Sunday, March 29, 2015

Log 153: Find Me a Needle (Episode 2, Season 2)

Episode 28


Pete and Jim work to uncover the identity of the "Mulholland Mauler", a serial killer who has murdered five victims.  They also investigate the disappearance of  a young woman who may be the Mauler's latest victim. 

The Story:

Prior to roll call the officers mill about the assembly room. Reed and Malloy know this will not be a routine roll call when they see that the watch commander is accompanied by Sgt. Miller from detectives.
"Sergeant Miller," observes Reed.
"Something must be up," adds Malloy.
Mac begins the assembly by reading the crimes of the night. He announces that the sixth victim of the Mulholland Mauler has come out of her coma and is going to be alright. Sgt. Miller has just come from the hospital where he has interviewed the victim. 
Miller describes victim #6 as a 19-year-old caucasian female who was picked up by the Mauler while hitchhiking. Once she was inside the Mauler's car, he put a knife to her throat, shoved her to the floor of his car, then threw a blanket over her head. 

Mac continues the story, telling the officers that the Mauler then took her to Mulholland where he raped her and beat her to unconsciousness. Finally, he threw her down a ravine where she was found by two kids.
Pete and Jim listen intently to the description of the attack.
The victim has also provided a description of the Mauler and his car. He is a male caucasian, 5' 9", 165 pounds, with black hair who drives a 1962 dark green, four-door Plymouth. The men are instructed to investigate every car meeting that description, even if it is "upside-down in somebody's back yard".
All units whose area includes Mulholland Drive, including 1-Adam-12, are told to stay in that area during their watch, other cars will handle radio calls.
Pete and Jim will be spending their night on Lover's Lane.
(No, not like that. They'll be looking for the killer.)
Early in their shift, Pete and Jim spot a young, female hitchhiker. Pete parks the car to talk to her. The teenaged hitcher, Mary Gallagher, would rather thumb a ride than take the bus.
(Mary's classic outfit would not look out of place in 2015. Thankfully, her practice of hitchhiking would seem out of place today.)
She explains that catching a ride with a stranger is a more exciting than public transportation. Exciting or not, it's still against the law and Jim writes her a ticket. Mary is worried that her parents will kill her when they learn of the ticket. Pete reminds her of the true dangers that hitchhiking can bring.
"Is that all your worried about? What about the guy who picks you up? How do you know what's in his mind? You know, once you get in his car, he owns you. A knife or a gun, you do exactly what he says, all the way. And when he's finished, you might be too. Think about it."
As the clock approaches 10 pm, their night in the hills has been mostly quiet. Jim comments that they've seen only seven cars, two rabbits, a raccoon, and a dog. As soon as he tallies all they've observed, the count changes to eight cars; the eighth being a green, four-door, '62 Plymouth. Following the instructions from roll call, they stop the Plymouth.
After Malloy frisks the driver and inspects his license and registration, he asks to look in the trunk. The driver apathetically agrees to allow Pete access to the trunk.
"Look in the trunk, pick the car up and shake it. What do I care?"
As Jim keeps watch over the car's owner, the senior officer opens the trunk. Pete is alarmed by what he finds inside.

The driver explains that he uses the knife when he goes fishing and asks if there is a law against that.
"If what you're fishing for is young and female, the answer is 'yes'," responds Pete.
Since he is driving the same car as the Mauler and possesses items similar to those used in the latest attack, this fisherman is cuffed and driven back to the station.

In the detective's room Reed, Malloy, Miller, and MacDonald compare the knives recovered from the two suspects arrested on this night.

In addition to the suspect that 1-Adam-12 has brought in, Officer Brent has also arrested a suspect with the "right knife, right blanket, and right car". Malloy and Reed are confident that their suspect is the Mauler.

After their stop at the station, Pete and Jim return to their patrol on lover's lane. They approach a couple of teenagers necking in a parked car. Pete surprises the young lovers when he knocks on the rear of the car.
"How scared would you be if we weren't policemen, just a couple of big guys in the dark?"
Reed and an unusually sedate Malloy try to make the couple understand that they should pay more attention to their surroundings and less heed to their hormones. In the heat of passion they may not hear a killer approaching. 
"Cars have brakes, son, sometimes they fail. Same thing happens to people," cautions Reed.
"Nobody's against love, we're not. But a parked car up here is hardly the place."
They finally tell the amorous teens to move along and find a less dangerous location for their liaison.

Next, they happen upon a white Camaro with a flat tire. The driver is nowhere in sight, but Pete discovers a clue about the owner's identity when he peers inside the vehicle.
High-heeled shoes are found on the front seat. Pete surmises that the female owner wore these shoes to work and changed into flats on her way home.
Pete also discovers that the car has not been driven for quite awhile.
Reed runs the plates and reports that the owner is Dolores Grove. Pete hopes that Dolores has walked to the garage at the bottom of the hill, they head there to investigate. 

When they arrive at the repair shop, Dolores is not there. Instead, they find a friend of hers who Dolores was supposed to drive to a party in Oxnard over two hours ago. The girlfriend got tired of waiting and tried to drive her own unreliable vehicle to the party. When it broke down, she ended up at this garage.

She tells Pete and Jim that Dolores couldn't have gone to the party on her own, she didn't have the directions to get there. They tell the redhead about their discovery of Dolores' disabled vehicle and ask if she would have walked for help. Her friend finds the idea of Dolores walking laughable.
"Dolores Grove wouldn't walk a half mile if her life depended on it."
Hitchhike, yes. Walk, never. Reed and Malloy exchange worried glances, Dolores' life may depend on choosing walking over hitchhiking tonight.

Pete and Jim return to the station shortly after 1am. Sgt. Miller reports that Oxnard PD checked out the party, Dolores Grove never showed up. The composite sketch of the Mulholland Mauler based on Victim #6's description is now complete. Unfortunately, it doesn't bear an overwhelming resemblance to either suspect. There is also a scratch or scar on the face of the composite sketch subject that neither suspect possesses. Malloy thinks this eliminates both men.
 Sgt. Miller explains that is not necessarily true. If Victim #5 scratched the Mauler, that  scratch would have still been visible to Victim #6. By now the scratch would be completely healed. 
Miller feels that both suspects are "hot" until Dolores Grove can be located. Unfortunately, finding Dolores Grove will be as a difficult as finding a needle in a haystack.
"Maybe we can find this needle, if we start with the guy that dropped it," theorizes Malloy.
Nick, the guy that Pete and Jim brought in, has agreed to cooperate. Miller asks him if he would like to take a ride back to the area of his car. The suspect agrees to go with them.

Back on Mulholland, they first take Nick back to his car and ask him what he was doing in this lonely area. He explains that he likes to see the lights come on in the valley.
Pete asks if Nick comes up here alone. Nick does not answer.

They then drive Nick to Dolores' car. When Sgt. Miller asks him if he knows who owns the car, Nick becomes enraged and snaps at the detective.
"I don't know!" shouts Nick.
More cracks begin to show in Nick's veneer when Miller asks if he would have given Dolores a ride. Nick answers, "I might." The detective then asks him if she was pretty. Nick just chuckles.

Their next stop is the ravine where Victim #6 was found. The officers ask Nick if #7 is down there, too.

 They ask him if the knife was in his hand. 
They ask Nick if the blanket was over her head.
Nick claims ignorance to their queries. As the tension builds, Nick decides that he wants to go back to the station. He doesn't want to talk anymore, nobody cares what happens to him.
"I'll agree with that. But right now, we're trying to find a missing woman before it's too late. We're pretty sure you can help us, Nick."
Malloy then challenges Nick to tell them one thing to prove his innocence. When he can't provide an answer, Malloy asks him if #7 is also around here. 
A defeated Nick nods in response.
They all get back in the car and drive until Nick tells them to stop. Reed and Malloy exit the car to look for Dolores, leaving Sgt. Miller in the backseat with Nick. 
Malloy finds a stray woman's shoe in the brush and yells to Miller, "Call an ambulance!". 
They soon find Dolores.
When Nick hears Pete's shout of "We found her!" he tries to justify his actions to a horrified Sgt. Miller.
"When they start to scream, there's nothing else to do."
In the ravine, Pete holds the terrified and injured Dolores. He tries to comfort her as she frantically tells him, "He tried to kill me".

In the closing scene Nick, Sgt. Miller, Malloy, and Reed watch the ambulance containing Dolores drive away. As Malloy cuffs him, Nick recounts the first time he killed a victim. He felt so awful, he tried to kill himself afterwards. Eventually, he stopped feeling bad about it. Nick thinks his lack of long-term remorse proves he's crazy.
"Doesn't it?"
 The End.

My evaluation:

This tense, almost-noir thriller is a complete contrast from last week's fun romp in the park. Adam-12 is never the same show twice and that is one of the reasons that I love it. The light-hearted, fun episodes are balanced by the darkly dramatic ones.

Nowadays it seems that we are treated to serial killer investigations every week on television. This episode, and the Dragnet 1966 pilot movie, feel like the genesis of the genre. Today's detective shows usually downplay the role of the uniformed officer in this type of case while elevating the importance of the crime lab. Here, the serial killer is found through good, old-fashioned police work. 

Most of the heavy police work here is done by Malloy and Miller with Reed observing his superiors at work. Usually, I'll "ding" an episode if I feel that it is too Malloy-heavy. But, since Reed is a rookie cop on his first serial killer investigation I feel that the portrayal of his role in the investigation is fair. I think any rookie would take a back seat to the more experience officers on this type of case.

I was thoroughly entertained by this story and the performances. Especially Milner's. Pete's interaction with every citizen in this story is different. He is firmly father-like with the young hitchhiker; confidently in-control with Nick; understanding with the teenaged lovers; and lovingly comforting with the injured Dolores. I give Log 153: Find Me a Needle the rating of:

Do you agree? See you next time! KMA-367

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Log 15: Exactly One Hundred Yards (Episode 1, Season 2)

Welcome to Season 2!

It's season 2! Most things are the same way we left them in season 1, but some things have changed. 
Here are the differences between season 1 and season 2:
-The uniforms are different (more on this later).
-The car is new. The season 1 car was a 1968 Plymouth Belvedere, the season 2 car is a 1969 Plymouth Belvedere.
-The opening credits. In the first season the communications operator reads 4 dispatches during the opening sequence. In the second season, this is cut down to 2 radio calls.
This is what has not changed from the first season to the second:
-Mrs. Reed is still pregnant!
-Jim is still on probation
Now, I've read some arguments online that the first season equals one year in the life of Malloy and Reed. But, I don't see how that can possibly be true if Jean is still pregnant and if Jim is still on probation at the start of the second season. 

Let's get started!

Episode 27


Jim takes off his shirt, revealing a portion of his naked torso and Pete does the high jump in short-shorts while training for the California Police Olympics! Also, there's some kid that needs help or something.  

The Story:

Our story starts in the locker room where Mac is a hanging California Police Olympics poster on the bulletin board. 
Are those runners in the illustration naked?
Our two favorite cops enter the locker room. Today, they will be visiting a fifth grade class that wants to meet a couple of "real, live policemen". Mac told the principal that he would send his two best men.
"...and they had the day off, so you're sending us," quips Reed.
"Take it easy, Reed, you're stepping on his punchline," adds Malloy.
They are visiting the school as part of the "Policeman Bill" program, a community relations initiative that taught school children about the police and their work. Malloy and Reed have divided their Policeman Bill duties so that each of them is performing the role that suits them. Malloy makes the introductions and Reed supplies the answers. And that's OK with Reed, he likes being Policeman Bill.
"The more kids we talk to in school, the fewer we're gonna have to talk to on the streets," explains Reed.

Mac thinks he's got a great future in this business.
I also think that Reed would be great talking to kids. Remember his past interactions with children?

While he and Malloy begin to slowly peel off their civilian clothes, Reed asks Mac if he is going to participate in the Police Olympics. Mac replies that the only thing stopping him is the competition. 
"You're reading my mind," adds Malloy.
Mac then takes a moment to study the young, strapping, broad-shouldered, tall, dark, and handsome competition before him.
"Looking at this guy here, for instance, makes 1967 seem like an awful long time ago."
1967 was the year that Mac won the shot put in the games. This year, Mac is counting on Reed and his athletic prowess to win at least one gold medal. In order to achieve this, Reed and Malloy are going to start working out tomorrow morning. Mac is shocked to learn that Malloy will be trying out for the high jump competition. Malloy asks him to keep it "under his hat".
He doesn't want to scare away the competition. 

We next see our heroes at the school, fully clothed in their new season 2 uniforms! Let's compare their first season uniforms to their second season uniforms.
Season 1 uniforms had belts with buckles, brass buttons, and no name badges.
Season 1 uniforms also had peaked hats. You can see the brass buttons and absence of the name badge better in this screen cap.
Just as the real-life LAPD made changes to their uniforms, so did the LAPD portrayed on Adam-12. The hats were changed to a circle shape, like the Air Force. In order to cut down on reflection from street lights at night, the belt was changed to a buckle-less style that fastened with a hook on the under- side. The brass buttons were changed to nickel for the same reason. Name badges were also added.
The principal introduces Reed and Malloy, who the children can call "Policeman Bill", then Malloy addresses the class.
Here's the class. Love the mod sailor dress, I think that blond kid has his yellow sweatshirt on backwards, and that kid in the plaid shirt just moved here from Walton's Mountain.

"You can relax nobody's gonna get arrested."
Pete then delivers the message of the Policeman Bill program, policemen do a lot of other things besides "write tickets and arrest people".  In a way, Adam-12 was the weekly televised version of Policeman Bill. As Kent McCord said during his Planet Comicon panel, the goal of Adam-12 was to change the audience's perception of the police. Before the show, people only saw the cops when they were getting pulled over or when they were called to the scene of a crime. In either situation, the police were not appreciated. Nobody wants a traffic ticket and the cops never arrived quickly enough when called for help. Adam-12 showed the world that there is more to police work than writing tickets and making arrests. It also showed the public that actual people were behind those blue suits and badges.

Malloy, having completed his introduction, turns it over to Reed. Reed begins by telling the students that a policeman must keep himself in top physical condition. 

He adds that he and Malloy will be working on their physical conditions during their workout tomorrow. One of the kids ask if they can come along. Reed thinks that's a great idea and invites the class to join them the next day.

While Reed and Malloy are addressing the class,  one boy stands apart from the group.
He's hiding a terrible family secret. His father is a collection of reanimated corpse parts, and his mother is a vampire. His shaggy 1960's hair is hiding pointed ears and a rather strange widow's peak.
Later, Malloy is walking with the principal while Reed shows the class the features of the patrol car. The senior officer notices the class loner. He is not with the other kids at the car, but standing by himself with a pocket knife. The boy's name is Tony Niccolo, according to the principal he is an alright boy who is hard to reach. Malloy approaches him and asks if he wants to sit in the car.
"Me in a cop car? You've got to be kidding."
Malloy tells Tony "suit yourself" then he and the principal walk away and leave him with his pocket knife. School policies have changed a lot in the past 46 years! 

Reed is now showing the students how the two-way radio works. 
No wonder he likes being Policeman Bill, he finally gets to sit in the driver's seat!
When their time with the students is over, Pete and Jim walk to the black and white with the principal. They tell him that they will be on patrol for the rest of the day.

"After a slight delay," adds Pete.
These two slashed tires are the reason for the delay.
 Malloy wants to talk with the knife-weilding Tony Niccolo. It must have been legal in 1969 for cops to question kids without parents present, because we next see Malloy, Reed and the principal trying to get a confession out of Tony. Pete even gets all Jack Webb and tells Tony how the tires on the car are replaced after 5/32" of tread is worn off. He then breaks down all the costs associated with the slashed tires that the taxpayers will have to foot.
"All together the taxpayers are out a pretty hefty chunk."
Despite the men's efforts, Tony does not confess. He swears that he did not have a knife or slash the tires despite the fact that his principal and a member of the LAPD saw him with a knife.
"Honest, I swear I didn't do it! Please, won't someone believe me?"
After their shortened patrol is complete, Pete and Jim return to the locker room. Reed believes that Tony did not slash the tires, Tony seemed so honest and he can usually tell when a kid is lying. Malloy remains skeptical.

Reed changes the subject to the Police Olympics, he wants to start their workout at 7:00 am tomorrow. 
Pete doesn't want to get up quite that early on his day off. He must have a hot date tonight.
The next morning Pete and Jim are training with the help of the school children. The first event they will practice is the shot put.
The kids mark where Pete has put the shot.
(I feel sorry for everyone who had to workout in 1969, their choices for exercise attire were atrocious.)
It is now Jim's turn to try his hand at the shot put. But first...
He struggles out of his constricting sweatshirt.

(I'm sorry. I passed out and my head hit the keyboard.)
He then hands his sweatshirt to the waiting boy,

takes the heavy shot in his muscular arm,

then gets in position to throw the shot.
,zikdfhst hoehkrsjjlk,sajk
(Sorry, it happened again.)
Jim wins the shot put before he even throws it.

Tony has been watching from afar. 
The high jump is up next. 
Thank God Pete did not choose to go "commando" this day.
Although the entire class is having fun with Pete and Jim, Tony still does not join them.

Jim takes a break and finds Tony at the water fountain. In an effort to include the boy, he asks Tony to get the stopwatch from Pete's car. He gives Tony Pete's car keys.

After their stunt doubles jump some hurdles, Pete practices the long jump. 

Jennifer, the class know-it-all, argues that Pete has committed an "obvious foul" when attempting his jump.
Jim then comes over to tell Pete that Tony has disappeared. Pete does not seem concerned that his car keys are also missing.
"Maybe he found something more exciting, like some uncut tires," theorizes Pete.
While Pete jumps again, Jim goes to the car and investigates.
No Tony, no stopwatch, no keys to be found. But, hey, it's the same Mustang from Log 73: I'm Still a Cop all repaired and cleaned up!
Jim returns to the field to let Pete know that the watch has gone missing along with Tony. Malloy, upset that his stopwatch is missing but not his keys, tells the kids to move the equipment. He and Jim will race near where they threw the shot. 
"Isn't it correct, Officer Malloy, to say 'put the shot'?"

First I get my stopwatch and car keys stolen, now I'm being corrected by a pre-pubescent smart aleck. I'm so glad you forced me to get up at the crack of dawn for this, partner.

Pete and Jim don't get too far in their race when they are interrupted by a strange man.
It's Tony's father, he's looking for his son. In other news, Jim has finally removed his sweatpants.
Pete also wants to find Tony, he thinks Tony has his stopwatch. Mr. Niccolo thinks the cops have it out for his son. He doesn't believe Tony slashed their tires or took the watch. Mr. Niccolo storms off.

Pete and Jim attempt another race, but this time they are stopped short by Tony. He has the stopwatch and returns Pete's keys. Now that they have the watch, it's time to race.

Jim wins! 
Tony has clocked his time at 9.6 seconds. Pete gets his shorty shorts all in a bunch and disputes this time, he thinks that either the course was less than 100 yards or Tony stopped the watch too soon. 
"It was exactly 100 yards," argues Jennifer.
After Jennifer's confident statement, Pete concedes the race to his partner.
Using Jennifer's favorite adjective, Malloy tells Jim that he ran a "fantastic race, Mr. Reed, just fantastic." Jim is sick of his partner's BS.
After they have finished their training for the day, Pete has decided that he will not be participating in the olympics. The competition is just too much for him. Now he just wants to drive home slowly and take a nice, long, quiet nap. 

Jennifer then joins them at the car. She apologizes for measuring the course incorrectly, it was only 93 yards and 6 inches. She also tells them that Mr. Niccolo found Tony and ordered him home. She hopes that there is no trouble about the gun that Tony has stashed in his belt. Upon hearing about the gun, Pete and Jim leave to find Tony.

They find Tony and his father walking home and pull up beside them. Pete and Jim jump out of the car and confront the Niccolo men.
"Tony, do you want to tell him or should I?" asks Pete.
Tony insists that he has nothing to tell his father. Pete tells Tony that they know about the gun and they want it. He then tells Tony to open his jacket. Mr. Niccolo also encourages Tony to open his jacket, he wants to prove the officers wrong.
Then this happens.

And this...

And finally this.
The gun belongs to Mr. Niccolo, Tony has taken it out of fear. His parents have been fighting a lot and Tony was afraid something terrible might happen. He didn't want to cause any trouble, he just got scared when he saw how mad his father was.
"Oh boy, talk about a communications gap," laments Mr. Niccolo.
(Do you see what I see? He is wearing a v-neck undershirt under his crew neck undershirt. That is some undershirt dedication right there.)
"Yes, sir, sounds like you've got a few bridges to build."
Instead of being mad, Mr. Niccolo reassures Tony that everything is going to be alright.
Tony then admits to slashing the tires. 
Oh man, I was wrong. Pete's never gonna let me live this down.
He believes his anger made him destructive. His father is glad that he only took his frustration out on tires. Even though his father is relieved, Tony is still worried. He is concerned about the expense of the tires.

" might turn out that they're dirt cheap."
We next see Pete and Jim in the same clothes, but supposedly many days later. Tony walks up while Jim does sit-ups and Pete relaxes, he asks if they are still working out.
"That's our motto, son, 'stay in shape'," quips Pete.
Tony goes on to tell them that his father took him to the Police Olympics where they got to see Jim win his gold medal. He compliments Jim on the fantastic job he did in the race. 

"Thanks, Malloy here claims I had a following wind."
(Geez, Malloy sure is a sore loser. Isn't he?)
Jim offers to show Tony his gold medal, but Tony doesn't seem too interested.
"That's right, Tony, you've seen one gold medal, you've seen 'em all."
(Milner's such a fine actor he can convey a message just by using his large, freckled hands.)
Jim shows him the medal anyway.
You go Jim! Be proud of your accomplishments, don't let the jealous haters bring you down.
As Tony walks away, Pete invites him to the station and offers to treat him to ice cream. Despite the tempting offer, Tony refuses.
"Me, in a police station? What do you want me to do, ruin my reputation?"
(Shouldn't Tony have already been in a police station? Isn't slashing the tires on a police car some kind of crime? Doesn't he have to be held accountable for that?)
Tony then leaves, Jim starts to do push-ups, and Pete goes back to sleep.
The End.

My evaluation:

What a perfect episode to cover as I come down from the high of meeting Kent McCord last week. I don't remember every detail of what I talked about with Kent. There were many times when I couldn't hear what Kent was saying over my own inner voice that was saying, "Oh my God, I am talking to Kent McCord! This is important and I should try to remember every detail. But, oh my God!". But, I do remember that I told him I was excited to cover this episode because we get to see some of his naked flesh when he takes his shirt off. Mr. McCord was very gracious and just laughed at my lascivious comment.

I have always liked this episode, and not just because of the flesh. I loved learning about the Policeman Bill program. I think the parts with the kids are fun and there are some really good Milner faces in this one. Even though he comes off as a hot-head when we first meet him, I also really like Mr. Niccolo. He realizes that his actions are at the root of Tony's problems and vows to make a change.

I don't think many will agree with me, but I give this episode a rating of:
Oh wait, I have some other news! Lincoln X-ray Ida: My Blog About Adam-12 is now a part of the Classic TV Blog Association. A group of well-written, informative, and entertaining blogs dedicated to classic TV. You can find links to all of the member blogs here. Check some of them out!

See you next time! KMA-367