I really think they should have called this one "Booby Trap", it's a recurring theme throughout the episode.
Pete and Jim arrest a "flying 502", look for a teenaged runaway, foil an armed robbery, and try to stop thieves from opening a booby-trapped safe; just a typical day on the beat.
Pete and Jim arrive at Van Nuys Airport. They're there to meet Walt Cook, he's called the police to report a stolen airplane. Twenty minutes ago Mr. Cook received a call from the tower letting him know that his plane was being flown by someone who either has never flown before or is blind drunk. Reed's never been on a call like this before and asks his partner how they should handle it. "You ever bust a flying 502?," he asks. Even though Malloy says "no", Reed persists with a follow up question.
|"What do you do, pull 'em over to the nearest cloud?"|
|[Oh boy, we think we're funny. It's gonna be a long watch.]|
Thankfully, the conversation between the tower and the man flying the plane comes in crystal clear and we can hear every word they say to each other. We can also hear that the "pilot" does, in fact, sound bombed. The tower gives him instructions on landing the plane, but the fried fly-boy can't make heads or tails of the directions. Reed, Malloy, Cook, and a fire engine head out onto the tarmac to get closer to the action.
|What's black and white and red all over? This runway. (Thank you, I'll be here all week.)|
|Pete and Jim watch from the patrol car as the inebriated airman tries several times to land the plane.|
|"He's out like a light," observes Pete.|
Walt Cook quickly determines why the suspect was able to bring the plane down. He was gassed, but the plane was not (that means the plane was out of fuel).
|Pete doesn't like my jokes either.|
Maybe Stage 42 at Universal was being painted the week this episode was filmed, maybe the roof was leaking, I don't know. But, for some reason Pete and Jim are never seen in the station during this one. So, instead of them returning to the station with the high-flying 502 and receiving instructions from Mac on their next assignment, the next scene takes place in the car where Jim gives Pete second-hand instructions from their Sergeant.
Jim tells Pete that the department received a letter from a lady in the midwest whose seventeen-year-old daughter has runaway from home. The women wrote to them because she had received a letter from her daughter with an LA postmark. Through her own detective work, the mother thinks she has the address where her daughter is staying. Mac wants them to check out it and see if the girl is there.
|"This must be the place."|
|Insert "More Cowbell" joke here.|
They're amazed by the garish interior of the house. The colorful decorations do not blind them to some important clues, though. A half-eaten lunch for two on the table indicates that someone and a companion left in a hurry. In addition to their lunch, the mystery occupants also left something else unfinished in their haste to leave.
|"Nothing like a little pot to settle a meal."|
In the car Reed wonders who the girl is living with. Malloy has a guess as to who she might be cohabiting with.
|"The clothes in the closet belonged to a man, or a reasonable facsimile."|
They arrive at the Venice Italian Market and Malloy sends Reed to cover the back while he checks out what is going on through the front window.
He spies a man taking money out of the register and tells him, "Freeze, mister, don't move a muscle!" But, the man doesn't freeze, he keeps taking the cash out of the till and tells Pete he's just closing up. That's odd, the sign in the window says "OPEN". Pete tries again and tells this guy to put his hands up and move towards the door. Instead of following the officer's instructions, he raises the pistol he's been hiding and fires at Pete. He then runs towards the back of the store.
The store owner, who's been hidden out of sight, crawls to the door when the gunman leaves the counter. He lets Pete inside and tells him that there are two men inside the store, one of them has a shotgun. The front door is the only way in or out of the store, so they are both still inside. He thinks the one with the shotgun is up in the attic.
|Reed heard the shot and returned to the front of the store. Since there isn't a back exit, there wasn't much for him to cover in the back.|
Pete and Jim cover each other as they search for the suspects. They spot the man who was the at the front counter.
This time, he gives up without a fight. He claims that he didn't mean to shoot earlier, he was just scared. When they ask about his partner, he states that he doesn't know if he's armed or not. By this time backup has arrived, they take the suspect out of the store while Pete and Jim continue their search for his partner.
They end up underneath the attic door without any plan on how they are going to get the suspect to come down. First, Pete commands him to "come on down". But the suspect says he can't because he twisted his leg and isn't able to walk. Malloy makes a second attempt at ordering him to come down and also tells him to throw down the gun. The unseen man asserts that he doesn't have a gun and can't walk. Malloy tells him he's coming up.
|Reed doesn't realize that his partner is bluffing and wonders if he's lost his mind.|
Malloy has no intention of climbing that ladder up to the attic where an unseen suspect could be hiding with a shotgun. He grabs a mop from the conveniently placed display and extends it towards the attic door. As soon as it touches the door, his "canary" gets hit with buckshot. Malloy scrambles for cover and decides to change his tactic.
|"OK, mister, you stay where you are. The tear gas will be right up."|
Maybe Pete is bluffing once again, maybe not. Either way, his threat of tear gas convinces the suspect to come down from the attic and give up. Just like his partner, this guy also claims that he didn't mean to shoot. While Reed searches him, he tells them that the gun went off accidentally.
When they're back in the car, Reed makes his third attempt at comedy and tries out a second goofy accent.
|He asks Malloy if he noticed how good the market smelled and starts rattling off the delicious aromas using a fake Italian accent, "mozzarella and salami, garlic, provolone...".|
|Malloy stops the rookie's comedic routine and asks where he wants to eat.|
Reed suggests the Farmer's Market. But, before they can make their way to the historic location, they are dispatched to take a 459 report at 1728 O'Connell Street.
1728 O'Connell Street is the address of Apex Savings & Loan, a business with a missing safe and large hole in its window.
|The owner, Del Hoenig, asks Reed and Malloy if they've ever seen anything like this before.|
|"Yeah, once, in a movie," replies Reed.|
(Is he trying to be funny again?)
Reed goes to call detectives on the radio while Hoenig tells Malloy that since the crime took place on a Sunday, nobody heard anything.
|Malloy examines the professional handiwork of the thieves and speculates that they probably won't find any fingerprints.|
Hoenig also wonders aloud what the thieves used to get the heavy safe out of the window.
|Reed returns and answers Hoenig's question, "Tow truck, probably." The detectives informed him that one was stolen from three blocks away last night.|
Hoenig goes on to tell them how he hopes to extract revenge on the burglars. He hopes they do figure out how to open the safe, because he's got it booby trapped with dynamite. Whey they open it, they'll be blown to "Kingdom Come". If that happens, he won't even mind losing the $10, 000 that's inside the safe.
(See I told you booby traps were a recurring theme in this episode.)
|"Speaking of booby traps, do you want to check on our runaway?" asks Reed.|
"Why not?" answers Malloy
Back at 1932 Dyer, it's obvious that someone has opened the back door; thanks to Malloy's booby trap. Whether or not they are still in the house is not as obvious. Once again, they don't see anybody in the house. Also, just like before, there's a lit joint in the ashtray on the table.
This time Malloy concentrates the search efforts on this floor, meaning the actual floor they're standing on. He finds a panel in the floor hidden under a rug. He tells Reed to shine the light there.
|In case you were ever wondering what it would look like if Pete and Jim found you standing in a whole, this is it.|
The male hippie is twenty-six-year-old Gerald Rogers, he's in love with Diane Michelle and she's in love with him. The girl tries to tell Pete and Jim that she is nineteen. But they know that she is only seventeen, thanks to her mother's letter. Gerald is not happy that Diane wrote to her "stupid" mother.
|Gerald's real peace-loving until you mention the word "mother".|
After Pete places him under arrest for contributing to the delinquency of a minor, he can't wait to get out of the house and away from Diane. Diane wipes off the cold cream she had applied to her face in order to make her look beautiful for their upcoming elopement to Vegas. She sobs as Gerald is led out of the house.
|Reed tries to comfort the lovelorn teenager.|
We next see Pete and Jim after dark when they meet up with detectives who think they have found the booby-trapped safe. The detectives are staking out a garage where neighbors saw a tow truck drive away from earlier. The neighbors have also seen guys crawling in and out of the garage all day.
The detectives explain the guys only raise the door a few feet and then crawl in and out of the garage. This strange method of entering and leaving the building is what raised the neighbor's suspicions.
The detectives plan to fish the men out by turning off the power. They want 1-A-12 to coast in front of the garage door. Once they are in position, the dicks will throw the switch. When they see men coming out of the garage, the detectives will shove the door up as high as it will go. Reed and Malloy will then hit the garage with the spotlight. They hurry to get into position before the thieves set off the booby trap.
|Malloy coasts the car into position.|
|Reed gets into position with the spotlight.|
|Malloy gets into position with the shotgun.|
|A detective pulls the switch.|
|Except for this guy, he fires at the policemen.|
|His shot hits the spotlight Reed is holding!|
|Malloy fires back and hits him!|
|The episode ends with one of the suspects asking, "Is this all you cops got to do, go around shooting people?"|
This episode has some memorable parts, but overall it just seems strange. Maybe if they visited the station once or met up with Wells or Mac at one of the calls it wouldn't be such a weird episode. The way it is, though, it's just Pete and Jim on the streets of Los Angeles without a home base or an anchor. This one feels like something is missing, it's like an episode of Married...With Children (or family sitcom of your choice) without the iconic living room or next-door neighbors.
There are some other things here that are weird, too. Reed's silliness also makes this episode odd. We all know that he loves a joke, but three or four in one episode? That just seems out of character. The ending is also strange and abrupt. Is the suspect's question supposed to be ironic? He thinks cops only go around shooting people all day. But, the viewer, who has just seen them do a number of things on their watch, knows better.
I don't love this episode, and I certainly don't hate it. I just find it...kinda...there. So, I give it the appropriate rating of:
Do you agree? See you next time! KMA-367
Wait, wait, wait...this just in!
Kent McCord will be appearing at the Hollywood Show in Los Angeles Oct. 30th - Nov. 1st. Just thought I'd pass it on. I highly recommend meeting him if you can!