Sunday, April 3, 2016

Log 165: Once a Cop (Season 3, Episode 19)

Episode 71

This episode starts out like many others, Malloy and Reed are cruising the streets of Los Angeles in the black and white. Then Malloy does something he's never done before, he asks Reed if he wants to walk a while. Reed agrees so Malloy parks the car in an alley and they resume their patrol on foot.

This time they're not in a residential area, the boys are in the skid row section of downtown Los Angeles.

I love L.A., my crush on this city is like an infatuation with a famous actor. I've seen it countless times on TV and in the movies, but I've only "met" the city briefly. I find it endlessly fascinating and beautiful. I love that this sprawling metropolis has gritty urban areas, white picket residential areas, beautiful views from the hills, and gorgeous sunny beaches. I am also insanely jealous of anyone that has a personal relationship with the city and gets to live within it's geographic area.

After Malloy parks the car, Reed uses the callbox to put them Code 6. The box is in front of a store that cleans and blocks hats. I'm betting that place is no longer in business.

Then they walk a few feet in the asphalt jungle.

Until a guitar hanging in a pawn shop window attracts Reed's attention.

While Reed admires the guitar Malloy is more interested in what he sees happening across the street in the window's reflection. One of the skid row residents clutches his stomach, staggers, then falls to  the ground.

 Malloy nudges his partner, his window-shopping time is over.

The man who's lying on the ground may be a wino, but he hasn't fallen over because he's drunk, he's been stabbed. While Reed goes to call an ambulance, Malloy stays with the victim. Some other winos gather around their felled friend, Sam. Including Bill, who saw the whole thing and blames Jack Donohue.

Those of you out there who listen to the old-time radio Dragnet shows, may recognize that there was a technical advisor on the show named Jack Donohue. Coincidence? Probably not.

Bill saw Jack in the alley with Sam, but he's not sure if he had a knife. According to Bill, Donohue's fists are so big he could hold a watermelon in them and no one would know.

Donohue is a familiar and mysterious character to Malloy and Reed. He's an ex-cop who lives on skid row by choice and they can't figure out why. When the detective arrives, they'll see if Donohue can shed any light on the stabbing.

After they finish up at the scene with Sam, Malloy and Reed meet up with Det. Stone in front of Donohue's shabby rooming house and compare notes on the former officer. Donohue was a vice sergeant whose beat was a skid row on the east coast. He was taken off the force after he killed a suspected mugger he thought was reaching for a gun. The Coroner's jury believed he made a mistake. But for some unknown reason, his department removed him anyway.

The enter building and walk down the dingy and depressing hall towards room 310. When Reed knocks on Donohue's door, it's obvious he's been expecting them. "Come on in, Malloy," he calls.
What they find when they open Donohue's door causes Malloy to instinctively unsnap his holster. Donahue greets them with a large knife in his hand. He finds Malloy's reaction amusing. "What's a matter, pal, you nervous?" asks Donohue. 

Donahue knows why they're there to see him. He admits that we has with Sam, but claims that he was only helping him to a phone after "somebody tried to let the vino out him the hard way". Malloy wonders why, if Jack was being so helpful, he didn't call the police. Jack explains that he is in no hurry to do business with L.A.'s finest. 

Jack wants nothing to do with cops, he thinks his status an ex-police officer is a "rung up" the ladder.
Reed asks if his higher status in life includes rolling drunks. Donohue points out to the "youngster" that those are only allegations. Stone also has some questions for Donohue, like why does he choose to live on skid row. The detective can't understand why an intelligent, healthy, sober man would want to sit and rot in such a place. Donohue reminds him that he is also a killer, at least that's what's implied by his record.

A record that's about to get more interesting. Stone informs Donohue that he has to arrest him. Donohue recites the Miranda rights right along with Det. Stone.

When they're back on the streets Malloy and Reed debate Donohue's alleged drunk-rolling activity. Although Reed sounded pretty accusatory when he spoke to Donohue earlier, now he can't imagine him rolling drunks for a living. Malloy's not passing judgement, but he thinks it's suspicious that Donohue has been within "shouting distance" every time a drunk has been rolled in the past six months. 

They're not going to solve this one in the car. Especially not now that they've been called to the courtyard of Union Station where a woman firing a gun.

Meet Miss Ada Hayes, the go-go-boot-wearing, pistol-packing homecoming queen from West Prairie, Missour-ah. She's come to L.A. to find fame and fortune in the movie business, but so far she's only found deception and theft at the hands of her agent. Phil Duke, her so-called agent, took all of her money for "publicity" then told her to get lost. After that disappointment she used the gun her father gave her as protection against Hollywood "wolves" to take out her frustrations on this poor, defenseless phone booth.

When Pete and Jim meet up with her she's happy to make their acquaintance and give up her gun. She's all through with it, now that it's out of bullets. Firing six rounds into a phone booth must be a great stress reliever, Miss Hayes isn't even upset that she'll have to be arrested. She only asks that they let her get her suitcase first.

"Unfortunately Miss Hayes firing off a gun around here at a phone booth or at wolves is against the law, we're gonna have to arrest you."

Ha ha
At the bay of lockers Ada discovers that she is the victim of yet another crime, her suitcase has been stolen. A nice man offered to put it in the locker for her, only he wasn't so nice. He ended up stealing her bag, which contained all her worldly possessions. Including her pet rattlesnake, Henry.
[What is it with these chicks and snakes?!?]
Back at the station Mac's already familiar with the situation. Radio stations all over town have been broadcasting the news of the "phone booth massacre" and Phil Duke, known to Mac from Hollywood Division, has already called looking to bail out his now-most-valuable client. He is not, however, prepared for the size of Ada's pistol. 

"I'd hate to see what that phone booth looks like."

"Well, it doesn't look good."

No sooner does Mac speak his name than Phil Duke appears in his office. He is, as expected, a loud creature in both volume and fashion choices. 
Milner secretly wants those pants.
Ada is ushered into the office by a police woman and immediately tries to lunge at Duke.
The position of that police woman's gun looks
Ada's not as dumb as you think, she has figured
 out how to get grabbed by Reed.
She quickly changes her attitude when Duke delivers the news that, due to her newfound notoriety, she is slated to start filming a movie tomorrow. Ada is dumbstruck by this bit of information. Duke repeats it and clarifies exactly what type of movie she will be making. "A movie, baby. The kind they make in a studio, not in a garage."
[Really? She's going to be in a movie?
With her clothes on?]
Malloy thinks it would be better if Ada returned to her father in West Prairie and tries to convince her of this.

Duke, on the other hand, tells her if she returns home without fame or fortune she will become the laughing stock of her hometown. Ada briefly considers both arguments, but ultimately decides to stay in Hollywood.

Immediately after Ada makes her declaration to stay in Hollywood, Mac, who left the office when it got too warm from all of Duke's hot air, calls Reed out into the hallway. A smiling Jack Donohue is with him. Mac explains the reason for Donohue's good mood to Reed.

Det. Stone just called from the hospital, Sam regained consciousness and described the man who stabbed him as male, caucasian, and about twenty-two years old. "I would say that let's me off the hook," states Donohue. Reed's glad to hear his good news. Now that Donohue is free to go, Mac wants Reed and Malloy to drive him home.

Pete and Jim give Jack a ride, but they don't drop him off at his rooming house. At his request they take him to Union Station.

Adam-12 at Union Station, 1971
"Adam-12" at Union Station, 2014
I'm pretty sure this is the only Adam-12 that takes place at Los Angeles' Union Station. The train station opened in 1939 and is still a hub of long range and commuter rail traveler. I'm glad it's still around, I hope to visit it someday.

When they get to the station, Reed asks Donohue why he wanted to come there. The burly ex-cop answers that he's going to get some lunch at the restaurant there and then try to find "that hick dame's suitcase". He's going to do a little snake hunting.

This is as good a time as any to point out that Jack Donohue is played by the awesome Leo Gordon. A movie tough guy who also served time in San Quentin for armed robbery! This is his first of five on-screen Adam-12 appearances. Mr. Gordon also wrote twenty-one Adam-12 episodes. His wife, Lynn Cartwright also appeared in three episodes.

Malloy is tired of Jack hunting snakes and other reptilian creatures in Los Angeles and let's him know.

"Ever since you hit town, anything goes down around here you show up either one step ahead of user one step behind. Now you're not a cop and we don't need volunteers to be judge and jury, so that leaves just one thing, an axe to grind."

"Don't grind your axe on my beat. Ya understand?"

Jack saunters off to have lunch and hunt snakes while Pete and Jim continue their shift. Back on their beat, Jim still has Donohue on his mind. He feels sorry for the man and likens his situation to "retiring a racehorse in the middle of the stretch". Pete doesn't share his partner's sentiment. He thinks there's a grand total of two people who feel sorry for Jack, one is sitting next to him and the other they just dropped off at Union Station.
I love this shot with city hall peeping over
 the top of that building.
I also love this shot where you can see
a crowd watching the filming.
Since Donohue is off having lunch, Malloy and Reed decide it's a good time for them to have 7. Before Reed sits down to enjoy his burger and fries, he calls the station on a nearby call box. When he takes his seat across from Malloy he informs his partner that Ada's suitcase, along with Henry, has been found.

After hearing this news Malloy seems relieved that Donohue won't be able to go on his snake hunt. With that concern off his mind, Malloy takes his time preparing his burger. First he adds salt and pepper, then he searches for just the right spot to sink his teeth into.

Then, when he's finally ready to take a bite...
"1-Adam-12 and all units in the vicinity, a 459 suspect there now, 3110 Pittman Avenue..."

So much for lunch.
Reed and Malloy jump in the car and begin driving to Pittman. On their way there the Link operator updates them on the suspect, he was last seen heading eastbound on Olivera. They also find out that the man they're chasing is a six-foot, one hundred and fifty-five pound, thirty-year-old male caucasian with brown hair wearing a dark shirt and light sport coat. The pursuit of the suspect takes them back to Union Station.

As soon as they pull up to the station they spot the suspect. He, of course, runs off. Before Pete and Jim begin their foot pursuit of the him, Jim requests assistance over the radio. Seconds after he puts the mic down, the RTO's voice announces that the message was not readable. Pete and Jim have already taken off after the bad guy and don't hear the dispatch.

They enter the courtyard and split up to look for the suspect. Malloy tells Reed, "Watch yourself, there's a lot of stuff out there to hide behind." 

Like this pillar that the suspect is behind. It's a pretty good hiding spot.

Until this women sees his gun and begins screaming, blowing his cover. The suspect fires twice at Reed, who's taken cover behind a tree, then runs off while the woman continues to shriek. Reed and Malloy chase after him.

I love the view of Reed running
towards the camera.
The chase ends when the suspect runs into an alcove that's a dead end. At this point our boys need help. Malloy suggests that Reed let communications know where they are so the backup unit can find them. Reed races back to the car and Malloy stays in the alcove.

While his partner is gone, Malloy exchanges gunfire with the suspect. 

Back at the car Reed discovers that backup is not on the way. As he requests backup and a sergeant meet them at the station, a familiar figure eavesdrops on his conversation with the RTO.

In the alcove Malloy has convinced the 459 suspect to throw down his weapon and come out with his hands up.

As the man emerges from his hiding spot, Donohue shows up. He's got a gun and it's aimed at the suspect. Next, Reed comes into the alcove, just in time to see Donohue fire at the man. Reed shouts at him then rushes out to tackle the ex-cop.

Thanks to Reed's quick actions, Donohue misses his target and Malloy is able to cuff the still-breathing suspect instead of calling the Coroner.  Reed cuffs Donohue, who seems to have gone completely mad, shouting "You've got to kill 'em, kill 'em, kill 'em, kill, kill, kill..."

After both men are restrained the partners meet up and deliver their final assessment on Donohue. Malloy states that he was "Bound and determined to be a little bit of everything: policeman, judge, and jury." Reed then adds another role that his partner forgot on the list, "executioner."

The End

Here you have two stories, the one about ex-cop Jack Donohue and the one about aspiring actress Ada Hayes. At first glance, they seem to only share a common setting: Los Angeles. However, if you think about it, they do share more than just geographic similarities. Both Donohue and Hayes have come to Los Angeles to escape. Donohue has come west to escape the accusations of his former superiors on the police force and Hayes has come to L.A. to escape her small town existence. Donohue ends up in a self-imposed exile on skid row. We don't know if Ada will end up in the mansion on the hill that she's dreaming of, but wherever she ends up the story of how she got there should be interesting.

Once they've arrived in L.A. their goals seem different, but again, they really aren't that dissimilar. Both Jack and Ada are determined to prove something to other people back home. Jack, his spirit as broken and run-down as the rooming house where he resides, seems hell-bent on proving that he is exactly what his record states: a killer. Ada, on the other hand, is determined to prove the people of West Prairie wrong. She's going to show them all that she can be a success in the movie business. 

And we, the audience should be rooting for her. But, I don't think that we are. At least I know I wasn't. The actress playing her is...not so good and the Phil Duke character is such a stereotypical slimy agent that you know he will not be able to get her any kind of noteworthy roles. Her story is one we've heard a million times and it's one that usually does not have a happy ending. There is nothing telling us that her outcome will be any different from the hundreds of other girls who came to L.A. dreaming of fame and fortune and ended up on the down and outs.

I found Donohue, the villain of this story, to be much more sympathetic. He seemed so angry at the world and with good cause. I hoped somebody would come along and prove he was a good person, not the blood-thirsty killer his record implied. Reed seemed to be his only champion and I was sorry when he Donohue did not live up to his expectations.

Overall, I found this episode interesting, but ultimately frustrating. I liked the urban setting and the chance to see Union Station, a location we've never seen on the show. I wish we could have seen more of Jack and his skid row lifestyle. I also wish we could have seen a lot less of Ada, her agent, and her snake. She could have stayed in West Prairie and I don't think Los Angeles would have missed her, I certainly wouldn't have. Since I was really only satisfied with the settings of this one, I give "Log 165: Once a Cop" a rating of:

Do you agree? Let me know in the comments. See you next time with "Log 76: The Militants"!



  1. two points Keeley. 1. Malloy secretly wants those pants. 2.I wish I could figure out how to get Reed to grab me/. I actually look forward to Sunday afternoon. Another episode of Adam 12, bought to you by the wise cracking and funny lady, Keeley!! thank you babe!!!

  2. The look on PETEs face when he can't eat his burger!!!! Poor guys, why can't they take it with them?? Reed can hold his and feed Petes to him also!! Ok so I'll probably look silly to some but at least they get to eat. I think PETE is SCARED of those pants AND girls with snakes!!! They really do get some crazy people to deal with. Yes,yes I want to get REED to grab me too!! The thing is he CANT LET GO!!!! That was interesting info about the actor playing Jack!! Nice to hear extra info. Great job KEELY❤️👮🏻👮🏻👮🏻👮🏻👮🏻👮🏻👮🏻👮🏻👮🏻

  3. Random notes:

    - Nice catch on the "Jack Donahoe" name. It's perhaps telling that he wound up as a villain (DRAGNET's other advisers, Sgts. Marty Wynn and Vance Brasher, were namechecked in that show more than once, but always as cops.)

    - I think this is the first time we ever see a policewoman wearing her sidearm instead of carrying it in her handbag. The cross-draw holster was favored if you spent most of your time at a desk - you'll see Lt. Moore wearing one in earlier episodes. (Not great to wear around an uncuffed suspect with a volatile temper, though - lucky she didn't get her gun grabbed.)

    - Leo Gorden wrote some of the best episodes of A12, starting next season. (It is funny to note that virtually all of his scripts have a role for a big mean guy - though he only got the part about one time in four.)

    1. And while we are on the subject of Adam-12 names popping up in radio Dragnet, or vice versa, there was a radio Dragnet that had a character named Herman Saunders once.

    2. Not surprising. Saunders was a longtime friend of Webb's (and Webb may have helped get him production work in Hollywood - he was originally a jazz musician and composer, and contributed pieces to several of Webb's movies.)

  4. There are other names on the radio Dragnet that still turn up in the 60s version; the one that immediately comes to mind for me is Slats Henry.

    1. Many of the '50s-60s Dragnet episodes (and a couple of the '60s-70s ones) were direct adaptations of the radio scripts with little or no change. (Though they did get rid of Joe Friday's mother as an on-screen character very rapidly.)

  5. Now, I actually bought Ada Hayes and her West Prairie, Mo. thing because of the scene with Malloy in Mac's office. She tells Malloy he's a nice guy and she considers what he said about retuning home. Malloy has a soul. I think Ada does too. The picture she started the next day was a rousing success, she dumped the slimy agent soon after and dedicated a future film to Pete.