Sunday, February 21, 2016

Log 115: Gang War (Season 3, Episode 14)

Episode 66

Pete's hot, no not like that. Well he is hot like that, but in this particular instance he is heat-hot, not "hubba hubba" hot. Anyway, it's hot in Los Angeles due to the Santa Ana winds from the dessert. Pete tries to engage his partner in some small talk about the weather, but Jim's not interested. He'd rather silently stare out the window. 

Pete senses that his partner is brooding over the ballgame they lost yesterday. He asks Jim if he's still upset about it. He is, but not because the team lost the game. He's upset about his own poor performance. After four times at bat, he couldn't even get to first base.
[My game was like your love life, Pete.]
Pete thinks his partner is overreacting. He tries to encourage Jim by telling him he just had an off day, next time he'll probably hit a grand slam and field "like a hungry octopus". (That's a weird analogy. But, OK, Pete.)

Jim knows Pete is right, what's really bugging him is the way that "chopper jockey" rubbed it in. Pete knows exactly who he's talking about, Sgt. Raynor, a helicopter pilot who acts like he's Metro Division's answer to Sandy Koufax.

They'll have to discuss Sgt. Raynor at another time, a dispatch comes over the radio telling them a 211 just occurred at the service station located at 5125 Coronado Boulevard.

As soon as they arrive at the station the attendant flings himself at the car and reports that he was held up no more than five minutes ago. He can't tell them the direction of the robber's escape because he and the other people in the station were told to lie down on the floor. But, he is able to give Pete and Jim a pretty good description of the suspect. He can tell them the man's build, height, hair color, and give a description of his clothing. He can't, however, say if the guy was armed or not. He had his hand in his jacket pocket like he had a gun, but one was not visible.

Reed picks up the radio and calls in a Code 4 Adam (no further help needed, but suspect is still in vicinity) and requests a clear frequency to broadcast the suspect's description. In the middle of his broadcast someone starts shouting across the street. The attendant looks over then he starts shouting at Malloy and Reed, "There he is, that's the creep!".

They look up to see the suspect Jim was just describing running away from the market across the street. 

Reed doesn't hesitate, he leaps out of the car and starts running after the suspect. Malloy tries to follow his partner in the pursuit, but the service station attendant is standing right in front of the car. He finally moves after Malloy yells and honks at him.

But then he's blocked by the same green station wagon from "Log 95: Purse Snatcher"!

The next time we see Pete he's lost Jim in his pursuit of the suspect. He picks up the radio and tells dispatch, "1-Adam-12, my partner is in foot pursuit...". (That's a line that Pete says many times throughout the course of the series. But now, in 2016, it will always make me think of the 2015 Emmy Awards "In Memoriam" tribute.)

Anyway, Pete is desperate to find his partner. 
[Reed, where are you? You know this is when I like to read my book. I need you here to take the wheel for me while I finish this chapter.]
1-Adam-19 and Air-3 offer their assistance in locating Jim. But, in the end, Pete needs no help finding his partner. He spies Jim walking out to the curb from between a row of houses and drives over to pick him up.
I love the goofy grin Pete gets on his face when he sees Jim.
Once Jim is back in the car he admits that he lost the suspect. Pete gets on the radio and lets everyone know that he and Jim are reunited but the subject has been lost. The chopper jockey in Air-3 can't resist taking a jab at Reed.
"Air-3 to Adam-12 looks like your partner struck out again."
You guessed it, Sgt. Raynor is behind the controls of Air-3. Reed, who's not about to take the slight lying down, angrily picks up the mic. Just as he's about to give Raynor an earful, Malloy tells him to cool it.

Mac chimes in over the radio and diffuses the situation. He thanks Air-3 for the assist and lets the comedic chopper pilot know that they'll handle the rest of the search from the ground. He then tells 1-Adam-12 to meet him at the market. 

On the way to the market, Malloy gently reminds his partner that he should not go off and do his own thing. 
"I kinda think my godson'd like to his dad around long enough to give him a few pointers when he starts little league." 
"I get the message, Pete. You're right."
At the market Mac weighs in on the pursuit, he thinks the suspect got away in the apartment complex in the Toonerville section. Pete agrees with this assessment. The sergeant, knowing they have a lot of work to do, kicks Pete and Jim loose to finish their reports.

At this point you may be saying, "Tunaville? What the heck is Tunaville?". That's I said when I watched this scene. Then when I watched it with the closed captioning on, I realized Mac was saying "Toonerville".  When I Googled "Toonerville Los Angeles", I found out it refers to a Los Angeles Mexican street gang that dates back to the 1930's. The gang took the name Toonerville after the nickname given to the trolley cars that ran through the gang's vicinity.  The nickname for the Pacific Electric Railway cars came from a comic strip called "Toonerville Folks" which featured the Toonerville trolley. The gang still exists today and, despite it's cute-sounding name, has a history of extreme violence and murder.

˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜Since there are two reports to finish Reed and Malloy split up, only this time they each know where the other one is. Malloy heads over to the service station and Reed goes to the market.
At the market the Mr. Silver tells Reed how the holdup man ordered six blintzes with sour cream to go. When he handed him his order Silver asked if the man wanted anything else. To which he responded by holding out a bag already filled with cash and saying, "Yeah, I want all your money". Since it looked like the man was holding a gun in his jacket pocket, he handed over the money.
"Across the street and few minutes away from his last hit," adds Reed.
After Mr. Silver signs his statement he and Reed are joined by Malloy and the service station attendant. The attendant is curious to know  if they will "file and forget" the reports when they return to the station. Malloy assures him that detectives will contact them to follow up. Mr. Silver doesn't think they'll live long enough to see the follow up. 
"Another touching vote of confidence for our boys in blue," comments Malloy after the two victims have left to get coffee together.

After the excitement of the dual robberies and the foot pursuit, their shift calms down considerably. So much so that Reed comments on how quiet it is for a Saturday night. Malloy thinks its just the calm before the storm. The next radio call to see the priest about possible gang activity in the El Centro parking lot proves Malloy right.

Hey, look, it's Latin singing sensation Trini Lopez! He had sixteen top forty songs from 1963 to 1968 and he's still performing today at age 79.
In the parking lot they meet up with Father Rojas, he's just received a call that there is going to be a big rumble any minute now. He doesn't know what the rumble is about, he just knows that the entire thing is a huge waste of time and energy.
"And lives," adds Reed.
Pete wonders why the young Chicano gang members can't use their time and energy for more constructive pursuits. Father Rojas is working on a "brown power through education" program to give the young Hispanics a positive outlet, but he can only reach some of them.

The three men move behind some equipment when they hear the gang members entering the parking lot.

You know, Adam-12 fans always joke that all the bad guys on the show wear windbreakers. I wonder what the gang members will be wearing.
The Mark VII wardrobe department did not disappoint.
In this corner, wearing green windbreakers, we have the Verdugos led by Pepe Romero. By the way, "verdugos"  is Spanish for "executioners".
And in this corner, wearing beige windbreakers, we have the Eagle Rocks led by Salvador Cabo.
Father Rojas and Pete are encouraged by the small turn out to the rumble. The members here tonight are probably the war council, which means they are only here for a pow wow, not bloodshed.

After calling for backup, which Father Rojas did not think was a good idea, Malloy and Reed move the black and white out into the open. When the gang members see the police they start taunting the officers by oinking and calling them pigs. They make fun of them for bringing Father Rojas, saying they brought the "God squad" for protection.

The two gangs may be at each other's throats, literally, but they can agree on one thing, they both want to play a rousing game of "kill the pigs". The gang members advance on Reed, Malloy, and Rojas.
"Alright, that's as far as your game goes. Hold it right there."
1-Adam-19 arrives as backup and pulls up behind the two gangs. Seeing that they are now surrounded by the police, Pepe Romero resorts to whining. He wants to know why the police can't just stay out of their business. Pete has an answer for him.
"When you come to a meet with clubs and bottles, it gets to be our business."
The police have tried to get through to the gang members, but they are still agitated. Now Father Rojas wants to see if he can make and impact on the Chicanos. Pete allows the priest to address the young men. 

Rojas starts by asking the thugs to drop their weapons. (Yeah, that doesn't work.) Pepe, the leader of the Verdugos, challenges the priest to make him drop his club.
So, Father Rojas holds him in a headlock until he drops it.

[Uh, Pete, isn't that assault?]

[Shh, he's a priest, it's "religious counseling".]
After the father's show of force all of the gang members drop their weapons. But, the threat of violence isn't totally extinguished, the gang members start shouting about their turf and how their girls are off-limits to their rivals. Pete's had enough, he declares the gathering an unlawful assembly and threatens to arrest everyone if they don't clear out in one minute. As he grudgingly leads his minions out of the parking lot, Romero screams that the "puercos" won't always be around.
"That's right, man, but we ain't gonna be far away either."
Once the gangs have left the parking lot Father Rojas picks up their discarded bottles while Malloy and Reed gather up the bats and clubs. The father wonders if there is any hope for the world if his own people can't even get along. He resolves to keep hoping and praying for the world and his people, it is part of his job after all.
"Keep the faith, father."
When they're back in the patrol unit Reed wonders if the gangs will cool it. Malloy has a hunch that they will find out before the night is over.  (I think we'll find out in the next eleven minutes and fifty seconds.) 

But, before they find out anything about the Verdugos or Eagle Rocks the boys have to look into a 415 family dispute at 2124 West Rockland. Reed points out that the call is in the Toonerville section of town.

Reed and Malloy are invited into apartment 3090 by an unkempt redhead sporting a black eye and clutching a beer bottle. Edna wants to charge her common law husband, Willard, with assault with a deadly weapon. He's a former boxer, so she feels that his left fist, which he hit her with, should be considered a deadly weapon. 

As she's giving her statement, her "more or less" husband can be heard moaning in the bedroom. Reed, concerned by what he hears coming out of the bedroom, asks Edna if her husband is OK. She claims that she didn't lay a hand on him, she didn't have a chance.

Edna admits if she was given the chance she would have conked him with one of her precious bottles of brew. But, she didn't. The fight started as soon as Willard returned home tonight. He came in the door holding two paper sacks looking like he had just run a race. When she asked where he had been and what was in the sacks, Willard told her to shut up and mind her own business.

Edna pauses her story to get another beer out of the fridge. She'd offer one to the officers, but she only has a six pack.
[Yeah, a six pack, that may only last you the next twenty minutes or so.]
Edna continues, she feels she's entitled to know Willard's business. She is his wife, more or less. She also feels that she's entitled to be taken out by her common-law husband on a Saturday night. She just wanted to do a little dancin', a little juicin', a little smoochin'.
[Hey, Pete, she sounds like your kinda gal and she's only "more or less" married.]

As Edna recounts the fight between her and Willard, the moans from the bedroom are getting louder and making Pete more uncomfortable. He asks Edna if she's sure she didn't defend herself. She's sure, she didn't get a chance. She was telling Willard how she wanted to go out, then he just hauled off and hit her and ran into the bedroom. 

Now she wants Willard to get his lumps. After he refuses to answer the bedroom door, Edna gives them permission to kick the door in.
It's Reed's turn to kick the door!
Before we see what's behind door number one, let's go over everything we know about Willard. He came home looking like he ran a race, he was carrying two paper sacks, he lives in an apartment complex in the Toonerville section. Is all of this sounding familiar? Who do you think we'll find behind the door that Reed's busting down?
If you guessed our blintz-loving friend from the market, you're right! 
As soon as Reed and Malloy see the familiar green jacket, they tell Willard to get up against one of the ghastly, floral-wall-papered walls. Willard protests, he can't get up, he's sick.  Probably from eating the evidence, the sack that contained the six blintzes is empty. Malloy also finds the other sack, which isn't empty. 
Malloy dumps the evidence that Willard can't digest on the bed.
Edna is shocked, more or less, when she sees the money her husband stole.
Willard tells Reed he can't be arrested, he's sick.
"Yeah, on the blintzes you stole."
After they drop Willard and his upset tummy off at the station, or maybe the hospital, our boys are back on patrol. Once Reed clears them Malloy reminds him that he can now tell Raynor he's scored one. 

That makes Reed happy. He's also feeling good because it seems like the night is getting quiet again. Malloy wishes he wouldn't say that, every time he does "things bust apart at the seams". Once again, Malloy is proven right when they hear 1-Adam-19 being dispatched to a 415, juvenile gang fight, in the El Centro parking lot. Malloy wants to head over there to give 1-Adam-19 some help.

Meanwhile, in the El Centro parking lot, the rival Chicano factions begin to rumble. I'm not really sure how we are able to see this rumble since the Adam-12 viewer can only see what the policeman is seeing and there is no police presence here yet.

As their homeboys fight, the two leaders take cover and begin shooting at each other. Pepe Romero, the leader of the Verdugos uses the door of a white car for cover and Salvador Cabo, the Eagle Rocks leader, is behind the door of a maroon coupe.

The RTO broadcasts an update for the officers, shots are now being fired. 1-Adam-19 speeds past 1-Adam-12 on their way to the 415.

Back at El Centro Romero and Cabo continue firing shots at each other.  Cabo then puts down his pistol and produces a shotgun. He levels the barrel and Romero and fires. The shot hits Romero, who rolls across the hood of the white car and collapses to the ground. The rumble suddenly comes to stop and the members from both gangs clear out, leaving Romero lying on the ground.
Is that a Dodge Dart? It's hard for me to tell with that white tape covering the make of the car.

Finally, the officers arrive at the scene. Pete and Jim park the car near the stricken Romero. Pete quickly checks on the wounded gang leader, then tells his partner to call an ambulance.

Pepe is rushed to the hospital by Schaefer Ambulance Service.
In Pepe's hospital room Malloy watches Father Rojas deliver last rites to the mortally injured teenager. As the father prays in latin, Reed summons his partner to the waiting area. He's just gotten off the phone with Mac, the sergeant is finishing up at the scene then he and detectives will drop by the hospital.

Malloy briefs Reed on Pepe's condition, he's not expected to make it. Upon hearing this, Reed inquires about the young man's family.
"They haven't been able to locate his family."
"That says a lot right there."
Reed stays in the vestibule waiting for Mac and the detectives while Malloy goes back into Pepe's room to see if he can get a dying declaration out of the young man who's fading fast.

Back in the hospital room, Malloy stands over Pepe's bed and identifies himself to the semi-conscious patient. Pepe must recognize the officer's name, as soon as he hears it he wastes some of his last seconds on earth uttering, "Kill the pig".  

When Malloy tells Pepe he may die, he responds with, "What a bummer." 
Malloy tries, but he doesn't have any luck getting a dying declaration out of Pepe. He won't fink on the shooter, he knows his boys will take care of it. Pepe's loyal to his homeboys and distrustful of the police until the bitter end, his last words are "Kill pig". 

Back in the waiting area Pete tells Jim about Pepe's final moments on earth and his unwillingness to name the shooter due to some sort of code between the gangs.
"Code zero," observes Jim.
None of that matters now, anyway. Reed has spoken with Mac again and learned that they caught the guys in the maroon coupe, the police now know it was Cabo who shot Romero.

Father Rojas joins Pete and Jim and laments the loss of another young Chicano life. Reed also comments on the senseless waste.
"Crazy kids, fightin' and dyin' over a few feet of turf."
However, Father Rojas doesn't think the kids are so crazy, they are only following the examples set by the adults of the world.
"Are we adults that much different?" asks the priest.
As Rojas leaves to find Pepe's family, he tells Reed and Malloy, "Vaya con Dios, amigos".
"Vaya con Dios, father."
[And now I'm gonna have that song stuck in my head all day. Thanks for nothing.]

Malloy and Reed stay behind and discuss how they can only reach some of the kids. Reed thinks they'll have to keep doing what the father said.
"Hope and pray."
"And keep working on it."
Which reminds Malloy, they have a lot of reports to get out.

The End

It all seems so hopeless. The police and the religious leaders, try as they might will never be able to stop all the violence in their community. Heck, world leaders, who are supposed to set an example for the rest of us can't even stop fighting amongst themselves. It all seems so futile. The gangs will never die or stop fighting, there will always be more disenfranchised youth to join their ranks. The turf disputes, whether local or global, will never stop. There's no new "turf" being made, so somebody will always try to steal someone else's turf. All we can do is hope and pray, and even that doesn't always work. 

But, despite the futility, the dedicated thin blue line will keep trying to save as many kids as they can. And every one that they lose is one too many. 

"Gang War" isn't a very upbeat story, and maybe that's why it isn't one of my favorites. But you do have to give the writers credit for taking on a huge problem in the scope of a thirty-minute TV episode. You also have to give them credit for giving it a realistic, unresolved ending and including the aspects of the "Brown Power" movement.

Although, this is an important and still relevant subject, I'm just not a fan of any gang-related story. I find all of the machismo and show-boating pointless and silly. Which probably also explains why I am not a sports fan.

I did, however, like the other story featured in this episode. I always enjoy seeing the depth of Malloy and Reed's friendship as we did when they were reunited after the foot pursuit. And I'm always a fan of a call that takes a twist and ends up solving another crime. I wonder if they guessed who was behind that door before they busted it open?

Overall, this one just left me feeling kinda "blah"; so I give it a rating of:

Do you agree? Let me know in the comments. See you next time with "Log 26: LEMRAS"!


  1. Not a fav episode . But if the Boys in Blue are shown I'll watch

  2. You do not like sports because you are a nerd!

    I watched the video from that link. Jan Hooks died? Christ. Very nice clip of Martin Milner.

    Toonerville?? For a gang?? That is the, "Boy Named Sue," version of a gang name. Good thing they are tough. You and your noticing everything, good research!

    Realistic, is good, but the episode ends a bit maudlin. I like Jim and Pete, at the end of the episode upbeat.

    The bag guys always wear windbreakers?? I can picture a few, but never thought about it. Stromsoe always did as a baddie, plus the fishing hat.
    Now I have to watch for wind breakers. My new hobby. lol

    It is funny about Reed having a bad game because he is probably, usually, the one who wins it for them.
    Reed, a loss is never on one person, in a team sport, never.

    Thank you Ms Keely, another excellent blog post!
    I always learn from you.