Sunday, October 9, 2016

Assassination (Season 4, Episode 11)

Episode 89

1-Adam-12 is touring the "Universal" section of town. Pete drives slowly through the empty street while Jim shines the spotlight on every house they pass. The black and white police cruiser comes to a stop at the end of the block, near house number 10700. They haven't found what they are looking for.

"Looks like 10702 hasn't been built yet," says Reed.
Pete pics up the mic and asks the RTO to verify the address. The familiar female voice confirms that they were called to 10702 for a family dispute.  Pete knows he can't be too careful on the street and requests that the address be rechecked. Jim thinks the address may have been transcribed incorrectly and suggests they knock on some doors.

As soon as their feet hit the pavement, some bullets try to hit them! Someone is shooting at Pete and Jim! They scramble to take cover behind the car. While they hunker down beside the patrol unit, Pete dispatches a call for help over the radio. 

1-A-14 and 1-L-20 are among the cars that respond to Malloy's request. Over the radio Mac tells everyone that they'll begin looking for the shooter after the area has been sealed. Reed doesn't think they'll find anything. Five minutes have passed since the first shots were fired, he figures the shooter is probably long gone now. 

Shortly after the search begins Reed and Malloy find .30-06 shell casings in a nearby park. Mac meets up with them and Malloy tells him that the gunman must have been using an automatic, he was able to pop off six shots in three seconds. Reed is able to find one bright spot in the night's events. The shooter had a lot of firepower, but not much else going for him.
"We're lucky he's a lousy shot. Any decent
marksman could've picked us off from here."
While the three officers discuss when the shooter left the area the RTO's voice comes over the radio and calls Malloy back to the car. She reports that the callback number for the family dispute call is nonexistent. He rogers the dispatch then gives Mac and Reed the news. 1-Adam-12 was sent out on a phony call, it was a setup.

The next day Reed asks Malloy if detectives were able to uncover any more information on the shooter. Malloy doesn't have much new information to share, other than telling his partner that they are checking all angles. Reed wishes they at least knew if the shooter was aiming for them or any cop that happened to roll on that call.

The RTO's voice breaks into the car and takes their thoughts away from what happened last night. She tells them to meet Mac on tac 2. Once Malloy switches the frequency Mac assigns them to a station call. They're to meet air patrol at the heliport on Grand and Cloverdale. An eight-year-old boy is in surgery at Community Hospital and the chopper is bringing in the rare blood type he needs for a transfusion. 1-A-12 is authorized to use code 3 for this call, the doctors are running out of time.

Reed and Malloy arrive at the heliport just as the chopper is touching down. The helicopter door opens and a pretty young woman in a yellow dress runs out and asks the waiting officers how far it is to the hospital. She's relieved when Malloy tells her it's only ten minutes away. The doctors gave her an hour to get there when she left. She and the doctors are racing against time to save her younger brother's life. 

Speaking of saving her brother's life, Reed wonders exactly how they are going to do that.
"Where's the blood?" he asks the girl.
As they run to the patrol unit, she explains that the doctors are going to make a direct transfusion from her to her brother.

They get to the car and Malloy opens the back door for the girl, whose name is Cindy. Once they're all inside, they'll race to the hospital. But someone has other ideas. An unseen sniper begins firing at them!
"Get down!" shouts Malloy as he pulls the girl to the ground. 
She's scared and confused. "What is it? What's happening," she asks with desperation in her voice.

OK, let me just take a minute to say I love her whole look.
The hair, the yellow dress/ swimsuit coverup, even her white tennis shoes; it's all adorable.
Also this is Angela Cartwright of Lost in Space fame.

The sudden attack creates confusion and a lot of questions. Malloy asks Reed if he can see where the shots are coming from. He can't, but he thinks the sniper must be positioned on the roof of one of the warehouses across the way. Cindy continues to ask what is happening and also wonders why it's happening. Malloy can't give her any answers.
"I wish we knew," he tells her.
They may not know who is shooting at them or why, but Reed and Malloy do know they need to get out of there and to the hospital quickly. If they wait for backup to arrive it could mean bad news for not only Reed, Malloy, and Cindy, but also her little brother. They begin to prepare for their escape. Reed gets on tac 2 and asks the pilot of air-1 to distract the sniper while they make their getaway.

Malloy gives Cindy explicit instructions on how to get in the car and what do once she is inside.
"Now listen. You get inside the car, lay down flat on the backseat and don't move an inch. Okay?"

After she climbs inside Malloy turns to his partner and yells, "Go!".

Reed reaches inside and turns the key, he then hits the gas pedal with his hand to start the car (because that's how you had to do it back then). He dives into the front seat and moves over to the passenger side. Finally, Malloy shuts the back door then follows Reed into the front seat. He takes his place behind the wheel and burns some rubber getting out of there. 
The sniper manages to hit one of their roof lights before they get away.
Once they've reached the hospital and safely delivered Cindy to the doctors, Reed makes a phone call. 

After his conversation is over he hangs up the receiver and joins Malloy by the coffee machine. While they get their cups of joe Malloy fills him in on Cindy and her brother. The boy ended up in the hospital after he fell on a bottle and cut an artery. His rare blood type made finding a donor difficult. Only ten people in the state, including his sister, have a compatible blood type. When the accident happened she was on the beach. Luckily, the Newport PD was able to find her and get her on the chopper. Reed fills in the final part of the story.
"And the LAPD gets her shot at."
Now it's Reed's turn to fill his partner in on his phone call with Mac. They've been able to confirm that the sniper was where Reed thought he was, on top of one of the warehouses near the heliport. They also found shell casings that match the ones they found the other night and a few other interesting things. Like a transistor radio that had been manipulated to receive police frequencies and a piece of paper where the gunman recorded certain calls.
"Our boy keeps track of Adam-12."
(You say that like it's a bad thing, Reed.)
The last entry in the sniper's log was their station call to the heliport. Malloy thinks that narrows down the field of policemen he's gunning for. "Yeah, it's down to you or me," adds Reed.
[Well that stinks.]
Now that they know someone is hunting one of them, Malloy and Reed, along with Mac, set about looking for that someone. But they're not having much luck. After looking through over one hundred and fifty arrest records Malloy can't come up with any suspect that would want to kill either him or his partner. Mac and Reed aren't having any luck either. Reed wants to quit, his eyeballs are ready to fall out. Mac disagrees, something in their logs may click and reveal a good lead. 

While Mac and Malloy debate going on or giving up, Reed reaches for the sergeant's phone to call home. He begins his call to Jean by telling her that he'll be at the station for a while longer. 

Then, after a few more questions, his tone becomes more urgent. Malloy stops studying the paper in front of him and looks over at Reed as he tells his wife to stay put and make sure the doors are locked. 

Mac also takes notice of the conversation.

Reed hangs up and announces that a man called his house and wanted to know if it was the residence of Jim Reed, the policeman. Jean told him it was.
That reminds me of a story Kent told me in Maryland. One time some scary-looking biker dudes knocked on the door of the McCord house. His wife, Cynthia, answered and the bikers asked if this was where "that actor from the cop show lived". Cynthia replied, "I wish!".  If only his TV wife were as clever as his real wife.

Mac gets on the radio in his office and asks the RTO to a send a car over to Reed's house. The CO also offers to put a stakeout on Reed's house until the ordeal is over. Reed tells him that's not necessary, as soon as he gets home he's moving Jean and the baby to her mother's house. 
"I just woke up to the fact I'm not too healthy to be around."

Two days later Pete and Jim are back on patrol, just like normal. But Jim's home life is not back to normal, his wife and son are still living with her mother. It's obvious the situation is wearing on Jim when they stop at an intersection.

A young boy selling flowers comes up to the open passenger side window and reaches his hand inside to get Jim's attention. Jim doesn't see him come up the car, but when the boy speaks, he instinctively and forcefully grabs the boy's hand.

The frightened lad immediately says, "I didn't do nothing".
It's a young Brian Tochi! He'll go onto achieve 1980's cult movie fame as
Takashi in Revenge of the Nerds and Nogata in Police Academy movies.
Despite his use of a double negative, Jim lets the boy go and apologizes. He then reaches in his pocket and gives him two dollars. The boy just made himself a sale. The fact that his name was Jimmy, the same name as Reed's son, may have had something to do with it.
[First potholders, now flowers. What won't you buy?]
With the flowers wilting in the back seat Pete and Jim are called to a suicide attempt at a service station. When they drive up to the station they find a wet man holding a gas pump and a lighter. He's just used the pump to douse himself in petrol and he's threatening to use the lighter next.
The station attendant runs up to tell the officers that he's never seen the man before. He came into the station for the first time today and asked the attendant for a light. He gave him his lighter and told the man not to go anywhere near the pumps with it. Next thing he knew, the man grabbed one of the hoses. 
Hey, it's Timothy Brown. This is the former
Philadelphia Eagle's third and last appearance on Adam-12.

Reed starts talking to the gas-covered man while Malloy sets his plan in motion. 

He gets on the horn to Mac and advises him to block off traffic around the service station and keep the fire department out of sight. 

Then Malloy asks the attendant if he has a CO2 extinguisher. He does and takes Malloy to the station office to retrieve it. Reed is still talking to the man when Malloy and the attendant sneak out of the office.

When it looks the man is really going to flick his Bic Malloy shouts, "Now!" and sprays him with the extinguisher.

The man is not happy that his plan was thwarted.
"You had no right, no right."
After the ambulance has arrived and loaded up the suicidal man Mac gives Reed and Malloy some recently uncovered information on the shooter. SID has been able to confirm that the shell casings from both shootings were fired from the same gun. They haven't been able to find any prints, however.

He has another piece of good news, too. Detectives were able to find something out about the radio. A pawn shop on North Broadway sold it last week. They have a record of who bought it, but it's not going to be much good. The guy used a phony name and gave them a bad check. They know the name was phony because the guy who purchased the radio is a well-known paper hanger they've been tracking for months. He's been using the name Morey Stover.

Reed recognizes the name, they received a flyer on Stover last week. He doesn't have any idea why Stover would be after him, though. Nobody knows Stover, including him. The flyer didn't help distinguish him from countless men in L.A., either. It described him as a six-foot male caucasian with brown hair and brown eyes. 

Mac asks if they could have picked Stover up under another name. Reed thinks that's a possibility, but he can't wrap his head around Stover or any other paper hanger gunning for him. Most of the suspects they've busted for passing bad checks have been friendly. 

This new information is hardly encouraging. Now they have a fake name, which is little more than they started with. But, there is one small bright spot Reed points out.
"Only thing in my favor so far is he's a bad shot." 

Later that night Jim tells Pete that he dug up the flyer on Stover. It yielded one more piece of information. He's been seen driving a 1964 maroon Ford convertible. Pete doesn't think that is going to be much help, there must be five thousand cars that meet that description in the city. Jim doesn't care, though. He's going to be more careful around maroon convertibles.

Their next call, a prowler on Hemet Street, sounds ominous. Especially since Hemet is a dead end. Pete asks Jim to have the RTO check the call back number. She comes back with an answer that does not set their minds at ease. There is no call back number, the party hung up.
Reed doesn't like it, but they have to roll on it. He requests RTO assign backup cars and warn them that the call may be a setup.

1-A-12 and 1-A-14 arrive on Hemet Street, Reed and Malloy park in front of the address while the backup unit drives around the block to cove the back. The street is dark and quiet, Reed thinks it's too quiet. 

It may be eerily quiet, but they still have a job to do. Malloy tells him it's time to go after they see 1-A-14 make it's loop around the block. They begin walking through the lawn of house 216. They both stop when a rustling comes from one of the bushes near them. Malloy shouts that whoever is in there should come out.

An old, disheveled man emerges from the shrubbery and tries to make a break for it. Reed orders him to raise his hands and turn around. He begins to do exactly that, but as he turns, he suddenly lowers his hands and reaches for his belt. Reed aims his weapon. Malloy, positioned on the other side of the man, tells his partner to wait.

The man pulls a liquor bottle out of his belt and chastises Reed for almost breaking it. Malloy lets the old wino have it.
"When a policeman tells you to freeze, mister, you freeze! You almost got yourself killed trying to save half a buck's worth of muscatel. Now drop the bottle."

The vagrant knows Malloy means business and drops the bottle. Without any argument he puts his hands behind his head and turns around. While Malloy cuffs him, he tells Reed that he wouldn't have seen the bottle from where he was standing either. Before they take him to the car the old drunk explains that he was only looking for a place to sleep.
[You found one now.]

At the end of their shift that night Pete and Jim check in with Mac. The sergeant, unfortunately, doesn't have anything new to report on the sniper. Jim's disappointed to hear this, he's sick of coming home to an empty house and having Malloy be his taxi service.
Oh my goodness, what do we have here? Monochromatic nightmares topped off with windbreakers. Perhaps Jean also picked out Jim's off-duty wardrobe. Now that is she living her mother, he is following Pete's lead when he has to dress himself.
Or he's wearing a tried and true outfit that he's worn before, just as Pete is doing.
Well, look at that. They wore the same or very similar outfits in "Elegy for a Pig".

When Pete drops Jim off in front of his house, he notices a lone figure walking towards them on the sidewalk. He points the man out to Jim and asks if he knows him. Reed's not sure if he does.
I guess they only wear these outfits
when Pete drives the gold Mustang.
The man, however, is pretty sure that he knows Jim. He walks up to him and asks if he is Jim Reed. When Jim says, "Yes" and the man introduces himself as Mike Dorin and reminds Jim they met at a party last week.
Question: When the good guys on Adam-12
wear windbreakers, what do the bad guys wear?
Answer: Cardigans.
Mike is out walking tonight because his car broke down, he's hoofing it to the payphone at the gas station on Fremont. Jim, knowing he can trust this person he met once at a party, insists Mike use his home phone.

[Come on in, just don't kill me or anything. OK?]

He sends Pete on his way and begins walking towards the house with Dorin. Mike interjects that he would hate to disturb Jim's family, but Jim tells him not to worry, there's nobody home. No wife, no baby, no witnesses whatsoever. 

Pete drives away and slows down as he passes a dark convertible parked down the street.

When they reach the Reeds' front porch Jim begins unlocking the door. Suddenly, Dorin tells him to "hold it right there". Jim turns around to find Dorin pointing a gun at him. 

Doris then reaches into Reed's jacket and takes his gun.
Dorin, that area is off-limits! 
With two guns pointing at him, Reed asks Dorin why he's doing this. Dorin explains that he doesn't want to go back to jail. He asks Reed if he remembers talking about the flyer they received on the paperhanger at the party. He had told Dorin that he matched the description of the forgery suspect. Reed remembers, but he was just giving an example. He didn't say Dorin was the suspect.
"Well, I am."
Reed tells him to stop, he'll wind up in the joint for life. Dorin's not worried about that, though, he's got it all figured out. He's going to make it look like Reed committed suicide. He's sure the police will believe his ruse. They'll figure Reed couldn't take the stress of the sniper anymore and shot himself with his own gun. 
[Wow. That's dumb.]
Reed, outraged by Dorin's convoluted logic, reels back and kicks him across the porch.

Then a familiar backside in tan jeans appears to help Jim out.

Jim asks Pete how he knew there was going to be trouble.
"Ya know those five thousand maroon convertibles
we talked about? One of 'em's parked right down the street."

The End

I'm torn on this one. I like the action and tension throughout the episode. There are even parts that I more than like, particularly Malloy's brilliant solution to stop the suicide attempt. But, it all falls apart for me in the final scenes. Am I supposed to believe that Reed would invite an almost-stranger he met once at a mutual friend's party inside his house to use the phone? I just don't buy that the character who has been tense, jumpy, and overly cautious throughout the episode would now suddenly invite a man who fits the description of the guy they are looking for into his home. Reed may be trusting, but this just seems extreme and bone-headed, especially for a police officer. 

If the climax of this episode had been more believable, I would have given this one my highest rating. As it stands, though, I give it a rating of:

Do you agree? Let me know somewhere, out there in cyberspace. See you next time with "The Dinosaur"!



  1. Great blog as usual. Keep up the great work.

  2. Great blog as usual. Keep up the great work.

  3. I like the overall handling of this serious subject: the danger that LEOs face every day. It's always a relevant subject, but especially now, with conflict and distrust on the part of much of the populace, especially among persons of color. Some truly terrible things have happened on both sides, and the task of all concerned is to remember the humanity of all people. There are "good guys" and "bad guys" on both sides, and it would be wonderful if all could remember that race is not an predictor of either one. I have nothing but respect for "good cops", and I've had only good experiences. That being said, I'm a member of the white (and as such, privileged) race, so I've never been profiled or targeted. My respect for LEOs is also always obvious. I believe that most LEOs are fair and open-minded in their enforcement of the laws of the land, and I hope that they are able to maintain that frame of reference in spite of the dangers they experience. My feeling about Reed's willingness to help a guy he met only once is that he's always tried to see the good in everyone, and he hasn't let his current concerns interfere with that. (Besides, Pete has to be able to save Jim once in a while.) I really like this episode, and as always, Keely, I love your blog.

  4. I know, I know, Penny looks so adorable!
    Nice description of that whole airport scene. There was a lot going on there.

    That last scene seems odd, but Reed does always want to help everybody and the guy is a nut, so maybe his logic is going to be off...Give it to 'em, Keely.
    Although I think Malloy would not have just driven off, he would have waited to make sure Reed really was safe. Of course then we would lose that good last line.

    How does your brain work that you know what the guys wear and when?

    The scene when Reed gets the call from his wife, after he gets off of the phone he has a paragraph of dialogue that he does at the speed of light, which he would because he wants to get home. I always wonder if he did that in one take, or if there were a bunch of takes. It is so fast and clear. Anyway, I love that bit.

    Malloy has on a Yellow sweater in the episode with the picnic and bikers. Is it this one? I could look, but you'll know.

    Keely, I am just glad that i will be able to say, I knew you when. B)

    1. I guess, since I work in the apparel industry, I always notice what they're wearing. The sweater Pete wears in "A Sound Like Thunder" (the ghost town episode) is different. It has a "nubby" texture.

  5. I'm happy to see we're both on the same wavelength here regarding Reed at the end - there is *no way* he would have done that given the circumstances.