Sunday, March 27, 2016

Log 36: Man Between (Season 3, Episode 18)

Episode 70

This is it, ladies, the moment you've been waiting for! Finally, a hot, sweaty, half-naked man in the Central Division locker room!
Do those legs belong to Malloy or Reed or, maybe, Brinkman? Let's find out.

Oh, no! It's Wells! Oh well, it can't get any worse. It's not like anybody ever takes their shirt off in this locker room. 

Oh, God, it got worse! Thankfully, the cleverly placed exercise equipment handle obstructs our view of his nipples. 

Quick, look at this picture of Malloy! It will take your mind off of shirtless Ed Wells.
Ahhhhhhh, that's much better!
Anyway, there's only 8 minutes left until roll call and everyone is in the locker room getting ready for their shift. Everyone, that is, except for Reed. Where is Malloy's right hand man? ('Cause he's always sitting to Malloy's right in the car. Get it?) Wells' partner, Officer Green, saw him at the report desk. But why would Reed be writing a report before they've even started their patrol?

Wait a second, this "Officer Green" looks a lot like Wells' old partner, Brinkman.
What's going on?
Also, I cropped shirtless Ed Wells out of this picture, you're welcome.

Malloy runs into his partner on his way out of the locker room. Reed, who looks a little out of it, tells Malloy that he was busy writing a report. Malloy's confused, he thought they handed in everything yesterday. He's right, they did. Reed's been working on a new report.
"I'm the victim."
[You finally did it, huh, partner? Finally drove Jean to domestic violence, didn't ya?]
In the coffee room Jim tells how he went from crime fighter to crime victim. He and Jean bought some steak knives from a door-to-door salesman. He seemed nice enough, so Jim didn't think much of it when he asked that the check be made out to him instead of the company. 
He thought plenty about it, though, when he got his bank statement and found that the guy had changed the check amount from $30 to $300. With one extra zero, the Reeds' account was wiped out. 

Wells asks Reed if he's surprised at himself. After all, they're not supposed to be gullible in their line of work and he just fell for one of the oldest cons in town. Reed contends that he wasn't naive, he just trusted the guy. 

Wells wonders if Reed actually graduated from the Academy. One of the first things he should have learned there was that everything is not always as it seems.

"I only had one problem, Ed."
"How's that?"
"You weren't my teacher."

After roll call Pete and Jim are on the mean streets of Los Angeles and Ed Wells is still on Jim's mind. The blonde, blue-eyed blowhard really bugs him. He and Wells just don't think alike.

Speaking of not thinking alike, Reed and Malloy come upon two men who can't seem to agree on an issue. Their argument over a mystery object in a paper bag starts to turn physical as 1-Adam-12 pulls up next to them.

It's obvious these two do not want the help of the police in resolving their argument. Malloy smells a rat, or more specifically, a burnt rope. He asks to see what they are arguing over. 

This questions elicits quite the response from the two men. The bearded man drops the parcel then he and his acquaintance both try to run away. They're both quickly grabbed by Malloy and Reed. Reed has the honor of revealing the object that has caused so much controversy.

"Looks like we got a little marijuana plant growing there."
"Looks like this argument has been solved."

After they've filled out two arrest reports and sent one potted plant to the crime lab, Reed makes an observation about the two men, he doesn't think they looked like potheads. Malloy agrees and thinks this just proves that hippies "don't have a corner on the marijuana market". 

Jim must be over his earlier confrontation with Wells because now he is in the mood for making jokes about the broad appeal of the wacky weed. "That must be why they call it 'weed'," he states. "Whaddya mean?" asks Pete.
"Seems to grow anywhere," quips Jim.
Judging by his large grin, he seems quite pleased with his little joke.

All sorts of crazy things are happening on the street today. First two guys were arguing over a pot plant, now this lady is jaywalking right through the middle of a busy street. Tires screech and horns blare as she runs across the traffic-filled street.
Do you see the sign in the background for an establishment called "Men Hong Low"?
Is this a male stripe revue or a Chinese restaurant?

Pete and Jim catch up with her when she reaches the other side of the street. After they've parked the black and white, both officers get out of the car to see what her story is. Jim grabs her arm as she tries to run past him.

"Hold it, ma'am, I'd like to talk to you for a minute."
Malloy and Reed both want to help the anxious woman, but she does not want to take the time to answer any of there questions. The shaking woman cries that the only way they can help her is by letting her go. So, they let her go. 

Malloy and Reed follow her to the bank, which is only a few feet away. When she finds that the bank's doors are locked, she starts sobbing hysterically and frantically tries to open them.

The officers try to calm the sobbing woman. Reed gently places his hands on the petite woman's arm in an effort to soothe her. The sensitive Reed, treats her as if she is a fragile piece of china, one that is already under a great deal of stress and may crack permanently if not handled delicately.

In contrast, Malloy, grabs her forcefully and demands that she pull herself together. Malloy usually seems completely bewildered by women. In this instance, her feminine emotions have made him frustrated and impatient. He doesn't want to waste time waiting for her sobs to taper off so she can speak. He needs to know what is the problem is, now. If Malloy were a character in a film noir detective story, he would have slapped her.
"Get a hold of yourself. Calm down and tell us what the trouble is."
In between her sobs, she tells them that she needs $1000 in an hour or "He's going to kill my baby".

Of course Reed, Malloy, Mac, and the whole gang end up at the woman's house. Mac sets up a command post in the alley behind her house and Malloy tells him what he and Reed have learned from Mary Grant (that's the woman's name).

The man holding the baby hostage inside Mary's house is her brother, Ronald Safford. He's an extremely dangerous escaped mental patient with a long history of violent crimes. He wants the $1000 to buy his way out of the country.

Mac wonders how much safer Los Angeles would be if the psychiatric hospitals in the area had tighter security. Escaped mental patients seem to make up the largest number of perpetrators in the city.
Mary also drew a layout of the house to give the officers a better understanding of what they are facing.
The one-story house has two large, main areas: the kitchen in the back of the house and the living room in the front, a hallway connects the two rooms. The kitchen and living room have doors leading to the outside. Safford and the baby are in the living room, Safford on the couch and the baby in a playpen. There are drapes obscuring every window in the house. Reed is  over checking out the house in person while Malloy and Mac wait at the Command Unit.

I haven't shown you a good picture of Mary Grant yet. This seems like a good time. Anyway, Mary is played by Mark VII regular Peggy Webber. She and Webb go all the way back to the radio Dragnet days. 
Reed then comes running back to Mac's station wagon and Malloy adds a vital piece of information to the story. If Mary is right, Safford is armed with a 12-gauge shotgun and four boxes of shells.

After getting a good look at the house and the property, Reed reports that the back door is the best way to get in the house without being seen. They'd have to cross about thirty feet of lawn to get in the front door. 

The way Mac sees it they have three options. They could let Mary take in the money they have coming from downtown and wait for Safford to come out, but there is no guarantee he would come out. They could try to talk him out on the bullhorn, but again there's no guarantee he would come out. Teargas would be a surefire way to flush him out, but that's not a possibility with the child inside. The final option would be to creep inside and take him by surprise. 

 After listening to the three choices presented by Mac, and looking rather annoyed and impatient while doing so, Malloy announces that he doesn't want to guess if Safford will come out or not. He wants to go inside, at least that way they have a chance of controlling the situation. Reed agrees with his partner. Mac confirms the decision to enter the house and hands bulletproof vests to Malloy and Reed.

The design of these vests crack me up. Your whole spine is exposed to injury, but the family jewels are well-protected. And is "vest" even the proper term? They're more like bulletproof aprons.

Malloy opens the backdoor and silently enters the kitchen, Reed follows him into the house.

They can see the baby in his playpen from the kitchen. Malloy works his way down the hall to get a better view of the living room.

From his vantage point, Malloy can see that Mary was right. Safford's got a shotgun and four boxes of shells next to him as he plays solitaire.
Does Mary Grant's couch look familiar? It should.
She bought it in the Reed's garage sale. Jean couldn't keep it after a high David Cassidy had layed on it.

Malloy signals his partner and Reed joins him in the hall. He lets Reed get a good look at the room then gives him silent instructions.
You get the baby and run like hell.
Got it.
It's now time to put the plan into action, Malloy runs out into the living room. Pointing his gun at Safford, he tells him, "Don't try it, Safford!" When he reaches for the shotgun, Malloy tells him he's "as good as dead". With this final warning, Safford takes his hand off the weapon.
While Pete distracts the gunman, Jim streaks behind him carrying the baby.

Stafford doesn't want to give up easily, though. He stands up, overturns the card table then lunges at Pete. Pete takes him down with one swing.

After depositing the baby with another policeman, Reed returns to the house to check on Malloy. Malloy's fine and so is the baby. Reed reports that the child never made a peep.

This caper ends with Ed Wells returning the child to his overjoyed and relieved mother.

The next day Pete must be thinking he's experiencing deja vu because Jim is still going on about Ed Wells. In fact, Jim's never stopped thinking about Ed. He couldn't get him off his mind last night after he got home. Jim just knows that someday Ed, too, will get burned like he did.
I think Pete's next line is a subtle way of telling his partner to shut up.
"You know something Reed?"
"You and Wells, you two are star-crossed."
Pete and Jim's next stop is the station for 7. On their way there Jim spots a paperboy on the corner, he asks Pete to pull over. He wants to get a paper to read during lunch. Once they stop Jim hands the boy some change and takes the paper he is given without examining it.
Jim lets the freckled-face newsboy keep the change.
After they pull away Jim notices something amiss about the paper he just bought: it's yesterday's news.
After a quick grin...
Pete either has something stuck in his teeth or he's trying his damnedest
not to burst out laughing at his partner.

In the coffee room at the station, Pete and Jim find themselves having their meal break at the same time as several other policemen, including Ed Wells. Wells is holding court, telling a group of policemen about a juvenile criminal mastermind who has been selling day-old newspapers to "every sucker he can find".

That last statement prompts Jim to put down his Kentucky Fried Chicken and hide his recently purchased newspaper under his elbow. Ed, the trained observer, sees what Jim is doing and pounces. 

He retrieves the paper from it's hiding spot and tells Jim, "You're gonna be alright, Diogenes, just as soon as we get you another lamp." While the other cops are still laughing at that one, Ed continues making fun of Jim. "Don't tell me, Officer Reed, you trusted him." Jim silently fumes.

Pete, wiping 11 herbs and spices from his freckled digits, tells Ed, "Take it easy, Wells." Ed then does something really obnoxious. Instead of addressing Jim, he acts as if the younger police officer is a child who can't be trusted with any amount of money and speaks directly to his older partner instead.
"You better get on the ball, Malloy, before Reed here winds up in the poorhouse."

After 7 the RTO clears 1-Adam-12 and issues a call for the unit. There's unknown trouble with possible shots fired at 107 Northgate. 

At 107 Northgate, they first investigate the front yard. When they hear a woman sobbing inside they cautiously enter the house. 

Inside Malloy and Reed find Lupe Martinez hiding behind a chair and asking them in Spanish to "Please help me".

While Reed checks out the house Malloy is able to get some information in English out of the woman. A man wearing a light-colored shirt took three shots at her from outside.

Shortly after Reed finishes checking the house Wells and Green's unit 1-A-43 arrives as backup. Wells greets Reed with "Good evening, honest John". Reed completely ignores this dig and continues talking with Malloy about the suspect's description. 

Malloy sends Reed and Wells outside to look around, he'll stay inside and try to get more information out of Mrs. Martinez.

While Reed and Wells are checking out the bushes in the backyard, a man pops out of the shrubbery and runs away from them. Wells grabs him when he tries to scale the fence. Even though the scared man says he doesn't have a gun, Wells is sure he's the guy who shot at Mrs. Martinez and starts reading him his rights. 

Reed's not so sure that this is the right guy, though. He asks the man why he was hiding and why he ran.

Raul Gonzalez has nothing to hide, he was only taking a shortcut through the Martinez' yard. He hid and ran because he was scared. He's not yet a citizen and he was afraid that if got arrested it would ruin his chances to stay in the country. Raul doesn't want that to happen, he's been working hard on his citizenship and he likes it here very much. He knows he made a bad decision when he chose to run and hide.

After listening to Gonzalez' story, Wells wants to confer privately with Reed.
"How long do you stay awake on Halloween waiting for the Great Pumpkin?"
(In case you were wondering, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown made its debut in 1966.)

Reed's sticking with his gut, he doesn't think Gonzalez is their guy. He suggests that they take him inside and let Mrs. Martinez take a look at him to see if he is the man who shot at her. Wells doesn't want to waste any more time or taxpayers' money. He's taking Gonzalez to the station. Reed thinks Wells is making a mistake.

Meanwhile, in the house, Malloy now knows that the man who shot Lupe Martinez was her husband. He's been drinking, which is a good thing since he's a horrible shot when he's drunk.
Malloy advises her to keep her doors locked and the shades drawn. He'll put out a broadcast for her husband.
After Malloy leaves, Reed shows up at Lupe's backdoor asking for his partner. She tells him that Officer Malloy is out looking for her husband since he is the one who did the shooting. While they're talking on the back porch Carlos Martinez sneaks through the bushes and up the porch stairs. A frightened Mrs. Martinez quickly disappears inside the house and locks the door, leaving Reed alone to face down her inebriated and armed husband.
Reed tries to reason with Carlos.
"I am going to kill that woman."
Malloy, who luckily has impeccable timing, comes through the backyard gate and sees that his partner is in trouble.

He stealthily moves behind Carlos and grabs his gun. Then he and Reed both get him into handcuffs.
Reed tells his partner, "That was a little too close."
Later that night Reed is writing reports in the coffee room when Malloy comes in to tell him that Wells is getting "chewed on" by MacDonald. Although he has plenty of reasons not to, Reed actually feels bad for Wells.

Once Wells is done getting yelled at by Mac he finds Reed and admits he was wrong. He gives Reed a chance to gloat, but he doesn't take it. Since Reed is being such a good sport, Wells offers to buy him a cup of coffee in order to make up for being a jerk earlier. But before he can buy the coffee, he needs change for the machine. Reed has change for a quarter, so Wells gives him one.

Only it's not a quarter, it's an English shilling worth about twelve cents. Wells claims it's a lucky piece and he didn't mean to give it to Reed. He asks for it back. Reed's not sure he buys Wells' story. He's been thinking about Wells' advice, maybe he shouldn't trust everyone.

"How do I know that?" asks Reed.
"Whatta ya mean 'how do you know that'? You trust me, don't..."
[He's got ya there, Wells.]
It's all good, Reed will buy Wells some coffee.
[Oh, you two!]

The End

The title of this one is a head scratcher for me. "A Man Between"? Who is the man and what is he between? Is Reed the man? Is he trying to decide between trusting no one like Ed Wells or trusting most people like he already does? Since Adam-12 is really the story of Reed's journey from rookie to seasoned veteran, I'd like to believe that he is the man referred to in the title. But, it doesn't really seem that he is between anything. Reed never wavers from his decision to trust most people.

OK, so maybe Malloy is the man and maybe he is between Wells and Reed while they bicker. Or maybe it's Wells and he is between Reed and the way he wants to live his life. Or, perhaps the title refers to Diogenes, the ancient Greek philosopher Wells likens to Reed during the meal break in the coffee room.  Diogenes was a man between cities who was exiled from Sinope and declared himself a citizen of the world. He was also between important men of his time having disagreements with both Plato and Alexander the Great. I guess any of these possibilities are plausible. But, maybe I should stop worrying so much about the meaning of the title and focus on the story itself.

The story is pretty good. I like the crimes in the episode much more than the scenes with Wells. Both the hostage situation and the sniper call were tense and suspenseful. We're kept on the edge of our seats wondering how Pete and Jim will defeat two armed and out-of-their-minds suspects.

The parts with Wells are amusing, but a little cartoon-like. Wells always seems like such a one-dimensional character next to the well-rounded Reed and Malloy. The scenes with Wells seem to reduce Reed and Malloy to his level. Wells is a loudmouth bully, Reed is a gullible child-man, and Malloy just sits there and shakes his head at the two of them. Maybe this is why Wells always reminds of Goofus from the "Highlights" magazine cartoons. 

All in all, I did enjoy most of "Log 36: Man Between" and give it a rating of:

Do you agree? Let me know in the comments. See you next time with "Log 165: Once a Cop".