Kojak - Season 2 Episode Reviews

Kojak - Season 2 Episode 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 ONE, 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 & 2. (S02E01 & S02E02) The Chinatown Murders, Parts 1 and 2 ★★★  WHO LOVES YA 
Original air date: September 15, 1974
Director: Jeannot Szwarc; Writer: Jack Laird

SUMMARY:

Nino La Rocca (Vincent Baggetta), a low-level hoodlum described as "a pilgrim from the midwest," makes a deal with a Chinese gang headed by Sammy Loo (Robert Ito) to steal the proceeds of a pizza joint's policy bank. After the man in charge of cracking the safe is killed by Loo, La Rocca shows up in Chinatown to collect his fifty percent of the total, which is almost $100,000. When Loo gives him only $10,000 with a take-it-or-leave-it attitude, La Rocca gets mouthy and he is brutally murdered by Loo and his men. Kojak thinks that a war between Mafia factions is imminent, and brings in Sergeant Geno Polucci (Tige Andrews), whose specialty is the local mob community. Loo's gang later raids a backroom casino where they kidnap another local Mafia big shot, Louis "Fats" Giancana (Ralph James) and set the place on fire. They ask $250,000 in ransom, but Giancana's wife Michelle (Sheree North), who is a hot bitch with a toy boy on the side, tells Kojak she couldn't care less. Her husband is strangled to death with what the forensics man suggests is a guitar string, and the index finger of his left hand is "surgically amputated." Getting desperate to show the other gangs in town that they are worthy of attention, Loo's gang kidnaps the bed-ridden Don Frank "Cheech" Scalesi (Michael Constantine), along with his male nurse Joey (Carlo Grasso) and a fridge full of medicine. The gang manages to drum up a dialysis machine for Scalesi to take the place of the one they left behind. The ransom for Scalesi is $2 million, which his lawyer Ruby Kabelsky (Leonardo Cimino) assembles very quickly. Things go sour for Loo's gang when they are told by Joey that they have run out of heparin, one of Scalesi's medications that is an anticoagulant that prevents the formation of blood clots. When Leonard Wong (Patrick Adiarte), one of the gang members, and his sister Nancy (Shirlee Kong) try to rob a pharmacy to get this prescription, a rookie cop is shot and so is Nancy. Kojak calls on Detective Oliver Lum (Johnny Kai) from the robbery detail to help convince Nancy's grandmother to co-operate, which the old lady does. Kojak shows up with a shotgun just as Calvin Loo (Jesse Dizon) from the gang is about to execute Scalesi and shoots Calvin dead. Unfortunately, Nancy also dies from her gunshot wound.

REVIEW:

While this is probably the weakest of the two-part Kojak shows, it isn't that bad. You really need a score card to keep track of all the participants, though. Even Polucci has a transparent board where he draws up a flow-chart of all the bosses, consiglieri and lower-level gang members. Kojak is often hilariously sarcastic throughout this episode. Michael Constantine is also very good with his raspy Marlon Brando-Godfather voice. The makeup to suggest his state of health, both his deathly white skin and reddish eyes, is ghastly. I don't want to make a political correctness issue, but considering the show is about Chinatown, the Asian actors are all assigned to the end credits, even Robert Ito, who was not exactly a newcomer when this show was broadcast. The actor playing Oliver Lum, a pretty critical member of the cast considering how he helps break through the Chinese "wall of silence" is on the very last page of actors in the end credits!

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3. (S02E03) Hush Now, Don't You Die ★★★
Original air date: September 22, 1974
Director: Charles S. Dubin; Writer: Robert W. Lenski

SUMMARY:

Janet Conforti (Karen Quinlan), a college girl, is abducted off the street at gunpoint by two young men, both of whom are very drunk: James Sperry (Asher Brauner), a boy from a "nice" home and John Campbell (Todd Susman), a geeky guy with Coke-bottle glasses who has been living with his mother since he was six years old when his father deserted the two of them. After they rape Janet in an out-of-the-way warehouse area, telling her "we're going to teach you to be nice," Campbell wants to kill her, but Sperry doesn't. The two of them fight, and Sperry is shot dead. Campbell flees the scene. When Janet returns home to her parents and tells them what happened, her father Frank (Mike Kellin) doesn't want her to go to the police, saying they will "make it like she's a little street walker" and have her testify in court where "some smart lawyer [will make] out like she's a prostitute." The father, who owns a gun, is already thinking of taking matters into his own hands. Janet's relationship with her boyfriend Tony (Brendan Burns), to whom she is engaged, seriously deteriorates. The cops track down Campbell after getting his name from Sperry's parents. Campbell says that he was fixing his car all afternoon, but further investigation pokes large holes in his alibi. Conforti's father also tracks Campbell down, and almost shoots him dead, except a passing truck interferes with his aim. The cops have another important clue, a barette which was left at the rape scene. This is traced to a jewelry-making class and specifically to Janet. Kojak takes the barette to Janet's house, where her father doesn't want to listen to him and tells him to get lost. But Janet's mother Ellen (Carmen Zapata) pleads with her husband and overcomes his resistance. Kojak and Crocker go to the college where her father is to pick Janet up that evening. Campbell, having told his mother that he is leaving town, is also there, and confronts Janet. They end up on the college's stage where Campbell threatens to kill her with a knife. Campbell is arrested and taken into custody.

REVIEW:

Considering the subject matter, this episode is sensitively done, despite some near-gallows humor from Kojak. Kojak has some great lines. When he first meets Campbell, he says that Campbell has rights, but so do the police -- "we have rights to the truth." At the end, Kojak tells Campbell that even if he kills Janet, Kojak will take his knife away and "one experienced policeman will become an inexperienced rabbi." The acting in the scene where Kojak convinces Janet's father to stop being a vigilante is also very good. The only part of the show I didn't like was the banal saxophone tune at the very beginning and the very end which is a bit too cheerful.

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4. (S02E04) A Very Deadly Game ★★★½
Original air date: September 29, 1974
Director: Seymour Robbie; Writer: Sean Baine

SUMMARY:

Kojak's men help the Feds (not specifically identified as the FBI) during a drug deal. The Feds' liaison is Cass (Burr Debenning), who has had a good relationship with Kojak for some time. But Ike Watkins (Art Lund), Cass's superior, has a "personal interest" in what's going down because he suspects that the deal is connected with a previous case he worked on involving Cuban-born drug dealer Raul Fria (Alex Colon). Because that case fell apart and Watkins now wants all the glory, he orders Cass not to co-operate with Kojak but to get as much information from Kojak as he can. At the beginning of the show, Fria gets the help of John "Blue" Andrews (Ji-Tu Cumbuka) to actually make the buy. After examining the $100,000 payoff, Blue fatally shoots Kojak's undercover man Ben Keller (Carl Mathis Craig). Blue then takes the cash and when he goes to give it to Fria, Fria shoots him dead and escapes with the money after disguising himself. Predictably, Kojak is furious because one of his men was killed and lets both Watkins and Cass know about this in the strongest terms possible. Turns out that Fria's M.O. was to rip off people during drug deals and so far he has amassed $450,000 which he will use to buy a major shipment of heroin which is arriving from France any day now on the West Coast. Kojak gets a break when Gil Weaver (Roger Robinson) busts a hooker named Jackie (Sylvia Soares) and brings her to the station. She is Blue's girl friend and the score he was making in conjunction with Fria was supposed to guarantee their future. She tips off Kojak as to where Fria hangs out. By the time the cops show up there, Fria has left town, but there are clues remaining that say where he is heading, including Los Angeles. Fria stops off in Chicago on the way there. Watkins pursues him, but once again loses him during a gun battle. Arriving in Los Angeles, Kojak hooks up with Captain Ernie Perkins (Laurence Haddon), a cop who, like himself, engages in subtle rule bending. Kojak, Crocker and Weaver follow Sam Becker (George Tracy), a jeweller who has the heroin for sale and his assistant Mai Lee (Miko Mayama) to the Santa Monica Looff Hippodrome. Kojak meets Watkins, who he has to be friendly to as per orders received from McNeil, but locks him in a room where they are observing things inside the Hippodrome. After the actual bust of Fria takes place outside, Watkins -- who has become more sympathetic to Kojak after what he was told back in New York by Cass -- grudgingly lets Kojak have his man.

REVIEW:

This is definitely one of the better episodes where Kojak gets jerked around by the Feds and spares nothing when letting them know how he feels. When he busts in on a meeting that Watkins and Cass are having, Kojak calls both of them "the Snoop Sisters" and Watkins in particular "Super Fed." The blast he gives the two of them is pretty extreme. When Cass tries to say something, Kojak bellows at him "You shaddap!" The discussion ends with Kojak saying "Stay the hell out of my way." Not surprisingly, Cass is not seen in the show after this point. Elsewhere, Kojak refers to the Feds as "Feddie-Teddies" and "Feddie-Weddies."

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5. (S02E05) Wall Street Gunslinger ★★½
Original air date: October 6, 1974
Director: Richard Donner; Writer: Halsted Wells

SUMMARY:

Two punks rob a courier from a brokerage firm, grabbing millions of dollars worth of stock certificates. After being pursued in their car by cops, they flee on foot, stashing the paper in a rolling shopping cart owned by an elderly Hassidic Jew. After the cop passes by them as they sit without their jackets on a bench, they return to the Jew and attempt to take the papers back, but he puts up a fight and one of the punks, Angie, shoots him dead. They then split up and Angie hijacks a limousine taking Lenny Grenfell (Alan Feinstein) from the Manhattan Athletic Club. Angie forces the chauffeur to drive him to where a car is parked and he stashes the papers inside. A "swarthy looking Mediterranean guy" (according to the chauffeur later) named Chrissy (George Loros) then drives the car away to a building where he leaves the papers in the doorway in an attaché case. It is picked up by Oliver (Ben Masters), who works for Paul Paulus (Bernard Barrow), a stockbroker who deals in stolen merchandise and who has connections to the mob. Kojak goes to see Grenfell, who is fencing in the athletic club with one of his clients, Sheikh Ali (Zitto Kazann), with whom he hopes to make a multi-million dollar deal. Grenfell, an arrogant jerk who made millions before he was thirty, gives Kojak a lot of mouth. Paulus is very disturbed that the old man was killed during the robbery, but Chrissy says that he will take care of the two robbers. He later murders them and leaves their bodies in an alley. After Kojak finds out some information about Grenfell from two well-dressed sergeants from NYPD's Forgery and Bonds department, Collins (George Wyner) and Way (Harvey Fisher), Kojak gets Collins and his own man Tracy to follow both Grenfell and the Sheikh. At the brokerage firm which handled the certificates, Kojak grills both Templeton, the man who scheduled the delivery and Laughlin, who bundled the package. Laughlin is particularly uncooperative, and is taken away to the station. The Sheikh, trying to get the best deal for the $100 million that he wants to spend before his country's currency is soon devalued, also meets with Paulus. Kojak looks through Grenfell's dossier and decides that he is not such a bad guy. The two of them work on swindling Paulus with Kojak posing as "Makropolous," a rich Greek who wants to invest a lot of his clients' cash. The Sheikh and Kojak both go to visit Paulus, but Kojak has made a serious error pretending to be this Greek millionaire, because there is a real such person who is currently in Venezuela, something which Oliver quickly finds out. Kojak's deception as a con man uncovered, he is taken by Chrissy and Paulus to the docks where, with the help of some other thugs, he will be executed. Stavros, who has been pretending to be Makropolous's chauffeur, follows them and opens fire. Kojak manages to get to the limousine, which he uses like a battering ram, knocking people off the dock. Two squad cars soon show up and Paulus and those of his henchmen who are still alive are busted.

REVIEW:

I did not like this show at all the first time I watched it, though subsequent viewings have softened my opinion, despite the fact that at times the episode seems overly complicated and ill-written. The show really consists of three parts: the opening with the robbery, which is brilliantly done, the middle section where various plot mechanations regarding Grenfell, the Sheikh and Paulus are played out, and the weak finale, including Kojak wearing a bowler hat, affecting a hammy Greek accent and accompanied by Greek-sounding music. The very end turns into another Kojak shoot-'em-up. There are a couple of interesting lines connected with the fact Grenfell is Jewish. When Grenfell tells Kojak that during the carjacking he kept his eyes closed (something which is disputed later), Kojak points out, referring to the fencing match: "You got this Arab out there with a sword [he pronounces this saying the "w"] on the dance floor, wavin' it in front of your Jewish face and you don't blink?" Later when Grenfell is getting nervous about the Sheikh going to do business with someone other than himself (which is Paulus), he says "There's no way a Jew can cheat an Arab on a deal like this. Would I risk the publicity?" Kojak has some interesting repartee after the murder at the beginning of the show with a flower child-like woman and a guy running a shaved-ice cart. There is a bit of a surprise near the end when it is revealed that Felicity (the sexy Ann Coleman), who we have been led to believe is Grenfell's girl friend, is also pals with Oliver, and was perhaps the one who told the Sheikh about Paulus's services. Prior to going to see Paulus, the Sheikh is protesting he didn't want to get involved with Kojak's scam since he would have to stick around and go to court, etc. but despite this he goes with Kojak and makes a purchase ... so wouldn't he have to be a witness later anyway?

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6. (S02E06) Slay Ride ★★★½
Original air date: October 13, 1974
Director: Russ Mayberry; Writer: Morton S. Fine

SUMMARY:

At the convention of the National Society of Industrial Engineers and Designers at the Hotel Astoria, three men seemingly commit suicide, one from the roof and the other two from windows in their rooms. Of course, this is not what it seems. Two years before at the Saint Theresa Hotel, a young woman, Ruth Nelson, committed "suicide" in a similar manner. Turns out that her husband, Paul (Steven McHattie) and her sister Shelby Philips (Julie Gregg) are behind the recent deaths. At the earlier convention, Shelby, who was there as a model demonstrating products, got involved with a roomful of conventioneers involving pills, booze and quite possibly sex. Her sister Ruth walked into this room and was so freaked out that she went out on to the fire escape on that floor. From there, she was pushed to her death by one of the men, Donald Kauldor (Paul Benedict). Shelby has convinced her brother-in-law Nelson, a master sergeant in the US Army's 12th Tactical Group at Fort Benning, Georgia, currently on leave, to get revenge for her sister's death. When Stephen Marly (Don Ross), the first of the men, dies, that doesn't raise any eyebrows, because he had a fractured relationship with his wife Joan (Melendy Britt) and was a lush with a history of being arrested 37 times for being drunk and disorderly, among other things. But Kojak gets more interested after Louis O'Reilly, the next victim, hits the pavement. O'Reilly's brother Ernest (Jack Stamberger) says he was "a man eager to live," who had just met a woman he was soon going to marry. Information uncovered about Ruth's death during the last convention sends Kojak to talk to Shelby. Obviously doped up, Shelby describes her job as being "on call; I substitute for secretaries who get sick." She says that when Ruth died, she was "out some place hootin' around," i.e., not at the hotel. Although the Saint Theresa is currently a parking lot, Stavros finds information in the records for the place that O'Reilly's hotel room was paid for by Kauldor and another conventioneer named Myron Joyce (Don Hanmer) shared O'Reilly's room. Kojak goes to visit Kauldor, who lives in the Norfolk House Apartments. Kauldor tells Kojak that he manufactures toys and games, and O'Reilly had done some work for him; that's why he paid for the room. When Kojak leaves, Kauldor phones Joyce, who was also present in the room with Shelby prior to Ruth's death and tells him to get out of town. But it is too late. Only minutes later, Nelson shows up at the door and forces Joyce out of the window. Meanwhile, Crocker and Saperstein are following Shelby, who checks into a fleabag hotel with a customer. When she leaves, she goes to buy a fix and Kojak follows her to her apartment, where he grills her and gets the truth about what really happened at the Saint Theresa. Shelby tells him the one person remaining who was present in the room and who will be killed: Kauldor, who paid her $5,000 to shut up about what happened. Kojak goes to Kauldor's place, where Nelson has dealt with a blonde guy who is Kauldor's bodyguard and comes down from the roof into Kauldor's apartment. Kojak, Stavros and Crocker confront Nelson and convince him that justice will be served without his assistance.

REVIEW:

The highlight of this episode is the outstanding performance by Julie Gregg as Shelby, especially the scene near the end -- which goes on for over six minutes -- where Kojak finally gets her to tell the truth about Ruth's death while Shelby struggles with the fact that she has just shot up. The acting by the sinister-looking Stephen McHattie is also very fine. Kojak is as sarcastic as ever throughout.

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7. (S02E07) Nursemaid ★★★  WHO LOVES YA 
Original air date: October 20, 1974
Director: Jerry London; Writer: Joel Oliansky

SUMMARY:

Gun store owner Lou Koster (Eugene Troobnick) gets a visit from enforcer Jerry Bayliss (Allan Miller). Bayliss says his boss Artie Clifford (Frank Christi) is getting tired of waiting for a repayment of $6,550 that Koster was loaned. When Koster says there is no way he can do this, Bayliss suggests that if Koster will supply them with 100 "quality pocket weapons," they will forget about the debt. Koster gets the guns, files off the serial numbers, and keeps track of them in a second set of books. But Bayliss takes 25 of these guns and sells them for $1,800 to an "old gang" of his, the Marauders. Some of these guns are used in a drive-by shooting which seriously wounds some of the black Ambassadors gang, which is when Kojak gets interested. Kojak goes to the Marauders' clubhouse and hassles one of the gang members, Robert Xavier Jurgen (Ian Scott). Crocker eventually manages to find some of the guns, which are in a hidden location. These guns are traced to Koster, and Kojak and Crocker visit him, telling him in a "hypothetical" fashion they know what is going on, and offering him protection, which Koster refuses. However, Bayliss is watching, and when he reports back to Clifford, a decision is made to knock off Koster because they figure he will eventually blab to the cops if he is arrested. As Koster is taken away from the shop by Clifford's men, he is seen by Bernice M. Sandler (Kay Medford), who is not only Koster's bookeeper, but also lives in an apartment which is above the rear entrance to the gun shop. Kojak soon comes to see her, and oozes charm. When Sandler identifies Bayliss as one of the men who took Koster away (Koster has been found dead by this time), the cops realize they have an excellent case, because Bayliss will probably make a deal to rat out the other members of the gang. Sandler, however, is having serious problems about testifying before the grand jury and is also offered protection. She tells Kojak "What a way to make a living, scaring poor little old ladies." Kojak puts her up in a "first class hotel," but this location is soon discovered by one of Clifford's men. The cops move Sandler to a motel in Ellenburg out in the country. This location is also figured out by Clifford. Two of his men soon arrive there and start shooting up the place. Kojak is on his way back to town when he suddenly realizes there is something fishy about the way this location was tracked down. He quickly returns and there is more gunfire. The two hoods escape, but get derailed when driving through a construction site and their car blows up with them inside it. Sandler, though rattled, gets back to town and finally testifies before the grand jury.

REVIEW:

This show is a mixture of the serious and comedic. Sandler is a Jewish mama type, using expressions like "schmegehgeh" (a big idiot) to describe her employer Koster after he is abducted. She is totally nervous about being a protected witness. We learn several things about Crocker in this show, one of which is that he lives in Jackson Heights. When Kojak tells Crocker "Your instincts are improving," Crocker replies, "My old lady'll be thrilled," suggesting that Crocker has either a girl friend or a wife. Later, it seems like Crocker tries to set up Saperstein with a date: "I guarantee you she's nice, man, I took her out once myself ... She's sweet, believe me, she's sweet, I wouldn't let you down for the world, all you've done for me. Come on, who'm I talking to, nobody? Yeah, she's nice." This is interesting, because in S04E21, there is a reference to Saperstein being out because his "kid" had a skateboarding accident! The ending of the show is unusually violent, so much so that Sandler gets a broken rib when Sgt. Doris Holloway (Lynnette Mettey), her chaperone, jumps on top of her to protect her during the shootout. Before going into the grand jury room, she gives Crocker a kiss!

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8. (S02E08) You Can't Tell a Hurt Man How to Holler ★★★
Original air date: October 27, 1974
Director: Seymour Robbie; Writer: Albert Ruben

SUMMARY:

Early in the morning in an Italian restaurant, bookmaker John R. Stutz (Roger E. Mosley, later of Magnum, P.I.) and his "main man" Hawthorn Yantzee (Harrison Page) are alone, totalling up their take. Yantzee goes out to get some cigarettes. While he is away, Wexler (Burt Berger), an "important man" who is a New York city councillor among other things, who owes money to Stutz, shows up. Stutz says he wants to be paid now, but Wexler says "You'll get your money when I get good and ready to give it to you and not until." Stutz shoots him twice and leaves the scene. When Yantzee returns, Wexler grabs on to him and the two fall to the ground just as Filacchione (Tom Pedi), a waiter from the restaurant, looks out a window and sees what he thinks is a confrontation. Two cops in a patrol car show up and Yantzee (who, like Stutz, is black) high-tails it out of there because he knows they will try and pin something on him. Filacchione later comes to the station and picks Yantzee out of a lineup. Yantzee is duly arrested at his apartment building, but when he is taken to the station, his cause is not helped by his attitude that "I am screwed no matter what I say" and his lack of co-operation with Kojak. Soon after this, Yantzee is bailed out by Stutz; the $25,000 payment is delivered by Lula, Yantzee's girl friend (the attractive Margaret Avery). After Stutz is tipped off by a hospital orderly that the operation to keep Wexler alive was successful, he goes to the hospital and unplugs Wexler's intravenous. Stutz has constructed an elaborate alibi for this time frame, also going to the Parking Violation Bureau office, located close to the hospital, where the waits to pay fines are very long, in his case, three hours. When he hears about Wexler dying, Yantzee figures he should get out of town, but he is cornered by Gil Weaver (Roger Robinson) in a public playground as he meets with Lula to say goodbye. Yantzee is brought back to his apartment where Kojak grills Lula and him, telling him, "You're so busy fulfilling the prophecy of your own doom, you're not even taking care of yourself." He yells at Kojak, "Man, get out of my face!" On the way back to the station, Yantzee manages to escape by overpowering Weaver. Back at the station, McNeil says he is getting a lot of heat from the big brass over this case, but Kojak says he is coming around to the opinion that Yahtzee had nothing to do with Wexler. From an informer named Junior, Kojak finds out where Stutz hangs out, so he goes to visit him. Stutz totally tries to make it sound like Yantzee committed both the shooting and the murder of Wexler, of course pointing out while all this was going on, he was paying his parking ticket. Yantzee gets himself free from his handcuufs, picks up a gun and is on his way back to Stutz's place where he is captured once again by Kojak. With Kojak's urging, Lula convinces her boyfriend to go to Stutz's, but wearing a wire, which Stutz quickly uncovers after he has confessed to shooting and killing Wexler. As Yantzee attempts to run out of Stutz's apartment, he is shot in the side, but as the show ends with Stutz being arrested, it looks like Yantzee will survive.

REVIEW:

A good show with a good script focusing on the trope that "if someone is black, they are guilty," something which persists in cop shows and real life to this day. Harrison Page and Margaret Avery both have some very emotional scenes. Yantzee, prior to being wired, tells Lula "You believe him [that Kojak wants to help]?" to which Kojak says "No, she doesn't believe me. The only difference between her and you is that she is smart enough to see this is the only offer you've got." At the end, after Yantzee is shot, Kojak doesn't have anything to say. I find it hard to accept that McNeil considers Yantzee's arrest to be "a good collar" because of the eyewitness identification by the waiter, but they have no weapon.

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9. (S02E09) The Best Judge Money Can Buy ★★★★
Original air date: November 3, 1974
Director: Leo Penn; Writer: Gene Kearney

SUMMARY:

Ellen Mackie (Dorothy Tristan), the wife of Judge Philip Templeton Mackie, Jr. (Walter Stocker), hires a private investigator to tap her home phones for four weeks because she suspects her husband is having an affair with his former secretary Kimberley Hyatt (Melissa Murphy). This captures several calls between the two lovers, but also other conversations between her husband and Martin Bronson (Walter McGinn), a slimy, power-hungry lawyer with big political ambitions. Ellen visits Bronson and makes a deal, giving him the tapes in exchange for having her adulterous husband murdered. Bronson, who is the lawyer for mobster Norman L. Kilty (Abe Vigoda), currently serving a 10 year term in Attica for attempted murder, is only too happy to arrange for Webster (John Aniston, father of Jennifer) and Rizzell (Jack Kutcher), a couple of Kilty's former employees, to take care of this, making it look like Mackie Junior committed suicide with carbon monoxide in his garage. A hearing involving an appeal for Kilty will be soon conducted by the judge's father, Philip Templeton Mackie, Sr. (John Randolph). Bronson shows up at Mackie Senior's chambers and plays him one of the tapes where Mackie Junior talks to Bronson about throwing a case for a few thousand dollars. In order to make the tapes disappear, Bronson wants Mackie Senior to let Kiltie out on bail; then the gangster will flee the country to Brazil. While Bronson is implicated in all this by his voice on the tape talking to Mackie Junior, he says that he will likely be regarded as a hero for exposing this corruption. If Mackie Senior isn't shocked enough by this or the visit that he gets from Kojak who basically tells the respected judge that his son is a crook, he later has a meeting with Ellen where she tells him bluntly about the deal she made with Bronson to have his son killed! At the hearing, Mackie Senior gives an extraordinary speech where he sends Kiltie back to jail and calls on Kojak, who is in the courtroom, to arrest Bronson for bribery, extortion, obstruction of justice and conspiracy to commit murder. As the show ends, the judge tells Kojak that Ellen will have to be arrested as well, and announces that he will soon resign from the bench.

REVIEW:

This is a real "holy freakin' crap" episode. McGinn as Bronson is very nasty, but not as much so as Ellen, the daughter-in-law, who is a super bitch. She visits Kojak in his office after her husband's "suicide," but things go south very quickly. She leaves in a huff, and when she stands in the outer office with all the men from the precinct standing around, she looks like someone dropped her in the middle of a leper colony. After she makes a big scene and leaves, McNeil comments "That is one sick lady." Not only does Bronson arrange for Mackie Junior to be killed. After the judge's funeral, his mistress Hyatt inexplicably shows up at Bronson's office with an attaché case containing almost $100,000, money which her lover kept at her place to be used for when the two of them finally split town to parts unknown. Bronson is alarmed, because this is money that he paid Mackie Junior to throw all but 2 out of 14 cases. As soon as she leaves his office with the cash, threatening to go to the cops and tell them that there is no way Mackie Junior could have killed himself, Bronson is on the phone to Kilty's goons who subsequently try to murder Hyatt by gassing her using the oven at her apartment. Fortunately Stavros and Saperstein show up in time to save her. The level of acting by all concerned in this episode is very high and Cacavas provides an excellent score.

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10. (S02E10) A Souvenir from Atlantic City ★★½
Original air date: November 10, 1974
Director: Daniel Haller; Writer: Charles Sailor & Eric Kaldor

SUMMARY:

Paolo Olivarez (Jaime Sanchez) is present in a bowling alley when a bomb explosion kills two cops. Kojak wants to bring him in as a witness, but Olivarez is a high-level informant who has infiltrated a radical militant group called El Compadre for four months. According to his police handler, Lieutenant Chuck Danena (Daniel J. Travanti), Olivarez' identity cannot be compromised. Kojak is pissed, but over McNeil's objections he gets Gomez (Victor Campos) to go undercover and find out that Olivarez has likely gone to see his sister Marinella (Maria-Elena Cordero) who has a candy store business in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Kojak and Gomez track Olivarez there and bring him back to New York City where some members of El Compadre put a bomb in his apartment. Fortunately, Crocker and Gomez find out about this before Olivarez returns home and contact the bomb squad. Olivarez gets a call that his sister has been kidnapped by the militants, but she is actually a member of the group. Kojak and Danena track down the gang's hideout which is in the rear of a free clinic and surround the building with a large amount of backup. Unfortunately, Olivarez shows up and is killed by one of the radicals as they attempt to negotiate a trip out of town, holding Marinella as a "hostage." The cops shoot two of the gang dead and the rest are arrested.

REVIEW:

This is an interesting story, but there are a lot of very tenuous plot connections. At the beginning, Olivarez' presence at the bowling alley is established after Mr. Franco (George Conrad, uncredited), the manager of the place, describes him as a "'Rican" who is a "sharp dresser" (though from what we see of him, he is hardly that dapper) and a shoeshine guy outside recognizes Olivarez' fancy boots that he left there after he fled the scene. After the near-bombing of Olivarez' apartment, Crocker finds an observation post was set up across the street and a Chinese food delivery driver (Keone Young) identifies one of the people who stayed there, a radical named Peter Canner (a.k.a. David Roth, uncredited actor). According to the driver, this guy had white shoes, which Danena says might mean he works at a hospital. Kojak quips "maybe he was giving a bad imitation of Pat Boone." When Kojak and Danena visit some local hospital, not only was Canner a volunteer worker there, but they are able to track him down to a clinic which is where the group's new hideout is located. (There is an amusing scene with Kojak convincing the Irish nun (Helena Carroll) in charge of records in this hospital to provide Canner's employment information after dropping the name of a cardinal that Kojak knows.) At the clinic, no one is answering the front door, but at the back door some little girl is sitting and eating from a box of candies, and it just happens to be from Marinella's store in New Jersey. Although Kojak rightly surmises that it is peculiar that a kidnap victim would not give out candy to someone like this (i.e., the sister was not a victim, but a member), this is all very far-fetched. At least the scene where Kojak barters some of his Tootsie Pops with the kid for information is very funny. When the kid leaves, Kojak says "Women!"

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11. (S02E11) A Killing in the Second House ★★★½
Original air date: November 17, 1974
Director: Christian Nyby; Writer: Gene Kearney

SUMMARY:

Ray Kaufman (Martin Balsam) was a shining star homicide detective working under Kojak until he took payoffs. Now he is a private investigator, taking pictures for Jack Seymour (Richard Eastham) of Seymour's wife Janet (Susan Brown) and his business manager Tony Howard (John Lehne). Seymour suspects the two of them are having an affair. As the show begins, Kaufman delivers some photos to Seymour, but before Kaufman can leave, Howard and Janet come home at the same time as Seymour commits suicide with a gun. Because Janet will not get any insurance money because of the suicide, Kaufman offers to help Howard make the scene look like an intruder killed his boss for $10,000. Later, Kaufman gets greedy and wants to also be put on retainer for $500 a month, which Howard refuses to do. Kaufman then plants evidence at Howard's place to make it look like he murdered Seymour. Kaufman's money-hungry wife Sherry (Dimitra Arliss) has a home-based astrology business, and one of her clients, Elaine Miller (Nedra Deen) is the only witness to the fact that Kaufman was not at home at a certain time on the night of the "murder." This conflicts with an alibi Kaufman and his wife want to concoct, that he was with his wife all evening. When Sherry terminates her services with Miller because she and her husband want to leave town after getting the $10,000 windfall, Miller threatens to expose Sherry for not giving her her money's worth of astrological advice. She says she will squeal to the Better Business Bureau and the Internal Revenue Service, among other places. Kaufman goes to Miller's apartment and there is a struggle with Miller, who hits her head on a radiator and is knocked out. Kaufman tries to make it look like she was the victim of foul play, but at this exact time, Kojak just happens to be arriving at Miller's apartment. He catches Kaufman trying to escape and Kaufman is shot and killed. Later, Kaufman's wife, who is caught trying to leave the country, is charged with fraud, extortion and being an accessory to homicide.

REVIEW:

Kojak is torn between hating Kaufman for betraying his badge and sympathy for the guy: at the end, Kojak puts his coat over Kaufman's dead body, but removes his (Kojak's) badge from the front pocket. Balsam gives a great performance as the world-weary Kaufman striving to satisfy his wife, rewarding her with a trip to South America or Paris after he extorts money from Howard. (Notice his wife doesn't kiss him on the mouth until later in the show.) Technology is used to help solve the crime, because Kaufman's wife relies on a computer at "Rent-A-Comp" which cranks out horoscope information. When Kojak visits this place, which provides him with various data that they trace to Miller, Mrs. Tyburn (Evelyn Russell), the woman in charge of the computer which she has nicknamed "Gertrude," keeps making goo-goo-eyes at him.

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12. (S02E12) The Best War in Town ★★★  WHO LOVES YA 
Original air date: November 24, 1974
Director: Richard Donner; Writer: Burton Armus

SUMMARY:

Patrolman Ralph Warren (Mark Shera), whose father was a cop killed at the age of 35, is carrying on the family tradition by joining the police force. On his first day on the job, he interrupts a gangland execution involving the Fisher and Laggo gangs. Of course, because of the crooks' code of honor, Joey Laggo (Raymond O'Keefe) will not squeal on Fisher's people who were about to hang him. Fisher's men manage to escape, running into and killing a woman pedestrian in the process. Because rookie Warren has made such a botch-up of his first day, he gets his gun taken away from him and gets a lot of heat from the big brass. Sgt. Harry Sumar (David Doyle) from the Police Academy spends a lot of time with Kojak trying to clean up the mess that Warren has made. Kojak, on the other hand, sees what happened as an opportunity to kill multiple birds with one stone, and put away both gangs with some help from another crime big shot named Catonsky (Buffy Dee). While he is doing this, playing one gang against the other, Kojak becomes aware of a third gang, and he manages to put them away as well. Because of all the pressure on him, Warren, who is living at home with his elderly mother, wants to quit the force, but Kojak and Sumar convince him to stay and get him to help bust the third gang at the end of the show.

REVIEW:

This is a good show, full of sarcastic lines by Kojak, as well as a "Who loves ya, baby?" Kojak convinces Fisher to get arrested along with his men to make a cover for Fisher providing Kojak with information about where Laggo is holed up -- which is in his elderly mother's apartment with all the members of his gang. After Laggo is busted, this immediately prompts him to offer some information about a murder which Fisher committed in North Dakota some time ago. Kojak has a cool stunt at the end of the show where he leaps from a building to the top of a parked car.

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13. (S02E13) Cross Your Heart and Hope to Die ★★★
Original air date: December 1, 1974
Director: David Friedkin; Writer: Gene Kearney

SUMMARY:

Andrea Marcovicci plays Lisa Walden, a withdrawn young woman suffering from some unspecified condition for which she has received psychiatric help. After a date at the theater with her pharmacist Greg Halleck (George Shannon), who has a reputation as a ladies man, she goes to his apartment where he pours her a drink, puts "Old Blue Eyes" on the stereo and starts to get a bit too close. Suddenly, there is someone at the door, and when Greg answers it, he is stabbed to death. The person doing the stabbing is Lisa's next door neighbor, Joyce Harrington (Lenny Baker, who has a slight but disturbing resemblance to Wayne Gretzky). Joyce, who says his name is "like a famous Irish author," lives with his invalid mother (Angela Clarke), who also suffers from some unspecified condition which causes her to have major anxiety attacks, among other things. Joyce considers himself to be "very close" to Lisa, and has killed not only Greg, but also Lisa's psychiatrist at Bellevue, Dr. Damon, who disappeared from public view about seven weeks ago. Joyce has Lisa's room and telephone both bugged so he can keep tabs on her, and overhear Kojak when he comes to visit, having tracked Lisa down from information obtained by Crocker and Saperstein talking to Doyle (Harvey J. Goldenberg), owner of the pharmacy where Greg worked and filled her prescriptions. Kojak totally handles Lisa with kid gloves, because she can't remember what happened the night of the murder. Gradually she manages to recover her memory, but Joyce is going up the wall because of the police snooping around. As well, Joyce's mother finds some bloody gloves that Lisa wore the night of the murder that Joyce stole from Lisa's apartment. The mother is so freaked out about this, that she drops dead. Telling Lisa that "we're not going to be apart any more," Joyce takes Lisa to his apartment while Kojak is away from her place for a short time to visit a local moving company where he discovers that Joyce was the dispatcher at this place who arranged for a large barrel to be moved from his house shortly after Dr. Damon disappeared. When Crocker and Saperstein check the moving company's basement where this barrel is stored, they find Damon's body in it. When Kojak returns to Lisa's, she is not there. He checks Joyce's place to find all the lights in the house have been turned off. Joyce is about to stab Kojak to death when Crocker and Saperstein burst through the door, then subdue and arrest Joyce. Lisa is horribly shocked by this turn of events and Kojak takes her away with him.

REVIEW:

This episode is pretty good, though it does venture into horror/slasher film territory, complete with ominous thunder and lightning as well as a torrential rainstorm during the show's climax, such as we have already seen in the eleventh episode this season. There are lots of scary movie clichés, but they are all handled very well. When Joyce comes after Kojak with a knife, he is wearing his mother's wig, just like Anthony Perkins did as Norman Bates in Psycho!

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14. (S02E14) The Betrayal ★★★★
Original air date: December 15, 1974
Director: Telly Savalas; Writer: Joseph Polizzi

SUMMARY:

Hot shot Detective Sam Calucci (Richard Romanus) has made a large number of high-profile busts, but these arrests are the result of tips from his stoolie Buddy Maus (Paul Anka), who is in it for himself. At the beginning of the show, Calucci shoots a jewel thief named Courtland dead during a robbery at Fineman Jewelers (Maus tipped him off about this), but while this is happening, Maus is breaking into the thief's apartment and stealing a huge amount of cash that the guy has hidden under his carpet. Gil Weaver (Roger Robinson), who has been working undercover, runs into Maus when the latter tries to unsuccessfully ingratiate himself with Strickland (Steffen Zacharias), a local gangster, saying he has connections to the cocaine trade. Maus tells Strickland he can also offer "protection" because he has a detective in his pocket. Later, Weaver sees Maus and Carlucci together and lets Kojak know about this. A major screaming session takes place between in Kojak's office with Kojak accusing Carlucci of being on the take, telling him that Maus is "playing two against the middle," something Carlucci completely denies, especially because he had his ass saved by Maus during a recent meeting with some drug dealers. Carlucci later tells Maus that he heard that Courtland's apartment landlady identified a hooker named Karen Leibowitz as being able to connect Maus to the ripoff of Courtland's place. Maus tracks down Leibowitz to the Palms Lounge where she hangs out and beats her savagely, before she falls down an elevator shaft (whether Maus pushed her down is not shown). After Kojak talks to Carlucci on the phone and connects Maus to Leibowitz's murder, Carlucci realizes that he has to divorce himself from his informer. He tries to arrest Maus when the two of them get together soon after. A struggle ensues, and Carlucci is fatally wounded, but not before he shoots Maus dead.

REVIEW:

An excellent show, especially because of Paul Anka's performance as the slimy Maus (his name suggesting "mouse" or "rat") as well as that of Richard Romanus. It's amazing that Anka, best known as a song writer, has had so few opportunities to play dramatic parts in movies or on TV. There is great NYC atmosphere in the show, which has a top-notch script. At the end, Kojak is shocked by Calucci's death (and no doubt trying to figure out how he is going to explain everything to Internal Affairs if there is an investigation). As he leaves the scene, he tells Crocker, "Hey Bobby, about yelling at you in the office, I love you, kid, right?" Crocker responds, "You kiddin' me, Lieutenant?"

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15. (S02E15) Loser Takes All ★★★
Original air date: December 22, 1974
Director: Allen Reisner; Writer: William P. McGivern & Robert C. Dennis

SUMMARY:

Michael Hagar (Leslie Nielsen) arrives at Kennedy Airport to meet in New York with Paula Thomas (Ja'net Du Bois) regarding a "business deal." He is met by Tanner (Al Stevenson), an associate of Paula's husband, Waverly (Edmund Cambridge), who knows about the meeting. Tanner tells Hagar there has been a "change of plan," and that he should go back to where he came from. When Hagar says he wants to phone Paula to confirm this, there is a struggle and Hagar punches out Tanner. At Paula's Place, a hangout for the black community with pool tables, Paula tells Hagar she wants to sell him the debt of Neff (Quinn Redeker), an embezzler who is in to her for $20,000. She says that Hagar can have Neff for $2,000 plus 10%, which could involve diamonds from the jewellery company where Neff works. Waverly, who is supposedly at a poker game which will go on "for days," overhears all this conversation through a heating vent which connects to Paula's apartment. Kojak and Gil Weaver (Roger Robinson) bust up a crap game run by Benny (Antonio "Huggy Bear" Fargas), who has a tip for them. Benny tells Kojak and Weaver about the diamond aspect of Paula's deal with Hagar, which is all he has been told by Waverly. Neff shows up at Paula's where Hagar makes him an offer that he can't refuse, wiping out his insignificant debt for $1 million of jewels from his company. When Neff tells Hagar he is a blackmailer, Hagar throws him across the room. Hagar says he doesn't like to hear talk like that, especially considering Neff is a thief and that his employer might like to know about this. Waverley is also listening through the heating vent to this conversation, and when Neff leaves, makes a big noise which Hagar investigates, realizing it's Paula's husband. Hagar follows Waverly around, confronting him in a parking garage and shooting him. Soon after, Benny appears in the garage, and hears Waverly's dying words including Hagar's name. Kojak goes to Paula's to tell her that her husband is dead. Hagar is in the next room, and when Kojak leaves, he comforts Paula. Benny is picked up by Kojak and Weaver and tells them what he heard after he found Waverly shot: "a diamond heist, it being an inside job, and that [Hagar] was going to knock over a courier." Neff calls Hagar to confirm details about when the courier will arrive. Back at the station house, a yellow sheet for Hagar is produced which tells that he concentrates on big jobs. Considering there are 400-500 diamond merchants within a few blocks in one area of New York, Kojak figures that Hagar will try and intercept the courier between the airport and Manhattan. Hagar disguises himself and steals a limousine. He meets the courier at the airport, but just around this time, Kojak, Stavros and Crocker show up. Kojak recognizes Hagar despite the disguise. They pursue him through the ariport, but Hagar, who takes a few moments to mail himself the diamonds, shoots Kojak, who ends up in Bellevue. The slug from Kojak is determined to be from the same gun that killed Waverly earlier. Hagar is busted as he tries to get on a plane, and taken to headquarters. Incredibly, several witnesses to the fracas at the airport cannot positively identify him, including the courier, and Hagar is released. Kojak, who has checked himself out of the hospital, goes to Paula's and tells her about Hagar, wondering why he was in town to pull off such a large-scale job. She cannot help him. But after he leaves, she gets in her car and drives to the airport. There she confronts Hagar and shoots him dead. Kojak arrives on the scene, and Paula tells him, "I had to do it."

REVIEW:

This is an interesting episode, especially to see Leslie Nielsen, known more for comedic performances during the last part of his career, playing a heavy who beats people up and carries on an affair with the black Paula, though I don't know if this would have caused a huge stir when the show was broadcast in the mid 70's. But Nielsen was also quite capable of playing dramatic roles, as a quick look at his filmography at IMDb will show. This episode required multiple viewings to figure out some of the things that were going on, and there are some problems with the script. For example, how does Waverly know when and why Hagar is coming to see his wife. When Kojak talks to Paula, she tells him that her relationship between her and her husband has "had nothing to do with sex" for years and she still loves him because she owes him her life. Not only that, Waverly was aware of "other men" in her life. After Waverly is killed, Kojak bluntly asks Paula if these "other men" might have knocked off her husband because they wanted him out of the way, something which causes her to throw a glass at him. Does this all mean that Paula told Waverly about Hagar showing up earlier? Or was he just snooping on her conversations through the heating vent? After Hagar evades Kojak and Crocker at the airport, he puts the diamonds in a envelope with postage on it and mails them to himself. But where did this envelope come from? It is not seen when Hagar is fleeing from the cops with the courier through the airport, for example.

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16. (S02E16) Close Cover Before Killing ★★★
Original air date: January 5, 1975
Director: Sigmund Neufeld Jr.; Writer: Peter S. Fischer

SUMMARY:

Morton Tallman (Alex Rocco) runs Tallman-Vane Plastics Company with his partner of 9 years, Nick Vane (Ben Hammer). Tallman gets word of an investment in a retirement village, and wants to torch the company in order to collect insurance money that can be used to finance this. To make a partial deposit on this investment, Tallman borrows money from a loan shark, Leonard Tapler (Nate Esformes). When Vane tells Tallman he wants nothing to do with arson and threatens to go to the police, the two of them fight, and Tallman knocks his partner out and bashes him on the head with a trophy, killing him. Then he pushes a bookcase over on Vane. Shortly after this, the building where the company is located goes up in smoke, thanks to Vincent Hackley (David Ackroyd), a chemistry teacher who works as a field investigator for an insurance underwriter, quite likely one who would have given Tallman's company a checkup once a year. At the scene of the fire, Kojak is immediately suspicious about the layout in the office where Vane is found dead, and Tallman, who has been out of town to establish an alibi, soon shows up, expressing crocodile tears sentiments to Kojak. Kojak later says to Stavros, "You ask some guys the time, they start giving you a whole dialogue on how to build a watch." Kojak is interested in tracking down a man and a woman who were seen fleeing the building around the time of the fire. One of the women who worked for Tallman-Vane recognizes a sketch of the man as Luis Rivera (Erik Estrada), a stock boy who was laid off recently. Strangely, another woman from the office, Mrs. Teresa Ryan (Nira Barab), does not recognize Luis's picture. This is because she and Erik were having an affair, and, in fact, were "doing it" in the customer's lounge on the fourth floor of the building when the fire was set. Kojak hauls Luis in for questioning, but does not believe that he is the one who is responsible for the fire. Teresa finally breaks down when the two are questioned in Kojak's office and admits the affair and Luis is released. Meanwhile, the "side business" of Hackley, the arsonist, is uncovered by his wife when she finds Tallman's cash payment of $4,500 mentioned in their bank statements. Her husband admits to her that he sets fires in buildings where people want to collect the insurance and he takes money under the table for doing this. Tapler pays a visit to Tallman and says that he is very concerned about being tied in to Vane's death. He figures that the cops will soon find Hackley, who will implicate Tallman, so he subtly suggests that Tallman should knock Hackley off. After examining several other suspicious fires that have occurred which reveal a pattern in which Hackley is likely involved, Kojak and Crocker pay a visit to Hackley's place, but he is not there. They arrive at the City University where Hackley teaches, just as Tallman is about to shoot him. Fortunately, Tallman is disarmed and he is arrested along with Hackley and taken away.

REVIEW:

A good show with a good script and good acting all around. Alex Rocco, who was best known for playing gangsters, (like he does in episode 4 from season 1), here is Jewish. When he is arguing on the phone with Tapler, the loan shark, he starts to say "I swear..." and Tapler interrupts him to say, "Swear to your rabbi." There is the usual give-and-take between Kojak and McNeil, with the chief convinced they have an open-and-shut case against Luis, but Kojak is sure that Tallman is the killer. He says "Anything else would be an affront to cosmic orderliness." McNeil replies, "Cosmic, my astronaut." When Kojak tells McNeil that Luis doesn't have a yellow sheet (a criminal record), McNeil says, "Sirhan Sirhan didn't have a yellow sheet either." How the investigation proceeds is interesting, though it does seem like Kojak is a bit too clever.

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17. (S02E17) Acts of Desperate Men ★★★
Original air date: January 12, 1975
Director: Jeannot Szwarc; Writer: Gene R. Kearney

SUMMARY:

Keith Wicks (Bruno Kirby, Bruce Kirby Jr. in the credits) is on a mission of vengeance, killing people who were responsible for the murder of his restaurateur father Jack two years ago after the father would not sell his business to some shady types. Trained as a sharpshooter in Vietnam, where he had a breakdown after a My Lai-like incident, Keith uses a long-range rifle to kill two people at the beginning of the show: Tyrone (Thayer David), a real estate swindler who wanted to buy his father's business and Duke Divine, an ex-cop who investigated the murder, but hushed up things because he was on the take. After Kojak and his men leave Tyrone's office, Seymour Hayward (Eugene Roche), Tyrone's bookkeeper for the last four years who was present when Tyrone was killed, snoops around the books and discovers a payoff which happened around the time of the murder, and goes to investigate. So does Kojak. A classic third-degree with Kojak, McNeil and Crocker berating Hayward at the station follows, which produces no results, because Hayward, who was not hesitant to cook the books when ordered by Tyrone, had nothing to do with the killing. When Divine's lawyer Tom Nolan (Bill Morey), who has a tell-all letter that he is supposed to take to the cops if anything happens to his client, tries to deliver it, he is confronted by Lou Handleman (Robert X. Modica), a syndicate hit man who murdered Wicks. Handleman has been tipped off about this letter by Sam Corso (George Ball), a sleazy lawyer, also involved in the killing. Keith tries to snatch the envelope containing the letter as Handleman drives away with it, but is dragged alongside the car and falls to the ground where he is accidentally shot by a pistol he is carrying. Keith flees to Hayward's place, because Hayward is another of the people that might be connected to his father's death. Rather than kill Hayward, the two of them bond together, with Keith staying at Hayward's while he recovers from his gunshot wound. Keith tells Hayward that he could not communicate with his father, while the 55-year-old Hayward confesses that his own life is a mess, with a wife and son that both left him because he "couldn't keep a family together." Hayward suggests that Jack Wicks' girl friend Jo Anne Yager (Elaine Joyce) was involved in the murder as well, because she received a sizeable payment around the time of his death, so Keith adds her to his list of people to take care of, along with Handleman and Corso. Hayward says "I need things to balance out"; Keith says "I just want to finish this job." Acting on a tip from Yager, who comes to the office to talk to Kojak, the cops track down Keith's room in the Hotel Kleinsinger in the West Village. There are some shells hidden in a curtain, and when Keith comes back to the room to collect these, Kojak confronts him. There is a brief gun battle, and Keith is killed, falling out the window on to the fire escape. Hayward, who drove Keith to the hotel, witnesses all this from the sidewalk outside. Back at his place, Hayward, who was himself a sharpshooter during his military service, determines to complete Keith's mission, and adds Kojak's name to the list of people to be knocked off. Hayward kills both Corso and Haldelman, then goes after Yager. Yager barely escapes with her life, and tells Kojak that the money she received from Tyrone had nothing to do with setting up her boyfriend Wicks and that she was far away from where the murder took place. At the room across from Yager's where he was attempting to kill her, Hayward leaves a pen with his initials, as if he wants to be caught. Kojak, Crocker and Stavros go to Hayward's place, where Hayward is across the street ready to shoot Kojak. But Kojak tricks Hayward by using the full-length mirror in his place to fool him as to where he is standing, and after Hayward blasts what he thinks is Kojak, he is busted by Crocker and Stavros as he tries to escape.

REVIEW:

This show is very good in the way it depicts Hayward, a man who says "I've done nothing" with his life and the highly-motivated Keith. The acting by Eugene Roche and Bruno Kirby is exceptionally fine. The third-degree of Hayward is imaginatively filmed, with low camera angles. After it is over, Kojak tells McNeil "You're pretty good with this 'police brutality' after all these years." The plot requires a lot of concentration.

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18. (S02E18) Queen of the Gypsies ★★★½
Original air date: January 19, 1975
Director: Jeannot Szwarc; Writer: Gene Kearney & Arthur E. McLaird

SUMMARY:

After Marina Sheldon (Zohra Lampert), a gypsy woman, has passed counterfeit money at a bank, a trio of men, who are not connected with her in any way, rob the guards from the armored car parked outside as they leave the place, killing an elderly man on the sidewalk with their machine guns. Marina sees the face of one of the robbers when his mask slips. The robbers escape in an ambulance which they have rented on the pretext of using as a prop in a porno movie, but, pursued by the police, they flee on foot after finding themselves boxed in, leaving most of their loot behind. When Marina is taken to the police station to try and I.D. the robber she saw, she finds his picture in the mug shot files and pockets it. Using her connections in the gypsy community, Marina tracks down this man, Clyde Regan (Lane Smith). She tells Regan and his two pals that "I'm better at working out angles than anyone I know" and reveals a plan where they can pull off another robbery which will make them a lot more money than their previous attempt. After hearing this plan, Regan calls her a "gypsy genius." Meanwhile, Kojak is after Marina because of the counterfeit money she was passing. He visits a fortune telling parlor where Marina and her acquaintances hang out. Kojak returns to the station with Marina, who is charged and fingerprinted. But Marina wants to make a deal with Kojak: for immunity, she will tell him about the elaborate robbery plan which she formulated with Regan and his pals. Kojak goes for this. This plan, which even Kojak says is "genius," goes as follows. Regan shoots a dart into the radiator of one of the armored car company's trucksthe same company as seen at the beginning of the show. This causes the water to drain out and the truck to stop running. The people driving the truck call for a replacement vehicle and the money they have collected so far is transferred to it. Once the replacement truck departs, Regan and his men overpower the one remaining guard, then put this chemical product that stops leaks into the radiator and fill the radiator up with water. The replacement truck, following a certain route, is put of action after a gypsy scammer who specializes in letting cars run into him as he crosses the street does his routine, stopping this truck for some time. However, Regan and his two pals continue on the route this truck was supposed to take, loading all the money from banks into the back of the repaired truck. When they finish, they have in the neighborhood of $5 million. However, as per Marina's deal, Kojak and the cops show up at the location where the robbers are apportioning out their money. Regan is shot dead while trying to escape and the other two are arrested. But there is a twist ending to this show. One of Marina's friends has been busted by the cops and is probably spilling the beans about her participation in the counterfeiting scheme so she will likely be arrested again. Marina tells Kojak that the reason she pulled a scam on the robbers was because Jonathan Laszlo, the old man who was gunned down and killed outside the bank earlier, was her father. Kojak tells her to get out of town, and when they come to look for her in a few days, if she is not around, they will not pursue her.

REVIEW:

This episode would probably not go over too well today because of political correctness issues. It's actually a guy from the Treasury Department who is the first law enforcement person who says about Marina "we think she's a gypsy." Kojak calls her a "little con artist." When they are following one of the gypsies named Aldo Quire (Michael Ebert), who is a wholesaler of counterfeit bills, Kojak tells Crocker "You've heard about the mob being tight mouthed? The gypsies make the mob seem like a non-stop canary." Kojak goes to the fortune telling place and, after asking for a tea leaf reading, pulls out one of his Tootsie Pops and starts to look at it like it is a crystal ball, rattling off various gypsy-related clichés. He seems to know a lot about typical gypsy scams -- he talks to Marina about these after she has been booked at the station. Zohra Lampert, an actress who has specialized in quirky characters over her 60-plus-year career, gives a very good performance, which won her an Emmy.

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19. (S02E19) Night of the Piraeus ★★★
Original air date: February 19, 1975
Director: Jerry London; Writer: Don Rene Patterson & George Bacos

SUMMARY:

Henry W. Keiler (Ivor Francis), a very rich "mayonnaise mogul," owns the largest collection of postage stamps in the United States. He is obsessed with getting a unique German stamp, known as the "sister," normally paired up with a similar stamp known as "the brother." Keiler only buys stamps, he never sells them. He finds that a stamp's history, especially if it involves crime, makes it more interesting. He tells Kojak "I've always found most stamps much more meaningful than most people's lives." At the beginning of the show, Keiler is at the docks with his associate Arthur Harris (Paul Shenar) and a young woman, Elaine Kastos (the sexy Gale Garnett), a.k.a. Elaine Carstairs, waiting for Kastos' boyfriend Yanni Psalidas (Thaao Penghlis) to come through customs with this "sister" stamp. Psalidas has stolen it from an assistant commissioner of police in Greece where it was previously misappropriated from a political prisoner. Psalidas has the stamp hidden in his belt buckle. Also at the docks are two hoods, Raymond Avery Callis (Robert Viharo) and Ed Teechan (Chuck Bergansky), who are in cahoots with Kastos to steal the stamp. The three of them are working for Harry Fein (Norman Lloyd), a disreputable art dealer, who wants to sell the stamp to Keiler. As Psalidas leaves the customs building, he is Maced in the face by Kastos, who also sprays Harris. Callis runs into the temporarily-blinded Psalidas with his car. Psalidas is then shot dead after Callis takes his belt. At Callis's hotel room, the three crooks examine the belt, but can't figure out its significance. Fein shows up and takes it with him as he pays off the three with $28,000 cash, but as he leaves he tells Callis to kill Kastos. Not only does Callis do this, but he kills Teechan as well. Investigation by the cops reveals that Psalidas was really a crook named Rudy Behring. The Greek government wants his body returned, even though he is only a car thief. Kojak says, "The Greeks have a word for that -- baloney." Lenny Karp (Buddy Lester), the manager of the hotel where Teechan's and Kastos' bodies are found, says he knows Kastos, who used to be a hooker. Kojak goes to visit her madame, Betsy Veilon (Elizabeth MacRae). While there, Kojak finds a postcard sent by Elaine from Europe to Betsy. Because of this card and the fact that Keiler's limo was seen in the area on the night when Psalidas was killed, Kojak has a brainstorm that what is valuable in the belt buckle is a stamp. McNeil calls this "the most staggering example of conclusion-jumping I've ever heard of." Kojak then goes to visit Keiler, who shows him some examples of rare stamps, but says that he would stop short of having someone murdered to obtain others like them. Before he leaves, Kojak makes sure that Keiler knows that receiving stolen merchandise is a crime. After Harris goes to see Fein to make a deal to get the "sister" stamp, he finds out that Fein has both the "sister" and "brother," having obtained the latter from a Japanese collector. But after Fein refuses to deal with Harris, Keiler himself goes to see the art dealer. When quizzed as to the history of the "sister" stamp, Fein says that there was "some intrigue" in obtaining it. Fein wants a million dollars for the pair; Keiler is willing to pay $600,000. Fein says that he will make the "sister" stamp even rarer and burns the "brother" in front of the horrified Keiler! The price for this stamp -- now "the single most valuable stamp in the world" -- is still one million. Callis shows up at the gallery to "take care" of Fine, but is freaked out by Kojak and Crocker who are there, especially after Crocker recognizes him. When Callis is nabbed after escaping, he is brought back to Fein's office and starts spilling the beans. Fein is taken away; Keiler is still depressed about the fact the stamp was burned.

REVIEW:

This show is certainly something different, though Kojak's big brainstorm, which rivals those Jack Lord had as Steve McGarrett on Hawaii Five-O, is kind of far-fetched. The plot is complicated by the fact that Betsy the madame is also pals with Callis, having introduced Elaine to him. Callis wants Betsy to run away with him after he knocks off his two partners, but Betsy is totally freaked out about the attention that she has received from Kojak. Keiler's fascination with the "lifeblood history" of the stamps he collects, which he describes as "philatomania," is kind of creepy.

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20. (S02E20) Elegy in an Asphalt Graveyard ★★★★
Original air date: February 2, 1975
Director: Christian Nyby; Writer: Jack Laird

SUMMARY:

A hooker named Azure Dee is found hanging from the ceiling in her ritzy Sutton Place apartment. It looks like a suicide, but we have seen the beginning of the show where two thugs murdered her. Kojak is upset, because he busted her six years before when she was a "freaked-out flower child" and took a liking to her. The doorman from her building, Mr. O'Malley (Eric Christmas), says that Azure was "no common call girl," instead appealing to "men of class and substance." Kojak tracks down her old boyfriend Billy Jo (John Glover) at De Franco's Gourmet Boutique, a grocery store where Billy works as a delivery boy (a receipt from this place is seen at Azure's apartment). Kojak accuses Billy of having a hand in Azure's demise, but Billy, who is a junkie, is totally shocked. Azure's bank book reveals a lot of money and her apartment contained a lot of expensive art works, furs and jewelry. But there are no photos, snapshots, phone books or engagement books to be found. Kojak yells at the medical examiner Hamerman (Mark Giardino) that he wants the "full feature," which later reveals that Amber's finger was broken, helping Kojak confirm that she was murdered, along with further evidence from the pillow used to smother her. Azure's phone bill leads Kojak to the Long Island residence of Tyler Meadows (Stephen Elliott), chairman of Am-Fed Electronics Industries. Meadows' wife Regina (Priscilla Pointer) receives Kojak, and tells him that she was acquainted with Azure through their hairdresser. She says that Azure phoned her many times, describing her as a "poor child," "a cultural gourmand" who "wanted to improve herself." After Kojak gives her his theory that Amber was murdered, her husband appears and soon escorts Kojak out. When Tyler returns, Regina slaps him in the face with a riding crop and says "You bastard! ... How will you explain [to your brother, who was in love with Amber] the death of your precious concubine?" Gil Weaver (Roger Robinson) and Stavros talk to Eddie Maxwell (Sam Laws), a pimp, and Savannah (Jean Wiles), a former madame, about Azure, and suspicion falls on Billy Jo, but he has skipped town. O'Malley brings a newspaper to Kojak which shows a Judge Lavery (Walter Brooke), one of Amber's recent clients. When Kojak visits the judge, who describes himself as "still a vigorous man" and wistfully says Azure was "a constant delight," Kojak spares no words in suggesting that the judge may have had something to do with her murder. The judge freaks out, saying "Have you forgotten who you're speaking to?" Kojak replies, "Your Honor, I'm talking to a man." Around this time, Tyler Meadows' brother Farley (Terrence Locke) has returned from a business trip to Japan. Lavery claims Azure's body from the morgue and has it delivered to a funeral home. During the funeral, as Farley views Azure's body, Billy Jo suddenly appears and takes a shot at him. When Billy Jo runs out of the building, he is gunned down by one of the thugs who killed Azure. Lavery does not show up at the funeral, instead taking a dive from the 16th floor of a building. The cops were filming what went on at the funeral, including the shooting, and using photo enhancement techniques, manage to track down Farley. Despite McNeil's insistence that the case is wrapped up, Kojak cannot let go. He finds out that Lavery had been the judge hearing the appeal of a case that Meadows' company Am-Fed lost 10 months ago concerning a critical patent judgment. Lavery had overturned the original decision. Azure was aware of the connection between the judge and Am-Fed, with the result that she was murdered by Meadows' hired help. The ending of the show takes place at Meadows' Long Island mansion. Kojak assembles all the principals of the case and runs through the evidence that he has uncovered. Meadows scoffs at this recitation, telling Kojak he is "sheer Scheherazade." But after Meadows describes Azure as "an amoral little harlot whose sordid passing will not cause the smallest ripple in the cosmic sea," Regina asks Kojak what are the rules about a wife testifying against her husband in court, obviously because she knew everything that was going on behind the scenes. Kojak tells her that the wife cannot be compelled to testify, but "if she just wants to volunteer..."

REVIEW:

An oustanding show, with a brilliant script and incredible acting (two exceptions to be discussed shortly). Watch the scene where Kojak encounters Billy Jo in the alley behind the grocery store where he works. Kojak totally berates Billy, who knew Azure way back when they were junkies together, calling him a "little creep." But when Kojak tells Billy that Azure is dead, Billy looks like he has been hit in the face with a mackerel and Kojak's reaction totally shows that he knows Billy didn't do it. HOWEVER ... there are two problems. The first is that Farley and Tyler are supposed to be brothers, but Farley is MUCH younger-looking than Tyler (the actors were born in 1938 and 1918 respectively). Somewhat more serious is the business of how Farley is identified. Kojak orders a photo to be made of a screen capture from the video taken at the funeral. We can see that the monitor in the surveillance truck has typical mediocre video resolution, so it is impossible that a freeze-frame could be blown up with 35mm photographic clarity to reveal from Farley's class ring on his pinky finger that he went to Cornell University (where he graduated in 1971). Still, I am giving this episode 4 stars, whereas it should really have 3-1/2.

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21. (S02E21) The Goodluck Bomber ★★★
Original air date: February 9, 1975
Director: Sigmund Neufeld Jr.; Writer: Ray Brenner

SUMMARY:

The "Good Luck Bomber," so named because of a phrase on messages constructed from cut-up letters that are sent to the cops, has left multiple bombs at locations around the city, but is strangely not asking for anything like a ransom. At the beginning of the show, Hacket (Archie Hahn) attempts to defuse one of these bombs, but is killed when it detonates. This leaves his superior, Lieutenant Leo Becker (Jack Ging), boss of the bomb squad, as the most likely man to tackle the next one. McNeil says that according to a police psychiatrist this bomber "wants attention," perhaps because of childhood issues with his family. Kojak thinks a likely suspect is Jason Milner (Richard Bradford), who was sent to jail after he was nabbed a couple of years ago after blowing up loan offices. In the army, Milner had experience with ordnance and also studied electrical engineering while he was in jail. When Kojak visits the suave-looking Milner, who now goes by the name of Joe Moore, at his home, Milner threatens to launch a lawsuit against the cops because he says he is now a clean living guy who has a wife with two kids from her former marriage and a legitimate job fixing pinball machines. Kojak's men find nothing at Milner's place they can use against him. After Milner is taken to the station for further questioning, Becker, who is also there, asks him some questions relating to the recent incident which resulted in Hacket's death, to which Milner offers some technical advice. Kojak appreciates Milner's help and when he leaves the office, says "Stay clean, baby." Shortly after this, the bomber sends another letter saying the next target will be Manhattan General Hospital. When Kojak and the cops show up there, Becker is trying some of Milner's suggestions. Milner himself appears at the hospital wondering if there is anything he can do to help. After the components for the bomb are frozen by Becker, Milner knows exactly which wire to cut, and the bomb is defused. Kojak gets a breakthrough when a shipment of discontinued Groteck watches used to set off the bombs is traced to a guy named Williamson (Mike Robelo) who repairs cigarette machines. Williamson has an airtight alibi for when the watches were shipped, but says that he let a guy named "Joe" handle his route when he was out of town ... and "Joe" fixes pinball machines. Arthur Mackey (M.P. Murphy), president of Hudson Gas and Oil shows up at the precinct shortly after with another letter saying that his refinery will be blown up with "the last bomb, the biggest yet" at midnight that evening. Kojak calls on the "indispensable" Milner, who offers his services ... for a million dollars. Mackey is more than happy to pay this amount, considering what it will cost to put the refinery back on line if the explosion occurs. But when Milner arrives and after he receives his million dollar check, Stavros announces they have caught the bomber, who is played by an undercover cop named Fowler (uncredited actor). Fowler pretends to be a member of a radical group called Students Against Imperialism which has been seen picketing the oil refinery. Milner freaks out because both his chance to be a hero and his million dollar payment are going up in smoke (no pun intended), but Kojak has tricked him into going to where he planted the bomb at the refinery on Staten Island at the location Mackey predicted would be most likely. Kojak, Becker and the men from the station get there first and they arrest Milner after he shows up and the bomb is defused.

REVIEW:

This story is interesting, primarily for the character of Milner, who, as played by Bradford, is one cool customer. I originally thought the script at the end of the show went awry, but it is actually quite clever. When Milner shows up at the precinct to help with the bomb at the refinery, he is given the paste-up message received, but Kojak intentionally leaves out the last page which gives the location as being on Staten Island. As if he does not know this, Mackey offers other locations for where the bomb might be, but Milner specifically says that it is likely at "Bayonne" on Staten Island (despite the fact that Bayonne is actually in New Jersey). How would Milner know this if he were not the bomber? While the cops realize now that Milner is their man, they still have to let him deactivate the bomb. When confronted with Fowler, who is pretending to be "Allan Zwicker," Milner acts totally like the carpet has been pulled out from under him, insisting that Fowler knows nothing about making bombs, though Fowler hasn't said anything that would suggest this. Milner tells Mackey "Are you buying this theory [that Fowler is responsible]? I'm the expert around here!" When Milner arrives at the refinery later, he starts to stop the bomb using a magnet, but it looks like he doesn't complete the task, instead getting spooked by some noise and then busted by Crocker. Becker is in a quandry as to how the bomb should be dealt with, and there are only a few minutes left before it goes off. Milner's wife Joan (Bonnie Bartlett) is brought to the location by Saperstein and pleads with her husband, who, prior to her arrival, told Kojak "It's over, my family will get insurance." As the show moves to its nail-biting conclusion, the wife and cops move not that far away from where this supposedly massive explosion will go off. Becker still does not know how to disable the bomb and Milner is not talking. Becker takes a chance, which turns out to be the correct move. The ending would have been better if Kojak had kept the wife close to the bomb, which might have made Milner a bit more co-operative.

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22. (S02E22) Unwanted Partners ★★★½
Original air date: February 16, 1975
Director: Sigmund Neufeld Jr.; Writer: Burton Armus

SUMMARY:

A protection racket is extorting bar owners, and the head enforcer, Benny Marino (James Sutorius) is a boyhood pal of Crocker's. If the owners will not pay up, their premises are destroyed and customers are threatened or roughed up. When an innocent patron at a bar run by Jake Grubert (Carmine Caridi) is shot dead during one of these altercations, the cops get very interested. Despite the fact that Benny is an ex-con and a hothead who flies off the handle if service in a bar or restaurant is not to his liking, Crocker refuses to believe that he could be the one behind such violence. Not only that, Benny's girl Marie (Carole Demas) is also a friend of Crocker's and she visits Crocker at the station and tells him to lay off. Kojak enlists the help of undercover officer Valano (Michael DeLano), who typically covers the restaurant beat. When DeLano subs as a bartender, some of Benny's goons rough him up very badly. The big boss of the racket is Benny's uncle Arnie Naylor (Brad Dexter). He tells Benny and his gang that they are stupid for doing things that get the attention of the police. He specifically tells Benny "You're the number one stupid" and that if he persists in making trouble, he will "disappear." Despite this, Benny wants to have one more round of shakedowns over the objection of some of his men. After Jake has a change of heart concerning the "code of silence" over the bust-up of his place, Kojak and the cops raid the Gulf Plaza Motor Lodge where the gang hangs out and arrest them all, except for Benny. When Benny shows up, Crocker pleads with him to give up peacefully, but Benny will have none of this and he is shot dead by Valano.

REVIEW:

This episode, written by the show's technical advisor Burt Armus, is full of laugh out loud lines. When Kojak tells McNeil he wants six men to investigate the outbreak of violence ("three joints wrecked this month"), McNeil says "You got King Kong trapped on the Empire State Building?" Kojak has a run-in with Jake, who says that the bar is actually owned by his wife, since he has a record. Kojak says, "Isn't that carrying women's lib a little far? Don't you make your own decisions?" When Kojak wakes Valano up at home with a phone call, he says he is "the Greek sandman." Later when Rizzo wakes Kojak up, who is sleeping in his office, he calls Rizzo "the Italian sandman." During the bust at the end of the show, Lovano takes revenge on the guy who put him in the hospital by punching the guy very badly in the back. Kojak says "You ruffian!" When he is lying in the hospital getting treated, a captain (Richard Karlan) gives Lovano a lot of mouth, but Kojak straightens him out. The script is full of great exchanges, and the acting is top notch, especially Kevin Dobson as Crocker, who can't see that his pal Benny is a total jerk.

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23. (S02E23) Two-Four-Six for Two Hundred ★★
Original air date: February 23, 1975
Director: Russ Mayberry; Writer: James M. Miller

SUMMARY:

Augustine Pataki (Dick O'Neill) and two other men, Juan Ramirez and Jake, break into the locked-up, fenced yard of Obitsky Industrial Painters with the intention of stealing a truck, but they are interrupted by a security guard as well as Stavros, Saperstein and beat cop Thompson (Roger Aaron Brown) who are there on a stakeout watching them. In the resulting confrontation, Ramirez, who was jump-starting the truck, is wounded. Ramirez is not an undercover cop, but an informant who was wired. Kojak is very annoyed about this, because this is not normal police procedure. He is mystified by a comment on a tape made from the wire that uses the phrase "two-four-six for two hundred." Pataki is arrested and held at the station. He wants to talk to his lawyer, but instead calls Cassidy York (Robert Loggia), who has a connection with Harry Collins (George Loros), the seeming mastermind behind a scheme to use one of the paint trucks from Obitsky's as part of a plan to rob the Hotel Alphonse's safety deposit boxes. York tells Collins to go back to the lot and finish the job of stealing the truck. York then goes to the precinct house, pretending to be Pataki's lawyer, but doesn't get him released. When Crocker and Thompson go to Obitsky's to further investigate the truck, they are almost run over as it breaks through the gate. York lives at the hotel where the robbery will take place, and on the pretext of putting something in his deposit box, he wires up the door of the room containing the boxes with some C-4 which will blow up at 2:30 a.m. York has a personal interest in the robbery because his girl friend Valerie Lincoln (Joyce Davis) also lives in the building where she acts as lady-in-waiting to Mrs. Tildon (Rose Marie), a rich old woman with an expensive jewellry collection. Collins and his crew show up at the hotel, where they pretend to be painters on the night shift from Obitsky's company. After the explosion goes off, one of them gets to work opening up as many of the deposit boxes as possible. Kojak meanwhile gets Obitsky himself to come to the station and, after a process of elimination (and by viewing paint stains on Crocker's pants), they figure out that the crooks are at work at the hotel. When Mrs. Tildon returns home with a couple of boy toys, she decides not to put her jewels in her box because she is leaving on a trip to France the next day. This necessitates York and Collins going to her room to steal the jewels directly, a plan which is almost thwarted when the old dame pulls out a gun. She is quickly subdued by Collins. Kojak and the cops arrive at the hotel and take charge. The mysterious phrase Kojak heard earlier refers to the crooks' attempt to move the contents of the robbed boxes from the Alphonse to Collins' room at another hotel across the street via a pulley behind a St. Patrick's Day banner across the street (seriously) -- which, unfortunately, did not work.

REVIEW:

I didn't like this show when I first watched it, and even less on subsequent viewings. There are too many questions about the elaborate plot involving the robbery as well as the characters. For example, what is the relationship between Ramirez and Pataki? They seem to know each other. Did Ramirez work for Pataki, for example? (Ramirez volunteers to drive the truck, and asks Pataki to tell Jake that he is "a good driver.") Ramirez went to the cops with news of the break-in, perhaps because he figured he could get some favors by doing this. Ramirez is described by Kojak as "a passing car thief." Pataki himself is "a classy crook" who is "a modern day Robin Hood," but no one elaborates on these terms. How did Collins know that the painters, who were at the hotel the day before, would be at a union meeting on the night the show takes place? How do they know which of Obitsky's trucks was used the previous night, as if this has some special significance? When the stake-out sees the security guard about to encounter the threesome who have cut through the fence at the beginning of the show, why doesn't Stavros beep the horn or yell at him? They don't seem that far away. (The watchman is furious when Stavros describes him as "trigger-happy.") When York goes to the safety deposit box room to put the bonds in his box, he opens it with two keys. This is unusual, typically he would have one key and the hotel employee would have the second one. And why would access to inside the door where York puts the explosive be so easy? I don't understand why Collins' crew all don masks after the explosion. After all, people in the hotel like the manager, desk clerk, etc. have already seen their faces! At least there is an interesting sub-plot involving York's girl friend Valerie who is kind of sexy. They are "doing it" while the old lady is out on the town.

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24. (S02E24) The Trade-Off ★★★  WHO LOVES YA 
Original air date: March 2, 1975
Director: David Friedkin; Writer: Robert E. Swanson

SUMMARY:

When Kojak busts "respectable businessman" Manny Steiner (Mark Stevens) with half a kilo of heroin on his coffee table, Steiner vows that he will not go to jail. After he is released on $100,000 bail and ignoring the advice of his lawyer Farrell (John Dullaghan), Steiner hires a fixer, Lonnie Blaise (Michael C. Gwynne), to kidnap McNeil's wife Lillian (Jean Le Bouvier) for the cost of $130,000, plus another $20,000 to knock off Sammy Nitschke, who was the courier who brought the dope to Steiner's house. Blaise then grabs Lillian and contacts Kojak, offering to release her for the drugs which are being held as evidence. Kojak is totally lost in thought trying how to deal with this dilemma, getting a lot of attention from the men in the squad room as well as McNeil, especially after Kojak gets just about everybody dealing with his pet project to find the captain's wife. Finally Kojak breaks down and tells Vine (Bruce Kirby) and then McNeil. Kojak and McNeil have no luck when listening to a tape of Blaise's demands, but they notice on the letter Lillian was forced to write, telling her husband she was going away for a few days, that the ZIP code is wrong, and is actually a license number. Tracing this leads to Grundy (Richmond Shepard), who disguised himself in drag to help in the kidnapping of McNeil's wife. The cops trail Grundy to a warehouse where Lillian is being held. In a nick-of-time finale, they confront Blaise, who is shot dead, and Lillian is rescued.

REVIEW:

This show is one of few giving some glimpses into McNeil's personal life. Lillian is acting peculiar recently, causing McNeil to remark that she is "moody ... unpredictable" and maybe even "going through the change." Blaise is from the James Woods psycho school of acting and does a very good job with his part. Kojak keeps everyone in the squad room on edge, especially Vine, who says "I know you're in trouble." They resort to some unusual sources for help: a wino named Clarence (Victor Kilian) and a handwriting expert (formerly a check floater) named Faxy (veteran character actor Liam Dunn) who reads Lillian's note and says that she demonstrates "great stress ... or duress," as well as "determination."

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25. (S02E25) I Want to Report a Dream ★★★
Original air date: March 9, 1975
Director: Telly Savalas; Writer: Gene R. Kearney

SUMMARY:

Spiritualist Eudora Temple (Ruth Gordon) has a dream involving sex and a killing. She calls the cops to predict a murder will take place "in Midtown tonight, [involving] a woman, middle-aged, not murdered for money, probably a married woman." Stavros takes the call, thinking she is nuts. But that evening, one of Eudora's clients, Leon (Andrew Robinson), a cab driver, picks up Vera Marston (Bebe Kelly), a middle-aged woman who has been drinking at the Jubilee Cocktail Lounge. After they arrive at her home, Marston turns the lights down low because "it's sexier that way." As she gets into her nightgown and talks about her husband who is away on business, Leon, who is in the next room, is crying. He then strangles her with a scarf. In the morning, Kojak is at the dentist when he is interrupted by Crocker and Stavros. The latter tells of his conversation with Eudora which happened around two hours before Marsden's killing took place. Kojak manages to get some information out of Marsden's housekeeper, Dorothy Cunningham (Tracy Reed), who prefers to be addressed as "Ms. Cunningham." Kojak then goes to visit Eudora, interrupting a séance that she is conducting with a couple whose daughter ran away from home and then committed suicide. Eudora is not happy about this. A matchbook cover from the cocktail lounge leads Kojak to another of the regular customers, Helen Fielding (Cynthia Harris), whose husband recently left her. Fielding doesn't have too much information about Marston. Kojak tells Fielding she should stop smoking. Around this time, Leon pays a visit to Eudora. During a séance with him, she metamorphosizes into Leon's late father Walter who tells his son "You frighten me today." When Leon wants to talk about his mother, who abandoned his father as well as himself at a young age, running away with other men, his "father" says in an angry voice, "Why do we talk about her? I don't want to." Leon replies that the last time he spoke to his "father," he promised if any married women came on to him like his mother behaved, they would "learn their lesson." The "father" says, "You promised you'd choke the evil out of her," and Leon screams, "Well, I didn't!" Leon says that what he has done "could happen a lot." The father then says "You're a loving son, Leon," to which Leon replies, "It's all right then?" Leon breaks down, crying, and then leaves. The next night, Leon is picking up another woman at a bar, this time a hot blonde named Judy with a European accent. He doesn't even take her home, he murders her in an alley outside the place. Kojak talks to Dr. Barbara Kirk (Lenka Peterson), the psychiatrist who appeared in S02E13, about Eudora and whether the spiritualist's dreams could be connected to the trances she goes into during a séance. When Eudora shows up at the station around this time, Kojak asks Kirk to sit in on the conversation, introducing her as a "psychic consultant who writes books on spiritualism." Eudora quickly figures out Kirk's real occupation, however, when Kirk suggests that Eudora allow herself to be hypnotized. Eudora tells Kirk, "You sound stupid for a psychic, young lady -- and probably very profound as a ... what ... psychiatrist or something?" Offended, Eudora leaves, but not before Kojak shows her an artist's sketch of Leon, which she ignores. Fielding goes to the cocktail lounge that evening, after trying unsuccessfully to reconcile with her husband. Leon is there and tries to pick her up, but she is hesitant to go to a party for "a couple," as he is proposing. Fielding leaves, saying she may be back later. While he is waiting, Leon goes to Eudora's place, but he is recognized from the sketch by Stavros, who is doing surveillance outside. Kojak and Crocker soon show up as Eudora, again speaking as Leon's father, tells his son that "no one should turn their backs on their loved ones" when Leon says that he left Fielding, a married woman, back at the bar. Eudora suddenly freaks out, saying "there are hostile forces close at hand," meaning the cops outside. Leon leaves by the back door. When Kojak comes inside asking questions, Eudora says that Leon is a client who has a right to privacy. Kojak tells her "He doesn't have a right to kill people." Leon returns to the bar. Meanwhile, Kojak gets McNeil to come to Eudora's and, using an FM transmitter, pretend to be the husband of Marsden, Leon's first victim in the show. Eudora seems to see through McNeil's deception, but as "Vera," she tells him that she was picked up at a "bar," which Kojak and Crocker outside realize is the Jubilee. They arrive there and the bartender tells them that Fielding, who returned, and Leon left together only a few minutes before. Kojak arrives at Fielding's place before Leon can cause any harm. Leon sits in a chair and says to Kojak, "Okay, now you look at her. Somebody has to take care of them. What do you see? Aren't they revolting?" Kojak returns to Eudora's, where McNeil and her are having tea. Eudora finally admits to Kojak that she knows Leon was the one doing the murders, but still will not admit he is the one in the sketch. As Kojak leaves, he wishes her "pleasanter dreams."

REVIEW:

Considering the subject matter, this show handles things pretty logically, rather than in a sensational manner. Ruth Gordon, who was almost 80 years old, gives an excellent performance as the spiritualist who is highly regarded by the Theophilosophical Society (an actual organization). Robinson, whose most famous role prior to this was as Scorpio, the psycho killer in Dirty Harry, is also very good. It was obvious to me that Eudora was going to see through Kirk, the psychiatrist, but with McNeil pretending to be the murdered woman's husband, she has more difficulty, because McNeil keeps keeping her off base, feeding her questions which she can only answer in her trance state. The one part of this show that I didn't care for was some of the score by Cacavas. There are moments when the music is either creepy or dramatic and effective as such, but the composer at times resorts to a goopy vocal line, probably to suggest ancient Egypt or something. This is just as bad as the worst scores Cacavas wrote for Hawaii Five-O. (Generally speaking, though, I am amazed by how much better Cacavas' scores for Kojak are compared to that other cop show.)

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