Sunday, June 28, 2015

Log 34: Astro (Episode 13, Season 2)

Episode 39

This is another episode with conflicting titles. Netflix says it's "Astro", IMDB says "Astro Division". I just call it the "Helicopter Episode From Season 2, Not to Be Confused With The 2-Part Helicopter Episode From Season 6".


Good news, Ed Wells has a new assignment. Bad news, it's still with the LAPD.

The Story:

Deciding who pays for coffee everyday can get pretty boring, so Reed and Malloy have made a game out of it. As far as I can tell, they both flip coins at the same time, the one whose coin is "tails" pays for the coffee. I think, they don't really explain the rules.
They flip coins. Reed loses.
He asks to see Malloy's coin. A particularly jovial Malloy presents his coin for inspection.

While Reed pays for the coffee, Ed Wells enters wearing an LAPD baseball cap as opposed to his usual policeman's hat. Malloy thinks this is hilarious.
"Looks like you're gonna play little league this year."
(I wonder Malloy would think of my local PD, they wear ball caps as a part of their regular uniform.)

Wells corrects him, he'll be playing the "big league, upstairs" today. Meaning that he has signed on to be an observer to Astro, the helicopter unit. Wells brags that being part of the helicopter unit takes a "little know-how, and a stout heart, and a keen, keen eye." From up in the air, he'll be able to see everything.
Apparently, there's some other officer named Grant standing beside Reed here. Grant thinks that Wells will only be able to see "dollhouses, toy cars, and ants" from 800 feet up in the air.

Before they leave the coffee room, Reed tries again for free coffee. He challenges Wells to a "flip off", but first they trade coins. 
Reed loses again and he's not happy.
Malloy just wants to enjoy his coffee.

At roll call Mac briefs the officers on the helicopter. The department had been using the helicopter on a limited basis, but now the limitations are off and it is operational as a regular patrol vehicle. 

Let me give you some history on the LAPD helicopter unit, or the Air Support Division as it is now called. And when I say, "give you some history", I really mean, "let me cut and paste this bit about the history of the Air Support Divison from".

The Los Angeles Police department’s airborne law enforcement program began with one helicopter in 1956. This helicopter, a Hiller 12J was assigned primarily for traffic patrol of the City’s freeway system and was assigned to the traffic Enforcement Division. In 1957 after a full year in operation, the "Helicopter Unit" flew 775 hours.

In 1963, a second helicopter was added to the fleet and two years later a third was added. In 1968, a turbine powered Bell 206A Jet Ranger was added to the fleet. This helicopter significantly decreased police response time. As a result, the "Helicopter Unit" began to respond to unusual occurrences and other police emergencies.

At the end of Mac's speech he introduces Lt. King, the man in charge of the helicopter unit. He begins his talk about the helicopter by comparing it to the two-way radio. When the radio was introduced, a lot of people felt it was a new, expensive toy the department had, but now the officers would not be able to do their job without it. A lot of people feel the same way about the helicopter. He is here to show them that it is not a toy, but an essential law-enforcement tool.
This is Lt. King, he's played by Kenneth Tobey. Tobey was also on a show called "Whirlybirds". I've never seen it, but it's about helicopters. 

Lt. King gives them some facts surrounding the use of the helicopter. In a division that used the helicopter in conjunction with the patrol cars, robbery and theft decreased while arrests increased. 

King goes on to point out that the helicopter is not meant to replace the black and white patrol car, it is a tool that can assist the patrol officers with their operation on the ground. However, the helicopter is only effective if the patrol officers communicate with the air unit. 

After inspection, Pete and Jim hit the street. Their first call is unknown trouble at 1623 Hickory Street, which Jim points out is a "pretty ritzy section".

When they arrive at 1623 Hickory a Chinese man speaking either Chinese or heavily accented English shows them to the basement of the residence.
Pete asks Jim, "Did you get any of that?".

Jim replies, "Are you kidding?".

They finally understand that he is trying to tell them something about the mushrooms he grows in the basement. Pete, who can't understand where this is going or what this is all about, asks his partner if he knows anything about mushrooms. Jim answers by telling his partner all he knows about the edible fungi, "They look good on a steak".
[You're no help whatsoever, junior.]

Pete tries to gather more information about why they have been called. He tries to break the language barrier by shouting his questions at the Chinese man. He asks if someone tried to steal his mushrooms.
"Take them, put them in their pocket!" shouts Pete while pantomiming the action of putting something in his pocket.

It becomes clear that the man is attempting to tell them he heard something while tending to his mushrooms. He bangs a stick to illustrate what he heard. He then shows them the real reason they've been called. Pete has a feeling that this has nothing to do with mushrooms.
He takes them to a large wall safe.

Pete is beginning to understand what this is all about. He asks how many people live in the house.
One? Two?

Pete gets it now, the residents of the house are locked inside the safe. He tells Jim to call the station and get the lock and safe crew from SID (Scientific Investigation Division) and an ambulance out to their location quickly.
Jim uses hand gestures instead of shouting to ask for the phone.

Shortly after the Chinese man leads Jim upstairs to use the phone, another man comes downstairs to see what's going on. This man is Dr. Vincent Patrick, a neighbor and friend of the homeowners, Frank and Judy Laird. The Chinese man and his wife work for the Lairds. The wife called Dr. Vincent. Pete, hoping for a quick resolution, asks if Dr. Patrick knows the safe combination. Unfortunately, he does not know it. 
Pete thinks the Lairds were robbed and forced into the safe by the perpetrators. Jim confirms this theory, the upper level of the house has been ransacked.

Sgt. Bing from lock and safe arrives and goes right to work. He listens inside the safe and hears moaning, Bing then has another man from his crew drill a hole in the safe door to let in some air. He determines that they will have to cut the safe open with the torch.
I love this guy from the lock and safe crew, as soon as Bing says he needs something, this guy is on it.  He says they needs holes for air, and this guy's ready with the biggest hand-held drill you've ever seen. He says,"we're gonna have to burn it", and "Bam!" without a word, this guy is lighting the torch.

 Except, that won't work. Another plainclothes officer rushes downstairs to tell Bing that Laird had a tear gas capsule with a fusible-linked trigger installed in the safe. If they use the torch, it will set off the tear gas. The elderly Lairds, who are already fighting for air, would not survive the tear gas. Bing can't understand why the Lairds didn't open the safe themselves from the inside, Pete theorizes that they may be injured.

Bing decides to "drag" the lock, they will pull the spindle and manipulate the tumblers by hand. Normally, they'd "punch" the lock. Bing describes that they would, "smack a drift with a sledgehammer and drive those tumblers right out of there". I'm not really sure what all of that means, but I do know that sledgehammers and tear gas capsules don't mix well. 

Medics arrive and begin pumping oxygen into the safe. The Lairds may be in there for awhile and they will need all of the help they can get.
Bing shows Pete his tool. Pete doesn't look impressed with the size of this man's tool.

Lt. Bing works on the safe through the commercial break, commenting that, "The guy who designed this one was mad at the world". He hears a loud noise and pulls his tool out of the door, hoping for the best. 
The safe door opens and the medics pull out the unconscious Lairds.

Dr. Patrick examines the Lairds and announces that they will both be all right. Bing then discovers why the Lairds did not open the safe from the inside, the interior lightbulb had burnt out. Mr. Laird, who had quit smoking on his doctor's advice, also did not have a match to illuminate the inside of the safe. Bing asks Dr. Patrick how much the Lairds are worth, Patrick estimates one or two million dollars.
"For my money, forty cents would have been well spent."

We next see Malloy and Reed in the patrol car. Reed watches the helicopter flying above them and wonders what it is like up there. Malloy tells him that he might find out in five or six years, which would be 1975 or 1976.
Look at that, Malloy was only off by one year!

They then receive a call of a 211 in progress at 1423 Oxnard, they are told to use caution because the suspect is armed. Malloy races to Oxnard with the red lights on and siren blaring. When they arrive at the scene, a man tells them that the suspects are in an alley out back and one of them has a gun. 
Reed and Malloy get to the alley just in time to see the suspects escape on a motorcycle.

They race back to the car and the same witness gives them a description of the suspects. Once inside the car, the radio dispatcher tells them to switch to tac 2. Wells, in the helicopter, meets them on tac 2 and lets them know that the suspects have been spotted heading West on Oxnard.
Notice the name on the building in the background.

Wells continues to give them updates on the suspects' movement from his aerial vantage point. He directs Malloy until 1-Adam-12 catches up with the suspects on a footbridge. Then something very strange happens. Malloy gets out and chases one suspect while Reed slides over to the driver's side and takes off after the other suspect. What? Is Reed injured, why is he not chasing the suspect? Has he finally had a long overdue talk with his senior partner and told him that he can't do all of the running? Did they flip coins in the car and Reed finally won?  As it turns out, this is one of two mysteries in this episode.
Do you see that black cord around Reed's neck? What is that? I've never seen it before this episode. 

A dramatic stand-off between Malloy and the suspect takes place on the bridge. He shoots at Malloy, then jumps underneath the footbridge. Next, Malloy silently stalks the suspect. All that can be heard in this scene are his footsteps and the helicopter blades in the distance.
Malloy searches for the suspect.

When he realizes where the man is, he climbs beneath the bridge and closes in on the suspect. 
Wells' eye view of the bridge from the helicopter.
Malloy climbs under the bridge where all of the shrubbery is located.
"You've had it mister, give it up!"

Wells, once again, provides assistance from the air. From the helicopter, he commands the suspect to stop and throw down his gun. Knowing that he can't get away from the all-seeing eye in the sky, the suspect complies.
This criminal cross between David Hasselhoff and Michael Landon thinks that helicopters are "dirty pool".

Malloy and Reed have gotten all dirty chasing suspects around so they return to the station locker room for fresh uniforms. Wells, who has been working above the dirt and grime this shift, enters the locker room to tease his fellow officers.
He walks in and says, "Ha! The twin moles that walk like a man."
What does that mean!?! Forget what I said before, there are three mysteries in this episode.

He then tells Reed and Malloy what he witnessed after the helicopter left our dynamic duo. The helicopter unit came upon two guys digging a hole in a vacant lot, they then pulled an engine out of the hole. It seemed suspicious so they called a black and white. Wells doesn't know how the story ended, they were called to the other end of the district before the black and white got there.

After Wells leaves, Reed tells Malloy that he can live without helicopters. Malloy reminds him that it wasn't too long ago that cops used to think they could live without something else, the two-way radio.
"That was before my time."
[You little jerk, I'm never chasing after a suspect again.]

Once they're all clean and spiffy, Malloy and Reed make their way to the coffee room where Grant is telling a story about two guys in a truck with the "dirtiest automobile engine you've ever seen". Seems Grant was in the black and white that the helicopter called to investigate the guys pulling the engine out of the hole. The engine was not stolen, it belonged to one of the guys in the truck! He tried to throw it out two months ago, but the garbage men would not take it. After the cops told him to get it off the street, he buried it. Now he was unearthing it in order to exchange it for a new engine.
Malloy and Reed listen to Grant's story.

Although they've just heard a most exciting story, Reed and Malloy still need coffee. They decide to play the coin flip game again. Reed loses again.
This time Reed is a double loser, the machine takes his coin without delivering any coffee.

The credits roll and the two partners continue to shoot the breeze at the coffee machine.
This is my favorite screen cap from the whole episode. It's like they've stopped being Pete and Jim here and they're just Marty and Kent sharing a joke. I wonder what they're laughing about.
The End

My Evaluation:

I like most of this episode. Not all of it, but most of it. Let's start with the parts I enjoyed.

Just like last week's episode, I like that I learned about another aspect of police work. Before I watched this one, I never really thought about how police helicopters were used. I knew they existed, but I never thought about what the police did with them. After I heard Lt. King's speech on how the helicopter worked together with the black and white, I thought, "That totally makes sense. why didn't I understand that before?". Later in the episode, King's speech is brought to life when Wells helps Malloy and Reed close in on the suspects. His direction from the air made this chase easier to follow and more exciting than the usual car chases where you only hear sirens and squealing tires.

This episode not only had a thrilling part that kept me on the edge of my seat, it also had some comedy that made me chuckle. I really liked the part with the Chinese man, and not because of his inability to speak English. I laughed out loud at Malloy's attempts to communicate with him through shouting. Did he not understand that shouting English at a foreign person doesn't magically translate it for them? Maybe he did know that and just shouted out of frustration. Either way, a frustrated Malloy is always funny.

Here's what I didn't care for so much. That story about the engine buried in the dirt, what was the point? If it was to show how the helicopter and patrol units worked together, it really wasn't needed. The part with Wells, 1-A-12, and the suspects on the motorcycle did a much better job of illustrating this. 

I would have also liked some more explanation as to what was going on with the lock and safe crew. I didn't understand everything they were talking about and I have the internet and Google at my fingertips to look up a meaning for every word of dialogue. 1970 audiences without such access to information must have been even more confused. Unless combination safes were were more widely used back then and everybody understood how tumblers and locks worked.

I found "Log 34: Astro" mostly high-flying with a few pockets of turbulence, so I give it a rating of:

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

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Log 43: Hostage (Episode 12, Season 2)

Episode 38

"Log 43: Hostage" is a "first-y" episode! This is the first episode where one of the boys is taken hostage. It's Malloy this time, next time it will be Reed's turn. But, we have to wait until season 4 for that. This is also the first episode that was aired in 1970. I like that the title is reminiscent of those 1970's made for TV disaster movies like, Flood and Hurricane (both of which featured Martin Milner).  Finally, it's the first episode to feature the SWAT unit of the LAPD.


Malloy gets more than he bargained for when he walks into Duke's cafe.

The Story:

Pete and Jim are becoming more and more like and old married couple everyday, they each know what the other is thinking and feeling. They are in the car when Pete says what Jim's stomach has been thinking, "It's time for seven". Then, like an old, married couple, they head to their usual spot for lunch.
"1-Adam-12 requesting code 7 at Duke's Roundup Cafe, Fifth Street and Pine."
Also, just like an old person, Jim can't remember the name of their favorite restaurant. He calls it the "Roundup Cafe" here, but the sign in the window clearly says "Longhorn Cafe" and that's what he calls it for the rest of the episode.

They arrive at Duke's and Jim decides that he doesn't want to converse with Pete during lunch. Why else would he stop to buy a newspaper as soon as they get there? Pete, unfazed by his partner's rudeness, proceeds to the restaurant. But, first he asks Jim for his order.

Jim will have a "Range Burger", medium rare, with a side order of chili.
I have a bad feeling about this. Not about what that lunch is going to do to Jim's stomach, just a bad feeling in general.
Jim gets his paper. Do you see what's behind him? Bad things happen when that Mustang drives past.

Meanwhile, Pete enters Duke's cafe and walks into this:
[Hey, you guys, what's going...oh no.]

Shots are fired!
[Aw, man, I'm starving! Now I'll never get to eat.]

After the commercial, Jim runs to the patrol car while the gun man shoots at him from the window.
Recognize that car? It's Jim's car from "Log 103: A Sound Like Thunder".
Don't ask me what make or model it is, I just know it's the same car with the same round headlights.
Jean must be shopping in the neighborhood.

Bang! Bang!

[Shots fired, lunch denied! Officer needs assistance and a pizza at Fifth and Pine. Oh yeah, and a sergeant with a tear gas kit.]

Inside Duke's, an injured Pete lies on the floor in shock while his captors discuss their next move.
The first hundred times I saw this episode, I thought there was no blood where Pete was shot. But, now I can see it. Maybe my HD improved.

There are two captors, an older man named Bernie and a younger one named Vince. Vince shot Pete and now wonders what they are going to do.

Bernie and Vince are escaped convicts who were robbing Duke's cafe when Pete walked in. There are three other hostages with Pete; Duke, his waitress girlfriend, Angie, and another patron named Stony. 

Bernie goes out the backdoor of the cafe to see if they have a clear escape route.
As Bernie exits the backdoor, another black and white arrives. He shoots at the car and runs back inside.

The officers inside the other patrol car, were around the corner when Reed called for help. 
One of the backup officers and Reed advance towards Duke's.

"Hold it right there! We got a cop in here with a bullet in him. Stay right there or we'll finish him off."

Not wishing to antagonize the suspects, the officers back away. Reed then takes charge of the situation and divides the task of directing traffic away from the area with the other officer. 
[Hey, you guys are gonna have to sing your doo-wop somewhere else. We have a hostage situation.]

Inside the restaurant, Vince is worried that Malloy might die. If he does, Vince knows he and Bernie have "had it".
"Should've thought of that before you shot him," advises Bernie.

Outside, Mac has arrived and Reed has briefed him on the situation. The presence of more officers makes Bernie more nervous. He tells the hostages to sit on the floor, away from the windows. Angie tries to break away and tend to Malloy.
She explains that Pete could bleed to death if he doesn't get some help. Bernie, knowing that a live cop is better than a dead one, tells Vince to let her go.

At the command post, Mac requests a SWAT team and an ambulance. He then goes over the plan with Reed. They'll set up a perimeter and clear out any buildings that could be in the line of fire. First they'll try to talk the suspects out. If that does not work, they'll use the tear gas.

While Angie tends to Malloy, Stony asks Duke if he is going to combat their captors. He is surprised when Duke tells him that he isn't going to do anything. Duke, like Reed, has also learned a thing or two from Malloy. 
"He'd tell ya the same thing, just sit tight and sweat 'em out."

After Angie has cared for his injuries, Malloy has regained consciousness. Seeing that their most valuable hostage is now awake, Bernie informs him of their scheme. He wants to trade a live Malloy for their escape. But, Malloy knows the police won't go for it and tells Bernie to "forget it".
"It won't work, friend."

By now, Bernie and Vince are aware that the police will use tear gas in order to make them surrender. When they mention this in front of Duke, he tells them that Stony has bad lungs and wouldn't survive a release of tear gas. Bernie decides to use Stony's condition to buy some time.
Mac announces that they will begin using the tear gas in one minute if Bernie and Vince don't come out.

In response, Bernie emerges with Stony and let's them know that he "don't breathe so good" and tear gas could kill him. 

After the display with Stony, Malloy asks Bernie for his last name. He refuses to give his surname to Malloy.
"Unimportant name, unimportant man. 'til now, right?" answers Bernie.

Bernie asks if Malloy can walk, he's planning on taking him out of the cafe as a hostage. He also mentions that Vince will probably want to take Angie when they leave. Malloy, sacrificing himself to save Angie, tells Bernie that two hostages will only slow their escape.

At the command post outside, the SWAT team has arrived with Sgt. Gus Baron. In case you were wondering why SWAT was requested for this particular case, here are the criteria for requesting SWAT from

The Incident Commander shall request SWAT when at a barricaded or hostage incident when the suspect is probably armed; the suspect is believed to have been involved in a criminal act or is a significant threat to the lives and safety of the public and/or police; the suspect is in a position of advantage, affording cover and concealment or is contained in an open area and the presence or approach of police officers could precipitate an adverse reaction by the suspect; and, the suspect refuses to submit to arrest.

The situation here fits all of the requirements for Mac to request SWAT: it's a hostage incident, the suspects are definitely armed, the suspects are known to have been in involved in a criminal act (prison escape), they are a significant threat to lives of the public and the police, approach of officers has brought about an adverse reaction from the suspects, and the suspects refuse to submit to arrest.
Sgt. Baron is the man who sent Bernie and Vince up to San Quentin three years ago.

After the SWAT snipers move into position with their sights drawn on Duke's, Mac lets Bernie and Vince know that they are surrounded and have no chance for escape.

Inside the cafe, Bernie and Vince argue about what they should do. Vince wants to give up, he would prefer a cell over a casket. Bernie disagrees, "I know about one, the other's gotta be better." Bernie wants Vince to trust him. He believes if they stick together, they will be able to walk out of the restaurant alive. Malloy sides with Vince and encourages the two suspects to surrender.

Bernie decides to set his plan in motion and walks outside with Malloy. He wants to make a deal, one cop for him and Vince.
"Back off and we'll disappear. That way nobody gets hurt, we'll leave the cop behind."

Bernie then sweetens deal and offers, "one cop and three solid citizens for a couple of bust-outs." It's his final offer, but Mac is not taking it. He will only accept a deal where Bernie and Vince throw down their guns and come out with their hands up.

Sgt. Baron asks Reed if he would accept Bernie's deal. Although his partner is bleeding and he wants to get him out, Reed knows they can't agree to the suspect's terms.
He tells Baron, "You know we can't let them go."

Without a positive response from the police, Bernie hustles Malloy inside. Frustrated by the circumstances, Bernie turns against his partner. He blames Vince for putting them in this situation, it was his idea to hold up Duke's and shoot Malloy. He tells Vince to get out. Vince seizes the opportunity to save his life. He exits the restaurant, sets down his gun, and puts his hands in the air.

Reed takes him into custody.

Bernie's done proposing bargains and now has a plan to walk out of there and into his car, which is parked in front of Malloy and Reed's patrol car. Malloy will walk out of Duke's with Bernie, they'll take their time walking across the street to the car, and then they will get into the car together "like Siamese twins".

The hostages listen to the plan.

Duke thinks Bernie's plane is asinine and tells him so, "You're really not bright are ya? Malloy's a cop, they're not gonna spare him if it means letting you get away." Malloy knows that Duke is right, but he bravely stands up and says to Bernie, "OK, let's go." 

As soon as Bernie and Malloy exit the restaurant, Sgt. Baron tucks his gun in the back of his waistband and walks toward them. He'll try one last time to negotiate with Bernie before they have to use deadly force. 
Sgt. Baron asks Bernie for his gun, but Bernie's not giving it up. He wants Baron out of his way so he can get to his car.

Baron then tells him he might as well give up, they've pulled the ignition wires on his car and 1-A-12.
Malloy corroborates Baron's claim, he says he saw them pull the wires from the cafe window.

Baron asks Bernie for his gun again and suggests that he is too tired to go on. Bernie agrees that he is tired and begins to raise his gun towards his head.
At which point, Baron rushes forward and wrests the gun from Bernie's hand. 
Malloy, now free from his captor, reunites with his partner.
"How ya feelin', ya alright?" asks Reed

"Yeah, it's good to see you," responds Malloy

"It's good to see you, too."

Reed calls for the stretcher and the story is over. 
Not really.

In another first (and maybe only), another scene is added during the credits. Usually the happenings behind the credits are an extension of the final scene, not entirely new events. Let's see what happens during the credits and imagine what the dialogue would have been.
Malloy: Oh hey, Duke, thanks for visiting me in the hospital.

Duke: It's the least I could do, old friend.

Duke: Here, I brought you something.

Malloy: Oh, Duke, you shouldn't have. I hope you didn't spend too much on this.

Duke: For you Malloy, anything.

(This is the most Malloy nudity we will ever see and it's only shown under the credits! Outrageous!)

Duke: Your partner's been around a few times since you've been in here. Don't worry Angie and I are taking good care of him.

Reed: Hi, Malloy! Duke, I didn't know you were here.

Malloy: What've you got there? Is that for me?

Reed: Oh, no, I was just taking this home for dinner...Well, actually, these are for you. But, Duke's already brought you a burger. So, I can just take this home.
Malloy: Nonsense. The doctor says I need to build up my strength, I can't think of better way to do that than lifting a couple of Duke's burgers. Leave 'em here, partner.
The End

My Evaluation:

At first I was kind of lukewarm about this episode. Malloy's taken hostage, he's shot (but the late '60's effects don't make it seem very threatening), the captors fight amongst themselves, they try to negotiate with police, there's a final stand-off, and, of course, Malloy survives. Yada, yada, yada.

But, then I read more about SWAT and the requirements for the use of the team. As I read them, I thought, "No wonder Mac called SWAT, this situation fits all of those stipulations." I was able to connect real-life LAPD procedures with the story and it made me feel super smart! I also learned that when this episode was first aired, the SWAT team was less than five years old. So, this was a new part of the police force that the public was learning about through Adam-12. I wonder if the 1970 viewing public also felt super smart after viewing this episode.

I'm still lukewarm on the story of Malloy being taken hostage, I didn't find it particularly suspenseful or dramatic. But, I'm super stoked that I was able to learn about another aspect of police work! So, I give "Log 43: Hostage" a rating of:
Do you agree? See you next time! KMA-367

Oh, by the way, I linked this blog to my Google+ account. Hopefully, this means that you can follow me on Google+, which means you would also be following the blog? I guess? The instructions for allowing people to follow the blog aren't all that clear and I know the "follow by e-mail" has not worked for some people. I'll keep trying to figure out how you can follow the blog. I also have an e-mail for blog-related stuff. So, if you want to drop me a line, my e-mail is: