Sunday, February 19, 2017

Wednesday Warrior (Season 4, Episode 24)

Episode 102

Reed's on his way to roll call or the break room when somebody tells him to "wait up". 

Supposedly, Jim knows Al from night school. When did Jim start night school?
It's Jim's friend from night school, Al, fresh out of the academy and ready for his first ride in a black and white as a reserve officer. Jim's proud of his friend and curious to know who he drew as a partner.

"Ed Wells, I just met him a few minutes ago. He seems like a pretty sharp guy. Maybe you could tell me something about him. You know I want to make a good first impression."
("The Ferret" has given up on eco-radicalism and decided to become a reserve police officer.)
Jim ponders that one for a second and then craftily avoids answering when he spots Pete coming out of the break room.
"Oh, Pete, I'd like you to meet Al Porter."
"Al was just asking me about Ed Wells."
[And since I can't think of anything nice to say, maybe you can save me.]
"Just do whatever Ed tells you and everything'll be fine."
But, that doesn't answer Al's question. He wants to know what Ed's personality is like. While Jim struggles to find words that won't scare Al off, Pete jumps in with a diplomatic description.
"He's very definite."
Al likes the sound of that, a "definite" guy is exactly the type of partner he wants for his first time out on the streets. Now that Al's question has been answered, these three boys in blue should be getting on to roll call. But, Jim has suddenly remembered that he left something in his locker. 

Ed knows why Jim is there as soon as he sees him, but he doesn't want to discuss the subject of his new partner. Jim's not looking for a long discourse, either, he just wants to ask Ed to take it easy on Al. 
"Why? Because you figure he can't cut it?" asks Ed.
No, Jim knows his friend can do the job. Al graduated at the top of his reserve class at the academy. He just wants Ed to give him an even break. Ed assures Jim he has nothing to worry about it, he has it all figured out. He's going to put Al in charge of all the paperwork. Ed figures Al, a full-time engineer, should feel right at home sharpening pencils and filling out forms. Ed's goal is to keep Al out of physical altercations since he doesn't think Al could take a box of cookies away from a Girl Scout.
"Ed, why don't you do us all a favor?"
"What's that?"
"Grow up."
When they start their patrol, Pete can tell his partner is upset by the way he handles the mic.  He tells Jim that he shouldn't let Wells get to him and tries to make him see the bright side of the situation.
"But look at it this way, if he can cut it with Wells, he can cut it with anybody."
That may be, but Jim doesn't think Porter should have to put up with Wells for the ten dollars a month he is making as a reserve officer. Pete doesn't think it will be that bad. Wells may be a wise guy, but he's not a bad cop; he'll take good care of Al.

Reed will have to put his worries about his friend aside for the time being, they've just been called to Westside Park for a 415.

At the park Malloy and Reed find a group of long-haired young people arguing with the park superintendent. The kids plan on camping out in the park tonight, but the superintendent has been trying to tell them they have to be out by nine thirty when the park closes. The young people refused to listen to the superintendent, so he called the police to talk some sense into them.

Malloy reiterates what the superintendent has told them. If they're in the park after nine thirty, they'll be arrested. The kids don't see that they have any other options. They came to Los Angeles for the rock concert and they haven't been able to find lodging. Frustrated with the lack of service they are getting from the LAPD, the long hairs turn their backs to the police.

But Reed may have a solution to their problem. There's a church in Santa Monica with a lot of grass and trees around it, plenty of space to camp. Reed thinks the priest, Father Donnelly, would let the kids camp there. If they stayed on the church grounds, the kids wouldn't be in violation of the law. The curfew wouldn't apply to the church since it is private property, not a city park. 

The lead longhair thinks this is too good to be true. But Reed assures him it's not, he even offers to stop by and tell Father Donnelly to expect the group. Alright, the kids can trust these two cops, but what about the rest of them? Won't other members of the LAPD hassle them if they see them camping out around the church?

Malloy has a solution to communicating the situation to the rest of the police force. When he and Reed return to the station, they'll post a note to the bulletin board letting the rest of the force know that the kids are allowed to camp on the church grounds. 

Papa longhair is so touched by Malloy and Reed's generosity that he drops his surly attitude. He apologizes to the park superintendent and tries to thank Malloy and Reed. Reed tells him to forget it and to have a good time at the rock concert.

When they're back in the car a dispatch from the link is broadcast over the radio. X-ray-25, Wells and Porter's unit, has been called to a 211 at the bank. Since 1-Adam-12 is in the vicinity, they volunteer to back up X-ray-25.

Malloy and Reed arrive at the bank and run into the manager out front. He tells them they can put their guns away, the holdup man left about five minutes ago.
This bank gets held up all the time. Remember when it was almost robbed in "Vice Versa"?
Here's a reminder.
The manager takes Malloy and Reed inside and shows them how they preserved the scene of the robbery, just like the police tell them to do. 

He also lets them know that they teller who was held up is in a room by herself trying to recall as many details about the guy that she can. Malloy asks to talk with her. While he stays inside to do that, Reed goes outside to put out a broadcast with the suspect's description.

When Malloy first sits down with the teller, Tawnia Baker, she's having a hard time recalling anything about what just happened. Once he starts asking her questions, however, she finds that she remembers much more than she thought she did.
Miss Baker is able to recall that the holdup man had a gun, a revolver. She also remembers that he was about twenty with long, blond hair. He was also wearing jeans and a knapsack. Which, for some reason, was tied in the front, making it impossible to remove. 
Baker also tells Malloy a curious detail about the robber. He seemed even more scared than her and kept apologizing for holding her up.

As Malloy is gathering the details of the crime from Miss Baker, Wells and Porter finally show up in the parking lot. Wells explains their late arrival by telling Reed they "were all the way on the other side of the division" when they got the call. Other than that, Wells doesn't really need to explain anything else. Reed can tell their partnership isn't going well based on sheer observation.

"Get the report book, Albert."
First Wells condescendingly tells Porter to get the report book. Then, while Porter is fetching the book, Wells complains to Reed that his friend is a real "spook". Apparently, Wells can't discuss his favorite subject, sports, with him. Porter doesn't even know that the Kings are a hockey team. After Porter returns from the black and white with the report book, it's time for him and Wells to go inside and take over for Malloy.

Since a detective and Porter and Wells have now shown up at the bank, Malloy and Reed can leave. As Sgt. Edwards walks them out of the conference room he mentions that he hopes they catch the guy or guys before they hit every bank in town. Reed finds this statement odd and asks his partner about it when they're back in the patrol unit.

Malloy explains that this latest bank job was the fourth like it this week. All of the tellers were given typewritten notes by young, long-haired stickup men wearing knapsacks. But, that's where the similarities end. Other than their age and hair length, none of the bandits fit the same description and it's got the detectives going in circles.

After Malloy asks how Porter is doing and Reed gives him the update that he's getting a bad case of writer's cramp, Reed gets quiet and begins watching the car in front of them. 
He checks the hot sheet and tells Malloy that the driver is acting hinky. Malloy takes a closer a look and notices that one of the brake lights is out. Now that they've got a reason to pull the car over, Malloy turns on the reds and sounds the horn three times.

While Malloy gets out to talk to the driver Reed stays behind in the black and white and radios to communications for wants and warrants on Victor Tom Ida-242. Even though the RTO responds with "no want, no warrant", something still doesn't seem right.

For one thing, this young driver is acting overly innocent, making claims that he always tries to drive carefully by looking out for "little children and small dogs". Then there's the fact that the address on his license is wrong. He claims he lives with his aunt now since his parents were killed in a plane crash. The car also isn't registered to this kid, he says it belongs to his aunt. 

After the kid produces the registration and recites the name and address on it from memory, Malloy seems to buy his story. The young man, named Derek, even asks Malloy if he thought the car was stolen and Malloy laughingly admits the boy is right. 

Reed has his doubts about the kid's story, however. While looking through the back window he notices some children's clothes laying on the backseat. Just as Malloy is about to let Derek go with a warning to get his taillight fixed, Reed asks if his aunt has any children. Derek says she has a little six-month-old boy. Reed, either from being a father or having seen the size on the clothing tag, knows he's lying.
"You wanna try again?"

Reed points out that the clothes in the back are big enough for a three-year-old and Derek knows he's been caught, he's tries to make a break for it. His girlfriend, who's been sitting in the front seat tries to escape from the car. But, the officers of 1-Adam-12 are too fast for them. Reed grabs the girl and Malloy tackles the boy.

Suddenly, the sweet as pie Derek is telling Malloy to "shove off pig". 

"Alright, knock it off!"
After they drop Derek and his girlfriend off at the station Malloy admits that if it weren't for his partner's keen observation, he would have let that kid drive off in a hot car. Reed lets him know that's all in a day's work.
"Don't let it get to you, Pete. I'll keep you from booting the close ones."
"Mmm, lucky me."
Reed's jovial mood suddenly turns serious when he spies X-ray-25 at the curb with a car they've pulled over. He asks Malloy to drive over there so they can check it out. Malloy tells his partner that he has to stop worrying about his friend, and then drives over to the parked cars.

When they join Wells and Porter, Wells informs Malloy and Reed that they are about to witness Porter attempt "a feat of incredible difficulty". Seems the guy they pulled over was doing more than his fair share of contributing to L.A. smog. The driver insists that the exhaust on his El Camino burns clean, so Wells and Porter have arranged a demonstration. Porter will start the car once and gun it to show the guy how much smoke his car is really putting out.

Before Al starts the show he stops by to tell Ed that everything ready, he also says "hi" to his friend Jim. This irritates the impatient Ed who suggests that maybe Officer Reed can pass out cookies after they're done with the small talk. Jim doesn't hesitate in making a snappy comeback.
"Maybe Officer Wells could wind up wearing the cookies."
Wells then shoos Porter back to the car, he wants to get this over with. Malloy sees the scared look on Porter's face as he heads back to the El Camino and offers Wells a bit of advice. 
"Why don't you ease up on him, Ed?
 He'll do a better job if you stop spooking him."
Wells thinks Porter is hopeless, he describes him as "an electrical engineer who got tired of watching cops on TV".  Maybe Wells is right, maybe Malloy is right. Either way, Porter is having a rough first day on the job and it's about to get a lot rougher.
Porte slams the back end of the El Camino into the front end of X-ray-25.
Many hours later, at the end of his shift, Reed silently walks into Mac's office and hands him some paperwork. Before he breezes out the door Mac asks if something is bothering him. Reed tries to play it off and say that he's just late getting home, but Mac knows what's really going on.
"Looks to me like you've got a bad case of mother hen disease."
"Shows that much, huh?"
Mac repeats pretty much the same thing Malloy told him earlier, Reed should stop worrying about Porter. He's got one more day with Wells and he'll probably get a new partner the next time he comes in. Besides, the hard time Wells has been giving him is for Porter's own good. 
Malloy then pops into the office and announces that Reed's bus, a.k.a. Malloy's car, is leaving. Mac lets him know that Sgt. Edwards called earlier. They developed the film from the bank's camera and the guy who pulled today's job doesn't match any of the other suspects.

Malloy doesn't seem shocked by this news and he brings up something the teller said that he can't get off his mind. The robber seemed nervous and kept apologizing about what he was doing. Mac ponders this for a second then comments, perhaps in jest but maybe not, that it's almost like somebody was forcing people off the street to pull bank heists. Reed thinks this sounds crazy.
"Yeah, sure, Mac, and maybe somebody
is running a school for 211 men and
the final exam is the bank job."
The next day Jim tells Pete that Al came over to see him last night. The day riding with Wells was so tough on the reserve officer that he's considering quitting. Jim can't help but feel responsible for Al and his success as a reserve officer, it was his suggestion that motivated Al to join the Reserves. So, until he has the hang of the job, Jim and Pete will have to check up Porter. Pete sounds very excited about this.
"The answer to a policeman's prayer."
Well, if following Porter "around with a dustpan" isn't the answer to Malloy's prayers, maybe this next call is. The link operator announces that there is a 211 in a progress at the bank on Axtel Avenue. Malloy only drives over one curb while making a U-turn to head to Axtel.

Reed and Malloy drive up to the bank and quickly take position with their weapons drawn. As they stand outside, X-25 arrives as backup. A few seconds later the bandit emerges from the bank with a gun in one hand and a paper bag in the other. He's also wearing a knapsack secured with rope in the front.
"Drop the gun, mister!" 
"Don't shoot, please! It's not what you think."
Malloy orders the young man to put his hands up and come forward slowly. The terrified suspect, however, refuses. He tells the officers that they have to stay away from him, there's a bomb in his backpack. 
He was hitchhiking and was picked up by a guy who forced him at gunpoint to put on the knapsack and then hold up the bank. The guy is now listening to everything over the walkie-talkie clipped to the young man's belt. If he doesn't do as he is told, the man will detonate the bomb. The bandit tearfully begs the officers to let him go. His captor then breaks in over the walkie-talkie and threatens the kid's life if he doesn't tell the cops to get back.
"I guess that answers a lot of questions."
Pete warns the suspect that they're not going to let him walk away. The voice from the walkie-talkie tells him to take off now or he's a dead man. The kid decides to listen to the man who can blow him up and takes off running.
He sprints across the wide street and gets into a yellow car on the other side. 1-A-12 and X-25 take off after the car with their sirens blaring.

The car chase ends when the bank heist puppet master stops his car and pulls his victim out of the car. They run into a open field (Hey, maybe those hippies could have camped here!) as the police pull up. The kid passes out and the man rips the knapsack off him. He's about to run onto the freeway when Wells tries to stop him. The man stops, turns around, and throws the backpack at Wells, who catches it. 
The man produces a remote control and tells the other officers that they better stay back or he's going to blow Wells to pieces!

Porter puts his gun back in the holster without hesitation.
Reed looks nauseous at the thought of seeing
Wells' guts strewn everywhere. He slowly begins to bring his gun down.
Malloy does not give a f@#%.
Nobody tells him what to do.
But, it turns out that Porter doesn't care what this guy says either. 
He runs up to Wells, grabs the bag, and tosses it.

When the bag lands without an explosion, the guy tries to run. He knows it's all over, though, and stops when Malloy tells him to "hold it".

Once the bad guy and the guy-who-was-forced-to-be-a-bad-guy are loaded into black and whites, Wells asks Porter how he knew that it was a dummy bomb. Porter explains that he didn't know for sure, but he figured that the guy wouldn't take the chance of driving through a residential area with it if it were real. If it had been an actual bomb, somebody changing channels with a TV remote or somebody opening a garage door could have set it off. There's also the risk of a ham radio signal setting it off. 
"Oh yeah, that makes a lot of sense.
Especially with the biggest ham on the LAPD right behind you."
Porter's bravery doesn't seem to score any points with Wells. Without so much as a "thank you", he sends Porter off to write up the report about what just happened. Once Porter leaves, however, and it's just Wells, Reed, and Malloy, Wells admits that Porter's action took a lot of guts. Reed asks why Wells doesn't tell Porter that. 
"I don't have to. I'm putting him up for the Medal of Valor."

The End

Do I like "Wednesday Warrior"? Not so much. Reed's "mother hen" routine gets real old real fast for several reasons. After working with Wells for years now doesn't Reed know that he may be annoying jerk, but he's an annoying jerk who does a good job? And why is Reed so protective of his friend, Al? Al's a grown man who survives his full time job and night school without Reed's interference. He also graduated at the top of his reserve class from the same academy that trained Reed, so why does Reed feel the need to be his helicopter friend? Maybe I'm just cold-hearted or self-centered, but I wouldn't treat any of my friends the way Reed treats Porter. 

I would completely hate this episode if it weren't for Wells and the tension between him and Reed. I like Wells' gruff, no-nonsense attitude. I'd be annoyed, too, if I had a job to do and Reed kept popping up asking my partner about his feelings and such. I also like the verbal sparring between Wells and Reed, especially when Reed tells Wells that he may "end up wearing the cookies". When you see the physical contrast between the two men, you have no doubt that Reed could make good on that promise. Malloy and Mac also save the episode. Between Reed, Wells, and Porter, they seem like the only sensible cops in the whole episode.

I'm going to give this episode the rating of "Acceptable", which is the same rating I gave "Eyewitness" last week. In comparing the two episodes, I've realized that they do not deserve the same rating. So, I'm going to say something I almost never say, "I was wrong". "Eyewitness" deserves the rating of "Not bad, not bad at all." "Wednesday Warrior" of these two episodes is the one that truly rates:

This is where I would normally ask you if you agree with my rating and tell you which episode I'd be covering next time. But, this week is different. I've now reached the end of the fourth season and I'm at a crossroads. One road leads to the path where I continue writing about Adam-12 and complete my journey of covering all one hundred and seventy-four episodes. The other road has me taking time for myself and exploring some other creative endeavors that I want to pursue. I'm here to tell you now that I need some time to figure out which way I want to go. So, I won't be seeing you in a week or two weeks. I'm not sure when or if I'll have another blog post. Right now, I'm going to take some time off from "Lincoln X-ray Ida", perhaps explore some other things, and then, maybe, pick up where I left off. If I don't continue this, I just want to let all of you know that I appreciate your readership and all of your comments here and on Facebook. Even if I don't complete what I set out to do, I still feel that this blog is more of a success than I ever could have dreamed. Thank you.