Sunday, January 15, 2017

Back-Up 1L-20 (Season 4, Episode 21)

Episode 99

"1-Adam-12, 1-Adam-12, backup 1-L-20 at the corner of Reese
and Almore. Possible 459 suspect there now. Code 2."
Here's a new one: Mac is calling 1-Adam-12 for help. Malloy doesn't seem surprised. He teaches Reed a new lesson, "Funny thing about sergeants, if you don't watch them constantly, they seem to get into trouble."
"You know it."
Except, when they meet up with Mac, he's not in trouble. He's found someone who is, though. (Actually, someone who is suspected of being in trouble.)
Mac's made a pretty good bust, if he does say so himself. He made it by following the advice he always gives the officers.
"...you keep your eyes open, you look for
things just a little out of place, and then follow your instincts."
Malloy figures that at his advanced age, Mac's eyes can't be all that good. Whatever this guy was doing it must have been glaringly obvious.
"What was he doing Mac? Running down
the street, a TV under his arm, with half
the neighborhood after him yelling 'thief'?"
(Also, poor Reed is freezing! He has his gloves on
and he has his hands under his arms to keep them warm.)
Not quite. Mac saw a broken window on one of the apartments as he was driving by. He came back to take a look and found this guy with a pillowcase. When the guy saw Mac, he threw a vase at him and took off. 
"Sounds exciting."
Mac doesn't need any more lip from Malloy, he needs one of them to secure the apartment until the manager shows up and the other to help him transport the guy. Reed must also be sick of Malloy. Even though he is freezing, he readily volunteers to hang around the drafty apartment with the open window. That means Malloy gets to ride in the back of Mac's car with the suspect. Before his CO takes off, Reed has something to tell him.
"Oh, Mac, nice bust."
[Don't let me catch you saying that
to any of the female officers, Reed.]
"Well, you know it and I know it,
but Malloy will never admit it."
The suspect also has to throw in his two cents.
"Big tough cops, you guys never get put
on the hot seat. Do you? You oughta try
 it sometime. Then, maybe, you wouldn't
kick people around the way you do."
Mac, Malloy, and the suspect take off for the jail.
As they drive down the street, an elderly woman in a black coat suddenly decides she has to cross the street.


Oh no! It's a Mac attack!

Good job, Mac, that purple polyester pantsuit
 deserved to be put out of it's misery!
As the black and white screeches to a halt, Malloy runs out of the backseat. 


While he checks on the victim, a handful of bystanders look on in horror. 


[Hey, lady, what happened? I can't see over your hair!]

Meanwhile, the 459 suspect seems to be the only one enjoying this.
"Like I said, it's too bad you guys never get put on the hot seat."
This statement is followed by wheezy laughter.
Much later, Mac's black and white is still sitting in the same spot, but everything around it has changed. The avenue that once had cars zipping up and down its black top is now clogged with emergency vehicles and LAPD officers. An ambulance has come, picked up the woman, and left. On the street, a chalk outline has been drawn to indicate where the woman had been lying. All around officers are taking reports, measurements, and photographs.

One of the traffic investigators is now busy telling Malloy that the accounts of the witnesses don't match up to his and Mac's. 

All three of the witnesses say that the woman was in the crosswalk when Mac sped through and hit her. Malloy contends that she darted out between two parked cars. 
I mean, really, who are going to believe? A trained observer like Malloy or this guy who thinks his striped tie goes with that plaid jacket or that woman who can't see she has a mustache? I guess you can trust that other guy, though, he looks okay.
Stan, the traffic man, still has to take a statement from Vic Lamson, the 459 suspect. While Stan takes care of something else, Malloy returns to Mac's car to see what's been happening.
Here's what's been going on while Malloy was talking to Stan. Lamson has offered to tell the traffic investigators anything Mac wants, but there's a catch. He wants Mac and Malloy to tell the court they violated his constitutional rights when he was arrested. Lamson thinks this plan is perfect, Mac stays out of trouble and he'll stay out of the joint. If they don't go for his idea, he may just tell the investigator Mac sped up when the old woman crossed the street.

Victor Lamson, the burglary suspect, is played by Buddy Lester. Lester was a stand-up comedian who appeared in the original Ocean's 11 and opened for Frank Sinatra several times in Las Vegas. At first I thought the scar on his face was added by the Mark VII make-up artists, but I came to find out the scar actually belongs to Lester. He'd had it since he fell on a water glass at three years old.

Neither Malloy nor Mac accept Lamson's deal. He responds in a mature fashion and calls them "Boy Scouts".


Patrolman Stan Arnold is played by Paul Gleason. You know, that guy from The Breakfast Club.

When Stan comes over to get his statement, Lamson starts out by saying he finds Mac's behavior disgraceful. The incident has made him wonder how he can have any respect for the police.



When they finally make it back to the station, Lamson wants to call his lawyer. He also wants to make jokes. He offers to give his attorney's name to Mac. Once Mac gets him locked up in the jail, he, Malloy and Reed meet up in his office.


Mac tells them that the hospital went through the woman's purse and found a name, Norma Hosteller. That was pretty much all they found. There was no license or anything with an address in her purse, only some identification that gave her name. Reed can see that Mac is struggling with this and wishes there was something he could do. He tells Mac he wishes he would have been with him. Mac appreciates the sentiment, but he's glad that Reed isn't mixed up in all of this.
"Well, that would've put you just where Pete
 is now, under suspicion of changing
his story to protect his sergeant."
Malloy, like Lamson, is also a comedian.
"You know, if they ever found out what a cold-hearted
character you really are they'd know I'd never protect you."
Mac's got poor Mrs. Hosteller on his mind, but he's also been thinking about the witnesses. He can't figure out why they all said she was in the crosswalk. They have nothing to gain by lying, so why are they saying something that isn't true? 
Reed suggests that their angle of vision may account for the discrepancy. Mac points out they were all at different spots on the sidewalk. The woman was by the mailbox, one of the men was by the shoeshine stand, and the other man was near the corner. With all three witnesses giving the same story, it's going to be a tough rap for Mac to beat. 


When they're back on patrol the topic of conversation in unit A-12 is, of course, Mac's accident. Reed thinks it's too bad that Lamson won't change his tune and tell the truth. Malloy knows that won't happen, he's having too good a laugh at the police. Reed wants to keep turning the events over, maybe there's something they haven't uncovered yet. Maybe the old lady was trying to commit suicide. Malloy answers that he's sure the investigators will check that out. But, Malloy doesn't want to talk about the accident anymore. He's ready to change the subject and the scenery.
"How 'bout 7, you hungry as usual?"
Pete's plan doesn't work, though. Jim's request for code 7 is met with the response of "continue patrol and go the station, code 2". It's time for Pete to meet with investigators. 


 
Sergeants Powers and McCall from internal affairs are conducting a separate investigation into Mac's accident. Normally, only Traffic would look into an incident like this. But, since there are three witnesses who say Mac was driving carelessly, the I.A.D. is conducting its own inquiry. After their introductions, the two sergeants go over the witnesses' statements with Pete. They then ask him the one thing that's been puzzling them. Why does his account differ so greatly from that of the witnesses?
"I told what I saw."
The investigators question that, they think Pete may be helping his old friend Mac. After all, they go way back together. Pete throws their questions back at them. Wouldn't they help an old friend? Powers deflects and says that's not the issue.
"I couldn't agree with you more, Sergeant,
so why don't you get on to something more relevant."
Sgt. Powers goes back to asking him about the witnesses. He wants to know if Pete thinks he's right and they're all wrong.
"I'm trained observer and they're not," Pete answers curtly.
Powers then asks if all of the witnesses would be lying to get him and Mac in trouble. Pete responds that he has no idea why they said what they did. Sgt. McCall decides to try another avenue. He reminds Pete that he could be taken off the force and criminally prosecuted if he lies about what happened in court.


"Of course I know that. Unless you feel I'm
incredibly stupid or naive. I would think you'd
weigh that along with my report. I have more
to lose than your independent witnesses."
When they bring up the fact that Lamson's statement matches the other witnesses, Pete makes sure they know he is lying. He tells them about the deal that Lamson offered him and Mac. But, the detectives have a statement from Lamson denying Pete's allegation. Pete finds this pretty meaningless, he thinks none of them should be surprised that Lamson refutes the claim. 

After Powers reads yet another declaration of Mac's and his dishonesty, Pete puts a halt to their queries. He states once and for all that both he and Mac are being truthful.
"Look, I know you think Mac is good for this,
and I know you think I'm covering for him,
but the way we told it is exactly the way it happened."
Seeing that their questions are getting them nowhere, Powers wants to start from the top again. He asks Pete to go over the events again.
This reminds me of a Dragnet I once saw.
There were three men in a room...
When Malloy is finished with the investigators he catches up with Mac in his office. They've both had a rough time with Internal Affairs. After his time with IAD, Mac is not feeling too good about his chances. It looks like he is going to be put at fault for hitting Mrs. Hosteller. He's so worried about the outcome, that he's run a check on Mrs. Hosteller. It turned up nothing, not even a traffic ticket.
"She's so clean she squeaks."
Mac thinks the whole thing is funny. He's always done things by the book and tried to be the best cop he can. But, now, this one thing has popped up and everyone's forgotten about his record. Now he's dogmeat in the eyes of the investigators. Malloy reminds him that the rules exist for a reason. If they let him get off with out consequences, they'd have to do that for everyone.  Even cops who didn't also do things by the book.
"How else would you have them play it?"
He knows Malloy is right, this whole thing is making him sour. It's just so frustrating. He wishes it would just all go away like a bad dream.
"It's just that this thing is so screwy.
 I keep thinking that once we hold it up to the light
it'll just lose it's shape and disappear.
 But just the opposite seems to be happening."
Malloy, however, still has faith in the system. He tells Mac something will turn up. Mac's not so sure about that.
"Pete, I don't mind telling you, for the first time, I'm really scared."

Oh, hey, remember Reed? I wonder what he's been up to while Malloy's been with IAD and Mac.

Looks like he's visiting our old friend Lamson at the jail. Lamson thinks he's there to make a deal for Mac. He offers to help if Reed helps him. Reed doesn't mince words when he tells Lamson what he thinks of him.
"If I was on fire, Mr. Lamson, I wouldn't let you throw water."
Reed then tells Lamson the real reason he's at the jail. Lamson's apartment manager just called, she saw some men taking things out of Lamson's apartment. When Lamson hears this he springs off of the bench and asks Reed why he's standing around, he should go arrest them right now. Nobody's got no right to bust into his apartment and take his stuff. 


Reed and Malloy are the lucky ones who get the job of going to Lamson's apartment and checking it out. 
There's that Mustang again. You know funny
business is going down in this neighborhood
.

Reed stakes out the back parking lot while Malloy knocks on Lamson's front door.
[Woods, is that you? Get back to work!]
Yes, that is Fred Stromsoe making his first of
 sixty-three appearances on Adam-12. He won't show
up as Officer Woods until season 5.
Malloy is treated no better than a traveling salesman, he gets the door slammed in his face. When he commands the mysterious man to "Open up!", the apartment door remains shut. But, the window that opens into the parking lot slides open.
Reed watches as two men climb out of the window and take flight across the lot.

They don't get very far.
"Alright, hold it!"
"Where'd you come from?"
[My mother. Now turn around and put
your hands on top of your head.]
When they get back to the jail the reunion between Lamson and his old buddies is not happy. He wants to know why they were taking his stuff. His cardigan-clad comrade was just taking advantage of an opportunity. With Lamson in jail, they didn't think he'd catch them. Lamson tries to showoff by boasting about his new connections.
"Yeah, but I got friends in here. Ain't that right, Reed?"
Reed just acts like he can't hear Lamson.
When they're done with Lamson's cronies Pete and Jim swing by Mac's office to check up on him.

They're shocked to find him packing up his desk with Powers watching. Mac gives them some bad news, he's been relieved of duty. Pete tries to protest the decision with Powers.
"You can't do that. He hasn't had his Board of Rights hearing yet."
Circumstances have changed, however. Mrs. Hosteller has died. 

Pete and Jim are stunned as they listen to Powers explain what will happen next. Mac's Board of Rights hearing will be continued pending criminal proceedings for manslaughter. The D.A. has just filed a complaint and Mac's arraignment is set for next Monday.

Two days later, Jim is concerned about his partner. Something's been eating at him ever since they last saw Mac. Pete wishes he could stop worrying, but it's hard when he's not even sure what is bugging him.

He tells Jim to put them code 6 at the scene of the accident. Jim cautions him, I.A.D. wouldn't want him hanging around there. Pete knows this, but he there has to be some reason why three people saw something that didn't happen. Going back to the scene may uncover the reason.
"This is 1-Adam-12, show us code 6 at Allen and Third."
They arrive at the site and it's much less crowded than it was the day of the accident. Pete looks at the empty shoeshine stand and realizes something. No one got a statement from the old man who was at the stand. 
Malloy sure would like to know what he saw, but he doesn't the man's name.They head over to one of the nearby stores to see if they can find out who the man is.

Angela Greene plays the lady in the red sweater.
She was in a 1976 movie called Futureworld where she played "Mrs. Reed".
According to IMdB she was also one of
Jack Kennedy's girlfriends, before he was married.
This nice lady at the grocery store hasn't seen the shoeshine stand proprietor, Billy Fuller, since the day of the accident. Which is strange since Billy has never missed a day of work before this.
Pete and Jim think this is strange, too.
Not being able to resist the temptation, Malloy and Reed run a check on Billy Fuller. Turns out he's done time in county for bookmaking and petty theft. They weren't able to find a current address on him, though. 
Reed presents this information to Sgt. Powers, who has something to tell them. Since they found so little identification on Mrs. Hosteller, they sent her prints to Sacramento. About an hour ago, Powers got back a readout on her prints. Mrs. Hosteller was really Florence Madison. Malloy takes a wild guess at what Powers is going to say next.
"And she's got a record?"
Malloy's right, she does. Florence Madison had a record for bunco. She had a trick back and spent her life falling down stairs and throwing herself in front of cars. She would then sue insurance companies for liability. Reed and Malloy can't help but smile at this discovery. Reed asks if this lets Mac off the hook

Powers tells them that it helps, but it doesn't clear his name. The fact that Florence Madison was a bunco artist doesn't mean that the witnesses were lying. She could have been in the crosswalk with no intention of being hit when the accident happened. 

So, the facts haven't changed, Madison or Hosteller still got hit by Mac and she still died. But, now that they have this information, it has to change their investigation. Malloy impatiently asks Powers what they are going to do next. The detective lays out the plan. They're going to stake out Fuller to see if he is involved. When they find him Powers would like Malloy to take a look at Fuller to make sure he was the one he saw in the stand that day.
"Don't worry, we'll be available."
Powers figured they would be.
Later that night Reed is hungry. He requests code 7, but the RTO tells them to continue patrol and meet 1-Y-50 on tac 2. Reed switches over to tac 2 where Powers lets them know that they've found Fuller. He asks if they could swing by and take a look.
"You got a deal, Sarge."
They meet Powers on the dark street where Fuller lives. After they climb into the back of his unmarked car, the sergeant points out Fuller's house up the street. Powers' partner, McCall, is covering the other end of the street, closer to the house. 
After they wait awhile some headlights pierce the blackness up the street. McCall contacts Powers on the portable radio and asks if he sees the car pulling up to Fuller's house. Powers has seen it, but he's going to let Fuller go inside and see what happens. 

After a few minutes shots ring out from inside the house. Powers starts the car and drives up the street.
All four officers race to the house as more shots are heard. Reed and McCall go around to the back. Powers kicks the front door after another volley of shots. Malloy is right behind the sergeant. They bust into the house where two men are having a gun battle. One man is behind a desk and the other crouches behind a chair.

When the door flies open, the man behind the chair tries to run out the back. He's captured by Reed and McCall. The man that was behind the desk surrenders to Malloy and Powers.

This has always struck me as the most fake-looking house set on Adam-12.
After Reed and takes the gunman outside and talks to him, he returns to the house to sort out this mess with Powers and Malloy.
The man in the blue shirt is Billy Fuller and he claims the other man was trying to kill him. If he didn't have a gun in the desk to defend himself, he'd be dead by now. The other man told Reed Fuller was blackmailing him.

As it turns out, both men are telling the truth. Nobody figured Fuller would be at the shoeshine stand when the old woman threw herself in front of the car. After it happened her gun-happy associate, Leyman, told Fuller he'd make it worth his while to keep quiet. Fuller took the money and kept quiet. But, after she died, Fuller tried to get more money out of Leyman. He figured a policeman going up for manslaughter charges was worth some extra scratch. He didn't figure on Leyman trying to kill him, however.
Is this guy the shortest adult male suspect in the series?
I mean, other than the little person that punched Pete in that bar.
We never got to see him.

Once everything is tied up with a nice bow, Mac is allowed to return to duty. Malloy explains the con to a bewildered Mac and Powers tells him how Malloy's memory may have saved his job.
"Oh, I don't know. If they fired me, who'd clean up
 after Reed and Malloy? I would've still had a job."
"Yeah, making license plates," interjects a sassy Reed.
Mac then, good-naturedly, reprimands Malloy and Reed for sitting around and tells them to get off their lazy duffs and start earning their pay.
"Kind of inconsiderate, isn't he?" asks Malloy.
"Mmm-hmm, right back in form," responds Reed.
Mac stops them before they leave his office. He's got one more thing to tell them.
"Thanks."

The End

Another good episode from season 4! One that reminds us that sergeants are people, too. People who get scared when faced with the possibility of losing their livelihood. It's also one that reminds us that the truth will, eventually, win out. But, what I really like about this story is watching the officers perform their job with integrity.

Mac and Malloy could have taken Lamson up on his offer and shortened the entire ordeal considerably. But, they both chose to tell the truth. They chose to keep telling it even when I.A.D. turned up the heat. The two detectives from I.A.D. also perform their job with integrity. They're rough on Malloy and Mac during the investigation because that's their job. They then look into the possibility of dishonest witnesses after new evidence, Madison's record, is uncovered. They look into all possibilities without any preconceived notions about what really happened. Now, I know this is the way all of these men are supposed to perform their jobs. But, in 2017 when we are treated almost hourly to politicians and celebrities behaving badly, their behavior is a lovely breath of fresh air. 

The other thing that strikes me about this episode is Malloy and Reed's willingness to help their sergeant. They are never too busy to look into something that may help clear his name. They never think of the accusation as only "Mac's problem" and they always make time to stop by his office. Lamson may make fun of these men and their values, but I find them inspirational. 

This one is a classic and earns my rating of:


Do you agree? Let me know somewhere, out there in cyberspace. See you next time with "Who Won?" a.k.a episode 100!

KMA-367













 

2 comments:

  1. I agree about the inspirational adherence of Reed, Malloy, and Mac to the truth. I would never expect anything less of them. I also love and expect their affection and loyalty to one another. I like to think that this is true in real life. I know there are good guys and bad guys in all human situations, but LEOs and first responders always seem like heroes to me. Of course, I come from the viewpoint of "White privilege" with no negative interactions with law enforcement, but they are heroes to me. That's how I grew up, and that hasn't changed. I love this series and these characters like they were my personal protectors! On a lesser note, who is the actor who played Billy Porter? I could look it up via DVD, but that would take too long. I've always thought he looked familiar, and his face and physical stature make me think he might've been a jockey in real life. Thanks as usual, Keely. Great job!

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  2. Another one with a great speech to go with it - it's a more complex remake of the Dragnet ep "The Shooting Board" , with Sgt Friday accused of killing an unarmed suspect. (The big difference being in the Dragnet version, the viewer saw exactly what happened - and sweated it out with Joe Friday when the evidence didn't back it up until the end.). Webb and Cinader gave the speech to someone else for once - Art Balinger as Friday's boss, Captain Brown:

    "Let me have your badge a minute, Friday. Take a good look at it: $20 worth of brass and pot-metal in a $2 leather case.

    "It's easy to keep the metal bright and clean - but what about the man who carries it?...

    " I know what you're going through, Joe. Board rules against you, it could mean disciplinary action, even a murder charge.

    "But you're first going to be judged by other policemen. Men who aren't out to bury you...and men who aren't out to whitewash you, either.

    "And I know you wouldn't want it any other way. And neither do I...because the alternative sickens me.

    " None of us EVER want to see this badge turned into a hunting license."

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