Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Tip (Season 4, Episode 16)

Episode 94

Reed and Malloy are staking out Marie Callender's, they really want some pie. 

Or maybe they're waiting for this armored truck to arrive at the Mercantile Savings and Loan.

When the truck parks in front of the S and L Reed gives 1-A-14 an update on the guards' movements. As the uniformed men enter the bank, the surroundings look quiet. Maybe the tip Tee Jay gave Malloy, about an armored car robbery going down today, was bad information. 

Nonetheless, Reed doesn't want to get caught unprepared. He unlatches the shotgun hidden under the front seat.

After a short time inside the bank, the guards exit carrying bags of currency. It looks like they'll be able to put the pick-up in the truck without incident. They unlock the back doors of the armored vehicle to place the bags inside. Suddenly, they're enveloped in white smoke that has begun billowing out of a manhole cover. It's teargas!

Reed and Malloy spring into action. While Reed calls for backup, Malloy puts the car into drive and pulls closer to the armored truck. When he stops the black and white, he and Reed take cover behind the doors. In addition to the teargas, shots are also being fired!

When the gunfire abates Malloy and Reed get the guards away from the truck and the teargas.

By the time the guards are resting against 1-Adam-12 and the tear gas has cleared, Mac has arrived. Malloy knows they need to fill the sergeant in, but he's not exactly sure what they're going to tell him. Something on the ground catches his attention, he picks it up before he heads over to talk to Mac.

At the car, Reed helps the guards while Mac listens to their story. 

They don't have a lot of details to offer. The gas hit, then some unseen assailant hit one of the guards in the "bread basket", and made off with ten thousand dollars. The serial numbers of the bills were on record sheets, but those were in the money bags.
[Well, that sucks. Who came up with that system?]
After the guards are done recounting what they know, which they admit isn't much, the radio calls Mac back to his station wagon. Malloy follows the CO to his car. When Mac puts the radio back he tells Malloy the lieutenant was on the other end of the broadcast. He's having a hard time understanding how a 211 went down in broad daylight without anyone seeing anything when both ends of the street were staked out by black and whites.
Malloy's having the same problem as the lieutenant. He doesn't understand how the suspects were able to make a clean getaway, either.
Mac points out one difference between Malloy and the lieutenant. He's at the station, Malloy is here. That puts the hat on Malloy.

Malloy understands that, but he doesn't see anything that's going to get the hat off of them anytime soon. There's no evidence or eyewitness account that will help them break this case. The only thing they had going into this one was Tee Jay's tip, a message he left Malloy at the station saying there would be an armored car heist going down today at Mercantile Savings and Loan. 

An angry Mac orders Malloy to find Tee Jay and get more details. After four unsolved armored car jobs in a month, the heat is on...them. Maybe Tee Jay will have some more information that will get the lieutenant off their backs.

After they've left the scene of the armored car heist, Reed states the obvious, "We're not looking too good". Malloy knows it, too. If only he had listened to his horoscope this morning they wouldn't be in this mess. Reed can't stand the suspense, he wants to know what the stars and planets foretold for his partner.
"Beware of fortuitous situations, they can bring trouble and disappointment."
Reed thinks the astrological forecast was right on the money. Malloy thinks it was only half right: they're not in trouble, yet. Reed thinks it's only a matter of time before the other half of the prophecy comes to light. Unless Tee Jay can give them some help.

They won't be able to look for Tee Jay just yet, though. They've been called to the bus depot for some unknown trouble. 

When 1-Adam-12 pulls into the bus depot a very worried looking woman and the bus driver are staring at her suitcase which is sitting on the ground next to the bus. The woman, I'll call her Rose Marie, thinks there's a rattlesnake in her bag. Reed asks if she's seen it.
"You don't have to see it, you can hear it," she replies.
She gives the bag a kick and a something that sounds like a rattle can be heard coming out of it. Both of the big, strong policemen take a giant step back from the bag. But they can't run away, they have a job to do. Malloy's impressed with his partner's handling of the situation so far and thinks Reed should continue to take the lead on this one. 
"You're doing fine."
"Aw, thanks."
Reed tells Malloy to stand back, he doesn't want to see his partner get bitten. He kneels beside the suitcase and asks Rose Marie how the snake got in there. She's not sure, but she thinks it crawled in when she was packing to leave her sister's in Phoenix. 

Phoenix sounds like a place where one could pick up a rattlesnake, so Reed's not taking any chances. He asks the driver for a long pole as he carefully sets the case down on it's side. Malloy's not taking any chances, either.
He takes his baton out of the ring on his belt.
Once Reed has the bag opened, he digs through the contents using the long handled brush provided by the driver. 

The rattling continues unabated as the woman's unmentionables are flicked all over the parking lot. Finally, Reed discovers the source of the rattling. 

Reed hands the long-handled brush back to the driver, he doesn't need it anymore. He bends over to pick the rattler up with his bare hands as Malloy places his baton back in it's ring. Once Reed has quieted the source of all the trouble, he hands it back to Rose Marie.
Do you ever wonder if this scene is based on a real
event? And if the electric toothbrush in the script is really a stand-in for the "adult" appliance found in real life? I wonder about that.

After they've left Rose Marie to pick up the pieces of her life, Pete quizzes Jim on how he's going to write up the rattling incident. Jim asks his seasoned partner for his advice on the matter.
"You tell me, you're the hero who had his baton out."
Malloy's not in the mood for jokes at his expense. "Let's go see if we can find Tee Jay," he responds.
I guess Pete and Jim are stopping here because they need their shoes shined or maybe one of these men know where Tee Jay is hiding himself. 

Wait a second, we're across the street from Marie Callender's again?
When the man's shoes are thoroughly shined, he stands and pays the shoeshine technician. However, the shine guy feels he hasn't been properly compensated for his work. He appeals to the man's sense of generosity by telling him he has a wife and ten kids at home. It works, the man deposits another coin in the shoeshiner's outstretched hand. After this little scene is over, Malloy approaches the shiner.
"Since when did you acquire a family Tee Jay?"
Huh? This guy is Tee Jay?

Tee Jay, you certainly have changed since we last saw you in season 2. (Also, according the credits, you've changed the spelling of your name to T.J. But, I don't care, I like typing all of the extra letters.)

Tee Jay is relieved to see his old friend, Malloy, and begins to ask him about the armored car heist. But, when a couple walks past them on the street he abruptly changes the subject and acts as if Malloy has just stopped by for a shine. Malloy plays along and takes a seat in one of the vinyl-covered chairs. Reed plays along by reaching for one of the magazines on the other chair.
While Tee Jay goes to work on Malloy's shoes, Malloy quizzes him on the message he left for them at the station. Malloy wants to know where Tee Jay heard about the heist. Tee Jay answers that he heard about the caper in a bar.
"What bar?"
"The Suds Factory."
(When I first heard this I swear Tee Jay said, "the Sex Factory".)
Tee Jay was in the bar and overheard two men talking in a booth behind him.
Reed wants to know if he got a look at either of them. Tee Jay got a quick glance, but he didn't see enough to give a detailed description. He did notice that one of the men had a tattoo on his left forearm. He also heard them planning another job for tomorrow. 

Tee Jay didn't catch where the men were going to hit, but he did hear them arguing about the location. At least that's what he thinks they were fighting about. They were talking about a three o'clock and four thirty run. One guy wanted to hit at three, but the other one talked him out of it saying the location wasn't right. 

None of it made any sense to Tee Jay. He asks Malloy if he can decipher what they were talking about. Malloy doesn't reveal if he understands the men's conversation, but he tells Tee Jay "it helps".
When the Tee Jay has run out of information and Malloy's shoes are thoroughly buffed, Malloy pays him. He doesn't throw in any extra coins for Tee Jay's fictional family, however.

Speaking of coins, Jim wants to flip one to see which one of them will ask the lieutenant to approve the robbery report. Malloy's not willing to help his partner out on this one.
"You're the one who wrote it. Fight your own battles."
Pete cites his "frightening" horoscope as his reason for not wanting to walk into the lion's den or lieutenant's office. He wants to know if Jim's horoscope gives a better outlook than his. 

The two men get into a star-crossed tiff. Jim's not willing to reveal what the stars have predicted for him and Pete's not going to let this go. After all, it was Jim who got him to start reading the star charts. Jim decides he better tell Pete what he read in the paper this morning.
"It said today was a good day for presenting difficult problems to superiors."
"I don't believe it."
Well, that settles that. Jim will go see the lieutenant.

But, before they can get to the station they have to stop an intersection and wait for a women to cross the street. 

This guy almost runs the lady over. When he leans his head out of the window and asks her if she's looking for an early grave Reed tells him to pull around the corner and park it.

The driver of the blue car is cooperative and hands over his license when Pete asks for it, but he doesn't understand why he's being pulled over. He's from New York and this business of pedestrians having the right of way is news to him. He thinks the rental car agency should have clued him in on the way things are done out in L.A.

Pete's not going to write him up, he just hopes the man learned something. 

He did, he'll stop for pedestrians from now on. But it sure is going to feel funny.

[Ha ha, you crazy New Yorkers. Go back to where you came from.]
Pulling over the guy from New York has made Jim hungry for pizza. He wants to stop by Annie's for 7, there they can get a pepperoni pie and eat it in the car.

Pete is not down for that. Last time they went there Annie came outside to watch him eat the pizza.

Jim thinks his partner should be happy that he's attractive to unmarried, available females. He seems kind of jealous of Pete's bachelor lifestyle. (Maybe Jim is thinking about what could have been with Kathy Royal?) Pete, doesn't think Jim has anything to envy in this situation.
"When a three-hundred pound daisy like Annie's trying
to rope you in, there's only one maneuver that works: run like hell."
Jim tries to play up Annie's positive qualities. He points out that she's a good cook and she's clean. This doesn't make a difference to Pete.
"Don't be so touchy."
Oh, well, Reed has to put his matchmaking efforts aside, anyway. They've just been called to a 415 fight at the Suds Factory bar. Malloy's not entirely disappointed they received this call, he's been wanting to drop in there.

I don't know why they call this bar the Suds Factory, they ought to call it call it the "Airport" with all of the chairs and punches flying around the place.

Malloy captures one of the punching patrons as he tries to run out the door. Reed grabs another guy by the bar. While he's talking to his "catch", Richard Sims, Reed notices something on the man's arm.
[Aren't you a little old for a fake tattoo?]
After a winded Malloy deposits his guy in a chair, Reed comes over and points out Sims' tattoo. He wonders if this is the guy Tee Jay overheard in the bar. Malloy thinks it's possible, but points out that Tee Jay never saw the guy's face. 

This leaves Reed and Malloy in quite a pickle. Sims may be responsible for the armored car heist, but they can't bust him for it based on the scant evidence they have. They can, however, bust him for fighting. But, that will put him back on the street in an hour and free to commit any number of crimes, including another robbery. 

Malloy considers their options and is of the opinion that the should bust Simms for the 415. The hour that he is behind bars will give them time to learn more about him.They collect Simms from the bar and escort him out of the Suds Factory.

Back at the station Malloy gives Sgt. Brasher the low down on what they've learned about Sims. He's a three time loser who's gone down twice for paper hanging and once for robbery. Malloy wants to put a tail on Sims, but Brasher doesn't agree. 

He patronizingly tells Malloy it won't work. The sergeant doesn't think the captain will go for it. They're already staking out every savings and loan that has armored car pickups at four thirty. They can't afford to also put a tail on Sims, too.
This guy thinks he's so smart just because
he was a major in the Army during the Korean War.
While Malloy and Brasher argue about stakeouts, Reed looks through Sims' package. He finds something interesting and reads it aloud for Malloy and Brasher. Five years ago Sims had an acquaintance named Frank Mosley. There was also a Frank Mosley driving the armored truck yesterday. Mosley is not unknown to Brasher, the detectives ran a check on him after the robbery. All they could find on Mosley was an application he filled out for a security guard license when he went to work for the armored car company. Brasher wasn't aware that Sims had an acquaintance of the same name, however.

For all they know, the Mosley who drove the armored car and Sims' acquaintance could be two different people. If Sims and Mosley were working together, wouldn't Mosley's name have been associated with the other bank jobs? Since it wasn't, Brasher thinks the names are probably a coincidence. But, he assures Malloy that detectives will get right to work checking Mosley out.

That's great, but Malloy wants to know what they're going to do about Sims. He knows a stakeout isn't going to work, he can speak from personal experience. The detective isn't budging on this one, though. They are not going to tail Simms. Besides, Brasher is confident that the detectives will have better luck with their endeavor.
"We know how to run a stakeout, not like some patrol types I know."
Since they can't get help from detectives, Malloy decides to do some investigation on his own. They drive back to the scene of the latest armored car job where Malloy takes a long hard look at a storm drain and a manhole cover located near where the heist took place.
After he and Reed have checked out the block and found nothing, they get back in the car. When he's back behind the wheel Malloy announces that he's been thinking about Mosley's security guard application. He noticed that Mosley's previous job on the application was working for the department of public works. Reed's doesn't understand why this would stand out to his partner.
"Amazing. What other profound things have you uncovered?"
Malloy doesn't have the time for his snarky partner. He'll take his idea to the top.
"Get Mac on the horn, tell him to meet us at the station."
When they get back to the station, Pete lays out the profound thing he deduced when looking through Mosley's application.
Malloy has a hunch that the Mosley and Simms have been working together on all the bank jobs. He thinks Mosley has been feeding Simms knowledge he gained from his experience with public works and working for the armored car company. By giving Simms information about the underground drainage lines and the armored car routes, Mosley didn't have to be at all the jobs. 
Mac follows Malloy so far, but he wants to know why Mosley took the risk of being the driver on the last armored car heist. Malloy explains that Mosley was only the driver on the last job because Simms couldn't fit through the drainage culvert. At that job, Simms remained underground and threw the tear gas while Mosley threw the money down the culvert to him. At the other three locations, Simms could fit through the culvert and didn't need Mosley's physical help to carry out the job.

Despite his earlier sassiness, Reed thinks his partner is on to something. He agrees that it's worth a try to go underground in order to nab Simms and Mosley. 

Mac is convinced, too. He tells Malloy and Reed they'll use two SWAT teams under the street and let the detectives stakeout the action topside. He tells them to go get their gear, but then stops them before they can leave. He warns Malloy and Reed if the operation goes sour, they'll have a hard time living with the detectives. Malloy brushes off his CO's concerns.
"Don't worry about a thing, Mac. When this
caper's over, they're gonna take us to dinner."

After Pete and Jim have changed into their shiny SWAT uniforms (with those horrible hats), they meet up with Mac and the other SWAT team at the command post.
[Mr. Webb says we paid a lot of money for
 these uniforms and he have to use them again.]

After Mac goes over their assignments and locations, Malloy asks him for the time. Mac checks his watch and announces it's four thirty, the pickup time. Reed suggests that the sergeant checks in with detectives and Mac does just that. The bold Brasher tells him that the first pickup has been made and the truck is en route to the second location. If Simms and Mosley hit, Brasher doesn't think the uniformed officers will have much to do. 

Brasher's cockiness gets under Malloy's skin. He wants Mac to tell the detective that it's not over yet. Mac would like nothing more, but it's bad radio procedure. 

With the time for the second pickup quickly approaching, Malloy is getting anxious. He asks Mac for the time again. This annoys Mac. "I just told you, four thirty," he answers curtly.  

After that, there's no more time to be anxious. Brasher's voice breaks in over the radio, there's a 211 in progress at the second location. That's Malloy and Reed's location. Mac tells them it's all their's and sends them on their way.

Once they arrive at their location Reed removes a manhole cover, then they climb down the ladder into the subterranean tunnel system.

After winding their way through the huge concrete passages they get a radio transmission from the other SWAT team. They're also in the tunnels and they haven't seen any sign of the suspect. Malloy rogers that and they asks Brasher for his status. The detective answers that he thinks Malloy has a winner, the suspect is nowhere in sight. Malloy looks over at Reed.
"Let's find 'em," he says.
They walk a few more feet and spot a man with a large gun and a canvas bag. 

He quickly retreats behind a wall then comes out shooting. Malloy tells him it's no use, they've got him.
"We've got you in the middle, mister. Give it up!"
The man tries again, this time with tear gas. He throws a hissing, smoking canister which lands next to Reed's foot. He kicks it away then they quickly don their gas masks.

Next, Reed throws a flare. Then Malloy fires at the man. He jumps into an alcove. Reed throws another flare.

The second flare lands in the suspect's hiding spot. He bails out and Reed and Malloy swoop in on him. They remove the gas mask he was wearing and spot their old buddy, Richard Sims.

Once they have him in cuffs, Malloy extends the antenna on the portable radio and lets Mac and Brasher know they have the suspect in custody. Mac rogers Malloy's dispatch and informs him that they are sending a unit to the armored car company to pick up Mosley. Then Brasher comes over the radio and lets Malloy know that he owes him one. Malloy couldn't be more pleased with the outcome.
"You know, it's nice to be right for a change."

The End

This is the type of episode I like. It has all the elements of what I think makes a good Adam-12 episode: the boys driving around in the car, solving crimes, and being snarky to each other. It even has the extra-added bonus of tension between the detectives and the uniformed officers. 

But, I find that "The Tip" relies too heavily on humor to pad out the storyline. Annie, the guy from New York, Rose Marie, the horoscopes, and Malloy and Reed just being generally bitchy to each other seems a bit much for one episode. Weren’t there any other crimes they could fight in Los Angeles to break up all of this wackiness?

Despite it’s lack of substance, this episode is still interesting to me. But, the thing that fascinates me about it has nothing to do with the story. “The Tip” helps give perspective as to how Adam-12 fit into the early Seventies television landscape. As I watched the scene with Larry Linville, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Major Frank Burns, the character Linville played on M*A*S*H*. Linville’s Sgt. Brasher may as well have been LAPD detective Sgt. Frank Burns, both are pompous and patronizing. When I realized the similarities in the characters, I also realized that Adam-12 and M*A*S*H* were both part of the 1972 television lineup.

This was a tad mind-blowing to me. Since I’ve only seen the 1972 season of any show in reruns or on a streaming service, I’d never thought that both of these shows aired at the same time. To me, they seem like they are from different eras. M*A*S*H* is so subversive and ribald while Adam-12 seems kind of square in comparison.  And in a way, the two shows are from different eras. In 1972, M*A*S*H* was making it’s debut and Adam-12 was in its fourth season. M*A*S*H* was part of the beginning of a more realistic breed of TV show, while Adam-12 represented another era of more genteel, not quite as “gritty” TV shows. Adam-12 held a uniform in high regard, M*A*S*H* was not afraid to tweak a uniform's nose, so to speak.

While I find “The Tip” interesting from a historical perspective, I don’t find the story itself all that memorable.  Since I base my rating on the 24 or so minutes that make up the actual episode, this one earns the rating of:

Do you agree? Let me know, somewhere out there in cyberspace. See you next week with "The Parole Violator".



  1. Not one of my favorite episodes, but your commentary makes it more fun. I don't like the TJ switch, and it seems to me that the old TJ shows up again in later episodes. Is that true, or is it a brain fart on my part? You're right about Larry Linville - - - he's definitely the same obnoxious twit in both shows. (I read somewhere that the Frank Burns character was written out of MASH because Larry Linville was tired of playing a character who was hated by everyone. Wonder if there could be any truth to that.) Keep up the good work, Keely! All of us fans really enjoy your efforts.

    1. Thanks! So glad you like the blog! Yes, Tee Jay does show up again with a food truck that (I think) Pete helped him get. When he does show up again, he's back to his old self- if you know what I mean.

  2. Just watched an ep (Hollywood Division?) last night that has the old TJ. Like him MUCH better than the unexplained sub in this ep. Many times I wonder just how stupid the A-12 production staff thought the viewers were, and then I think, Oh wait, it's all make-believe anyway.

    1. You have to remember that back when these episodes were being produced the audience had no way to check past episodes and verify that the actor playing a minor role had been switched. Since Tee Jay hadn't been seen since season 2, many viewers may have forgotten what he looked like. Now with Hulu, YouTube, IMdB, and just the internet in general it only takes us a few seconds to point out the gaffe.

  3. Keely, I could write you privately, but figure others may want to know the answer to this also. I had access to the first 4 seasons on Hulu, but I cannot find season 5, or anything after that, so I'm stuck at the end of season 4. Do you know of anyplace that streams things after season 4? Or do I have to purchase the entire series on DVD? Thank you!

    1. I'm not Keely, but I think I've seen the separate seasons on Amazon. We got the whole series at once in 2014 or '15, but pretty sure I saw a separate DVD for each season at that time. Hope I haven't imagined that!

    2. Once Netflix took the show off it's roster, there was no streaming service that offered the full series. That I know of. So, yes, you will probably have to breakdown and buy the DVD's. At least for seasons 5 through 7. After last Christmas, I turned any spare funds I had into Adam-12 DVD's so I could finish the blog.