Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Radical (Season 4, Episode 4)

Episode 82

"In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the police, who investigate crime; and the district attorneys, who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories."

Hey, Keely, what's going on here? A special guest star? Adam-12 doesn't usually have special guest stars? Why the Law & Order quote?

OK, OK, I thought the quote was appropriate because this episode is a crossover with another Mark VII production, The D.A. The first half of the Robin Saydo story is told in the "The Radical", which originally aired on October 6, 1971. The second half of the story was told in the "The People vs. Saydo" episode of The D.A. that originally aired two nights later on October 8, 1971. So, the story of Robin Saydo is like a Law & Order episode, just split over two separate series. I also included the quote because I once heard Kent McCord say that Dick Wolf, the creator of L&O, admitted to him that he stole from Jack Webb. Could this episode be one that inspired him?

I don't know much about The D.A., other than what IMdB tells me. The series was about "The cases of hard-nosed Los Angeles district attorney Paul Ryan" and it only last fifteen episodes during the 1971- 1972 TV season. Mark VII favorite Harry Morgan also starred in the series where each episode was named "The People vs. [the criminal of the week]" The first half of each episode showed Ryan and his staff doing investigative work and the second half focused on the trial with Conrad providing voice-overs to explain the legalities. I've only seen bits of the series (more on that later), so I can't provide more insight. If anyone has seen it, let me know what you remember of it.

Now I can provide more insight on Adam-12. So, let's get to it. 

Reed has a disaster going on in his yard.
"I'm being overrun by a family of gophers," he tells his partner.
He lists all the methods he's tried to get rid of the rodents, all have been unsuccessful. Malloy suddenly blurts out one thing that Reed has not yet tried.
"Highway flares..."
According to Malloy, Reed should light the flares and stick one down every hole. The sulphur will drive the gophers out and his problem will be solved. If Reed every needs it, he also has cures for prickly heat, swollen ankles...
"And, if required, you can delivery a baby in the backseat of a car."
While discussing Malloy's many talents the boys happen upon an abandoned police car.
This is also a real LAPD unit. Notice the floodlight mounted next to the speaker on the roof.  You can also see "Mercury" spelled out on the back of this Montego. The brand name would have been removed or covered with silver tape on a Mark VII stock vehicle.

From their car Reed puts them on code 6. He then uses the radio in the abandoned unit to call Communications. They find out from the RTO that shop number 82261 is 1-L-25 and that it's clear. They know Don Moore is assigned to that unit number and begin looking for the missing officer.

They walk down the side of the road and soon see a figure emerging from the brush. Not knowing what they are dealing with, they both draw their weapons.

They both breath a sigh of relief when they see it is Moore with a suspect in custody.
Moore saw the man hitch hiking and when he slowed down, he took off running. Moore then parked his black and white and chased after him. When he caught up with him, he found out why the guy had run.
Moore admits he blundered, he should have taken a minute to call in his position. There are no hard feelings from Reed or Malloy, though, they offer to help Moore by taking the suspect back the station since they're end of watch. Moore happily accepts their assistance and lets Reed and Malloy know he'll follow them.

Before roll call the next day Reed tells Malloy that he had his yard lit up "like a six-car accident" last night with flares. Much to his surprise, his partner's suggestion actually worked! The gophers were all gone this morning.

"That's one of the stupidest-sounding, yet most
effective ideas you've ever given me."
Malloy will ignore that remark
since it's time to go to roll call.

At roll call the officers have a special guest, Sgt. Wade. He's here to brief them on Robin aka Robert Saydo.
AKA this guy.
Detectives have soft intelligence that leads them to believe that Saydo is the head of a militant left-wing group. They also believe he is stockpiling weapons and explosives, but don't have enough evidence yet for a search warrant.
[Now available on A12 records, Robin Saydo's
 latest album, Radical Songs.]

There is a warrant out for his arrest, but it's for the misdemeanor charge of inciting a riot at City College. If the officers see Saydo they are instructed not to bust him. Rather, they should call Mac so detectives can set up a tail to see if Saydo will lead them to the stash. 
All of the officers have been given mugshots
 and a description of Saydo to aid in their search.
When they are on the streets Reed and Malloy's conversation turns to the topic from roll call, Saydo. Both of them are anxious about another bomb thrower in the city.
"Those guys are spooky, they get a charge out of
having an armory. It makes them feel important," says Malloy
They get a call to meet 1-L-90 on tac 2. When Reed switches the frequency, Mac informs them that Fred Tibbles wants Malloy to meet him in the parking garage at 2300 Montclair. 
[Who's Tibbles and why is Mac 1-L-90 and not 1-L-20?]
Malloy explains to his partner that Fred Tibble used to be a security guard in Newton Division and once pulled him out of a gun fight with three other guys.

They reach the quiet underground garage and Malloy looks around for Tibbles. After a few seconds the older man approaches the car. Malloy introduces Tibbles and Reed, then he asks why they were called to the garage. The old man awkwardly answers that it's a private matter. Reed takes the hint and offers to watch the radio while Malloy and Tibbles talk elsewhere. 
[Thank you, Fred. I need to get away from him.
I'm sick of hearing about gophers and
kiddie pools and painting the bathroom.]
Once they're out of Reed's earshot Tibbles still isn't ready to talk about what's troubling him. He avoids the subject by telling Malloy about his new job at the harbor. The experienced officer know he's stalling and firmly, yet gently, encourages his old friend to stop beating around the bush.
"Look you've got something else on your mind.
Why don't you hit it head on?"
Tibbles finally confesses to Malloy that he's being shook down. Not in the traditional sense, not for money, but for his silence. There's a ring of thieves operating at the harbor and Tibbles knows exactly how they operate, but he hasn't said anything out of fear. They've threatened his home and family.

He tells Pete that the thieves have men on the inside alerting them to valuable shipments that are coming in. They make fake bills of lading then drive trucks that are painted to look like common carriers right up to the docks. They load the newly arrived cargo onto their trucks and drive away. Fred has been looking the other way and keeping quiet while all of this has been going on.

Pete's surprised his old buddy who has brave enough to pull him out of a gun battle hasn't stood up to these low-lifes. Fred's disappointed in himself, too, but constant threats and old age have taken the fight out of him. Malloy tries to give him a way to redeem himself, by  cooperating with the police. Detectives have been working the docks without much luck.  If Fred could just give them information on one phony shipment leaving the dock, they could break the case wide open.

But, he can't do it. Even Pete's promise of protection doesn't sway Fred. He's just too afraid. A frustrated Pete apologizes to the old man. He won't be able to help him without his cooperation. He tells Fred he's sorry and walks back to the car.

Pete gets behind the wheel and closes the door, he then takes a deep breath. He starts to say something, but Jim cuts him off. He heard the whole thing. "There's quite an echo down here," he tells his partner. Pete doesn't want to discuss it any further. "Let's get out of here, " he says quickly before starting the car and backing out of the parking spot.

Once they're away from the garage Reed tries to bring up Tibbles again, but Malloy doesn't want to talk about him. Sensing his partner could use a change of pace, Reed suggests they get something to eat. Reed's attempt to buoy his partner's spirits brings a smile to Malloy's face.  

"One thing about you, Reed, you're consistent."
But before they can make it to the nearest taco stand, a big man standing outside of an empty truck flags them down.
The sizable fellow is Tom Grey, a truck driver who's been hijacked. Mr. Gray is not the type of man who is used to being pushed around or having things taken from him. In fact, nobody's taken anything from him since he was sixteen.
"I don't find that too hard to believe."
About three hours ago Grey was stopped at a light when a car rammed into the back of his truck. When he got out of the truck to exchange information ten guys jumped out and put a rag over his nose. He was out like a light. 
"Ten guys?"
Grey admits it wasn't ten guys, there were only two and the guy driving. But, he asks if they can just say ten guys anyway. He has to save some face in front of his truck-driving buddies, he already knows they're going to make fun of him. Malloy's next question inadvertently stumbles upon the reason why Grey is going to get "kidded to death".
"What was the truck carrying, Mr. Grey."
[Nothin' beats a great pair of L'eggs.]
Grey defends his cargo by telling the officers that "a load's a load" and there is nothing wrong with a guy hauling pantyhose.  Just to prove that he is a tough guy, he adds that last week he was hauling tractor parts.
"What happened next?"
After Grey was jumped, he doesn't know what happened. Right before he flagged down Reed and Malloy he woke up in the back of his empty truck, parked across town from where the hijacking started. 

Other than calling a team out to look for prints, there's not much else Pete and Jim can do. Pete offers his condolences to an angry Grey. The big guy then issues a stern warning to anybody who dares make fun of him for hauling pantyhose.

"If anybody cracks wise about it, they're gonna
be picking gravel out of their forehead."
"Yeah, I can imagine."
When they're done at the scene Malloy comments that what happened to Grey has not been a rare occurrence in recent weeks. His is the fifth truck to be hit with the same M.O. in three weeks. Reed can't help but wonder why Grey was targeted, though. Pantyhose hardly seems like a big ticket item that would bring a lot of money on the black market. Before they can come up with a reason why anyone would steal a load of hosiery dispatch instructs them to meet Mac (now in the familiar 1-L-20) at Crenshaw and Bethal.
"1-Adam-12, roger."
They meet Mac in a parking lot where he relays the message that Fred Tibbles has called the station again. He wants Malloy to call him before four o'clock. Mac hands him a slip of paper with the number where Tibbles can be reached and points out a nearby pay phone.
[867-5309? are you sure this number is right, Mac?]
After a short conversation with Tibbles Malloy thanks him and hangs up the phone with a smile on his face.
Malloy then makes a personal phone call.
[Is this KRLA? OK, today's phrase that pays is...]
When he's back with Mac and Reed, Malloy tells them what he just learned from Tibbles. A load of fur pelts is being stolen off the docks at four thirty today. A Union Trucking van will be making the pickup. 

Mac wants to catch the thieves, but he knows they don't have enough time to set up a stakeout using plain cars. They'll have to rely upon black and whites and air patrol to get the job done. 

His call with Tibbles has Malloy thinking. The fur pelts theft will be the second heist of the day at the docks, the first one was around noon when a load of radios and televisions were stolen. This was around the same time that Tom Grey's van was hijacked. Reed gets where his partner is going with this.
"It also answers the question of why
anybody would want to boost a truckload of pantyhose."
Mac, like a parent listening to teenagers converse in the latest slang, has no idea what these two are talking about. He begs for a translation. 
"What are you guys talking about?"
Malloy suspects that the series of truck hijackings is being carried out not so the thieves can get their hands on the goods in the trucks, but so they can get the trucks themselves. He thinks the trucks are being used to haul the stolen cargo off the docks. Mac agrees that could be true, but right now they need to get working on setting up a stakeout. It's time to get moving.

Something must have happened to "the" car during the filming of this episode since Reed and Malloy are sitting in a car with a magnetic "to protect and to serve" emblem in the stakeout scene. Usually the magnetic markings are seen on backup units, never 1-Adam-12. 

Great, now I have "Suicide is Painless" stuck in my head.
Shortly after Reed checks his watch and notices that it's almost four thirty, Air-10 announces to everyone in the stakeout that they've spotted a Union truck pulling out of Pier 10. Adam-12, Adam-17, and Adam-25 will all follow the truck to the drop sight. Reed and Malloy will tail them two blocks back and the other cars will run parallel streets. They'll all stay out of sight and rely on the chopper for direction. 

While they're following the truck Malloy notices a blue sedan behind them that looks like a tail. Air-10 notices it, too. In a few seconds everyone will know about it.

Because the passenger of the blue sedan begins shooting at 1-Adam-12!

Both Pete and Jim duck to stay out of the line of fire. Jim radios 1-L-20 to let Mac know what is happening. He then states the obvious to Pete.
"Gotta guy riding shot gun."
[Tell me something I don't know.]
When they come upon a parking lot Malloy pulls in while the blue sedan drives past. He deftly turns the patrol car around in the lot and just like that 1-Adam-12 is now in pursuit of the blue sedan.

The blue car reaches an intersection and finds its path blocked by a police car. When the driver tries to turn the car around, the escape route is cut off by two more black and whites. Knowing that their collective goose is cooked, the driver and passenger both get out of the car with their hands up.
"Hold it! Hands on top of your heads and move forward."
After the two guys in the blue sedan were captured, they got very talkative. The truck driver was also willing to cooperate with police. Turns out Malloy's theory on the hijackings being tied to the dock thefts was right on the money. Reed congratulates his partner on a job well done...kind of.
"Yep. You know, I hate to admit  it,
but you look pretty good on that one."
"Well, don't let it ruin your whole day."
With a quick glance out of the window Reed's mood suddenly turns serious. He asks Pete to go around the block, but his partner is tired of chasing down criminals. "Oh, come on, one brilliant piece of police work a day is enough," whines Malloy. That may be, but Reed is not joking around; he thinks he's spotted Robin Saydo.

This car has a magnetic emblem and the "Satellite" nameplate
can clearly be seen on the front end. This is definitely
some sort of Adam-12 stand-in.
Malloy does as his partner asks and goes around the block. He parks the car and they get out to walk. After a few feet they duck down behind another parked car, the man Reed thinks is Saydo is right across the street.

Malloy thinks the man may be Saydo, he's a pretty good match. Reed decides to tail him on foot and get a closer look.
[Maybe? Pete, he's wearing the same clothes
from the pictures the detective showed us.
That is definitely Robin Saydo.]

Reed follows him until he goes into a warehouse. When he rejoins Malloy at the patrol unit he finds out they're back on stakeout. Mac has instructed them to sit tight until two other units arrive. The detectives also want to send a D.A. to meet with them.

The D.A., Paul Ryan, doesn't arrive until after night has fallen. When he gets there Mac fills him in Saydo and the warrant they have on him. He tells him about the stakeout on the warehouse and that the building backs into a high school. 

Since the officers have a warrant for Saydo and they know where he is, Ryan doesn't understand the problem. Mac fills him on the investigation around Saydo and how they want to bust him, but not for a misdemeanor. They need Ryan's help to arrest him on a violation of the Deadly Weapons Control law.

Satisfied that Reed's identification of Saydo is good, Ryan doesn't stop them from entering the building. But, he advises the officers that the weapons better be in plain sight. The warrant they have to arrest Saydo will not give them probable cause to search the warehouse. 

Reed who, for a change of pace, has been watching the front of the building joins Malloy, Mac, and Ryan to report that everything still looks "cool". Upon hearing this Mac announces that it's time to do it, they're going to enter the building and arrest Saydo. Malloy uses the CC unit to update the other officers on stakeout, Grant and Miller. 

Mac, Malloy, Reed, and Ryan enter the building through an unlocked door. They find Saydo in an upstairs office with two other men. When Mac informs him that he's under arrest for inciting a riot at City College a smug Saydo tells the officers that they've made an illegal entry. Saydo's confident declaration of the law does not worry Ryan. 
"That's something the courts can decide."
So, Mr. Ryan here is played by Robert Conrad, who a lot of people know from the classic TV series The Wild, Wild West. But, I've never seen that show, I first discovered Conrad in this episode. Later I found out that he also starred in the Stephen J. Cannell-produced Baa Baa Black Sheep, on which Kent McCord once guest starred.
Kent played a soldier who was kidnapped
and brainwashed by the enemy.
Saydo's confidence doesn't flag even as he is being cuffed by Reed.
"Big deal, misdemeanor, I can beat that charge running backwards."
While Saydo is being restrained Malloy radios the other officers and tells them to come in the building. They're going to look around and see if any of Saydo's cache is in plain sight.

Saydo is kept waiting in the office while the police tour the building. He doesn't know what's going on and he grows increasingly impatient. Finally, he shouts that they should either take him downtown or turn him loose. After Malloy reports to Mac and Ryan that there are no weapons to be seen, it looks like those may be their only two options. 

Saydo looks very worried when he hears "search".
Just to be sure, Malloy asks if they should conduct a search anyway. Saydo overhears and demands to know what is going on. Ryan moves their conversation further away from the office, while Saydo strains to hear what they're discussing.   

After learning that Saydo had been previously arrested for possessing dynamite caps, Ryan thinks that he probably still has an interest in explosives. Reed then reveals that he's found cosmoline, used to prevent rust and preserve weapons, on one of Saydo's associates. Finally, Ryan asks if the warehouse is near a school. When Mac answers that it's right next door to a high school, he gives them the OK to search. He believes they have enough probable cause to take the case to court.

It doesn't take long for Reed to find an entire box full of guns.
"Over here!"
Now Saydo knows he's going to have run forwards to beat the charge.

While the weapons are carried out of the building, Reed asks Ryan if he thinks he has a case. He doesn't know, he'll take it to a preliminary hearing and see. Malloy hopes the DA's office can nail Saydo. Ryan hopes they do, too.

"Well, don't count me out. We could get lucky."

The End

Well, sort of. When this episode originally aired the story of Robin Saydo was then continued two nights later on The D.A. Now, I don't have any access to full episodes of The D.A., but I can show you some parts of "The People vs. Saydo" episode. Just like Conrad crossed over from his series to guest on Adam-12, Milner and McCord did the same on The D.A. The clips in the link feature Malloy and Reed (and Harry Morgan with a mustache!). Enjoy!

The End 

(for real this time)

My feelings about this episode can be best summed up with the opening lyric from the Whitney Houston song "So Emotional", "I don't know why I like it. I just do." Because I do like "The Radical" and I have no idea why. This is not the type of Adam-12 story I usually gravitate towards. In this absolutely female-free installment there are no fascinating fashions, no damsels in distress, no kids at risk, no emotional outbursts; just lots of cars, trucks, and guns. But, what it does have are two thrilling mysteries that we get to solve right along with the LAPD. 

The first mystery involves hijacked trucks and cargo stolen from incoming ships at the docks. Malloy's "brilliant piece of police work" reveals that the two crime waves are actually interconnected. After I heard about the thefts that Fred Tibbles witnessed and the wave of truck hijackings, I thought they might be linked, too. When my hunch and Malloy's was proven right, I felt pretty brilliant as well. And who doesn't like that?

Now if I could only solve the mystery of where Tom Grey was for three hours while the thieves used his truck, I would be super-brilliant. Was he unconscious and tied up with pantyhose in the back of the truck that whole time? Did they take him to another location? Did they make Tibbles watch him? It's almost as perplexing as the mystery of what happened on Pete's date with Penny Lange.

The next mystery was the conundrum of how they could search the warehouse in order to bust Saydo. I like the addition of The D.A.'s law to Adam-12's order. Mac and Malloy discussing the intricacies of the law added another interesting facet to the show. Watching them solve the puzzle of probable cause was almost as exciting as a car chase (to me, anyway). The D.A. character was a nice addition to the story, too bad it couldn't have been recurring throughout the series.

In case you were wondering, "The Radical" earns a rating of:

Do you agree? Let me know what you think of this one somewhere, out there in cyberspace.

Next up is S4, E5: "The Search" and it's also my 100th blog post (wow!) I am going to take two weeks with this one, so I will see you on August 7th with "The Search" and maybe something else to celebrate 100 posts.