Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Adoption (Season 4, Episode 18)

Episode 96

Pete's not one to welch on a bet, but he's beginning to feel like he's being taken advantage of. Yes, he lost a bet for dinner to Jim. But he wants to go to a fancy French restaurant on Sunset, Pete finds this outrageous.
"I lost a bet for dinner, not a week's salary."
Jim claims he's not trying to send his friend to the poorhouse, but he did say Jean could pick the restaurant and Jean likes French food.

Even though Jim promises he and Jean won't order a la carte, Pete is not happy about this. Jim got lucky on a bad bet and there he sits, acting like Nick the Greek.

Pete's got no choice, he's got to honor the bet. He lets Jim know that he'll be by at seven to pick them up. 

Now that that's settled, it's time to get to work. They're called to 134 Chestnut Drive to see the maid about a missing child.
Hmmm, 134 Chestnut Drive looks familiar.
We saw it from a different angle in
"Log 175: The Con Artists" (S3 E13).
The door of 134 Chestnut is answered by a very worried maid.
The actress playing the maid, Maidie Norman, was also in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?.
Mary invites them inside and shows them the empty baby carriage. The child was in the carriage when she went to the kitchen. When she came back after a minute, he was gone. The boy is only seven months old, so he couldn't have walked off somewhere.

While Mary is telling Pete and Jim what happened the homeowners and parents, Mr. and Mrs. Wilkinson, enter the living room. They're shocked to see the police in their home and the empty carriage. After Pete tells Mr. Wilkinson why they are there, he takes his wife and Mary out of the living room to speak with them privately.

Pete and Jim find this private conference odd.

After a brief conversation with his wife and maid Mr. Wilkinson comes back to tell Pete and Jim that there has been a mistake. He claims the baby has been at its grandmother's and Mary was simply confused. He apologizes to them for the inconvenience, then shows them the door.

When they're back in the patrol car, Reed can't get the Wilkinsons off his mind. Despite the fact that Mr. Wilkinson said the baby was safe, he still thinks they should talk to detectives. Malloy agrees. He suggests they take 7 at the station and tell the investigators about it while they are there.

In the break room they eat lunch with Sgt. Woods and recount the scene at the Wilkinson home. Woods concurs with Reed and Malloy. He also thinks it sounds like the baby was snatched and the parents were afraid to call the police. As he gets up from the table, he gives them his word that he'll do everything he can.

"Which is?" asks Reed.
Woods explains that everything he can do at this point is send a detective out to the house and see if the Wilkinsons will cooperate. Malloy doesn't think they'll get very far.
"Good luck."
After Woods has left the table, Malloy notices that Reed has barely touched his lunch. 
"Aren't you gonna finish your sandwich?"
Reed isn't going to finish it and he has a good reason.
"I'm saving up my appetite for tonight."
Later, when they're back in the car, Pete is glad to see his partner chowing down on a sandwich. He's been listening to Jim's stomach growl for twenty minutes. When he thanks Jim for silencing the rumbling, Jim just thinks he's being a poor loser.
"Why don't you stop thinking about your wallet and be a good loser, huh?"
When his partner starts talking about escargot, which cost two and a half bucks a serving, Pete finds it hard to think about anything but his wallet. 

They both have to stop thinking about food, French or otherwise, when the RTO breaks in with a call. There is a prowler at 2604 Marshall.

There certainly is a prowler at 2604 Marshall, or at least what looks like one. Malloy walks up and surprises the man who is trying desperately to take the screen off one of the  windows on the side of the house.

The man asserts that he's a friend who wants to help the lady inside, but the house is locked and she won't let him in. This doesn't make much sense to Malloy.
"By forcing your way in?"
Malloy suggests they try the front door instead. He and Reed take the man to the porch and knock on the door. 

It's Jill Banner! She's one of my favorite actresses who made frequent appearances on the second coming of Dragnet. Ms. Banner was also in a 1968 TV movie called Shadow over Elveron where an up-and-coming actor name Kent McWhirter played her boyfriend (BTW, it's available on YouTube). Sadly, Jill died in a car accident at the age of thirty-five.
It's answered by a scared-looking young woman holding a baby. The two officers explain why they are there and ask if she knows the man. Before she can answer, the man interjects. He claims that she knows him, she's just terribly upset. Malloy wants to hear it from her.
Once again, the man speaks instead. "You don't want the law, do you?" he asks her.

She takes a moment then answers that it's alright, he's a friend. The man pushes past Malloy and makes his way in the house. 
Before they leave, Reed hands the woman his card and tells her to call if she needs any help.

When they're in the black and white again Reed asks his comrade for advice on writing up the last incident. They both agree it should be filed under "family dispute", the description seems close enough. If only the girl or the man would have been honest, then they would know what was really going on. 
"You ever get the feeling people just don't wanna confide in you?" queries Malloy.
Reed knows exactly what his partner means.
"Yeah, we're two for two in that department today."
At least the link operator tells them what's going on. Like he just did right now when he told them a 211 just occurred at the college. 

When 1-Adam-12 arrives at the campus of Alimain College several football players run out to greet Pete and Jim. They direct the officers into the locker room, where their trainer is nursing a bruised jaw.
[Sir, you may want to have that wound
checked. You wouldn't want it to "fester".]

The trainer, Harry Rustin, doesn't think there's any need for the police. Reed begs to differ.
"You've been hit Mr. Rustin and by the
looks of this place, it's been ransacked.
I'd say there's plenty of reason for the police."
Rustin realizes that Reed is right and changes his mind. He sends players out onto the field to run drills so he can talk to the police alone. 
See those white football jerseys with the black numbers?
One of them appeared in "Parole Violator", albeit without padding.
After the players have left Rustin tells Reed as much as he can about what happened. He came into the locker room where a guy was waiting for him. The guy, who was maybe kind of big, hauled off and hit Rustin. He's not sure what the guy was after or what he took.

Malloy, on the other hand, has a pretty good idea of what he was looking for.
"Looks like he cleaned out the medicine cabinet."
They know he was after something in the medicine cabinet, but it's hard to tell what exactly. Because Rustin's not sure what was in the cabinet. He gives the players pills everyday, but he just follows instructions laid out by the coach. Rustin takes Reed and Malloy over to the medicine cabinet to show them the system the coach has devised.

On a shelf in the cabinet is an index card file. On each card is a player's name and the list of pills he should get. Each day Rustin puts the pills in paper cups and gives them to the players. Other than salt tablets, Rustin doesn't know what he is giving the players. The rest of the pills are only identified in the instructions by color. He doesn't question the system, it's all been worked out by the team doctor, Dr. Sundstrom, and Coach Stobie.

It's Uncle Fester, a.k.a. Jackie Coogan, with hair (well, sort of).
Even though Rustin let Reed and Malloy stay and look around, he doesn't seem too eager to have more police come back to the locker room. When Malloy mentions that they will send SID out to dust for prints, Rustin tells him not to bother. The thief wore gloves. Then when Malloy lets him know they have to follow up, prints or no, Rustin states that he doesn't want to file a complaint.

When they are through at the college, Reed and Malloy make a stop at a telephone booth. Reed opens the phonebook inside the booth and copies down the address of their next stop, Dr. Sundstrom's office.

At the doctor's office the pretty and talkative nurse asks if they are there about Charley Hall.

When Malloy is confused by her statement referring to Charley Hall, she gladly gives the officers more information. 
Charley Hall, the star halfback at Alimain College, burst into the doctor's office and began threatening him earlier today. She had never seen anyone as angry as Charley was. After Charley left, Dr. Sundstrom called Coach Stobie. Then the doctor left. 

Reed asks why all of this happened and the nurse is only able to give a vague reason. Dr. Sundstrom is the team doctor and the head of the alumni, she thinks it had something to do with that. If they want more specific information, they'll have to get that from the doctor. Who, she thinks, is meeting Coach Stobie at Charley Hall's house. She helpfully gives them the halfback's address from the team files.

On their way to Charley's house, Reed and Malloy theorize about Charley's involvement with the break-in at the college. If Charley were the one who broke into the locker room, it would explain Rustin's unwillingness to file a complaint. The trainer wouldn't want his star halfback thrown in jail. 

They arrive at Charley's apartment door, which is ajar, and hear a loud argument taking place inside. Malloy swings open the door and finds two older men and one young man.
A man wearing a three-piece suit, quickly tells the officers that nothing is going on. Malloy doesn't care what he says, he wants to know who they are and what all of the shouting was about.

The three men introduce themselves. The man in the suit is Dr. Sundstrom, the other man is Coach Stobie, and the young man is Charley Hall. Now that he knows all of the players, Malloy wants to know what's going on. Hall encourages the doctor to tell the officer all about it.

When Sundstrom answers that he doesn't think it's necessary to explain their argument to the police, Charley jumps in. He begins telling Reed and Malloy that he was the one who stole the drugs out of the locker room.

Reed stops him and tries to advise Charley of his rights, but he doesn't care. He just wants Sundstrom and Stobie stopped. Hall explains that Sundstrom will go to any lengths to help the team win and keep his job with the alumni association. He'll even go as far as giving the team barbiturates. Charley broke into the locker room to put a stop to Sundstrom, Stobie and their secretive doping.

Sundstrom admits giving the team drugs. He tells Charley it's a perfectly acceptable practice in athletics. Charley doesn't buy it, none of the players on the teams they face have to take drugs. Sundstrom then points out that all of those teams have beaten by Alimain. After hearing both sides Malloy knows they are not going to get anywhere standing in Charley's apartment.
"I think maybe we better go down to the station
and let the detectives sort this out."
Back at the station Reed meets up with Malloy in Mac's office. He's ready to go eat some French food. Malloy, however, wants to know what happened with the Sundstrom mess first. 
Reed reports that he turned it all over to Olsen in Narcotics. He's all ready to open an investigation on Alimain. In fact, they already had a file going on the college. Some of the parents of other players have already complained about the athletics department. 

Once Reed is finished giving them an update on Sundstrom, he's ready to go. Mac wants to know where they're headed off to.
"Pete's taking me and Jean to dinner. I'm starving to death."
"Well, it's no wonder. You haven't eaten anything all day."
The next day, after their culinary adventure, Reed doesn't seem too happy as he buckles his seat belt.
He's not even feeling well enough to clear them at the beginning of the shift.
"1-Adam-12 day watch, clear."

When Malloy points out that Reed's foul mood is the result of too much kippered herring and too many glasses wine, Reed changes the subject. 

He asks Malloy if he talked to Woods about the Wilkinson case. Malloy did and Woods let him know that the Wilkinsons refused to talk to the detective that went out to the house. He also thinks the baby was kidnapped, but there's nothing detectives can do until the parents cooperate with the department.

Reed's still hopeful that the baby is at its grandparents and the Wilkinsons just don't like cops. Malloy's willing to bet on that. His comrade's mention of the word "bet" reminds Reed of his gastrointestinal distress. He sees a drugstore ahead and asks Malloy to make a stop. 

Malloy happily obliges. He parks the unit and Reed gets out and begins to walk the few feet to the drugstore. But, he'll have to get his Pepto Bismal later. Two cars, one green and the other yellow, go careening at a high speed around the corner. He races back to the car and they take off in pursuit.

The chase is fast, winding, and deafening, with tires squealing, sirens wailing, and engines roaring. It then becomes even more treacherous when the passenger of the yellow car begins shooting at the occupants of the green car.

Finally, a backup unit is able to cut off the green car ending the chase. When the cars stop and the doors open, the drivers and passengers start running. Pete and Jim see that they don't get too far.
"Drop the gun. Face down on the deck."
While the officers are occupied with the male occupants of the cars, a female passenger, heretofore hidden in the backseat, tries to sneak out. 
Her attempted escape does not go unnoticed by Jim.

"Alright, come out slow."
After she emerges from her hiding spot one of the yellow car occupants begins yelling that he'll "bash her head in" if he ever sees her riding in another dude's car again. As the argument between these two continues it becomes obvious that the lady in red here was the cause of all this burnt rubber. Jim informs her that she'll also have to come down to the station for questioning. Pete adds that it's probably a good idea if she rides with backup instead of with them and her jilted boyfriend.

Back in the car after their trip to the station with the joyriders, Jim's stomach is feeling better. Pete's glad to hear it, he wants to discuss a wager on Sunday's game with him. 
"Nothin' doin', I'm not bettin' with you anymore."

Before Pete can press the issue, the dispatcher interrupts with a call. There's a family dispute at 2604 Marshall. Pete remembers the address, it's the same place where they found the young girl and the helpful prowler.

When they knock on the door of 2604 Marshall this time the young mother invites them inside. Reed and Malloy are surprised to see both the helpful prowler and Mr. Wilkinson in the living room. The prowler and Wilkinson are equally surprised to see the cops and the prowler, Tyler, isn't quite so amiable this time. His tone becomes threatening towards the young woman. With Malloy and Reed beside her, she tells him that she is no longer afraid of him.

It seems the young woman, Rita, was very afraid when she was broke and pregnant. She accepted Tyler's offer to pay her doctor bills and five hundred dollars from Wilkinson to give up the baby. Now she wants her baby back and she promises to repay Wilkinson his money. Wilkinson's willing to let her keep the money, he just wants the baby back. He points out that Rita signed papers giving him and his wife custody.

ButRita now knows those papers mean nothing. She's talked to legal aid and they've told her the black market deal she entered into with Tyler and Wilkinson is null and void. The mention of "black market" scare Tyler. He tells Rita to cool it, there are cops present. Malloy, however doesn't want them to stop talking. In fact, he's got some questions of his own for Tyler.
"Do you work for a licensed adoption agency?"
Tyler suddenly isn't so tough anymore and struggles to get an answer out. While he stumbles over his words, Wilkinson jumps in. He admits that he and his wife didn't talk to detectives because they knew an investigation would reveal that they got the baby on the black market. They knew Rita probably took the baby, so they called Tyler instead of the police.

Tyler tries to justify his clients' actions, but Malloy's not having any of it.
"Come off it, Tyler. Save the soft music for the detectives."
He tells Tyler that no matter what was signed, Rita has full rights to the child. Malloy then asks Wilkinson why he and his wife didn't adopt through a licensed agency. His answer is sadly ironic.
"We thought this way would be somehow easier."

The End

Aaahhhh, I feel this one is a return to form after the last few episodes that focused more on long-term investigations. "The Adoption" was a nice mix of the long-term (Rita and the Wilkinsons, Alimain college), the one and done (the car chase), with some funny banter and action thrown in. And it had an actress who made frequent Mark VII appearances along with Jackie Coogan! This one hits all the marks for so it is going to get a good rating. Which brings me to a surprise I have for everyone this week:

New rating system!

I realized that my old rating system based on significant events in Jim Reed's life had been around for a quite awhile. So, I decided to come up with a new one:

While I'm introducing my system, let me also explain how it works. I have a certain fondness for each off-duty look featured in the system. Just like episodes, there are some off-duty outfits I appreciate more than others. My feeling for that week's episode equates to my feeling for the outfit featured in the rating it has earned. When an episode earns "Workout clothes!", a look I really love, that means I really love that episode. When an episode is rated "Pants with a zipper in back", a look I would rather not see again, it's an episode I would rather not see again. Got it?

Now that everyone knows what all of this means, here's my rating for "The Adoption":

Do you agree? Let me know somewhere, out there in cyberspace. I'll see you after Christmas with "Mary Hong loves Tommy Chen". Have a great holiday!