Kojak - Season 1 Episode Guide & Reviews

Kojak - Season 1 Episode Guide & Reviews


Copyright ©2016-2017 by Mike Quigley. No reproduction of any kind without permission.
Timings refer to the DVDs released by Universal and Shout! Factory.

WARNING: The following contains spoilers and the plots are given away!


JUMP TO SEASON TWO, SEASON THREE, SEASON FOUR or SEASON FIVE
PILOT EPISODE
(The Marcus-Nelson Murders• MAIN PAGE


RATINGS:
★★★ = One of the very best episodes, a must-see.
★★★ = Better than average, worthy of attention.
★★ = Average, perhaps with a few moments of interest.
1. (S01E01) Seige of Terror ★★★½
Original air date: October 24, 1973
Director: William Hale; Writer: Robert Heverley

SUMMARY:

The series starts off in a slam-bang way after a bystander witnesses an armored car robbery and calls the cops. A firefight results, with one of the crooks, Emery Wilson, seriously wounded. After a high-speed chase lasting around 2 minutes and 24 seconds with lots of swerving around corners, a trio of the robbers abandons Wilson on the street and takes refuge in a surplus store where there are guns and ammunition as well as several hostages. Wilson later spills the beans to the cops with details regarding the heist as well as the names of his pals in the store: Jerry Talaba (Harvey Keitel), Jack Murzie (James J. Sloyan) and Mike Amazeen (Jude Farnese). Kojak, who soon arrives on the scene, attempts to negotiate passage out of the country by plane for the robbers, but the mayor turns this idea down. He also attempts to get help for Richard Calvelli (David Proval), a patrolman who was shot in the stomach as he attempted to warn the people in the store that the robbers were coming. Some cops dig through a utility tunnel located next to the basement of the store. Kojak gets Talaba's brother Frank (John Garwood), the mastermind of the robbery who escaped, to try and persuade Jerry to give himself up. As emergency services officers who have rappelled to the roof by helicopter make noise trying to drill through, creating a distraction, Kojak gets the hostages to escape through the hole in the basement, though he is left in the store with the now-dead Calvelli, the menacing Jerry and psychotic Murzie. Kojak walks out with Calvelli's body over his shoulder as Jerry keeps mad dog Murzie from wasting him.

REVIEW:

A very good show with a large crowd viewing the hostage taking, including people from the neighborhood, cops on horses, annoying people from the press and a bunch of chanting Hare Krishna types. There is above-average photography like the shot at the beginning looking up at the security guards bringing the bags of money to the truck. Considering the hostage takers give Kojak only two hours to get the plane for them, time is seriously compressed for Crocker and Allan Manson's character to track down the panel truck used in the robbery to transport the loot and for Kojak to find Frank Talaba, who drove the truck. The sound of cops digging from the emergency tunnel conveniently located next to the surplus store into the store's basement is covered up by the sound of an armored personnel carrier type vehicle outside, though it doesn't seem that noisy to me.

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2. (S01E02) Web of Death ★★★½
Original air date: October 31, 1973
Director: William Hale; Writer: Jack Laird

SUMMARY:

Hector Elizondo plays Nick Ferro, a detective who has been on the force for 16 years. Recently he has been checking up on his wife Joanna (Barbara Rhoades) who is having an affair with a well-heeled Wall Street lawyer named Quincy Forsythe (a.k.a. Edward Harris) who she met in a bar while pretending to spend "time out with the girls." While he is off duty, Ferro constructs what he thinks is an air-tight alibi, arresting a junkie named Pinky Hollister (John Karlen). He allows Pinky to get doped up and then goes into Forsythe's love nest and shoots him dead while Pinky is outside seemingly passed out in Ferro's car. Pinky is almost processed at the station before the guy at the booking desk notices that a package of heroin Pinky was carrying is actually soap, which Ferro himself switched. Back at Pinky's apartment, Ferro gives Pinky an envelope of heroin which is almost pure, with the result that Pinky dies. It is not said whether Pinky shot up by himself or Ferro administered the heroin, killing him. After Forsythe's body is discovered by the building superintendent Mr. Polichek (Norbert Schiller), Kojak ironically assigns Ferro to investigate the case, but after Ferro's partner Olney (Burk Byrnes) is sent to hospital after it's determined he has the symptoms of appendicitis, Kojak becomes Ferro's "partner" which is the beginning of the end for Ferro's scheme. Later, back at the station, Kojak notices some item on the floor at the murder scene in an evidence photo, a piece of jewelery which Ferro's wife left there and Ferro picked up when he was searching the room earlier. Ferro becomes more and more nervous about what is going on, especially after Kojak draws further conclusions about the appearance of the lawyer's girl friend "Miss Johnson" (Ferro's wife) and connects the gun used to kill Forsythe to a case Ferro was involved with. When Ferro goes to some dive to knock off a pimp who was recently associated with this gun, Kojak is also there and a shootout follows, with Ferro wounded and arrested.

REVIEW:

An above-average episode where the atmosphere at the precinct station is well-depicted and which shows how an attempt to commit a "perfect crime" goes awry when the perpetrator -- in this case an ambitious, well-regarded cop -- neglects some small details. I have a problem with a couple of things. First, after Ferro knocks off Forsythe, he cranks up the stereo loudly, which later draws the attention of the building superintendent. Pinky, who was supposedly passed out in Ferro's car outside, later at the station starts humming the tune which was playing on the stereo, which totally freaks Ferro out. Whether Pinky could hear this sound in the alley by the delivery entrance to the building where Ferro's car was parked is debatable. Forsythe's love nest is hardly in some fleabag apartment. It is very well-furnished, with a fancy stereo, which Polichek describes as a "Victrola," and a bar. I also have a problem with the jewelery which Ferro's wife forgot on the floor of the love nest. This was an engagement gift from her husband. When Ferro later confronts his wife with this, she freaks out. Ferro is totally paranoid that this item could be used to connect him to the murder, even though it is not seen very clearly in the photo. Why doesn't he just throw it in the garbage? After all, he takes the blonde wig his wife wore during her affair and burns it up in their sink. There is some suggestion, though, that Stavros is an expert in this kind of merchandise and might be able to track it back to the store where it was purchased.

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3. (S01E03) One for the Morgue ★★★½
Original air date: November 7, 1973
Director: Richard Donner; Writer: Jerrold Freedman

SUMMARY:

During a Columbus Day street party organized by the Lower Manhattan Protective Association (a Mafia front), mobster Mike X. Tomasso (Art Metrano) is shot by a couple of black guys, who also kill an old lady. Despite the presence of many cops including Kojak, the shooters get away. They are thought to be members of a rival Harlem gang run by a guy named Cleveland, so Kojak and his men round up members of this other gang after getting a lot of anonymous tips. But Kojak says that "something smells about this case," despite the fact that McNeil figures that everything is nicely wrapped up and the commissioner lavishes praise on Kojak for the work he has done. With the help of Crocker and acting without McNeil's authorization, Kojak figures out that Tomasso ordered a hit on himself to eliminate the competition with the help of the cops. Kojak also manages to track down the assassin/killer, a guy named Mitch DuBois (Arnold Williams), who is arrested after he attempts to sell cocaine to Gil Weaver (Roger Robinson). Weaver has been undercover investigating Cleveland's organization for the last couple of months. When DuBois' bail is set at $100,000, he knows that something is up and so does Tomasso. Tomasso gets bail arranged for DuBois and after he is released, attempts to kill him. Kojak and Crocker are close behind, and they force Tomasso's Lincoln Continental off the road and into a bar. Tomasso attempts to escape, but he is put out of action by Kojak. Back at the station, McNeil says there is enough evidence (16 counts worth) to put Tomasso and his gang away for a very long time.

REVIEW:

This show is the first one where Kojak is his wise-cracking self, bossing around Crocker, differing big time with his superior McNeil, and intimidating suspects. There are plenty of great, sarcastic exchanges. The direction and photography are both excellent. The only thing that bothers me is during the street party there are seemingly only two black guys there, DuBois and the other shooter, Slade (Ji Tu Cumbuka), yet no one including Kojak can remember anything about them until later when Kojak connects a picture of DuBois from the party with another that was taken of DuBois meeting Tomasso's number one man Serafin (Anthony Charnota) in a "soul food" cafe.

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4. (S01E04) Knockover ★★½
Original air date: November 14, 1973
Director: Charles S. Dubin; Writer: Mort Fine

SUMMARY:

A 27-year-old woman from Baltimore named Leona Crown (Josie Johnson) is brutally murdered as she waits on a bus stop bench. George Bradbury (Joseph Hindy), her killer, tries to pry a large diamond ring off her finger, but is interrupted by a couple walking down the street, and flees without it. Not much useful information is available about Leona, other than the fact that she took dancing lessons in Baltimore and had plastic surgery on her breasts which included silicone implants. With this in mind, Kojak and Crocker check out several topless go-go clubs. At one of these, Kojak gets an address for Leona, and when he arrives at her apartment, it has been tossed. He finds a photo in her jacket which shows her and one Mickey Reason (Paul Savior). The yellow sheet on Reason, according to Crocker, says "Two bits for robbery, explosives, first-race juicer, safes, stuff like that." Reason's last known address was 1210 Moreland in Scylar-on-the-Hudson, a made-up town, which has some connection with Kojak four years before. Kojak takes a trip there, but according to Peggy (Maggie Malooly), the landlady of the house where Reason was renting, he has been gone for two weeks. Kojak also encounters Bradbury, who says he is a painter from Ohio who rented a room in the same place only a couple of days before. After Kojak leaves, Reason shows up and Bradbury is very annoyed because Reason had hot pants for Leona and gave her half the loot from a robbery in Coopers Point, New York (another made-up town) on June 4, 1973 which yielded a haul of a quarter-million dollars in new bills, plus stocks, bonds and items of jewelery including the ring which was on Leona's finger. Most of this loot was recovered recently when Leona's apartment was broken into. Kojak is suspicious about a recent encounter he had with money launderer Ken Dimin (Alan Dexter) and when he finds Dimin at a local restaurant, he is in the company of two Las Vegas "money men," Mesche (John Goddard) and Tony Curcio (Alex Rocco). When Dimin gives Kojak some mouth, Kojak picks up Dimin's chair and dumps him on the floor, convincing him and the other two men to be more respectful in the future. Kojak later gets the help of his cop girl friend Joannie Garretty (Lynnette Mettey) to get Curcio to pick her up. When this encounter almost gets out of hand, Kojak arrives on the scene late, telling Curcio "I ought to stick your mouth in a light socket." Curcio comes out with the standard "I want to speak to my lawyer" line and is is taken away, to be charged with assault and attempted rape, both felonies. Curcio's room yields a case containing half a million dollars, suggesting that a large-scale robbery is going to be taking place soon. One of Curcio's bills (one out of 5,000 $100 bills!) conveniently has a phone number of 784-9975 on it, which is a pay phone across the street from the house in Scyler-on-the-Hudson where the crooks are staying that Kojak visited earlier. Because of this, Kojak and Crocker return there where they figure out (a bit too easily -- see below) that Bradbury and his buddies are the same gang who pulled off the Coopers Point robbery and are pulling the same number on a local bank. They hasten to the bank where they bust Bradbury's gang with the help of other cops.

REVIEW:

This show starts out well, but soon bogs down. Kojak goes to Scylar-on-the-Hudson, a bogus high-end community which looks like it is not too close to Manhattan, because there is a stock shot of Kojak's car merging on to the freeway when he starts travelling there. In fact, Kojak describes this place as "out in the boondocks." It is more likely in New York state that this place would be Schuyler-on-the-Hudson (Schuyler is pronounced "Skyler"), but there is no such place either, though there are some "on-Hudson" villages (Hastings-on, Croton-on, and Cornwall-on, for example). The first two of these are suburbs of New York City, the third is about 50 miles away. Crocker can find the location of the phone number on Curcio's $100 bill for the place on Moreland quickly which suggests that Scylar-on-the-Hudson is in the New York City area, especially considering there is no area code (the New York City 212 area code began in 1947 and was not expanded until 1984, several years after the show went off the air). At one point in the show, Mrs. Contreras (Alma Beltran), a hysterical woman who only speaks Spanish, and who looks like she just lives down the street in Manhattan South, comes to the station. Gomez (Victor Campos) quizzes her and finds out that at least 50 sandbags were stolen from her neighborhood park where kids were building a clubhouse. There is no suggestion that this woman lives in Scylar-on-the-Hudson, but when Kojak and Crocker go there, Kojak makes a connection between a park near the crooks' house and a neighborhood park similar to the place where Contreras said sandbags were stolen. Sandbags were part of the M.O. of the thieves who committed the Coopers Point robbery, where they cut a hole in the roof of a bank on a weekend and then blasted their way into the safety deposit box area, hiding behind the bags for protection. Along with the location of the pay phone as per the number on Curcio's $100 bill, the recent appearance of the Vegas money men, the amount of money Curcio was carrying, and the fact that Scylar-on-the-Hudson is a rich community, Kojak somehow deduces that the same thieves are at work pulling off a similar robbery right now -- all of which is far too clever. At the end, Kojak and Crocker go to the Security Scylar National Bank where the thieves are just wrapping up their business, having looted hundreds of safety deposit boxes. As Bradbury tries to escape in their truck, there is a ridiculous stunt where Kojak jumps up and reaches into the truck which is moving very quickly, grabs the steering wheel and drives the truck into a pile of cardboard containers where it stops and Kojak pulls Bradbury out. This truck doesn't even have a running board! Adding to the confusion about Scyler-on-the-Hudson's proximity to New York is the fact that Crocker had no trouble calling Kojak from Manhattan on the radio when he was there earlier and when they arrest the robbers at the end of the show, the "local" cops have a New York City Police shield on the door of their car.

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5. (S01E05) Girl in the River ★★
Original air date: November 21, 1973
Director: William Hale; Writer: Halsted Welles

SUMMARY:

Two women are raped and murdered using the same M.O. as a serial killer named "Excalibur" who hasn't been active for some time. His latest murders bring the total body count up to seven women. Kojak and the men from the precinct investigate the case from every possible angle and come up with some evidence, but Kojak is not completely convinced enough to lay charges against anyone. "Chic" Chiccaloni (Mark Gordon), one of the detectives, interviews Eloise Grimshaw (Jenifer Shaw), a woman who works in a massage parlor who was threatened by one of the customers, a "Hindu" guru (Prince Rashad Kamal). This guru, who is chauffeured around in a Rolls-Royce, hangs out at the Body Boutique, a singles bar where some of the people are suspects in the Excalibur case, including Ted Strong (James Keach), a sculptor who rented his loft to Eloise and two of her friends, including Ruby Stanfield, who was the second of the killer's two recent victims. Ted was Ruby's boyfriend, and he had an argument with her the night she was killed. There are so many other incriminating things about Ted that McNeil wonders why he hasn't been arrested. Kojak, who has seen some of Ted's work on a visit to the loft, replies "Any man that can put so much violence and sex into a piece of stone doesn't have to violate flesh. He gets his kicks with a hammer and chisel." A copycat claiming to be Excalibur does not make Kojak's life easier. The killer turns out to be Gus Sutherland (Alan Fudge), bartender at the Body Boutique, who is suffering from serious "mommy issues."

REVIEW:

Like the previous episode, this one has some good things about it, but it runs out of steam towards the end. In the squad room, we meet Chiccaloni, an interesting character who never appears on the show again, as well as Cahan (Sidney Clute). Kojak is super pissed that Excalibur has returned, and he gets a chance to yell a lot and argue with McNeil. But there are some major identification problems with the sculptor Ted Strong, who was the boyfriend of Eloise's roomate Ruby. When she comes to the station, Eloise says that "Freddy, her [Ruby's] boyfriend, he kept arguing with her to go [to Boston with some of the other people from the bar the night she was murdered], but she didn't wanna go. She was tired and so they had a big argument." Later when Kojak finds out that Gus is possibly the killer, he tells Crocker and Chiccaloni, "The body of evidence is very impressive, but so was the case against Fred Strong." Gus is suspected of being involved when he can't produce a limited-edition pen given to him by the ad man Maus Deerfield (Stewart Moss) around the 29 minute mark in the show. Later around 40:45, some guy somes into the bar to announce "They got Excalibur," based on the capture of the copycat and there is ominous music and the camera moves in on a closeup of Gus at the bar as if to say "HE DID IT." The ending of the show is lame, with Gus showing up at Eloise's place with a pizza. There is a big dramatic moment when she cannot see his face after she opens the door, and then suddenly she notices that he is no longer bald, but wearing a wig with curly hair, one of the characteristics of the killer. There is a big revelation from Gus as he is about to kill Eloise: "My mother told me to [kill the women]. She comes to me in the night and whispers to me. There's so much evil in the world. You asked for this. You begged for it. Don't pretend you didn't. They all did. Defiling love. Corrupting it. Flaunting themselves." Kojak suddenly shows up and shoots Gus; before Gus expires, he says "Mama?" Terrible!

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6. (S01E06) Requiem for a Cop ★★★
Original air date: November 28, 1973
Director: Gary Nelson; Writers: Richard Adams; Jack Laird

SUMMARY:

Tom Donnelly (John Pickard), a cop on the force for 24 years with an impeccable record, is found shot dead in his car in an alley with $10,000 in his wallet. The big brass in the police force are very concerned about this, to the extent that Donnelly's funeral in a couple of days will not be the traditional big deal type of cop memorial if there is any hint of corruption. Kojak orders his men to leave no stone unturned after getting the Police Commissioner to give him the next 48 hours to investigate what really happened. Probably the most shocked person is Geno Alessi (James Luisi), Donnelly's partner for the last 12 years. The two of them were investigating a series of robberies and having no luck because every time they turned up at a crime scene, the robbers were pulling off a heist somewhere else. Kojak visits Donnelly's wife Madge (Louise Latham) and asks some very touchy questions. She tells him that she and her husband were really not on intimate terms for the last six months ("There was nothing for him to come home to") and their son Jack (Mike Margotta), who is living elsewhere, has not put in an appearance yet. Kojak goes to see Sgt. Dobieski (Joe George), an instructor at the police academy, about Jack, who had been studying to be a cop like his father, but had dropped out to go to CCNY (Community College of New York) instead. Kojak knows Dobieski is hiding something, and finally Dobieski admits that there was "a morals charge" after "another rookie registered a complaint," which was hushed up so that Donnelly never found out about it. Later, McNeil says he thinks that the $10,000 was connected with some kind of shakedown because Donnelly's kid was gay. Kojak and Geno go to see Sammy Moreno (Joey Aresco), the informant who gave Donnelly and Geno intel about the robberies they were investigating, and Sammy swears that his information was all correct. But after Sammy is found dead the next morning, Kojak learns from one of Sammy's friends Sandro (Gil Serna) that Sammy was also gay, and puts two and two together (see below for further discussion). Kojak later confronts Jack about the $10,000 that his father had in his wallet, which, strangely, the person who shot him never took. Donnelly was intent on returning the money to a businessman named Paul Kimbrough, who was supposedly being blackmailed by his son, but in reality, Kimbrough was actually one of the robbers that he and Geno were after. Kojak makes a big pitch to Jack about his father's honor, and Jack leads him to a building where the robbers hang out. Kojak has a gun fight with two of these guys, and Jack himself is wounded when he tries to help. Because things have been cleared up, Donnelly, having been vindicated, can have a full-fledged funeral.

REVIEW:

This is a difficult episode to review, because it seems to me that some of it got left on the cutting room floor because of the subject matter, which is kind of rank for its day. For example, after Kojak comes back from the police academy, McNeil's big line is "Was it worth it to Donnelly ... to sell out the badge to a gang of boosters in order to finance a shakedown payoff, just because his kid's homosexual?" There is a very obvious cut away right before the word "homosexual," and a suggestion in a discussion on IMDB that this line has been redubbed, as if McNeil originally said some other expression meaning "gay." After the informer Sammy gets murdered with an ice pick, Kojak asks the dandified Sandro, who found Sammy's body, "Was he a friend, a relative?" (Sandro already told Geno he was a relative.) Sandro replies, "La mariposa? [The butterfly?] He may be your friend. I don't know, man. He's maricon [faggot]. [Then, as if Kojak doesn't understand what he is saying] Fagola!" Kojak comments, "Sammy Moreno -- informant, bartender -- and Tommy's kid, both of them three-dollar bills." I don't understand why Kojak suddenly sees some connection between Sammy and Jack. Sammy is a bartender at La Culebra (The Viper or Snake), an after-hours bar. Is he suggesting that Jack and Sammy are "pals," as if this is the only gay bar in town? When Kojak goes later to talk to Jack (who does hang out in La Culebra, even though the decor in the background is different than when Kojak was there earlier talking to Sammy), Jack says the $10,000 that got his father killed was extorted from a "respectable businessman, a wealthy man, a closet queen." Kojak says this is baloney, and that Jack told his father "the one story he could square with his policeman's conscience." Kojak says that Jack actually got the money from selling info to the robbers his father and Geno were after that he gleaned from his father's duty schedule. This seems far-fetched to me. Is Kojak just guessing here? (He seems to have been right, though.) Would Jack really have access to this information? Sammy had to get the information that he gave to the cops from somewhere, and it was obviously changed around because every time Jack's father and Geno went to raid a place where a theft was taking place, the robbers were in another location. So is the suggestion that Jack and Sammy were lovers, and knowing that Sammy was an informer, Jack gave him the wrong info intentionally? Whatever the problems are with the script, this is a very well-acted episode.

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7. (S01E07) The Corruptor ★★
Original air date: December 5, 1973
Director: Paul Stanley; Writer: James M. Miller

SUMMARY:

Maximilian Krouse (Jon Silo), chairman of the board of Duchess Jewelry, is concerned that the company, which recently went through a shakeup, is being repurposed as a jewelry chop shop, melting down, recutting and putting stones in new fixtures. He sneaks into the company late at night with a camera and takes some pictures, but because of his asthmatic wheezing, he is caught by two of the thugs now working there -- Nicky Cole (Nicholas Courtland) and McGregor (Mel Allen). Krouse is stabbed to death and his body is dumped outside to make it look like a mugging. Kojak and the cops soon arrive, and after some humorous banter with a rookie who found Krouse's body, they enter the place, where they find Cole, who recently got out of jail on parole, in charge of the crew there. All the people working in the place are taken away to be booked downtown. Kojak goes to visit Celia Marie Lamb (Lola Albright), a former top fashion model, whose name is also on the company's board of directors. She lives in a rather lavish apartment building. When Kojak tells her about Krouse's murder, she is shocked, because Krouse had been taking care of her for about a year. Celia describes Krouse's relationship with her -- which involved paying her rent, among other things -- as "gallant" and that he asked for "no favors." In other words, it wasn't like she was his mistress. They are interrupted by David Lawrence (Robert Webber), who, it turns out later, has known Celia even longer than Krouse, and who introduced her to various men including Krouse over the years. Lawrence drops hints that Kojak should leave, but Kojak also drops hints that he will be back. Kojak visits Gaylord Fuller (Scatman Crothers), who is running a crap game, and whose cousin, Lumpjaw, is a well-known fence. (Lumpjaw is mentioned by Cole as the source of the jewelry received at the beginning of the show.) Fuller says that his cousin is dealing with a jewelry factory run by a "fast dude from Philly" (actually Lawrence) and drops the name of Louis Kowalski, a well-known jewel thief known to hit up hotel customers. Hoping that Kowalski might be useful to their investigation, Crocker and Saperstein tail Kowalski, but he gets killed during a confrontation. When Kojak returns to Celia's later, he finds Cole inside looking for some photos. After a fight, Nick is summarily taken away by Stavros and charged with assaulting a police officer. Kojak starts to put the heat on Celia to help him put away Lawrence, telling her that Lawrence is "a parasite and a killer." He tells Celia that Emile Zirvo (Alfred Ryder), former stonecutter at the jewelry company and a friend of hers, turned into an alcoholic bum after he was fired. When Lawrence soon shows up again, he suggests that Kojak is harassing Celia, and that he might talk to some bigwigs at city hall and the police department about this. Kojak brings up the issue of Lawrence's past connection with a call girl modelling ring (for which no charges were ever laid). Celia later tells Kojak about how Lawrence pays for stolen goods which involves the pickup of an attaché case full of money. Kojak hangs out with Lawrence at a cocktail party that evening while the money transfer happens, except Kojak has the co-operation of Cole, who is the man picking up the case. Kojak swaps the cash for some heavy books and also plants a bug in Lawrence's ear via Celia that Cole is having an affair with Lawrence's wife. When Cole calls from the jewelry store saying that something is wrong, Lawrence, who has made a career out of "not getting involved" is rattled, and goes to the store. After they follow him, Celia lets the cops into the building with her key to the place and Lawrence is busted as he tries to escape.

REVIEW:

This episode underneath is OK, but there are a lot of nitpicky problems with the script. For example:

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8. (S01E08) Dark Sunday ★★★
Original air date: December 12, 1973
Director: Charles R. Rondeau; Writer: Robert M. Young

SUMMARY:

A gang is preparing to pull off a robbery which will "make the Keystone Cops look like gravediggers," according to Kojak. Stolen cars and a truck are being repainted and fixed up to look like police vehicles, and members of the gang will wear police uniforms rented from the Martinelli Costume Company at 508 East 10th Street. A transmitter hooked in to police frequencies will be used to misdirect cop cars to bogus incidents and allow the crooks to rob automatic weapons from the police department armory. The boss of the gang is Steve Macey (Richard Jordan) who is working in conjunction with the gangster Hugh Jellicoe (Paul Lambert). Macey works in a theatre running the lights, so has access to "theatrical things" like the costume company. A map connected with the route to be used during the robbery is taken from Macey's apartment by Artie Fowler (Marc Alaimo), one of the robbers who is killed early on in the show because he has been shooting off his mouth too much. This map falls into the hands of the police when they are investigating Artie's death, but it doesn't make much sense until Kojak and his men are following it on the night of the robbery. Although just about every police car in the area has been called away to the bogus incident (announced on the transmitter by Liz (Yvonne Craig), who works at the armory), Kojak and other cops rush to nab the crooks. Macey is shot dead.

REVIEW:

Definitely something different, and well-written. But there are issues with some "technology" in the show. According to Crocker, car keys which have numbers on them for a 1972 Plymouth and a 2-1/2 ton Dodge truck are found at Artie's apartment. Using these numbers, Chrysler was able to track down the serial and engine numbers of the cars. According to a friend of mine who used to be in the used car business as well as another friend who is familiar with cars of the era, this is far-fetched. These days when you buy a car which has keys with buttons you push to open and lock the car, you will usually get another key which is the "master key" with a little metal plate attached that has a number on it. If you need to make another key, you take this master key to the dealer, and they can make a new key, which usually costs a fortune, but they cannot use this number to track down the car. It's strictly related to the locks in the car. Same thing back in the 70s.

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9. (S01E09) Conspiracy of Fear ★★★
Original air date: December 19, 1973
Director: Jeannot Szwarc; Writers: Mark Rodgers & Jack Laird

SUMMARY:

Developer Whitney Farrow (Larry Kert) invites the New York City Zoning Commission to a cocktail party where he is previewing his new project called "Audubon Gardens" that will spread over 350 acres. Slides of this elicit gasps from the crowd when they are shown. Kojak also shows up at the party, wanting to talk to Assemblyman Paul Merchison (Michael McGuire), a member of the Commission, about delaying a decision on the project, because an undercover cop named Stanley Jacobi who was investigating construction kickbacks with a possible connection to the project has just been murdered. Kojak gets a chilly reception from Merchison, who says "This is an urgent plan for a disadvantaged part of the city proposed by the most reputable of developers." Kojak pays a visit to Dennison (Victor Argo), who handles the hiring of subcontractors for Farrow. Jacobi was working with Dennison, and had uncovered irregularities in the latter's business affairs. Kojak accuses Dennison of skimming public funds, telling him "You're not going to get away with murder." But then Dennison gets a phone call saying that the coroner's report on Jacobi's death, leaked to him by Merchison, says it was due to "a highway mishap." Kojak gets an opportunity to address the Zoning Commission, and is successful in convincing them to delay their decision-making, telling them that the whole thing stinks so much it should be called "Kickback City," and that, in his unsubstantiated opinion, Jacobi was killed. This leads to another tense confrontation between Merchison and Kojak in the hallway outside the Commission's meeting room, so nasty that McNeil later calls Kojak "arrogant." Farrow is very slimy. Although married, he is "doing it" with Jeri Devereaux (Gretchen Corbett), who is executive secretary to the Commission. With her help, he finds out details about Kojak's appearance and other information which she has sworn an oath not to reveal. Soon after, some of the people who have invested money in the project start to drop out because of the delay. Fifty million of the money slated for the project will come from the Mob, and they are concerned because they will now have to make up the difference. The big Mob boss, Victor Marchette (Nicholas Colasanto) gets Dennison knocked off because he got "a little sloppy." This sends Farrow into a panic, because he and Dennison have been pals dating back several years. There is a big surprise half way through the show. Merchison, who Kojak made such a scene with, is actually working undercover too! He is pretending to be the heavy in conjunction with a grand jury probe. In order to get the project back on track, Marchette sends a couple of thugs who encounter Commission chairman Emmett Baker in an elevator and start talking about making his grandchildren "disappear." At an emergency zoning meeting shortly after this, Baker is sweating bricks, and gives his consent to resuming the project. Devereaux finds out the details why Baker changed his mind, and tells Farrow she wants nothing more to do with him. Marchette isn't satisfied with just knocking off Dennison. He tells Farrow that he wants Kojak killed too, especially after Kojak starts stirring up trouble with various government agencies over the project. Farrow arranges to meet Kojak at some out-of-the-way location -- a dock in Brooklyn -- where two hit men with long-range rifles are waiting. When Kojak arrives, Farrow tries to warn him, with the result he is the one who is assassinated. Kojak manages to deal with the two killers, knocking one of them out cold with his car, and causing the other to jump into the harbor.

REVIEW:

This show has all the familiar Kojak tropes: Kojak pursues a case with the tenacity of a pit bull; McNeil thinks he is crazy or out of control; Kojak spares no words when talking to elected officials or sleazy criminal types; and so forth. As well, the show features the babely Gretchen Corbett, though she is well covered up, unlike in a celebrated episode of Columbo. It's well written, though the end of the show is disappointing. Kojak arrives at the dock and when he gets out of his car, the killers don't shoot him immediately; there is a pause for Farrow to get out of his car and start yelling that it is a trap. After they kill Farrow, the two hitmen start blasting at Kojak, both from the structure where they are "hiding" (NOT) and when they get down to the ground. They cannot hit Kojak's car because he is zig-zagging all over the place, as well as going backwards and forwards. These two guys are professional killers!

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10. (S01E10) Cop in a Cage ★★½  WHO LOVES YA 
Original air date: January 2, 1974
Director: Charles S. Dubin; Writers: Alvin Sapinsley & Gene R. Kearney

SUMMARY:

John P. Ryan plays Peter Ibbotson, a nasty piece of business who Kojak busted several years back for an extortion racket targeting ethnic minorities who usually don't go to the cops. Ibbotson has been in jail for the last seven years and was recently released. He avoided asking for parole, so now he does not have to report to a parole officer. He visits Kojak at his office and starts asking about Kojak's family. Then he follows Kojak to St. Basil's Church in the Bronx where Kojak's niece Alexandra (Janice Heiden) is rehearsing her upcoming wedding. He also sends Kojak old newspaper clippings from April 12, 1931 about a cop killer, leaves religious-tinged messages stuffed in the door at Kojak's sister Sophie's (Penny Santon) place and dines at the restaurant run by Kojak's brother-in-law Costa (Nick Dennis), where Alexandra works as a waitress. When Kojak frisks him on a public street, Ibbotson starts screaming loudly so a crowd which is forming can hear every word about how Kojak is harassing him. In response, Kojak recites a little poem: "If I ever see you near me / or any of my family, / I'm gonna scatter your brains / from here to White Plains." On the day of the wedding, the church is searched by the bomb squad and further precautions are taken. As the limousine to be used by Alexandra and her new husband is taken through a car wash, Ibbotson, pretending to be working at the place, attaches an odometer-like device connected to a bomb filled with plastic explosive which will blow up after 10 miles have passed to one of the car's tires. Ibbotson got this device from a former cellmate, Henshaw (Robert Donley), an expert in such gizmos. After the marriage ceremony is over and everyone leaves the church for the reception, Kojak notices water from the car wash running from under the limo, something which was not anticipated. The limo is stopped just before the bomb will go off, and the bomb squad is called in again to disarm it. Ibbotson is arrested and taken away.

REVIEW:

Ryan gives a reptilian performance as Ibbotson. After he gets the explosive device from Henshaw, he slits his former cellmate's throat. When Kojak threatens him, he hires an ambulance-chasing lawyer to make an issue about his right to go anywhere he wants in the city. There are a lot of questions about the end of the show, though. First, how does Ibbotson know that a particular limousine will be taken through the car wash at a certain time? Also, why does water from the car wash only pour out of the back of the limo when it stops on the way to the reception? When Stavros and Kojak are following the limo with Ibbotson in the back seat, their car runs into someone pulling out from the curb. The front bumper falls off the car Stavros is driving, and he pushes the bumper in front of the car until they cut off the limo. Kojak yells for everyone to take cover, including people from the limousine, but they hide only a few feet away in and around the entrance of what looks like an abandoned movie theater. If the bomb was to explode, many of them would probably be killed! Then, when the bomb squad arrives, the cops are not dressed up in typical bomb squad protective outfits, but in suits like detectives!

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11. (S01E11) Marker to a Dead Bookie ★★½
Original air date: January 16, 1974
Director: Alex March; Writers: Mort Fine & Gene R. Kearney

SUMMARY:

A police stakeout to follow the trail of some heroin from a ship in the harbor to big boss Val Avery (George Janis) goes sour when one of Avery's men, Omar "Miami" Blake (Henry Brown), recognizes Gil Weaver (Roger Robinson), who he went to school with. Weaver has been working undercover for four months in Avery's organization. Despite this, Miami meets with Weaver later and proposes a deal to get the heroin back. When Kojak hears about this, he wants to be in on the deal, so he sets himself up as a corrupt cop. This is hard to believe, even though Kojak's wardrobe would suggest that he makes a lot more than $20,000 a year. Kojak gets a new car (a huge pimp-mobile from the impound yard), hangs out at s nightclub with a blonde on his arm (a nurse he is dating) and participates in a card game with Fidelio Ortez (Don Caifa), a bookie who owes him some favors, losing $22,000 in the process (presumably the department's money). Avery wants to get Kojak, just like Kojak wants to get him. The two of them meet and Kojak starts grousing about how shitty his job is: "I've served this city for 18 years like a waiter and I'm sick of it. Only this time, I want a big tip." Avery is careful not to get too involved as far as getting the heroin back is concerned, though he instructs some of his goons to take pictures of the transfer of the dope from Weaver's car trunk to Kojak's when it is on the way back from an appearance in court. Miami is the one delegated to receive the goods, much to the annoyance of McNeil, but things take a twist when Ortez' wife Celia (Edith Diaz), very upset because her husband was knocked off by Avery's thugs earlier, confronts Avery, Miami and Avery's bodyguard Solly (Ted White) in the hall outside Avery's apartment and shoots Miami dead. When Kojak shows up at the Sador Cafe to deliver the heroin, Avery is there instead. Outside, cops are all over the place and both Kojak and Weaver are wired. At the first sign of trouble, the restaurant is raided and Avery is caught with his pants down. Kojak is only too happy to pose with him for the video cameras outside.

REVIEW:

A pretty good episode, though the big issue has to do with Kojak, who is probably the least corruptible cop the New York police force has ever known! Avery is hardly a stupid guy, and I'm sure he has been keeping tabs on Kojak for years, especially since Kojak has been on his ass forever. So how can Avery buy Kojak's "turn to the dark side"? It's also hard to understand how Avery can "forgive" Weaver for his betrayal, though, as mentioned in the show, the desire to screw over Kojak probably takes precedence.

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12. (S01E12) Last Rites for a Dead Priest ★★½
Original air date: January 23, 1974
Director: Joel Oliansky; Writer: Jack Laird

SUMMARY:

Jackie Cooper stars as Frank Mulvaney, a jewel thief who dresses like a priest, because "very few doors are closed to a man of God." He plans his robbery at the 43rd Annual Convention of the International Jewelers' Association with great precision, hiring three locals to help him. But his plans are nearly derailed when he runs into a pickpocket named Choo Choo Berrigan (Fredric Franklyn) who recognizes him in the lobby of the hotel where the jewelers are having a public exhibition on the third floor. (Mulvaney later murders Berrigan.) As well, despite the fact that he insists that his three accomplices have no police record, one of them, Clyde Bruckner (Stanley Kamel), has been paroled into the custody of his brother-in-law Gabriel Hilderbrand (Paul Cavonis). On the day of the robbery, Vincenzo Delormi (Vince Martorano) and Gabriel enter the hotel through the service entrance disguised as air conditioning repairmen from G.W. Schilling Air Conditioning. Meeting Mulvaney in his priest garb outside the elevator, which they fix so the door will not close, they dress in suits and storm the exhibition wearing gas masks, dropping tear gas canisters on the floor and rounding up all the people present into another room. Then they smash and grab the most expensive items, including a 50 karat diamond named Celestial Express, which is worth $1 million. These are mixed in with laundry and dropped down through a chute to the basement in a bag where Clyde is waiting in a truck "borrowed" from the Majestic Laundry Service. Word about the robbery is quickly broadcast to cops out on the street. When one of these officers spots Clyde, he tries to stop him. Clyde is wounded in the confrontation and the cop is shot dead. Annoyed that his plans have gone seriously awry, Mulvaney tracks Clyde down to an abandoned building. But so does Kojak through information gleaned from the cab company who took Clyde there. The two of them show up at the building around the same time. After a fight between Mulvaney and Kojak, Mulvaney is arrested and taken away.

REVIEW:

Although the gimmick of disguising a crook as a priest is interesting, there were a lot of little things about this show that were annoying. When the robbers enter the exhibition room, they do so through some staff entrance, not the front door. Considering the exhibit opens up to the public at 10 a.m. (as per a sign seen several times during the show) and the time is before then, there seem to be a lot of people in the room, perhaps a "sneak preview" for invited guests or something. Interestingly, there is another room off the exhibition room where everyone can be locked up while the actual robbery is taking place. After the robbery, Delormi puts a canister of tear gas inside a vent in the hallway. He has previously removed some of the screws from the vent so he can do this. But why does he do this? It doesn't make any sense, because the gas starts pouring out of the vent and on the main floor the smell soon alerts Kojak and Saperstein that something is wrong. Not only that, Delormi leaves the small stepladder that he has to climb to do this right underneath! DUH!! I'm surprised this isn't mentioned later. At the end of the show, Clyde is tracked down by looking up his girl friend Barbara Underwood (Michele Nichols) in his address book, which Gabriel gets his apartment's landlady to bring to the delicatessen across the street from the building so Mulvaney can pick it up. Using this information, Mulvaney finds Barbara, who hesitatingly tells him Clyde is holed up in the derelict building. Why Clyde chose this particular building, which is danger of collapsing, and why he would have contacted Barbara about going there are good questions.

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13. (S01E13) Death Is Not a Passing Grade ★★½  WHO LOVES YA 
Original air date: January 30, 1974
Director: Allen Reisner; Writer: Gene R. Kearney

SUMMARY:

At the beginning of the show, Casimir ("Caz") Mayer (James Woods) and his brother-in-law Art Gordon (Jack Murdock) rob a pawnshop at 3:00 in the morning. They are surprised by the pawnshop owner Mr. King (Allan Joseph) who is sleeping there because he had had an argument with his wife. While King is holding a shotgun pointed at Gordon, Caz sneaks up behind him with a knife and stabs him to death. Despite this, Caz insists that Gordon carry out their original plan by breaking into the safe. In addition to other things, Gordon steals a pinky ring which he had pawned at this store some time ago. Caz drops a pen he stole from Kojak at the crime scene and also leaves a bunch of bogus clues. He got the pen at a class he is taking from Kojak, along with "12 aspiring detectives," at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice entitled Police Science 207: The Investigative Function. Topics discussed there include the use of informants and techniques of surveillance. Caz later steals Kojak's Stetson Tyrol hat which he leaves at another crime scene. This is not the first time these kind of robberies have happened; there have been nine in the last five months. As Kojak is quick to figure out, Caz thinks he is smarter than the cops who are pursuing him. Strangely, according to his sister Diane Gordon (Mariclare Costello), Caz admires Kojak, despite the fact that Kojak singles him out in the class as the object of his sarcasm. When Caz later finds out that Gordon stole the pinky ring during their robbery, he kills his brother-in-law and dumps his body in the harbor. Caz, getting pretty hysterical, tries to rationalize what he has done with his sister. He later punches out Saperstein, who has been tailing him and takes the cop's gun. Caz goes to the apartment of Delta (Pamela Hensley), another student in Kojak's class, somehow knowing that Kojak will hide out there, and takes her hostage. After Kojak arrives, he exchanges shots with Caz, who is mortally wounded. Kojak is surprisingly sympathetic to his adversary, telling Caz before he expires that he will take care of Caz's sister

REVIEW:

The main reason to watch this show is James Woods in one of his very earliest roles as what McNeil describes as a "schizo killer." Woods engages in some intense scenery-chewing, constantly going over the top as in the scene where he tries to convince his sister that it's a good thing that he murdered her husband. Caz's warped personality seems to be motivated by the fact that his father was a cop who abandoned him at an early age, running away from the family and completely disappearing with money he pocketed from a "dice game" that he busted. (As of the date of the show, a warrant is still out for his arrest.) I really question how, after he threatens to kill Kojak, Caz knows that Kojak will go and visit his girl friend Delta, a babe from Mississippi. She has a rather personal relationship with her instructor, which is kind of creepy, considering the actors (Savalas and Hensley) were born in 1922 and 1950 respectively. Kojak uses the expression "Who loves ya, baby" when calling her about staying at her place.

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14. (S01E14) Die Before They Wake ★★★½  WHO LOVES YA 
Original air date: February 6, 1974
Director: Leo Penn; Writer: Robert W. Lenski

SUMMARY:

After a hooker named Trudy Stein is murdered, Kojak is plunged into a cesspool of vice and corruption, including heroin, call girls and porno. The two guys behind this "ring of addiction and prostitution" are the Ivy-League financier Spencer Galen (Colby Chester) and the sleazy dope pusher Bert Podis (Harris Yulin). Galen is using money from his mother who is the heir to a manufacturing fortune to fund Podis' purchase of heroin which is used to hook girls in their "stable." Stein was murdered because she was going to blab details about things going on behind the scenes with this racket to TV commentator and crime buster Daniel Pope (Robert Burr). Podis gets Trudy's former roomate Audrey Norris (Tina Louise) to call Pope and ask to meet him because she has further information for his investigation. When Pope arrives at the local museum to meet Audrey, she is not there, but Podis is and he shoots Pope dead on the museum steps. Pope leaves behind a young wife, Cheryl (the very attractive Jess Walton). She is a former junkie who has been drug-free for 18 months. Kojak is concerned that Cheryl's life will now start to fall apart, but she is actually on a crusade of her own to find her husband's killer. Cheryl frequents a bar where she used to hang out and gets information from the menacing pimp Danny Boy (Albert Popwell, best known for his appearance in the famous "Do you feel lucky, punk?" scene in Dirty Harry with Clint Eastwood). Kojak puts the heat on Galen who was busted five years before for making what Kojak describes as "French postcards that move." Audrey was one of the stars of this movie. Pretending to be a new girl in town, Cheryl manages to find her way to Galen and Podis via Audrey. But the jig is almost up for her when Audrey tells Podis that Cheryl left several packages of heroin from Danny Boy behind at her apartment, and Podis knows who Cheryl is from seeing her in the newspaper, connecting her with her husband. As the cops show up Galen's place, Podis tries to escape with Cheryl as hostage, but Crocker has the exit from the parking garage blocked, and Podis is taken into custody soon after.

REVIEW:

This episode, once again, shows Kojak -- like crusading TV journalist Daniel Pope -- to have a soft spot for hookers and their problems. It also has an outstanding performance by Tina Louise as Audrey. The only thing that bothered me a bit was near the end, where Cheryl suddenly knows that Podis was the one who knocked off her husband (how does she know this?), and as Bert is escaping with Cheryl as a hostage, he manages to find a car with the keys in the ignition in the garage of Galen's building, the Raines Apartments. Hello, this is New York City! The very end of the show is a bit preachy.

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15. (S01E15) Deliver Us Some Evil ★★½
Original air date: February 13, 1974
Director: Charles S. Dubin; Writer: Robert M. Young

SUMMARY:

John Ritter stars as Kenny Soames, a delivery driver for Flower Drugs. At the beginning of the show, under the pretense of dropping off a prescription, he breaks into an apartment and steals an ancient Roman coin. He is surprised by Mrs. Hale (Irene Tedrow), who lives there with her husband. Soames concocts some bullshit story about how he was pursuing a man who he saw going into the place, which Mrs. Hale does not believe. As she is trying to call the cops, Soames grabs a bookend and bonks her on the head, killing her. When Soames takes the coin to his fence, Felix Van Heusen (Fred Sadoff) and asks to be paid, Van Heusen smashes the coin with a hammer, obliterating the evidence, and tells Soames to get lost. Soames complains, and Van Heusen tells him about another caper which will bring him a lot more money and help him to realize his dream of leaving the country and moving to Argentina with his girl friend Dede (Karen Lamm). That job involves the elderly widow Mrs. Farenkrug, who lives in a ritzy house in Riverdale which contains a fortune in coins, jewelry, paintings and antiques. She is also on Soames' route for the pharmacy -- he delivers tanks of oxygen to her. Van Heusen calls a Mafia-like meeting of fences for each of the items that are expected to be found at the Farenkrug mansion. In attendance are Goodman (jewels), Winkler (paintings) and Steadman (antiques). Van Heusen's specialty, as we know, is coins. Soames arranges for Mrs. Farenkrug's nurse Jacobs (Nora Marlowe) to leave the house to visit her ailing father after giving the old lady some pills Soames swiped from his job that will knock Mrs. Farenkrug out for several hours. He and the fences (or their employees) show up at the house after Jacobs has gone out and they overpower the guard at the property's gate. Kojak and the men have been busy tracking down the participants in this robbery, through subscriptions to coin collecting magazines and information from Darata (Don Hanmer), a retired fence as well as checking the passport office where Dede has obtained visas for the trip to South America. As Soames and the fences leave the estate with a truck full of loot, they are being tailed by men from the precinct along with Kojak, who is observing them in a helicopter. After the truck arrives at a warehouse, everyone is taken into custody, and Kojak gets some of the crooks to pose with him for a picture taken by Stavros.

REVIEW:

This show is not bad, but there are some finicky things that bothered me. Ritter's character Soames does not seem like a particularly "criminal" type. He has some what we might call "Ritterisms," like when he deals with security guards, but considering where the actor was in his career at the time, I don't think the script would have been written with these in mind. I can't understand how Van Heusen would have originally contacted Soames. Van Heusen says that he has paid Soames "sixty-some-odd thousand over the years," but Soames tells him "you're the one who looked me up last year." As to where all this money went, Soames says that "Dede [is the one who] spends the money." There seems to be some connection between Van Heusen and Dede, because when he calls and Soames is not there, he chats her up. He also arranges for the couple's Argentinian passport applications -- which Dede deals with -- to be expedited. As Dede, the sexy Karen Lamm is pretty much wasted in the show. When she first appears at around 15:00 in a pink jump suit, she is not exhibiting any VPL and at 22:45 she gives us an eyeful.

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16. (S01E16) Eighteen Hours of Fear ★★½
Original air date: February 20, 1974
Director: Charles R. Rondeau; Writers: Robert C. Dennis & Jack Laird

SUMMARY:

Peggy Farrell (Lynne Marta) returns from a skiing vacation in Canada with a cast on her left leg. She arrives at the apartment of her boyfriend Alex Fairbanks (Eddie Fontaine), an artist. He cuts off the cast, which contains two plates for the Canadian $20 bill. Maury Cherneff (Jack Colvin) shows up shortly after to get these plates, and Fairbanks sends Peggy into the bedroom to hide with one of them. When Fairbanks starts to argue with Cherneff about the payment for these plates, Cherneff, who has only been given the second plate, shoots him dead. Peggy escapes down the fire escape and drives off in her car, followed by Cherneff in his boat-like Lincoln Continental. Peggy soon runs out of gas, and she stops in front of the Hotel Royale. In the hotel's bar, she meets Lloyd Tatum (Charles McCann), a salesman for Wyler Computers from Encino, California, who is getting thoroughly tanked. When Cherneff starts hassling her, Tatum, who hardly looks like a tough guy, tells Cherneff to step outside. Cherneff declines this invitation and instead sits in the hotel lobby for about an hour until a guy from the hotel tells him to get lost. After he leaves, Cherneff figures out where Peggy's address is from the registration on the visor in her car. He arrives there at the same time as Kojak and Crocker, who ask Peggy's roomate Bettina James (Barbara Brownell) some questions about where Peggy was vacationing in Canada. When the two cops leave, Cherneff gets into Bettina's apartment where he tells her he intends to wait for Peggy. Back at the hotel, Peggy convinces Tatum to let her stay in his room (#416). They don't do anything, though, since Tatum just passes out. Peggy calls Bettina asking for some money, and Cherneff writes a message on a piece of paper for Bettina to read, that Peggy should meet her on a bridge in Central Park. Of course, we know that it will be Cherneff meeting Peggy. In the hotel room, Peggy takes the keys to the sleeping Tatum's rental car and drives to the park. Kojak and his team get information from the Canadian cops about the doctor who created the cast which contained the two plates and other information relevant to the case. Kojak and Crocker arrive back at Peggy's place to find Bettina dead. They find the piece of paper and hurry to the park, but Peggy is also dead. The cops trace the rental car back to Tatum and they arrest him and take him to the station house. Of course, Tatum doesn't want to talk, because of fear that his wife will find out about Peggy, though nothing happened. He finally starts blabbing to Kojak and identifies Cherneff from a mug shot. Tatum returns to his hotel room, but Cherneff is there waiting for him, having gotten the location from the rental agreement in Tatum's car after he murdered Peggy. When Cherneff's Lincoln is spotted in front of the hotel, Kojak and his team are quick to return there. Pretending to be from room service, they overcome Cherneff. The plate which Peggy hid in the picture of Tatum's family on the dresser in his room falls out during the confrontation.

REVIEW:

If you ignore big questions like how did someone put all this elaborate plan together of stealing the $20 plates from the Royal Canadian Mint and smuggling them into the States, this show is OK, though there is more trivia than normal (see below). We do learn that Cherneff is working for some guy named "Majeski," who is presumably the big boss. Charles (Chuck) McCann, who was a well-known children's TV personality in New York City and looks a bit like Jim Nabors, is very convincing as Tatum, a guy caught in a tricky situation with a woman staying in his room, most of which he can barely remember considering how drunk he was. Jack Colvin as the menacing Cherneff is pretty detestable. This actor has a certain resemblance to Fritz Weaver and Klaus Kinski. There is a peculiar scene at the beginning of the show where there is a couple in the hallway as Peggy arrives at Alexander's apartment and is escorted up the stairs by her boyfriend. We later learn this couple was necking, but they just seem to be standing there cluelessly and seen for about two seconds. Obviously they were inserted into this scene for the purpose of being witnesses, and only the woman, who looks very young, is interviewed by Kojak later.

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17. (S01E18) Before the Devil Knows ★★★
Original air date: February 27, 1974
Director: Charles S. Dubin; Writer: Gene R. Kearney

SUMMARY:

Legendary cat burglar Kevin LeJeune (Henry Darrow) and his partner John David (Jerry Summers) enter the apartment of banker Ramsey Brewer (David White) via the balcony and steal bonds from the safe. Brewer awakens and starts grabbing at David, who is trying to climb up the rope to the roof. When he slips below the level of his own balcony, Brewer grabs a pair of garden shears and cuts the rope, causing David to plummet to his death. When the cops show up, Brewer plays dumb, as if it was LeJeune who cut the rope. Kojak is skeptical about this, thinking that someone gave LeJeune the combination to the safe. Soon after, Brewer's very young wife Vicky (the hot Louise Sorel) shows up at Kojak's office and reveals that the contents of the safe included a million dollars worth of bearer bonds which her husband had stolen from his bank. Brewer was going to "retire" with his wife, using this money to disappear to Florida. LeJeune soon shows up at the New City Bank where he talks to John Hagen (Don Knight), who offers to buy the stolen bonds for 25 cents on the dollar. But Hagen is also the fence for Brewer! With Vicky's help, Kojak bugs Brewer's home phone and overhears her husband tell Hagen that he was the one who killed David, and he doesn't want his name connected to the stolen bonds. Brewer offers Hagen $50,000 if Hagen will take care of the situation, i.e., hire a hitman to kill LeJeune. Kojak knows that the best hitman that money can buy is the Baltimore-based Packman (Mark Tapscott). Kojak wants to nail Packman even more than LeJeune and wants to make a deal with LeJeune, who is tracked to his low-budget hotel when the cops follow Hagen there after a meeting with Brewer at Columbus Circle. Packman later waits across the street from this room to shoot LeJeune with a high-powered rifle. When LeJeune goes to a pool hall to get the bonds which are supposedly hidden there (actually he has had them on his person all this time), he escapes from the cops and goes to visit Vicky, who was the one who gave him the combination to the safe in the apartment, thus confirming Kojak's earlier suspicions. Vicky is pretty nasty. She wanted to run away with LeJeune rather than her husband (but no longer!), who she set up to make sure he went to jail. She says "I didn't want to wait six months to go down to Florida with that old man." LeJeune returns to his hotel room to make a deal with Kojak, who has had two sheets of high-impact plastic installed behind the windows in the room to keep LeJeune from getting killed during his pending assassination. Since it is now dark out, Kojak calls on a surveyor with laser equipment to figure out where the hitman is located after the bullets penetrate the window and the plastic. Shots are fired and Packman is shot dead as he tries to escape. Kojak lets LeJeune just walk away at the end of the show!

REVIEW:

The show rolls along pretty good until the end, but then this business about the surveyor and his laser is very far-fetched indeed. Not only that, you have to consider that after Packman shoots, makes holes in the window/plastic and the surveyor rushes into the room and aims the laser through the holes so they can see what room Packman was in across the street, what if Packman was still there? Surveying is kind of a high-risk job under these conditions. When Vicky tells Kojak she is annoyed because the jewelry which has been stolen has been taken by the police for evidence and she has been issued a receipt, she says "I don't look very good in receipts." Kojak replies, "Well, I don't know about that, Mrs. Brewer." When she visits him in his office later wearing a white outfit covered with fur and tells him that her husband stole all the bonds, Kojak's open-mouthed reaction is priceless.

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18. (S01E18) Dead on His Feet ★★★★  WHO LOVES YA 
Original air date: March 6, 1974
Director: Jeannot Szwarc; Writer: Jack Laird

SUMMARY:

Detectives Benny Fiore (Harry Guardino) and Eddie Ryan (Jed Allan) have been working a case investigating a counterfeit lottery ticket operation for the last six months. They follow a suspect named Fleischmann to a garage where he is meeting with someone. Ryan, who has a reputation as a hot shot, wants to break in and confront the crooks without waiting for backup. He does this over Fiore's objections. But almost immediately Ryan is shot to death and when Fiore comes to his aid, he is stricken with horrible stomach pains and ends up firing his revolver into the floor. When Kojak and the men from the precinct show up, Kojak is understandably very pissed. He and Fiore go to the house of Solly DeCicco (Malachi Throne), who they suspect of being Ryan's killer. Kojak unleashes a torrent of sarcasm to Solly as well as his lawyer and wife who are present. Solly claims he was playing cards when the action in the garage took place. The next day, Fiore visits a doctor, who tells him that the pains he is experiencing are the result of advanced, inoperable stomach cancer. At the station, a furious Kojak tells his men to leave no stone unturned in uncovering Ryan's killer. Fiore visits with Ryan's wife Ellen (Joanne Linville). They share reminiscences, and Ellen wonders how she can bury her husband because he doesn't own a decent suit. She says "I can't lay him out in rhinestones and recycled blue jeans ... he'd look like David Bowie." Back at the office, Fiore shows up in a pimp-like costume, something that Ryan would probably have worn when working undercover. Kojak tells Fiore that he really didn't like Ryan, considered an "authentic folk hero," because of his "offhanded tactics, total disregard for regulations, and his sloppy investigative procedures." Kojak says that Fiore is more of his idea of a cop, someone doing all the work behind Ryan's façade. Fiore is not pleased when Kojak assigns him to work with Armus, because he would rather be out on his own trying to nail DeCicco. Kojak gets a call from Inez Wilder (Juno Dawson), a friend of Fleischmann's, saying he wants to identify Ryan's killer and plea-bargain. Unfortunately, as Kojak meets with Inez, they are being watched by one of DeCicco's thugs, Izzy Shugrue, who later follows Inez back to Fleischmann's hideout and kills them both. Fiore and Armus working together does not work out too well; the two of them get into a fight over being "incompatible" before they even leave on their first shift. Finding a Saturday night special that Fiore brought to work on the sly, Kojak tells Fiore he wants to suspend him after Fiore refuses to take time off. Fiore turns in his badge and gun and leaves, just as Ellen shows up at the station. She strongly recommends that Kojak get Fiore back, but he says this can't be done. On his own, Fiore makes arrangements to meet with DeCicco at a Chinese restaurant. Shugrue arrives first to take care of Fiore, but he is quickly put out of action. DeCicco shows up, and the two of them share a meal. But Fiore pulls a gun out and throws it on a table, taunting DeCicco to shoot him. DeCicco picks up the gun. When Fiore moves as if to pull a gun out of his pocket, DeCicco shoots and wounds him seriously -- but Fiore's pocket is empty. Kojak and his men arrive almost immediately, and DeCicco is shot dead as he tries to escape. At the hospital, Fiore undergoes surgery and will survive, but the doctor tells the assembled cops that they couldn't do anything for his carcinoma, which no one knew anything about. Everyone files out of the room in shock, leaving Ellen in the waiting room.

REVIEW:

An outstanding episode, practically a perfect show. The script is excellent, as is the acting by all concerned. The scene with Kojak and DeCicco is a classic, full of snappy lines. When DeCicco's wife Dierdre (Anne Newman) calls Ryan "the darling of the Daily News," Kojak says he is sorry that he missed her coming out party where she was crowned "Miss Silicone." De Cicco -- who Kojak calls a "cockroach" -- tells Kojak to cut the crap and get the point instead of trying to break in a new comedy routine. The scene between Fiore and Ellen is not what you would expect. Although they are both kind of teary, there is also a world-weariness that Eddie's death is something that was expected. Later Ellen tells Kojak that she and Fiore loved each other, though the suggestion is it was nothing too close. Fiore took care of her like making arrangements when her son died years before and he remembered things like birthdays and anniversaries.

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19. (S01E19) Down a Long and Lonely River ★★★  WHO LOVES YA 
Original air date: March 20, 1974
Director: Leo Penn; Writer: Robert Foster

SUMMARY:

Lou Giordino (Paul Michael Glaser) has recently been released from Elmira Correctional Facility where his fiancée, Lyndsey Walker (Sian Barbara Allen) met him while she was working on her sociology thesis. Lou, who was Lyndsey's "favorite case history," is barely out on parole and the two of them moving in to an apartment when he decides that he wants to "settle things about my old life," leaving her. When Lou subsequently misses an appointment with his parole officer, Cleveland Watson (Ed Bernard), Lyndsey goes to talk to Kojak, who she met when she was doing research. She tells Kojak that she figures Lou is going to look up his ex-wife Elena (Alexandra Hay), a singer addicted to heroin who was responsible for Lou serving time. When Lou found out Elena was a dope fiend, she had asked him to get her some money to help her support her habit. He did get her some money by stealing merchandise connected with his trucking company but instead intended to get her treatment for her addiction. While Lou was in jail, Elena sold her share of the business, for which she received $15,000 cash with $200 a month payments for five years. Kojak promises Lyndsey that he will talk with both Watson as well as Lou's arresting officer, Burke (Joseph Perry). He finds out that Lou gave Burke, now retired, little trouble. Watson is hesitant to bend the rules because of a recent case where someone who didn't have a warrant issued for them in a similar situation murdered a cop, but Kojak gets Watson to give Lou 24 hours. Lou visits the company he used to own where his old friend Alan Ankrum (Kenneth O'Brien) is now the manager. Lou gets Elena's address even though Ankrum says that she is "poison." After Lou leaves, Ankrum meets with Albert Dancik (John Aniston, Jennifer's father), a shady mob type who we find out later was having an affair with Elena and was the one who bought out her interest in the company. Dancik says it is imperative that no one know of his connection to any of this, because (as we will also find out later) he had lied while testifying to a grand jury investigating syndicate ties to the trucking industry. Lou goes to Elena's apartment, which is a dump. When some guy shows up saying that Elena owes him money, Lou finds out where she is currently singing, at a dive called the Tom-Tom Club. Coincidentally, around this time, both Lyndsey and Kojak also figure out that Elena is at this location. Lyndsey shows up first, telling the strung-out Elena that Lou is looking for her. Then suddenly Lou appears and tells Lyndsey to step outside. Elena confirms Lou's suspicions, that she had pretended to commit suicide with a gun which would not fire so Lou would get her money. Lou is furious that he was set up. Suddenly a hitman appears at the door of Elena's dressing room and shoots her dead. Both the hitman and Lou run out of the club as Kojak arrives and no one other than Lyndsey sees anyone other than Lou leaving. Back at the station house, Kojak extracts a confession from Billy DeLuca, the mob informer who was the one responsible for tipping off the cops to Lou way back when, which connects Dancik to the case. Now on the run, Lou gets his cousin Mac (John Beal) to phone Ankrum, who Lou suspects had something to do with Elena's murder. Anrkum is shocked to hear this after he arrives, especially since Lou has a gun (the one which will not fire) in his face. Ankrum blabs away a lot of stuff, connecting Dancik, described as "mob ... top level," with Elena. Lou gets Ankrum to arrange for Dancik to come to the trucking company office so they can hopefully get him to admit he was in on Elena's murder, then they will call the cops. But when this happens, Ankrum gets cold feet, with the result that Lou, who is hiding in the next room and listening, is beaten to a pulp by two of Dancik's thugs. Kojak and the cops arrive soon after, just as Ankrum is about to execute Lou or face getting killed himself. Kojak is delighted to arrest Dancik.

REVIEW:

This is an episode where everything makes sense by the end. At the very beginning, Lou's cousin Mac (full name: McKinney) is seen bringing a box, presumably containing Lou's possessions which he has been storing while Lou was in jail, to the apartment. When he gives Lou the gun, a critical plot device, to Lou, Mac says "I was just gonna keep it for you along with the rest of your stuff. I wasn't gonna fire it. Then last month we went upstate and I just took it along to shoot at a couple of tin cans. That's when I found out. Look at it," with the implication that the firing pin has been filed down so the gun will not work. But who could figure this out by just looking at the gun, which is opened up? I sure couldn't. Kojak is very oily in the way he gets DeLuca to talk, by threatening to start a rumour that he was squealing on some big mob figure.

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20. (S01E20) Mojo ★★½
Original air date: March 27, 1974
Director: Jeannot Szwarc; Writers: Mark Weingart & Mort Fine

SUMMARY:

Crooks steal a million dollars of 85% pure morphine from a truck transporting the drug from the airport to Dexter Pharmaceuticals. When the thieves' leader Floyd (Ed Lauter) contacts Clay Dexter (Dennis Patrick), the boss of the company, he is told they can only offer him $300,000, because that's the most their insurance company will pay if the drugs are considered "stolen." Floyd, a two-time loser with a thick southern accent, wants everything in his caper to come off with total precision. When Marty (Russell Wiggins), one of his accomplices who robbed the truck, decides to go and "watch girls," Floyd tells Marty's brother Harry (Robert Doyle), who was also in on the robbery, that if Marty doesn't clean up his act, Floyd will kill him. Marty not only goes AWOL to check out the ladies, he also overdoses on some of the morphine which he stole from the shipment, ending up in the hospital with a police guard at the door. He is later discharged from the hospital after not co-operating with the cops. Floyd, who is keeping tabs on Marty, follows him into an alley and stabs him to death. Kojak does a crash course so he can pretend to be "John Taylor," a chemist working for Dexter, and is taken blindfolded to a shack in some out-of-the-way industrial area where Floyd is holed up, supposedly in the Hunts Point area. Floyd was not too crazy about having "Taylor" do this, fearing that he will really be a cop or a narc. While Kojak is analyzing the morphine, Dexter is seen standing silently behind him in the shed. Dexter is there because Floyd insisted on this, fearing some kind of trick. This immediately tips us off that there is something fishy about what is going on. Kojak later figures out that Dexter is behind the robbery, which is confirmed by his assistant Bruce Hamilton (Ken Ruta?), who says that Dexter had run up around $200,000 in debt because of "ponies." Prior to this, Dexter told Kojak that his services and those of the police were no longer required. Dexter has since gone to meet Floyd accompanied by Cullen (John Ashton) from the insurance company. But when they arrive, Floyd is furious, knocking Cullen out and almost killing Dexter before Kojak and McNeil suddenly appear, taking Floyd and Dexter into custody. Kojak suddenly had a brainstorm, making the connection between some equipment on the street with that heard when he was pretending to be a chemist. Kojak gets Crocker to very quickly figure out where this equipment is located in the industrial area which leads them to Floyd's location.

REVIEW:

This episode moves forward in a pretty predictable way, especially the way that Kojak connects Dexter's asthmatic breathing with the same sound he heard from the guy behind him in the shack when pretending to be a chemist. It's ironic the way that Dexter, who has fallen in with bad types in the world of gambling also finds himself up to his neck in trouble with Floyd, who would not hesitate to murder him at the end of the show and take not only the $300,000 ransom money but also the morphine. Dexter is also thrown for a loop by the insurance company having Cullen accompany him to the payoff. What did Dexter think would happen to Cullen? He would probably be killed by Floyd, who was totally paranoid about this kind of "interference," and then Dexter would be even deeper in the soup! There are some pretty snappy lines from Kojak when he is trying to get Hamilton, Dexter's partner-who-is-not-his-partner ("I'm an employee") to tell him where is the "drop."

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21. (S01E21) Therapy in Dynamite ★★½
Original air date: April 10, 1974
Director: Leo Penn; Writer: Gene R. Kearney

SUMMARY:

Danny Zucco (Steven Keats) works for Hudson Hardware as a delivery driver. At the beginning of the show he puts a bomb under the car belonging to Alice Fisher, who works as executive secretary at the Media Master advertising agency. This is the fifth bombing in four months which has left the police totally stumped. Danny goes to a group therapy session at Hudson Hospital Psychiatric Clinic run by Doctor Irene Benton (Peggy Feury). One of the other participants, using the pseudonym of Holder, is Louise Linden (Elizabeth Allen), whose husband Alex (Dabney Coleman), is the boss of the advertising agency. Danny's mission in life is to "help out" the other people at the therapy session if they are having problems in their life. For example, the son of Mr. Seymour (Philip Bruns) suddenly decided to go and enlist in the Marines and ended up dead after a fight on Okinawa. As a result, Danny blows up a Marine recruiting centre. Louise is seeking professional help because her marriage is deteriorating and she is having paranoid fantasies about her husband's involvement with women at his office. There is a little problem with Danny's latest bombing, though. Alice was only the secretary for the last four months. Prior to that for three years, the secretary was Karla Elliot, with whom Alex is very friendly, though not to the extent of being his mistress, as his wife accuses him. Karla is now the company's art director. The cops track down the delivery van that Danny drove when it was in the advertising agency's garage and ties it in with a delivery that Danny said he made, but did not. Kojak goes to the therapy session and participates as "Mr. Theodopilus," but his cover is quickly blown when he starts complaining about "welfare" issues and everyone wonders how this is possible considering how well he is dressed. Kojak then drops a bomb of his own by dropping references to what Danny has been up to for the last several months! Danny freaks out and runs out of the session, and is accidentally shot dead in the hallway by a security guard. At this point, there are still 14 minutes left in the show... Earlier in the evening, Danny visited Karla Elliot at her apartment and under the pretext of doing some electrical work, put a bomb under Karla's bed. Alex was also at the apartment, unknown to Danny, having phoned his wife earlier in the evening to tell her he wanted a divorce. After Danny leaves, Karla convinces Alex to go home to his wife and work things out personally, rather than over the phone. Back at the hospital, Kojak figures out there is something fishy about "Mrs. Holder," who has not volunteered any information which could connect her to the bombings, unlike one of the other group therapy participants, Neva (Joan Pringle). Kojak and Crocker tail Louise to outside Karla's apartment and Kojak barely saves Karla from being blown up. As the show ends, Louise is taken away in a cop car; whether she will face any charges for what happened is a good question.

REVIEW:

The show features a very good performance by Steven Keats as Danny, who is not the typical slobbering psychopath bomber that one might expect, but just a young man with serious "issues." But there are some "issues" with the show:

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22. (S01E22) The Only Way Out ★★★
Original air date: May 8, 1974
Director: Joel Oliansky; Writer: Alvin Sapinsley

SUMMARY:

When lawyer David Hecht's son Simon (Tommy Oakes) shows up at the station to report that his father has been missing overnight, Kojak takes an interest in the case, even though it doesn't fit the normal pattern for a missing person. Hecht Senior (Lee Montgomery) hasn't just run away for a fling with his girl friend, though. He has been hired by Mark Gallant (John Hillerman), the lawyer for a notorious embezzler, Arnold March, who is returning to the States after living in Brazil for some time. March is expected to spill the beans on a lot of "old friends." Gallant is also the lawyer for other people such as these "old friends" who would like to see March dead, and has hired three thugs to hold Hecht against his own will prior to meeting with March and discussing his plea-bargain. Captive in a room in some building after March's plane is delayed a day, Hecht overhears two of his captors, Oakes (Paul Jenkins) and Benson (Howard Platt) discussing how he, March and March's bodyguard will all be killed at the meeting. Kojak acts the total ladies' man towards Hecht's secretary "Miss" Rosenberg (Dori Brenner), who fills him in on some of her boss's recent activities, as well as the fact that he had March's daughter as a client. The ending of the show is kind of fast-paced as Kojak and his men rush to the location where March is meeting Hecht, having determined it is at some property that March's daughter owns. Hecht manages to warn March just as Gallant's hired hitman Irv takes shots in their direction. The hitman is shot dead by Kojak and the others, including Gallant, are taken into custody.

REVIEW:

The actor playing the kid is pretty good and Kojak interacts well with him. There is an oily assistant district attorney named Santangelo (William Tepper) who refuses to give Kojak any information regarding March which causes Kojak to get all hot and bothered, yelling loudly. Even McNeil raises his voice! John Hillerman is a very nasty guy. When Hecht in captivity passes him a note saying that he is being held by killers, Gallant shows it to the two thugs when Hecht goes out of the room for a few seconds. Gallant couldn't care less about what happens to Hecht.

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Rev. Mar. 19, 2017