Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Log 33: It All Happened So Fast (Episode 17, Season 1)

I have been looking forward to writing about this episode, which is one of my favorites, for 2 weeks now. On paper, it doesn't seem that exciting. The episode mostly consists of 4 men talking in a room. But it's what they're talking about, the events leading up to one of the officers killing a suspect, that makes this episode compelling. Emotions run high as the officers recount the occurrences of the evening leading to several dramatic confrontations. The intense emotions and dramatic clashes are what make this episode one of my most loved.
So, now without further ado, I present:

Episode 17

Reed learns firsthand about the investigation that takes place after an officer kills a suspect.

The story starts near the end of the shift. Pete is weary and suggests they get some coffee. Jim doesn't want any, he's fearful that drinking coffee now will keep him awake past his bedtime at the end of the shift.
Soon, Reed realizes that he, too, could use some caffeine to make it through the rest of their patrol. 
In the middle of their mundane conversation about where to get coffee,  the night takes a frightening turn.
An unseen sniper has fired at the patrol car and hit the windshield!
Malloy brings the car to a sudden stop at 11th and Wellborn, he and Jim take cover.

The sniper shoots again and Jim returns fire.
The sniper emerges from his hiding spot and falls to the ground.
After some time has passed, Malloy asks a frozen Jim how many shooters there were. Jim responds that there was only one.
"I think I got him, Pete."
Jim leaves his spot behind the car door to check on the suspect. What he sees renders him motionless.

He is soon joined by his partner, who brings Jim out of his stupor by handing him the shotgun.
With his hands now free of the LAPD-issued shotgun, Pete picks up the suspect's  firearm and checks the suspect for a pulse. There is none.
 Soon, the street is filled with black and white patrol cars echoing the voices of the radio dispatchers in the night air.
After Lt. Moore gathers some details from Pete and Jim, he orders Mac to take them back to the station.

Back at the station, the other officers are curious about what has happened. But  Mac will not let Reed or Malloy answer any questions.
"Don't bother him right now, he's not going to answer any questions."
Mac ushers them into the empty analytical office and inquires about Reed's physical and emotional state.
Mac, "How do you feel? A little shook up?"
Reed, "Yeah, some."
"You feel sick or anything?"
"Well, if you do, just give me a chance to get a wastebasket."
Reed, almost chuckling at Mac's concern,"No, I'm all right."
"I mean it, I'm okay," insists a slightly annoyed Reed to an unconvinced Malloy.
Reed then asks Mac what happens now. Mac answers that a shooting team from Homicide will question Reed and that he will be there with him.
"Hell, they couldn't pry me away."
He goes on to tell Reed that he will be taken off of field duty for awhile and that he will also have to face a Shooting Board and an inquest. Even with all of this facing him, Reed's mind is still at 11th and Wellborn.
"Pete, I didn't see how old he was."

Mac answers a knock at the door and Detective Jerry Miller enters with Bob Calkins. Sgt. Miller will be conducting the interview and Calkins will be recording it. Miller immediately informs Reed that this is an interview, not an interrogation. Some of the questions may be pointed, but those points will only be used to dig out the details.

(Speaking of details; see the calendar behind Miller? It is a January/ February calendar. This episode first aired on February 1, 1969, but would have been filmed many months earlier. I love that the calendar matches the air date.)
The interview starts with Malloy and Reed stating their names, serial numbers, and time on the job.
"Malloy, Peter J., 10743. It'll be 7 years on November 15th."
Reed, James A., 13985.
"I started last July 11th."
Reed is anxious to start telling Sgt. Miller about the shooting, but Miller stops him. He needs to hear about their entire shift, starting at the time they went on duty.
When Malloy reaches the time of the shooting in the recap of the evening's events, Reed asks if he can take a break to call his wife. While Reed is on the phone with Jean, the more experienced officers discuss how Reed is handling the situation.
"Well, I've seen 'em giggle for no good reason, get sick, or just sit there and cry like babies. But, Reed, he seems to be taking it okay," observes Sgt. Miller.
Malloy does not agree with Miller.
"I don't think so",  counters Malloy.
"No?" asks Miller.
"I know him, it's really working on him," adds Malloy.
Meanwhile, Reed is telling Jean that he will be home late. He assures her that he is fine, then pauses and checks if the other officers are watching him. He then sits down and hesitates before telling Jean why he will be home late tonight.
"Tonight, I killed a man."
After he gets off the phone, Reed laments to Malloy that the shift may have ended differently if he only had more time to think before he fired his gun. 
Malloy tells him that, unfortunately, it doesn't work that way.
"The guy on the other side gets all the time he wants. You get maybe half a second, if you're lucky. That's why they train you and lecture you on law and policy till it's coming out of your ears. You gotta do your thinking ahead of time, so you know what to do and what not to do."
Sgt. Miller re-enters the office to continue the interview. During a break in the questioning, a spent Reed asks Malloy if a cop ever gets used to this. Malloy answers, "No, you don't. You try to learn to live with it."
"I don't know. Can we talk about it later?"
"Anytime you like, Jim," replies Pete, intimately referring to his partner by his first name.
Later, Sgt. Miller asks Reed and Malloy to draw a diagram of the area where the shooting occurred. 
Things get heated when Miller asks Reed what kind of wall was behind the sniper.
"What am I supposed to do? Run up and look at the wall before I start shooting?"
Reed's frustration builds as the detective asks him why he choose to fire at the suspect instead of waiting for backup.
"Because he was trying to kill us. He wasn't in any school yard and his next shot could've killed either one of us."
Malloy recognizes that his partner has reached his boiling point and suggests they take a break.

Malloy tries to comfort his partner.
Jim tells Pete, "I can't stop shaking".
Sgt. Miller then reveals that he knew the wall was concrete block and that Jim's third shot hit the wall. Reed asks why Miller didn't tell him this.

"Because we've got to know what you thought, not what I told you."
Sgt. Miller tells Reed to "relax a little bit", but he finds hard to do that. Malloy tries to take his mind off of the situation with humor, but Reed just wants to be left alone.
"I feel like a darn fool, I can't stop shaking."
"Can I get you anything? A sandwich? Some soup? Aspirin? Six dancing girls?"
Mac is also worried about Reed. Miller apologizes for shaking him up, but Mac and Malloy both know that it had to be done.
"Sooner or later he'd ask himself the same questions, anyway. He'll have to work it out for himself."
Miller then explains to Reed why the interview is necessary.
"You're a police officer. Anytime you fire that gun of yours out in the street, no matter if it's just an accident and you blow the bottom of your holster out, you're going to get questioned, you're going to go before a shooting board. We got to know exactly what happened right or wrong."
Reed agrees to continue the interview and Miller questions him on what he saw when he starting firing. Did Reed shoot at the muzzle flash or the figure holding the gun? 
"I saw a man shooting at me and I shot back, now that's all I know."
After Reed's statement, Miller asks if he or Malloy have anything else to add. They don't and Miller ends the interview. They will now go back to the scene and reconstruct the entire incident. Before they leave the room, Miller tells Reed that it looks like he has nothing to worry about it. This seems to buoy Reed's spirits.
As they leave the office, they are confronted by a group of news reporters and photographers just outside the door. They immediately begin asking Reed and Malloy for comments and snapping pictures.

Lt. Moore lets them know that the officers will not be answering any questions. One of the reporters shows Reed a headline about the shooting, he thinks Reed will like it. Reed does not look happy about his newly found fame, and he looks to his partner to make sense of it all.

The episode ends with the officers leaving the station, but this long night is still not over for them. They will now return to the scene of the shooting to reconstruct the events. The reporters and photographers follow them down the hall.
The End

God, I love this episode.
 I love it because, once again, Adam-12 has taught me something. Until I started watching Dragnet and then Adam-12, I never knew everything a police officer had to go through when they fire their gun on the job. I wish everyone who thinks that when a cop kills a suspect they just go back to the station for a round of high-fives and celebratory doughnuts, could see this episode and learn what really happens.
I also love it because it is different from most of the other episodes. Instead of seeing the partners respond to 3 or 4 calls, it focuses on 1 event. It is also much more emotionally intense then other episodes. Usually, when they are responding to calls, the officers remain stoic, so this is a real change.
 I often wonder what it would have been like if Malloy were the one being vigorously questioned. Even though it would have been interesting to see how Milner would have handled the subject matter, it wouldn't have worked. Malloy would not have responded as passionately to the questioning, he has already experienced an interview like this and knows how to handle it. I wouldn't change a thing.

Of course, I rated this episode:
Do you agree? See you next time! KMA-367

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Log 62: Grand Theft Horse? (Episode 16, Season 1)

Episode 16

Poor Malloy, things aren't going his way today. The car is making noises, some lady wants him to get on a horse, and there is a sniveling, heartbroken teenager to deal with. Maybe if he can catch the guy making phony calls this shift will turn around.

At the start of the shift the officers are in the assembly room for roll call where Lt. Moore and Sgt. MacDonald are telling them about a recent rash of false calls.
The false calls have all been "hot shot" calls that draw all of the officers in that direction and they have coincided with armed robberies at the opposite end of the division. The fake calls are obviously distractions away from the real crimes which are being perpetrated by a suspect that is armed and considered extremely dangerous.
Later, in the car, Malloy asks Reed to look at the map of the division the Lieutenant gave them. He's hoping there is a pattern to the robberies, something to give them a start on busting this guy.
How long has Reed been on probation? He's getting a little sassy with his senior officer.
"OK, so I'm looking at it. What am I supposed to be seeing?"
Suddenly, a high-pitched squealing noise begins emanating from the car. Instead of listening to Reed talk all night, Malloy will have to put with this.
At least when Reed gets to talky, he can tell him to shut up. Pete has less control over the car. 
They pull over and open the hood to see if they can determine the source of the noise.
"It stopped," observes Reed.
"No kidding," answers Malloy.
Everything under the hood looks fine, so they get back in the car, just in time to receive a radio call.  They are called to 1602 North Las Feliz Avenue for grand theft horse. That's right, grand theft horse. Reed thinks this has to be a phony call while Malloy believes it is real.
"That's gotta be for real, it's too goofy."
On the way to the address, the car starts making the noise again.
Which causes Malloy to make this face. 
"Don't say it."-Malloy
"Don't say the noise has started again?"-Reed
"I won't."-Reed
They arrive at the riding academy and speak to the horse's owner. About 10 minutes ago someone stole Herman, that's the horse. Joanna Slater, the owner, believes it was a hippie she saw hanging around the hitch rail.
"I must say, you got here in a hurry" 
"Hippie. You know, long hair, beads, dirty, the whole bit."
She suspects that the horse thief took Herman on the bridle trail. Unfortunately, the entire length of the trail is not wide enough for a car. But that doesn't mean that Reed and Malloy can just drive away and forget about Herman, he is worth $600 after all. Joanna has an idea of how they can catch the thief.
"Well partner, what do we do now?" 
"I'll let you have a couple of horses!"
"Us on horses?"- Reed
"Sure. I'll let you have Thelma and Cupcake, they're real goers."
"We wouldn't want anything to happen to your animals."
"They're insured against accidental injury." 
"What's the matter, you chicken?"
"Well, we're police officers, not cowboys."
In the end, Malloy decides it is best to get some mounted park rangers to ride on the bridle trail.
1-Adam-12 requesting park rangers so I can stop making up excuses as to why I am not getting on a horse.
I'm guessing that this is supposed to be taking place in Griffith Park, which is located near Los Feliz Boulevard. Griffith Park is the "Central Park of Los Angeles", but it is larger than its East coast counterpart. Horseback riding is one of the attractions of the park.
The rangers and Malloy devise a plan for catching the horse thief. 1-Adam-12 will prowl Ridge Drive and if the rangers see the horse they will chase him towards the car.
Is it just me or does that one ranger look like Obama?
During the chase the patrol car is still making the noise, but it drives just fine.
"Goes when you push the slanty pedal down."
Reed spots the horse coming down the path. The officers screech their car to a halt and jump out to stop the horse.
Is this really the best way to stop a horse?
Herman gets away. 
But Malloy and Reed get their man.
Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to introduce the most polite horse thief in the history of crime; Leroy Samuel Rutherford of Big Springs Texas as played by a 21-year-old Tim Matheson. It would be his pleasure to go to the car with Reed.
"I'm powerful sorry I put you fellows out."
Leroy left Texas for California about 3 months ago to find himself. But, all he has found in L.A. are "righteous souls" who say they are looking for the same thing and then give Leroy "something to swallow or smoke or stick in my arm". Today he took something that made him "real sad" and while he was sitting there looking at the horses he decided he wasn't going to find himself in L.A., because he's back in Texas.
"And the next thing I knew I was in that saddle, just headin' for home."
He's almost happy to be going to calaboose, which is Creole slang for prison, because he can "eat regular again" and get off the pills. Which, he believes, "mess a fella up some".
After dropping Leroy off at the station, Malloy also wants to drop off the car and get another one. But, Reed has checked are no other cars are available.
"Looking around for another car before this one drives me into a rubber room."
Well, maybe it won't be so bad. 
Listen to that, the noise has stopped!
And now it has started again.
Despite the annoying noise, Malloy and Reed must go to their next call a 415 woman at 15563 South Century.
And what is the unknown trouble at 15563 South Century? According to the hotel manager, it's a "psycho broad" who is sitting behind a man's car in order to stop him from leaving. 
There's that Mustang again.
Reed tries to talk to the "psycho broad" but gets nothing out of her.
Malloy talks to the owner of the car, Charles Carter, who met the woman behind his car on a business trip in Virginia.
Ol' Chucky here took Sue Sue, that's the "psycho broad", out on 4 or 5 dates while he was in Virginia. Somehow, she got the idea that Charles was in love with her and flew out to live with him. He picked her up at the airport and paid for her stay in the hotel, but when he told her he was leaving she threw a fit.
It's obvious that Malloy does not like this guy.
Even though Carter has clearly led poor Sue Sue on by telling her he was in love with her, but no more "than any guy would under the circumstances", he has not done anything legally wrong and Malloy has no choice but to let him leave.
"No, Mr. Carter, as far as we can tell, you haven't done anything wrong; legally."
"OK, Sue Sue, time to get on your feet and be a big girl, now."
I am Sue Sue's biggest fan. Her outfit, hair, nails, everything is simply divine and she gets man-handled by both Reed and Malloy and she gets to spend time with both of them in a hotel room! You go, girl!
They take Sue Sue to her hotel room and she is not happy. She doesn't want to stay there and she doesn't want to go home to face her mother. Malloy doesn't have the patience for this heartbroken girl.
"Sit down!"
"Look, Susan, it's not the end of the world. You're not the first girl to fall for a 24-karat phony. That's life in the big city and lessons aren't free." 
While Malloy is on the phone calling Sue Sue's mother, Reed recognizes that Malloy may be going about this all wrong.

Hmmm...Maybe she doesn't need somebody telling her that life is hard and she should get used to it. Maybe she needs somebody to tell her that everything is going to be OK.

"Try not to take it so hard. So you made a mistake, a tough one, but if you don't learn to accept it you're gonna get in deeper and deeper until you're in real trouble. Besides, like my partner says, it's not the end of the world."
But, to Sue Sue, it is the end of the world. She has to do a trans-continental "walk of shame". Reed, being a man, has no idea what that will feel like.
"If it was me, I'd say that you're a pretty girl that got loused up by a heel and it's nothing to make a big deal about."
Reed nails it. Sue Sue has had her heart broken in the worst way and having an impatient grump telling her to get over it isn't going to help. But, a man with perfect bone structure telling her that she isn't going to be a romantic pariah, that will make her feel better.
Later in the evening, Malloy makes a prediction about Charles Carter.
"Someday he's gonna play games with the wrong little girl and get a knife in his ribs."
I think he may be right on the money with that one.
Soon after making this statement, the radio breaks in with a call, "prowler, see the man, 427 East Catalina".
Malloy keeps driving in the opposite direction, though. The call feels wrong to him and there are a lot of liquor stores in the direction they're headed.
Turns out that Malloy's hunch about the call was right, it was a phony. The next radio dispatch reports that 1-Adam-11 was unable to locate the PR for the prowler call. Malloy then predicts that a 211 will happen. He's right again, they receive a call of a 211 in progress at 6340 West Spring.

As soon as they roll up to the address, they are fired upon.
Reed and Malloy chase after the suspects, who then speed off in a red Ford Falcon.
Which loses a hubcap during the chase.
The suspects then start firing at 1-Adam-12! Malloy instructs Reed to discourage them from doing more of the same. Reed fires at the suspects from the moving patrol car.
He manages to hit their car quite a few times.
The suspects then fail to make a turn.
This is the result.
Pete and Jim manage to pull the two suspects from the car.
Later, back at the scene of the robbery, Mac tells Pete and Jim that one of the men they pulled from the car matches the armed robbery suspect to a tee. He asks Malloy how he knew that the prowler call was a phony. Malloy responds that it felt wrong because most prowler calls are "see the woman" and this one was "see the man".
Mac also reminds them that it is against policy to fire at a moving vehicle.
"It's also against policy to get yourself killed."
"We'll go into that in detail later. You can count on it."
At the close of the episode, Reed and Malloy are in the car and Reed is worried that they will be reprimanded for going against policy.

"I don't know, in a spot like that sometimes you've got to take your chances with the book. It goes with the territory."

Reed's worry soon turns to relief as he notices that the car has stopped making the noise!

The End

OK, I love everything about this episode, right down to Joanna Slater's purple high-waisted pants. I love every facial expression from Milner illustrating Malloy's annoyance with the car and it's mystery noise. I love every stammering excuse he feeds Ms. Slater as to why he can not get on a horse. Every reason he gives her may be legitimate, but I suspect that Malloy just doesn't want to get on a horse because he is afraid of looking foolish. I love the polite horse thief, Leroy Samuel Rutherford. I even love his sad tale of life on the streets of L.A.
I have a special fondness for jilted lover, Susan "Sue Sue" Baker. Most of what I like about her is based on appearances, but I do find Reed's interaction with her sweet and endearing. 
I also love Malloy's quick thinking in the final scenes. His police experience solves the case that has vexed the entire division. However, his victory does not come easily and may even give the captain grounds to punish him. 
Since I like so much about this episode, I have no choice but to give it a rating of:

I'm super excited to see you next time because the next episode is truly one of my favorites! I can't wait! KMA-367