson was telling Mac and Baron about Kursko, Reed and Malloy have put on their ugly SWAT coveralls and dumb SWAT caps that sit 4" off their head. Mac comes over to laugh at them. (Not really, he comes to tell them more information on Kursko.)
Kursko escaped from an Eastern penitentiary thirteen months ago, the warrant for his arrest says he's extremely dangerous. 

Mac tells the officers to use minimum gunfire, they're responsible for innocent people. Then Baron gives them all their SWAT assignments. 
Malloy's going to throw a grappling hook onto the roof of the Rex then climb up to the roof along with Reed and Baron.
Reeds going to throw smoke bombs to create a diversion when the hook hits the roof.

Soon after the SWAT teams head over to the Rex, a reporter approaches Mac with some questions about SWAT. First he wants to know what an S, W, A, T team is. Mac answers that SWAT stands for Special Weapons And Tactics and the officers assigned to the teams are trained to handle special situations like this. The reporter than wants to know if the purpose of the SWAT team's mission is to kill more effectively. Mac tells him that the opposite is true, the idea is to employ the minimum firepower necessary.

Now that we know more about SWAT, let's see them in action. One of the team members is a lookout on a roof, Parks and his partner are on the sidewalk, and Pete, Jim, and Baron are on a lower roof next door to the Rex. They start the operation with Parks and his partner throwing smoke bombs and military firecrackers in the street. Next, Reed throws his smoke bombs onto the roof of the Rex. Finally, Malloy throws the grappling hook. He, Reed, and Baron climb the rope onto the roof.

Look at that hat, yuck.

Once on the roof, Malloy figures that the best way to capture Kursko is to circle him using the the exhaust fans for cover. Next, we finally get to see Kursko close up.
I did not expect Kursko to be hiding behind this structure. This shot of him startled me.

Kursko tries to make a run for the door and Malloy tells him not to try it, the door is covered from the inside. He orders Kursko to come out with his hands up. But Kursko's not giving up that easily.
If this were filmed in the '80's I have a sneaky suspicion that a then-unknown Kevin Spacey would have played Kursko.

While Malloy keeps Kursko talking, Reed slowly climbs up the doorway that Kursko is hiding behind.

When Reed reaches the top of the doorway, Kursko pulls a stick of dynamite from his jacket. Out of prison, he was somebody, he had something. But, those people down there took it away and now he's going to get even. He lights the dynamite then tosses it as Reed drops down and tackles him.

Reed drops out of the sky and lands on top of Kursko. Why is this nut granted my wish?

They cuff Kursko and he totally breaks down sobbing, "Will somebody help me?".

They come down from the roof and place Kursko in the back of a cruiser. Now that they're done doing SWAT stuff Baron suggests they "get out of these monkey suits". (Yes, do that!) But, before Reed can change, the reporter has a few questions for him. 
First he wants to know why Reed didn't shoot Kursko, he would have shot him.
"That's not what I get paid for."
"You should have shot him and got it over with. Why didn't you? Give me one good reason." (Gee, is this guy blood thirsty or what?)
"Because it wasn't necessary."
The End

My Evaluation:

I feel like this episode was the test and "Log 152: A Dead Cop Can't Help Anyone" and "Log 43: Hostage" were the lessons to prepare for it. From watching those two episodes I knew what they were doing in this one without every step of the procedure being explained. I knew why they were laying down on the car seats to rescue the man who had been shot. I knew that they first had to seal off the area, then evacuate, then eliminate the threat. All while protecting innocent people and using minimum firepower. I always like an episode that makes me feel smart. 

I also favor episodes where Reed and Malloy work together as a team and communicate almost telepathically. Very little is said between them when they are rescuing the old man or the motorcycle officer or the boy and Tippy. Reed knows its his job to cover Malloy while he moves cops, boys, and dogs to safety. When they're on the roof, Malloy knows he has to keep Kursko distracted while Reed positions himself on top of the doorway. They work as a team and there are no individual heroes. Reed drives this point home at the end when the reporter asks if he was the officer who captured Kursko. He answers that he was "one of them".

There are some parts, other than the obvious, that I didn't like here. I felt the reporter and his questions were a contrived plot device to tell the audience more about SWAT. Although, probably no more contrived than Lt. King delivering his speech about helicopters during "Log 34: Astro". Also, the information about Kursko came about a little too conveniently. But, it is only a half-hour show, they don't have an extra twenty minutes to have detectives uncover his identity. 

I started out really strongly disliking this episode for purely superficial reasons and now I've been able to find some positive aspects about it. But, it's never going to be one of my favorites. I have not been able to find anything positive about the SWAT uniforms.  Despite the uniforms, I give "Log 14: S.W.A.T" a rating of:

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


  1. I haven't seen this episode in awhile, so I guess it's not one of my favorites. I've read that the dog is the same dog that played Boot on Emergency! I guess Mark VII recycled their pet actors too.

    Just curious- Do you dislike all billed caps or just ill-fitting ones?

    1. I'd believe that it is the same dog who played Boot, it looks the same dog. That dog also looks like Benji and Sandy from the 1981 Annie movie.
      I do seem to have a problem with billed caps, don't I? I just hate it when they sit too far off the head. So, I guess I hate any billed caps worn between 1966 and 1996.

  2. Pete/Marty doesn't look good in a cap IMO. Kent looks much better. But neither of them looks good in those awful suits. Blech.

  3. But tell us how you *really* feel about the hats :D
    This will always be a favorite episode of mine, mainly because it is the first one I ever saw. I grew up watching reruns of reruns of Dragnet, and even before I knew they came from the same source I knew I'd found more awesomeness.

  4. This episode confuses me... how is Reed on SWAT when he's still a probationary officer??? They may have done things slightly different in those days, but still, I'd be surprised if that was ever allowed.

    L.A. Copper

    1. They did do things differently in those days. At that time, it was all hands on deck. In the latter episodes, Reed is not part of S.W.A.T (he is when there is a major threat to the people though).