Sunday, May 8, 2016

Log 56: Vice Versa (Season 3, Episode 23)

Episode 75

Mac is doing something today that he hasn't done in a long time. Checking everyone's driver's licenses. The sergeant works his way down the line of officers standing at rigid attention, the right arm of every man bent at the elbow with his driver's license resting in his extended hand. He looks over every license, makes sure it is still valid, then hands it back to the officer. All of this is done without a word exchanged between the sergeant and the officer.

It seems Reed has fallen asleep during inspection.

That is until, Mac gets Malloy. He picks up the veteran officer's license, looks it over and asks if he recently had a birthday. After Malloy confirms that, yes, he has recently turned another year older, Mac has a follow up question. He asks Malloy when his license expires.
"Next year," Malloy breezily replies with confidence.

"Wrong, it's expired now," says Mac as he hands the license back.
Mac continues on down the line, saying something about leather gear and polish and badges, but Malloy doesn't hear any of it. He stares at his license in disbelief, then looks over at his partner.

Is that a smile he sees forming at the corners of Reed's mouth? Slowly, Malloy realizes why his partner would be smiling. If his license is expired... that means...Reed will be driving today!

Malloy suddenly doesn't feel so good. He's unsteady on his feet and he crumples as if he's been socked in the gut. Reed, on the other hand, seems to be standing a little taller and straighter than usual at this particular inspection.

Once Mac has looked at everyone's licenses, he tells the men to fall out. The other officers scatter, but Malloy must not have heard him. He remains glued to his spot, too rocked by this recent turn of events to move. Reed is also shocked by what just happened. He gasps, searching for something to say. Then, he finally says what Malloy already knows.
"Looks like I'm gonna have to drive."
Malloy can only manage a terse one-word reply to his partner's statement.
His response is much the same when Reed tells him that he's lucky he didn't get pull over on his way to work, he could have gotten a ticket.
"Yeah, lucky."
Unable to avoid the inevitable any longer, Malloy makes his way over to the patrol unit. Reed, grinning from ear to ear follows him. He slowly looks the car over, relishing the view of the car from a new angle, the driver's side. 

Malloy, however, is not enjoying his view of the car. He looks inside and notices that the report book and hot sheet are missing. Reed reminds him that keeping the books will be Malloy's job today. "That's your duty," he tells his partner. 

While Malloy gets the books out of the trunk, Reed makes sure the siren is working. Judging by the look on Malloy's face, he must be doing it all wrong.

With books in hand, Malloy flops down into the passenger seat. No sooner does his butt hit the vinyl than Reed reminds him it's also his duty to sign out a shotgun. Malloy glares at his partner, then heads over to the station door in a huff. He's met there by Mac, who senses that something is bothering him.
"What's the matter, Pete? You don't look happy."

"I don't know Mac, I just got a feeling it's gonna be one of those days."
Malloy returns to the car with the shotgun, but Reed is not ready to hit the road yet. Malloy watches as his partner buckles his safety belt then checks the windshield wipers and adjusts the mirrors. After a few minutes of this, he can't wait any longer. The sooner they start this patrol, the sooner it will be over. "Reed, let's get going, huh?" he suggests. Finally, Reed backs out of the parking spot. Once again, the look on Malloy's face indicates he must be doing it all wrong.

On the street everything starts out OK, until Reed has to make a left hand turn. Malloy jumps all over him, questioning his judgement.  
"What kind of turn was that?"
"Didn't you see the traffic in the oncoming lane?"
Reed notices that his partner isn't his usual cool-as-a-cucumber self. He asks Malloy if he is nervous or something.
Pete's silence speaks volumes.
They roll along without further incident until Reed sees a girl on a corner flagging them down. He hits the brakes, a little too quickly for his partner's taste. Malloy chastises him by stretching his name into two syllables. "Re-ed," he grumbles. Malloy calms down when Reed points out the girl in the red vinyl coat waving at them.

Meet Alma Stanley, a child so serious she must have been created in the Mark VII laboratory.  She's summoned Officers Malloy and Reed to tell them about a man who tried to sell her some marijuana a few minutes ago. She was on her way to school when she saw "one of those trucks that goes around selling ice cream, popsicles, candy, and popcorn, and stuff".
[You mean an ice cream truck?
Look, "ice cream truck" is not a registered trademark
 owned by another company.
You can say it, Mr. Webb won't get mad at you.]
Alma thought she'd buy some popcorn. When the truck stopped, she asked for a dime bag and pointed a picture of popcorn. But, the vendor did not give her a bag of popcorn, he gave her a bag of marijuana and asked her for ten dollars! When she told him that she only wanted a bag of popcorn, he grabbed the bag of grass and drove away.

Pete and Jim send Alma on her way to school after she gives them an incredibly detailed description of the suspect. Most children can't identify a thirty year old from a forty year old, to them all adults are "grown-ups", but Alma is able to place his age between thirty and thirty-five years. She finally shows some type of emotion when she cracks a smile  thinking about telling the kids at school about her adventure . 

Am I the only one who finds Milner's
big, freckled mitt distracting in this shot?
After they say good-bye to Alma Pete and Jim cruise the neighborhood looking for the ice cream "van", but it is long gone. Time to move onto more pressing matters, like the hot shot call for a 211 in progress at the bank. It's Jim's first code 3 where's he behind the wheel.

When they get to Mercantile Bank Malloy and Reed watch through the window as a lone gunman directs the patrons and employees to lay down on the floor. Backup arrives and Malloy tells them the plan, The additional unit will cover the outside while he and Jim go inside.

They stealthily enter the bank and sneak up on the gunman with their weapons trained on him. The suspect doesn't see any of this happening because he is on the phone. And it sounds like he's on the phone with the police. Once they reach the suspect Malloy tells him to freeze and they find out this guy is unlike any other suspect they've ever encountered.
"Oh good, you're here."

The first thing Tyler Finch tells the officers is that the gun he is holding is plastic. This revelation causes the people on the floor to immediately get up while muttering their annoyance at the situation. Finch then goes on to tell Malloy and Reed how he is here under doctor's orders.
"You what?"

While Reed cuffs him Finch explains that he is a compulsive gambler in debt to everyone, including two finance companies. He begged his psychiatrist to commit him to the medical center, but he refused. Since his shrink wouldn't commit him, he figured he'd get himself committed. He told his psychiatrist he would rob a bank. Finch challenges Reed to guess his doctor's reaction to his plan, "Do you know what he said to that? Do you know what he said to that, officer?".

Reed tries to stop him from saying anything that would incriminate him.
"Wait a minute, mister, I'm gonna have
 to advise you of your rights."
But Tyler doesn't care, he keeps right on talking. 
[He's never gonna shut up, is he, Pete?]
[Obviously, not, partner.]
Tyler's psychiatrist told him to go ahead and rob a bank, if that's what he wanted to do. So he followed his doctor's prescription and robbed a bank to end his misery. Malloy let's him know that, so far, the only "committed" he's accomplished is committing a crime.
"You picked the wrong store, mister. You're under arrest."
Finch is glad to hear it. He tells Malloy, "Bless you, officer. You are an angel of mercy".
That's the late George Furth playing Tyler Finch.
He was in practically every TV show known to man, woman,
and child in the sixties, seventies, and eighties.
 I remember him fondly from his two appearances on The Monkees.

After they drop Finch off at the station, Reed and Malloy return to the black and white. Seeing his partner writing in the log while he is behind the wheel must be boost of confidence for Reed. The young officer cockily asks his partner what language he's writing in.

"Looks like Sanskrit to me," observes Reed. Malloy is not amused that his partner has his eyes on his handwriting and not on the road. Reed points that Malloy should just relax already, he's a competent driver and his passenger has nothing to worry about.
"I haven't had any complaints from Jean.
 I manage to get to work everyday without any problems, legally."

Malloy doesn't care. He figures you can't be too cautious. You can't rely on St. Christopher anymore.
"Nag, nag, nag."
Their bickering is cut short by a call to the see the man at 4288 Allot Avenue for a 459 report.

After they synchronized walk up the driveway at Allot Avenue, they meet with Lars Lowell. Mr. Lowell has just returned from six weeks in Indianapolis. He and his wife hurriedly left for Indy when her father had a heart attack. They didn't bother telling any of their neighbors where they were going because they don't even like them.

OMG, Reed's face!
And they have a good reason for not liking their neighbors. It was their neighbors who stripped their house clean! Tommy O'Leary, who lives across the street, saw the whole thing and recounted it to Mr. Lowell when he returned. He knows the nosy busybody next door, Camille Gearhardt, was one was one of the most plunderous participants. In order to see if there is any truth to this accusation, Reed, Malloy, and Lowell head next door to see Ms. Gearhardt.

Sure enough, Lowell's entire living room suite is set up in Gearhardt's house. Camille admits that she took all of it out of the Lowell's house, but she doesn't think she did anything wrong. After all, the Lowell's were gone for over a month, everybody thought they skipped town. When all of the neighbors decided it was time to clean out the Lowell house, they had a good time doing it. Gerhardt compares the incident to a neighborhood party.
"Not a party, Ms. Gearhardt, burglary."
Which is what a flabbergasted Gearhardt is being arrested for. She can't believe it, she would never steal anything. Before they slap the cuffs on her, Lowell has one last question for his neighbor. He wonders how she got all of his stuff over to her house.
"Oh, I had a little help from my friends."
(I hope she stole that wall sculpture, too. It would be a crime if she
 paid good money for that hideous thing.)

Later in the day Reed gets to drive code 3 again when they are called to 11310 Los Feliz for a 415, woman with a gun. Malloy doesn't let this detail go by unnoticed.
"Another code 3, baptism of fire for you today."
They arrive at Los Feliz to find a distraught woman standing on her front steps waving a gun and crying, "I killed him". Reed and Malloy immediately hop out of the car and take cover.

[Now we know who stole the Lowell's tablecloth, partner.]
When backup arrives Reed shares the plan that Malloy has come up with, they'll try to distract the woman by talking to her while Malloy sneaks up behind her. The woman, impatient for the police to take some sort of action, comes down from her front stoop yelling at the officers to shoot her. She tries to force their hand by firing a shot at them. Reed tells her to put the gun down, they want to help her. "Then kill me!" she shouts, firing her gun again.
"I'll make you kill me!" 
[Look, lady, wearing that outfit is some sort of
 a crime, but it's probably not a capital offense.]
While she is shouting at the officers Malloy is able to get behind her and get the gun. He puts her in the car and she gives a tearful recap of what happened before the police arrived.
[It was our twenty-second anniversary.
He told me I looked Phyllis Diller, so I shot him.]
Meanwhile, Reed goes to investigate the situation inside the house. When he comes back out Malloy asks if he called an ambulance. "No, coroner, too much celebrating," he replies.

When they're back on patrol, Reed wants to pass some time by talking about the fight that was on TV last night. Malloy just wants him to stay focused on driving.
"Keep your eye on the road, will ya?"
Realizing that he may have been a little harsh with his partner, Malloy decides he will try to relax and talk about the fight. He asks who fought and Reed answers that it was a rematch between Cucinello and Bates. That's as far as the conversation gets before Malloy decides to nitpick Reed's driving again. He thinks Reed is driving "a little faster" than twenty-five.
"Pete, do you think I'd exceed the speed limit?"
Malloy doesn't answer, instead he changes the subject back to the fight. Reed gives his assessment of Cucinello, he thinks he can take it better than any fighter he ever saw. Malloy's not impressed, he doesn't think being able to "take it" makes for a good boxer.
"Now if you were a fighter and after fifteen
 years the best they could say about you was that
you could really take it, what kind of a reputation is that?"
Reed doesn't think Cucinello's reputation is all that bad, in fact he identifies with the boxer.
"That's what the guys in the division say about me."
"They say if I can hack being your partner, I can really take it."
 Malloy doesn't look like he believes him.

Then Reed flashes a big grin, so maybe he was just making that up.
[Ha, ha just kidding. Actually, I can't "take it",
your abuse makes me cry every night.]
Before we can find out if Reed was just kidding or if he's really known around the station as Malloy's whipping boy, they are called to Craft and Colfax to see the man about some unknown trouble.

They get to the intersection of Craft and Colfax and find a well-dressed man with a baby waiting for them. 
He hands the child off to Malloy and explains that he found it in a trashcan while he was walking to his son's store. The baby was wrapped in a blanket and in a shopping bag. Reed takes a closer look at the inscription on the bag.
Here's an extra cap of Malloy holding the baby.
After the baby has been taken care of Reed and Malloy continue their patrol. As they roll through the city, Reed spots an ice cream truck down a side street. 
He turns the black and white around to see what kind of good humor this man is peddling. When they cruise past the truck Malloy notices that this supposed commercial vehicle has passenger plates. They decide to stop and talk to the ice cream man and his surprisingly mature customer. When Reed slows the car, the customer takes off. 

So, Malloy jumps out of the car and chases after him. His hat falls out of the car onto the street.

And under the tire.

While Malloy tackles the customer, Reed blocks the truck. 

Then the most amazing thing happens!
Malloy sticks his fingers in the guy's mouth!
He fishes out some balloons filled with heroin.
The two partners meet back at the truck where Malloy finds 31 flavors of mind expansion.
"friendly neighborhood junkman"
Once the suspects and the evidence are loaded into the patrol unit they're almost ready to roll. Malloy just has to fetch his hat.

Or what's left of it.
He walks over to Reed to show him the state of his headwear.
"What happened?" asks Reed.

"Guess," answers Malloy.

"I ran over it?" 
Malloy just nods in response to Reed's estimation. After Reed apologizes, Malloy softens and cracks a smile. 

"Well, it's really the first wrong thing you've done all day."
Reed sees the whole thing as a happy accident. The destruction of Malloy's hat solves a problem for him. Malloy wonders what problem that would be.

"What to get you for your birthday."
Something tells me Malloy didn't want
 a new hat for his birthday.

The End

Let me get something out of the way here: This is my favorite episode. To me, there is no better Adam-12 episode. Most of my love for this one stems from the opening scene. Malloy's reaction to finding out that his driver's license is expired is some of Milner's finest comedic work in the series. The same is true for McCord. The work of both actors in that scene is pure comedy gold and it makes me laugh out loud every time I see it. 

The fun continues every time we see our heroes in the car together. This is Malloy at his most annoyed and Milner delivers the eye rolls, smirks, huffs, and side eyes with unparalleled perfection. I love the car scenes because of all this facial expressions, but also because I can identify with how Malloy feels. I may not be a cop, I may not know the challenges they face firsthand. But, I am a control freak who hates being the passenger, just like Malloy. My poor husband gets all of the abuse Malloy heaped on Reed in "Vice Versa" and then some every time I'm riding "shotgun".

So, the parts where it's just Reed and Malloy are great. But, what about the parts where they protect and serve the citizens of Los Angeles? Well, this is my favorite episode and I love it, but I know it's not perfect. Two of the five calls are great, one is OK, and the other two I could do without.

I really like the calls involving the ice cream truck and the bank robbery. George Furth is hilarious as the mentally-unstable bank robber. His character causes even more frustration for Malloy and especially Reed, who just looks exasperated when dealing with him. The drug-dealing ice cream man caper starts off with Alma Stanley flagging them down. Alma is such a dead-pan, serious girl that she must be Joe Friday's love child. I get the feeling that whoever wrote her lines never really met a child. No nerves or silliness with this girl, she's all business! The conclusion of this caper at the end of the episode is exciting, shocking, and funny. The chase is exciting and what happens to Malloy's hat is side-splitting, especially knowing how Malloy feels about his headwear from "Log 114: The Hero". The shocking part happens after Malloy tackles the guy. He sticks his fingers in the freaking guy's mouth! It feels just so jarring to see this on an early seventies TV show.

The other three calls I can take or leave. The Lars Lowell call is frustrating. How can anybody be so dumb as to think that breaking into a locked house and taking property isn't a crime? It's so far fetched, it has to be based on a real-life case. I like the woman with a gun call a little better, at least we get to see the procedure that would be used in a situation like this. Although, it does make me angry that she is essentially trying to commit "suicide by cop". The story with the baby in the trash seems only to exist to remind us that there are cruddy people in the world who sometimes throw their babies away in ironic shopping bags.

But, there was one element that I liked through all of these calls. No matter their frustration with each other or their day, Malloy and Reed put all of that aside and worked together to get the bad guys and keep each other safe. They always maintained a professional facade in front of the people of Los Angeles even if they were bickering in the car just a few minutes before.

This one is my favorite, but it does have some flaws. As expected, I give "Log 56: Vice Versa" a rating of:

Do you agree? Let me know somewhere in cyberspace! See you next time with "Log 106: Post Time".



  1. This is my favorite episode too. In the last scene, did you notice the blue Corvette parked up the street? Maybe Tod Stiles is in town too.
    Martin Milner is perfect with his expressions and everything. The looks on his face as he realizes Reed has to drive are priceless. And Kent is just precious as he realizes he gets to drive.

  2. Hey Keeley, Diana notice who plays the lady that stole the furniture? She's ....... drum roll, please....... Grandma Walton!!!!!

    1. You're right, Mary Ann! One of the Walton boys was in "Exactly 100 Yards" and I've recognized some other actors from the Waltons in other episodes. Los Angeles must have been close to Walton Mountain.

    2. And Mr. Lum is played by Keye Luke, best remembered as Master Po in KUNG FU. (And to the previous generation as Charlie Chan's "Number One Son" in the movies, as well as the Green Hornet 's sidekick Kato on radio.)

  3. This is one of my 3 favorites along with The Search and Killing Ground. I love the interaction between the partners and how perfectly Marty and Kent play off each other. I have read that the blue Corvette was actually Kent's personal car and it shows up from time to time in the background. In season 7 Lady's Night Out he drives it while chasing a suspect. Just a little trivia. Love the humor you put in your blogs. Makes me laugh out loud. Thanks!

    1. I read that about the Corvette, too, Lindy. I also read that Jack Webb gave him the Corvette. I asked the guy who runs the Jack Webb Archives page on FB, he said Jack gave Kent a '70's era Corvette. So, there seems to be conflicting reports on this. I may have to go to the source on this one...stay tuned.

    2. Wouldn't surprise me - Webb had a thing for giving people cars. (From the '50s onward, he bought himself a new car - usually a Cadillac, but he was known to like the Corvette - every 6 months, and invariably gave the previous one away or sold it dirt cheap to one of his cast or crew.)

  4. Karl The Big DogMay 8, 2016 at 9:53 PM

    This too is one of my favorite episodes. I encountered my own version of Alma Stanley last week whom I interviewed on a runaway case. My version was Emma, a 14 year old chubby blonde nerdy girl with big "owl" glasses. She too was deadpan serious and gave me more accurate information than all the other witnesses. She even checked her smart phone photos to make sure that I had the most current photos and most resemble my runaway and possible boys she may be with. She was a hoot!