Sunday, June 26, 2016

Extortion (Season 4, Episode 1)

Episode 79

Here we are at the beginning of Season 4 and I couldn't be happier. I'm happy because there are no more log numbers in the titles! Those pesky little digits drove my nuts, I could never remember them and I was always afraid that I would write the wrong one when referencing an episode. Whoever made the decision to get rid of those things forty-some- odd years ago, this girl from the future thanks you! There are lots of other changes in Season 4, but the disappearance of the log numbers is the one I'm most excited about.

Alright, let's get to Season 4!

What's this, we have a new opening?
The boys come running out of the station as we hear Shaaron announce, "1-Adam-12, 1-Adam-12, a 211 in progress...".

They get in their shiny new patrol unit, a 1971 Plymouth Satellite.

The new car has the unit number painted on top for the benefit of the air patrol.

1-Adam-12 leaves the station lot, and hits the mean streets of L.A.

Something looks different about Pete's uniform.
We'll get a better view later.

Jim's still wearing his wedding ring.

It all ends with a cool aerial view of the car.

At the start of our story Pete and Jim are driving near Marina del Rey. If the weather is nice on their day off Pete is thinking of bringing [some hussy who's probably terrible for him named] Alice here. 
Pete's so tan, it looks like he's been doing 
a lot of hanging out at the marina.

Jim's surprised to hear him bring up [that hussy named] Alice, he thought they had a falling out. Pete tells him he's right they did [and it was all her fault], but they recently got back together [because Pete's a nice guy who's definitely too good for her]. 
[Pete you can do better!]
Pete thinks Jim and Jean should join him and Alice. Jim doesn't know about that, Pete and Alice make a pretty hot-headed twosome. He and Jean will probably spend their time by the pool. 
Now Pete's surprised, he didn't know his partner got a pool. Jim lets him know that it's nothing to get excited over, it's just a plastic kiddie pool that Jean got for Jimmie. Jim's not getting all fancy on ol' Pete.
"...I don't do any of that showy stuff off the high dive."

Too bad this episode didn't turn into "A Rare Occasion Part II", maybe we would have been treated to something like this.

Pete and Jim will have to finish making their plans for their day off later, they've just received a 211 silent call at the restaurant at 17 Bay Lane.
New stock footage of the radio!
Right before Pete and Jim arrive at the restaurant three men make a quick exit in a green car with a white vinyl top. When Pete sees them fleeing the scene, he takes chase after the green car. 

They pursue the green and white '71 Chevy south on Dover Drive, then west on Roosevelt Highway. During the chase Reed keeps communications abreast of all their movements.

Soon after they turn onto Roosevelt, they lose the suspects. Malloy turns off the reds and siren and they head back to Bay Lane.

At the restaurant they question the owner while he and the waitress clean up the aftermath of the holdup. As he picks up a broken chair, he tells them about the thieves. There were three of them and one of them, at 6'1", 220 pounds, was definitely the biggest. He was also the meanest, belting the owner for no good reason. The proprietor knows the guy didn't see him trip the silent alarm, so he must have hit him just for the fun of it. 
Hey, it's our old Mark VII friend, Bob Hastings!
The three men entered the eatery without saying a word. Bob (since his character isn't given a name) told them the place was closed. The big guy responded by pulling out a sawed-off shotgun.
This gets Reed's attention.
After Reed and Malloy are done getting all the facts from Bob he asks what will happen next. Malloy answers that they will file the report and the detectives will be out to investigate. Bob doesn't think this will do much good, all three of the men wore gloves.

When they're back on patrol a communication comes over the radio about a newly reported stolen car. They're instructed to add 276-Ida, Nora, Zebra to the hot sheet. 
New hot sheet desk stock footage!
The plate belongs to a white over green, four-door, 1971 Chevrolet. Reed thinks that sounds exactly like the car they were chasing earlier. Malloy doesn't disagree, but he thinks the suspects probably ditched the car if it's hot. At Reed's suggestion, they decide to do a circle search of the area where they last saw the suspects.

They easily find the car parked in plain view at Sherman Avenue and Holly Court. Malloy cautiously opens the driver's side and finds the keys still in the ignition.

Now we have a good view of, as Reed
puts it in a future episode,
"the extra garbage" on Malloy's sleeves.
Those stripes and star mean he's been
promoted to Policeman 3 + 1,
he's now one rank below Sergeant.
They look for anyone who may have seen the suspects leave the car and find a woman out watering her shrubs. They ask if she's seen anything, but before she can answer a boy calls out to the officers. Malloy and Reed walk over to where he's sitting on a bridge that runs over a canal.
Well, look at that, it's future Eight is Enough star, Willie Aames!
Willie will also co-star with Martin Milner in Swiss Family Robinson after Adam-12.
Look, there's a young Helen Hunt!
This young man is very eager to talk to the police, he wants to make sure the three men are caught. After all, they ran over his football. He tells Reed and Malloy that he knew he car was "swiped" and he knew there was "something goofy about them guys".  He's also tells them that after the men left the green car they took off in another car, a "sort of brown" convertible that could be a Ford. His final words to Reed and Malloy are instructions on what they should do with the suspects.
"You catch 'em, see, and make 'em give me another ball."
[Sure, kid.]
The life of the beat cop involves lots of multitasking, before one job is finished they must start another one. Reed and Malloy haven't caught the three 211suspects, but they still have to attend to the next call which is a 507 (minor disturbance), juveniles at 1354 Front in Venice Beach.

This locale I recognized from personal experience.
I was in Venice Beach probably eighteen years ago
 and remembered seeing these buildings with the arches.
I don't think they were painted these bright colors, though.

They have no trouble finding the address for this call.

Inside Fine's Used Clothing the owner, Mr. Fine, is folding some merchandise as Reed and Malloy walk in. After they introduce themselves, Mr. Fine states the obvious.
"Two good-looking young men."
[Thank you, sir, we hear that a lot.]
Mr. Fine has called the police because his shop was vandalized and he was beat up by some hoodlums who've been trying to extort protection money from him. They demanded .50 cents from him every time he walked in his front door and $2.00 a week to stay in business. He refused to pay the punks. This is a man who's known real fear in his life and these delinquents don't scare him. He rolls up his sleeve to prove that he's seen horror, he reveals the tattoo he received at Dachau.

The vandals are also trying to shake down six or seven other businesses along the beach. Mr. Gold, the owner of the cafe next door, does not agree with Fine's actions and has come in the shop to tell him so. Gold comes rushing in, yelling at Fine and calling him a fool for calling the police. He thinks Fine has put all of them in danger by reporting the vandalism.

Malloy tries to continue the interview and ask Mr. Fine if he can describe the people who did this. Gold jumps in and stops him from answering by curtly exclaiming, "No!". 

Mr. Gold is afraid of the hoodlums, he doesn't want to get beat up.
His ex-wife used to beat him during her karate practice.
It got so bad he had to leave her and change his name.
His name used to be Shapiro.
The point of getting a description becomes moot in a few seconds. Reed and Malloy see the punks for themselves when they run up to the shop and throw bricks through the window.

The officers run out of the shop to pursue the four suspects on foot.

They catch two of them in an alley.

Back at the shop, Mr. Fine is very appreciative that Pete and Jim have caught the two hoodlums. Mr. Gold however, not so much, he's upset about that the other two got away.

The two old friends argue as 1-A-12 drives away with the suspects in the backseat.

After they drop the suspects off at the station Reed wonders if they knew how hard they could fall for their extortion game. 
"They'll find out if Mr. Fine has his say."
Reed has no doubt about that, he thinks the old gentleman's got guts.

They continue driving until Reed spots three men who match the 211 suspects getting into a tan convertible. The color of the car may not be exactly as the boy described, but the biggest of the group is the same height and weight as the man who attacked the restaurant owner. While Malloy follows the convertible, Reed runs the plates.

I think Reed has a new watch this season.

There are no wants on the car, which either means that the plates are cold (no record), or they own the car. When the convertible runs a stop sign and begins to rabbit, it doesn't matter who owns the car or the plates. Now Malloy has a reasonable cause to chase them, code 3.
New stock footage of Pete hitting the reds! Notice the key fob
that's labeled "Adam-12" and the missing cigarette lighter.

They chase the three men through the streets of Venice to the marina. When they get near the waterfront one of the men throws something out of the car. The black and white gets in front of the brown convertible, ending the chase. Pete and Jim jump out with their weapons drawn and tell the men in the convertible to "Freeze!".

While Pete and Jim are searching the occupants of the car the driver tries to bargain with them. He knows he "flipped out" but he wants them to forget it, he'll lose his license if he gets another traffic bust. His pleas fall on deaf ears, Pete and Jim just continue about their business without batting an eye.

With Reed covering him, Malloy frisks the biggest of the three men.
Don't ya think he looks adorable
 with his hair sticking up like that?
He finds almost $500, the amount taken from the restaurant, in the big guy's shirt pocket.

Before Malloy can get the cuffs on him, the guy turns around and punches him! Malloy falls to the ground and the big brute runs off.

[This kinda stuff is supposed to happen to Jim!]
Malloy gets to his feet and runs after the big man. He reaches the crest of sand dune and finds the suspect waiting for him with a deadly surprise.
So that's what he threw out of the car earlier.
He tries to fire the gun, but nothing happens. "Drop it! Face down!" shouts Malloy. Seeing no way out, the guy does as he's told. Malloy climbs down from atop the dune and cuffs the suspect.

Pete delivers the big dummy to car and shows Jim the gun.
"He pulled the trigger hard enough to break it," says Pete.
"Misfire?" asks Jim
"No, the safety was on."

Later in the day Reed spots smoke over some buildings. They follow it and find the source at a familiar address.

Mr. Fine's truck is engulfed in flames. The gutsy gentleman is fanning the flames; trying desperately, but ineffectually to put them out. When 1-A-12 gets there Malloy pulls him away and tells him it's too late to do anything about the truck. Mrs. Fine runs up and pulls her husband into their shop. 

After Mr. Gold and another man put the fire out with extinguishers he complains about Fine to Reed and Malloy. He thinks his friends' bravery is putting all of the other shop owners in danger. While talking to them he lets it slip that he thinks a bomb caused the blaze, he heard a "boom" before the fire started. When Malloy presses for more details, Gold gives the standard scared witness response, "I don't hear nothing and I don't say nothing". He then goes back to his cafe. A frustrated Malloy and Reed go see if they can get more information from the Fines.

Inside their used clothing store, Mrs. Fine is tending to her husband and grousing about his stubbornness. "Such a man I married," she laments.

Now that he has lost his van, which is essential to his business, Mr. Fine doesn't want to be a crime fighter anymore. Reed tries to convince him that doing nothing is not going to make the trouble go away.
"I understand, but you're making a mistake. We can help you.
 If we work together, we can stop this thing."
This doesn't change Mr. Fine's mind. He doesn't want to press charges against the two suspects they caught this morning, he tells Reed and Malloy that they can let them go. The policemen leave the Fines, walking past the charred remains of the van on their way to the patrol car.

The next day 1-Adam-12 is cleared and immediately receives a 415 call at the boatyard. 

When they get to the yard a man points them in the direction of the trouble, it's over at the boat lift. 

A former employee is drunk and behind the controls of the lift. He's threatening to throw the "whole mess" "in the drain" over back wages that he's owed. While he's talking he moves the lift and the boat in the hoist swings precariously.

While Malloy talks to the guy, Reed gets an idea. He walks towards the lift and sneaks under the machine.

Malloy keeps trying to convince the man that he should come down as Reed works his way to the back of the lift. 

Once he's back there, he climbs up to the control seat...
and grabs the guy!
Now he's going down the drain.

After all that fancy footwork at the boatyard, Reed is hungry and wants to get a hamburger. He picks up the mic and requests code 7. The RTO responds with the dreaded "continue patrol and a call". There's a 415 fight at 1354 Front, the Fines' address.

When they pull up to the curb Mr. Gold greets them by telling them to hurry, Mr. Fine needs them. 

Inside the store Mr. and Mrs. Fine are on the floor. The place is in a shambles and they both look beat up. Mrs. Fine's dress is torn and she holds her husband who looks like he's in shock. Malloy kneels next to them and asks who did this.

Mrs. Fine doesn't want to answer, she only wants the police to go away. Mr. Fine tells him that it was the two who got away the other day. She quickly tries to shush him and say that it was "nobody" who did this. 

Despite his wife's protest, Mr. Fine wants them to find the men who did this. Mr. Gold has even had a change of heart and he is now willing to help, too. He tells Malloy and Reed that they ran towards a boatyard around back. "But you didn't hear it from me," he quickly adds.

Reed and Malloy jump the fence to the boatyard and split up to look for the suspects.
I feel like this screen cap could have come from
the opening number of "Adam-12: The Musical".
"Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale..."
They walk through the maze of boats, but the suspects aren't anywhere to be found. Malloy climbs onto one of the boats to look for them.

[I'm on a boat!]
[Now I'm on two boats!]
He doesn't find them on any of the boats, but he does spot them directly below him. He silently watches from his perch as the two suspects walk between the boats. 

Malloy uses his elevation to his advantage and surprises the two hoodlums by jumping off the boat and landing in front of them.
"That's right, stand down."
These two don't know what the fuss is all about, they've never hurt anyone in their lives. Then Malloy thinks they shouldn't mind coming to the station to straighten a few things out. One of them answers that they're not going anyplace and they both turn to start going someplace. 

Here's something else new for Season 4, new holsters.
You can see Reed's clamshell holster hanging open in this shot.

 But they find Officer Reed in their way.

"Like you said, you're not going anyplace."

Back at the Fines' store, another unit takes the suspects away while Malloy and Reed wrap everything up. 

As Mr. Fine is being wheeled away on a stretcher he's worried that they'll get more broken windows. Mr. Gold, on the other hand, is happy that Malloy and Reed have got the bad guys. He now knows that he was wrong when he didn't help the police.

"Strange how soon we could forget.
You make a deal with tyranny and it only gets worse."
Malloy tells him and the Fines that the police can help them if they cooperate. His friend's words prompt Mr. Fine to pledge his cooperation. Mrs. Fine echoes her words from before, but this time with pride.
"Such a man I married, such a man."
She hurries out after the ambulance with her head held high.

The End

But, wait, there are more new things in Season 4!
We have a new Story Editor!

And a new Mark VII credit.
Blah, I miss Jack Webb's sweaty, dirty hands.

So here's what I thought of this one...

Maybe I'm just dense, but I was confused for most of this episode. It took me a long time to figure out that the suspects who robbed the restaurant were not the same guys who were terrorizing Mr. Fine. I mean we had two crimes committed by multiple suspects, none of whom we get to see clearly, so it was easy to be confused. Right? Guys? 

This was another episode that used all location shots. All of the settings were real and the characters also felt real, too. The Fines and Mr. Gold are given more of a backstory than just "old Jewish people". When Mr. Fine rolled up his sleeve it really made you think of the horror he must have faced and how laughable the extortion threats and vandalism must have seemed to him. I wish Mr. Gold would have had the same attitude and stood up to the vandals with Fine. When he finally does come around his words at the end of the episode are simple, yet powerful. 

There were lots of new things in this season opener, but there is also something that has evolved from the first season, Officer Reed. We see that Reed is becoming increasingly more confident and independent in his police work. In the first two seasons it would have been Malloy trying to convince the Fines to work with the police, but now Reed is making the speeches, too. Then when Reed slips under the boat lift, he does it without instruction from Malloy and there's no reprimand from Malloy, either. I guess he's finally off probation.

This one had strong characters, but a confusing storyline. So, I give "Extortion" a rating of:

Do you agree? Let me know somewhere, out there in cyberspace. See you next time with "Million Dollar Buff"!