Kojak - Season 3 Episode Reviews

Kojak - Season 3 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 TWO, 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. (S03E01) A Question of Answers ★★★★
Original air date: September 14, 1975
Director: Jerry London; Writer: Albert Ruben

SUMMARY:

Kojak gets a tip from Turetsky (Hank Garret), an informer, regarding stolen furs. When he and other cops raid the Safety First Company where the merchandise is being stored, he finds the boss of the place is his childhood friend Lee Curtin (Eli Wallach). When Curtin goes to trial, his lawyer, Eloise Geach (Jennifer Warren), wants the name of the informer revealed. Kojak resists this, but is finally compelled by the judge to reveal the name. Shortly after this, a businessman named Haskell takes a dive from his office which is high up in a building. Information left behind hooks Kojak up with Brubaker (Jerry Orbach), a federal agent who was investigating Haskell for stock manipulation and connections to a local loan shark. Brubaker wonders if Kojak has anyone who could help them out with the investigation now, and Kojak thinks of his friend Curtin. All concerned, including Eloise, D.A. Rudy (Charles Kinbrough), Curtin, Brubaker and Kojak, agree to this, the deal being the charges against Curtin will be reduced when the case is completed. Curtin goes to work getting a loan from Joel Adrian (Michael V. Gazzo), who was connected to Haskell through his strong-arm employee Solly Nurse (F. Murray Abraham). To create a delivery business, Curtin borrows $40,000, repayable at a rate of 3 percent ($1,200) per week. Brubaker sets up an elaborate surveillance operation with video cameras and microphones. When Curtin says that he cannot keep up the payments, Nurse is captured on tape threatening to kill him. Nurse gets Curtin to take one of the delivery trucks to pick up some packages at a meat packing company. When Curtin leaves the place, one of the packages which contains a bomb explodes, and he dies in the fire which engulfs the truck. Kojak is distraught, not only because of the loss of his friend, but also because of the effect this will have on Curtin's son Tony (Matthew Arkin). Kojak arrests Nurse, saying that he knows Nurse was at the packing plant and arranged for the bomb to be planted in the truck. While this is likely not true, Kojak and Nurse sit like cat and mouse until Nurse finally cracks and his lawyer (Allan Rich) makes him a deal if he will testify against Adrian. Adrian attempts to flee town, but Kojak follows him and, after a lengthy chase (3 minutes long), forces him off the road and arrests him.

REVIEW:

I dislike the overused word "epic," but this outstanding show has a real "epic" feel about it. Much of the show takes place outdoors in locations ranging from the shadow of the Twin Towers to Coney Island. There is a real human element in the story as well, from Curtin's feelings about his son, that everything he is doing is for the kid, to finding out that Eloise, who helped Curtin with his divorce, was his lover as well as his lawyer. Michael V. Gazzo and F. Murray Abraham are both totally slimy, not hesitating to get their equally slimy lawyers to help keep them from going to jail. As well, the "agency" that Brubaker works for is shown to be corrupt. When Curtin relays things that he heard from Adrien about how certain big shots like judges and so forth are "on the pad" to him, Brubaker's bosses (Richard Herd and Norman Matlock) make sure that none of this gets into the public domain, and instead start listening to the ambitious Brubaker's requests to be moved to the CIA. Even the guard at the jail at the end of the show is untrustworthy. As soon as Nurse is taken out of jail, he is on the phone to Adrian! Direction and production values for this show are very high, and there is also an outstanding score by John Cacavas. The only thing I didn't like about the show was the end, where Kojak is going in the direction of Adrian's place, presumably to arrest him, and just sees Adrian driving down the street, who he then pursues. What is the likelihood of this coincidence? It would have been better if Kojak had followed Adrian from the time the latter came out of his parking garage.

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2. (S03E02) My Brother, My Enemy ★★
Original air date: September 21, 1975
Director: Russ Mayberry; Writer: Alvin Boretz

SUMMARY:

Responding to a stabbing in an apartment building, Detective Rick Daly (Sylvester Stallone) goes to the roof where he thinks the suspect, Marty Vaughan (Charles Napier), has fled. Hearing a noise, Daly shoots, killing Arthur Stronik (Todd Gross), a young kid who is maintaining his pigeon coop. Predictably, there are major repercussions from the police brass as well as the press. Inspector Rocco Nicola (Alan Manson) tells Kojak was that Daly was "inexperienced" and Captain Nolan (Frank Aletter) wants answers that he can give to the public. Kojak goes out of his way to fend off the usual accusations against Daly, who is eventually cleared of any wrongdoing by a Grand Jury. But Kojak soon finds inconsistencies in the account of what happened when he talks to Daly's partner Sam Nemo (Stephen Pearlman), who was on the scene but never actually saw any of the shooting. As well, Daly was connected to a previous arrest of a crook named Frank Lucas where the suspect's gun, a Saturday night special, disappeared during the investigation. This gun was identical to the one which was found at the scene of the recent shooting on the roof, suspected of having been used by Vaughan. As well, there is an report that Daly drew his gun when off-duty and threatened some guy he was arguing with in a bar, which resulted in a reprimand which was not noted on Daly's official record. The clincher comes when Vaughan is busted after he gets in a scrap with a doorman for a building where he just robbed some jewellery and is shot by a patrolman. Vaughan is not very talkative when Kojak visits him in the hospital, but he says,"I wasn't even up on the roof .... It wasn't my gun you found .... Looks like you are stuck with a bad cop." Kojak meets Daly where the killing took place and lays out his theory about what happened, that after Daly shot Arthur, he then shot off a couple of rounds with Lucas's gun to make it look like Vaughan was returning fire and threw this second gun down a nearby airshaft. Daly confesses everything, saying that he knew Arthur was going to die, that the shooting was "a terrible mistake," and "nothing was going to bring that kid back, but maybe it [using Lucas's gun to cover things up] could save me ... maybe give me a chance to make up for it some day." (Daly delivers this rant very loudly as Arthur's brother Wilson is standing only a few feet away.) Kojak is disgusted, telling Daly, "What you did disgraced every police officer in the city. You're no good ... that's the end of the story."

REVIEW:

I didn't like this show much, particularly Stallone's acting which was full of Rocky-style mannerisms (the actor's signature role was still a year away). Kojak's dialogue was pretty snappy, but the script had several inconsistencies.

When he is talking with Kojak, Nemo first says "It was an accident, he [Daly] didn't mean to shoot," and then corrects himself: "I meant to say he didn't mean to shoot the boy." He continues: "I was coming up the fire escape and I heard a shot." Kojak asks "One shot?" Nemo replies, "Yeah, the first one, the one that got fired at Daly." Kojak says, "And the one that returned, that Daly fired back, how soon after?" Nemo says that there was a gap of about five seconds between the first shot and the second shot when Daly defended himself. Kojak wonders why there was this gap and why Daly didn't see the kid. But ... there were actually three shots fired in total, none of which Nemo actually saw. Nemo was standing right beside Daly at the beginning of the show when Daly gave his account of what happened:

Nicola: How many times you fire?

Daly: Just once.

Nicola: And the man?

Daly: Two times, once after I hollered 'Police!", and then after I shot. My partner was coming up the fire escape, he heard.

Nicola: What did you hear?

Nemo: Three shots, like he said.

There is also an inconsistency, perhaps produced by confusion of the moment, in what the woman witness to the stabbing says. Crocker tells Kojak, "Daly's story checks out. The woman on the first floor told him the man who knifed the stiff downstairs ran up here [to the roof]." But this is not correct. When the woman opens the door to see Conway, the guy Vaughan stabbed, who is dying from his wound (she then shuts the door, a very Kitty Genovese-type scenario), Vaughan does not go back upstairs, but goes to another door down the hallway, like an exit from the building, which the woman sees. After Daly arrived on the scene and asked the woman what happened, she said, "I think they came from upstairs, both of them," which is true, but it's not where Vaughan went. The stairway to the upstairs is right in front of this woman's apartment.

What is really dumb about this episode, however, is the whole business with the second gun. There is a big scene with Mrs. Desmond (Evelyn Russell), who runs a pawn shop. The gun owned by Lucas was hocked at this store, and Kojak makes an elaborate ruse in order for Desmond to say that she received this gun without incriminating herself (I think). This has to do with the gun being in the pocket of an expensive camel hair coat which was pawned. But information about Lucas's arrest on the paperwork for some drug bust suggests that Daly took Lucas's gun when he was arrested, which is why the case was later thrown out of court, because the weapon could not be produced. Over and above all this, though, the question is: why would Daly be carrying Lucas's gun around with him everywhere just so he could use it in a situation like the current one, where he killed the kid by mistake and wanted to create a deception? Furthermore, considering Nemo appears on the roof almost immediately after the last shot, how could Daly have disposed of the gun and the two shell casings, which were thrown down some nearby air shaft without Nemo seeing him? And wouldn't Daly's fingerprints be on the gun?

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3. (S03E03) Sweeter Than Life ★★★
Original air date: September 28, 1975
Director: Russ Mayberry; Writer: Burton Armus

SUMMARY:

During a birthday party for Kojak at his sister's place, a young guy named Donnie Collins (John Lisbon Wood) shows up at the door, asking to speak to Kojak's nephew Johnny (Michael Mullins), who is in attendance. Donnie is a junkie, and he wants to get high. He wants to borrow money from Johnny, who doesn't have any. Prior to the two of them leaving the place, Donnie steals a camera which they take to Neil Robles (Arnold Soboloff), who owns a candy store where he is a fence and a pusher. Robles offers them two nickel bags of heroin for the camera. After the two boys get high, they decide to "go back and get even" with Robles since he "robbed" them. But from an outside window, they see an argument between Robles and the shylock Wilson which culminates in Robles being shot to death. Donnie gets the idea that he can blackmail Wilson into giving him money if he promises not to blab to the cops about the murder. He meets Wilson at a restaurant after making an arrangement through Wilson's weaselly right-hand man Jimmy Davis (Richard Foronjy). Wilson slips Donnie some cash, but he also gives him some heroin which is 10 times stronger than that on the street, and sure to kill him. As Donnie and Johnny leave the restaurant, Johnny is busted by some cops who take him to the station house. Kojak is very disturbed that his nephew is a dope addict, and he takes him to what can be described as a "smack house" to show Johnny what kind of a life is in store for him. Then he takes Johnny to visit Sonny South (Neville Brand), an "ex-con, ex-pug and ex-junkie" who rehabilitates drug addicts in a rooming house which he manages. Johnny is forced to go cold turkey, with grim results. Shortly after this, Donnie is found dead of an overdose, a needle still stuck in his arm. The gun that killed Robles is found nearby, planted by Wilson. Johnny manages to escape from Sonny's detox treatment, but after he is captured and taken back to the station house, tells the name of the restaurant where Wilson hangs out. Kojak and the cops raid the place, arresting Davis, who is quickly sprung on bail. Wilson finds out where Johnny is by calling Kojak's sister's and pretending to be a parole officer. Fortunately, Kojak is tipped off that Wilson has done this, and the cops soon arrive at Sonny's, but not before Sonny is fatally shot by Wilson. Kojak tells his nephew, now having shaken his addiction, that he hopes Sonny's death will not be in vain.

REVIEW:

Predictably, there is a family angle to this story as well as the police one. Kojak's sister and Donnie's mother Mary Drosinis (Eunice Christopher) tells her brother that Johnny recently dropped out of school and is rarely home. Later, Mary is horrified to learn that her son is a drug addict. In a scene with very intense acting, like much of this show, Kojak gives Mary an "I know what's good for the kid" speech despite his sister's objections, saying "What do you want, a son or an animal? If I take him, maybe, just maybe, you might get a son back. You take him, you'll have a zombie with a family name." He later tells Mary where Johnny is staying, which is almost Johnny's undoing. This show features Neville Brand, usually a very tough guy, in a role which is relatively sympathetic. It also has a totally rank speech after Davis's lawyer Krakauer (Jack Donner) tells Kojak "I hope you have no intentions of arresting my client any further." Kojak's reply: "My intentions are none of your business, garbage man. So you go pick up slime over there and get the hell out." But the ending of the show is dumb. When Wilson and Davis come to the rooming house, Sonny grabs Davis and Wilson attempts to shoot Sonny through Davis as Sonny goes up the stairs. Then Sonny is shot twice as he runs up the stairs after Johnny. Wilson kicks the door to Sonny's office down, and it looks like he is going to shoot Johnny in the head. But just at this moment, Kojak appears at the door and Wilson turns, cocking his gun. There is a pause, when you would expect Kojak to shoot Wilson dead, but Kojak somehow gets across the room and cold-cocks Wilson with his gun!

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4. (S03E04) Be Careful What You Pray For ★★
Original air date: September 28, 1975
Director: Russ Mayberry; Writer: James M. Miller

SUMMARY:

Enorio and Chucho Patias (Pepe Serna and Anthony Pena), two brothers who are window washers, get the idea to hijack a truckload of plumbing fixtures after finding out they are being delivered to a Catholic school which their sister Lena (Cynthia Avila) attends. They set up a "dig we must" construction site outside the school and wait for the truck with the fixtures to arrive. When it does, they pull its driver, Harry Ferguson (George DiCenzo), out of the truck and put him down a nearby manhole. Father Everett, the priest from the church connected with the school who is not dressed in his cassock, has been shooting hoops on the adjoining playground and climbs over the fence to intervene. He is thrown to the ground by Chucho and seriously injured. Crocker is nearby in the school lecturing a class of girls on how to deal with rape when his attention is directed to what is happening outside. However, by the time he reaches the scene downstairs, the two hijackers have left. Kojak soon appears on the scene along with Ed Griss (Don Billett) from the police department's Safe, Lock and Truck Squad, who ridicules Crocker because of his seeming uselessness. The priest is taken away to the hospital, and McNeil tells Sister Agnes (Meg Wyllie) that a few prayers for the Father wouldn't hurt. When he gets back to the station, McNeil takes a lot of heat from the police brass as well as the Catholic Church and the press over what happened. Enorio and Cucho, who expected to make $5,000 from their haul which they can use to get out of "Nueva York" and take up farming in the Pacific Northwest, take their sinks, toilets, shower stalls and copper pipe to Eddie Proctor (Richard Bakalyan), a local fence, who offers them peanuts. They are not happy about this, but Proctor tells them he may have some work for them soon as drivers because he is expecting a "big haul," and they can make a lot more money. Since Crocker noted the stolen truck with the fixtures was from Callaghan Trucking, Kojak goes to visit Frank Callaghan (M.P. Murphy), the owner of the company. He says he bought the fixtures from Ferguson, who reportedly got them from someone on Long Island. Callaghan paid Ferguson only a few thousand dollars, and, because he was donating them to the church, hoped to get a $50,000 tax credit from the IRS to help his business, which is floundering because of the number of trucks that he had hijacked the previous year (14 in total). Meanwhile, Proctor sells the fixtures to "Pete's Discount Bonanza Store," a business that deals in hot merchandise. But when Ferguson, who also deals with Proctor, visits him shortly after, Ferguson is horrified to hear this, since the merchandise actually came from Boston and someone involved with the transaction was murdered. Proctor quickly calls Pete (Bill Lazarus), the owner of the place, and tells him that Ferguson is coming over to pick up all the goods, just around the time Kojak, Crocker and Griss arrive there. Ferguson leaves the store just in the nick of time. Pete is taken into custody, and quickly makes a deal to give up Proctor's name. Meanwhile, the sandbags used by the Patias brothers at their construction site at the beginning of the show, which are actually used for Nogain's Semi-Dwarf Winter Wheat Seed, are traced to a garden supply place and from there to Enorio and Chucho. Crocker recognizes their name as being the same as that of Lena, one of the girls who witnessed the hijacking at the school. When confronted by Kojak, and more specifically Sister Agnes, Lena confesses everything -- that she and her brothers figured the school would get an insurance settlement for the stolen merchandise and the three of them could use the money they got from selling everything to start their life as farmers. Around this time, Enorio and Chucho are visiting Proctor, bringing him a seed drill that they have stolen, part of the deal they made with him earlier. Ferguson shows up and starts arguing with the two brothers, pulling out a gun and shooting Chucho, just as Kojak and Crocker arrive, tipped off by Lena. Proctor and Ferguson escape. The next day, a convoy of three of Calligan's trucks with various expensive merchandise including furs and cigarettes comes into New York. Despite the presence of security guards, Ferguson and several men take over these trucks, and direct them to Callaghan's truck yard where they "rebrand" the vehicles with different logos and prepare to go in various directions. Cops, under the direction of McNeil and Griss, are there in force and surround them. Ferguson tries to escape, but he is shot by Crocker. Proctor sees an opportunity to let Kojak know about the murder in Boston connected with the plumbing fixtures.

REVIEW:

This episode reads like someone said "Make up a story connected with the idea that there are $100 million in hijackings in New York in a year," as McNeil says during the show. This results in a very convoluted script, aside from the whole business about the hijacker brothers trying to raise money to realize their farming ambitions. There are a lot of questions that can be asked. For example, while Sister Agnes tells Kojak that all the girls in the school knew when the plumbing fixtures would be arriving, which in itself seems far-fetched, how would Lena know the exact date and time Ferguson's truck would show up and what route it would take when it got to the church? A big deal is made about the weather for the date of the hijacking of the convoy, because if it is windy (which it is during the show, with tons of garbage flying all over the streets of New York), then police helicopters cannot fly above the convoy to keep an eye on them. The whole business with the brothers buying wheat seed at a discount and then using the bags for sandbags at the construction site, thus likely throwing the wheat seed, which they want to use to become farmers, in the garbage, is also really stretching things. Kojak threatens Pete with being an accessory to the attempted murder of three policemen (himself, Crocker and Gittis) because Ferguson was taking a shot at the last two of them before he escaped from Pete's store with the fixtures and also because the priest, who is in the hospital, might die, which probably would not hold up in court. There are more minor issues; see below.

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5. (S03E05) Secret Snow, Deadly Snow ★★˝
Original air date: October 12, 1975
Director: Jerry London; Writer: Morton S. Fine

SUMMARY:

Pusher Paul Malloy (Victor Arnold) is selling what he thinks is cocaine to a rich guy known only as "Mr. P" (Thayer David), but his client immediately recognizes it as milk sugar. Of course, Mr. P wants either his 10 pounds of coke or the $200,000 he paid for it ASAP. Malloy goes to the Clossen Medical Center where Dr. Jefferson Oliver, his supplier for the drug, is employed. He finds Oliver in his car in the parking lot where he is leaving, and after a confrontation, shoots him dead. Or so it seems. Kojak goes to visit Dr. Michael Clossen (Robert Mandan), who owns the clinic, which specializes in plastic surgery. Both Clossen and his attractive wife Robin (Elizabeth MacRae) are shocked by this turn of events. Clossen says his relationship with Oliver was strictly professional. Soon after, Kojak is informed by medical examiner Moscowitz (Raymond Singer) that the gunshot caused only minimal damage and that Oliver died from "natural causes, presumably a coronary." Malloy's lawyer Crawford (David Sabin), tries to make Kojak specify the charge for his arrested client, which he cannot do, at least as far as murder is concerned. However, Moscowitz does some digging and finds out that Oliver actually died because of "triptophene" in his system, one of a family of drugs which can cause death when combined with cocaine -- and Oliver's nasal passages showed he was a "snowbird." When the cops check Oliver's recent activities, they find that he and Clossen were out of town for a week. When Kojak asks Clossen about this, he admits that the two of them went to Bogotá, Colombia to do a cosmetic procedure on "the wife of a wealthy man." What really happened was, Clossen gave his fee for this procedure to Oliver to buy cocaine from someone in Bogotá, which was then smuggled back into the States. Kojak talks to Oliver's ex-wife, Isabella Ybarra (Karmin Murcelo), who is a junkie. She confirms that Oliver was a heavy user of coke and that he was seriously in debt to Malloy once before. When Mr. P tells Malloy that he heard Clossen recently paid off some loan shark to the tune of $100,000, Malloy figures out that Clossen was Oliver's partner who stole the cocaine. Malloy goes to Clossen's apartment and threatens him, which is witnessed by Clossen's wife. The next day, Clossen meets Malloy to drive together to a vault in New Jersey to get the drugs, but instead shoots him dead and leaves his body on the street. From Oliver's credit card history for the last six months, the cops determine that he was having an affair with some woman, which turns out to be Clossen's wife. Kojak clues into this after hearing Oliver was the one who did extensive cosmetic work on Robin, who looks much younger than her 52 years. (Her husband was the one who suggested the operation.) Kojak visits her, saying that he knows about her deception. She admits she "did it" with Oliver, saying "it was a rather odd side effect of my new, youthful appearance." When her husband comes home, Robin tells him of the affair, which he says he knows nothing about. She tells him that she thinks Malloy is a detective who her husband employed to trail her and Oliver. She starts smashing various collectibles of her husband, including his collection of toy soldiers, and suggests that he killed Oliver because of her relationship with him. He says Oliver's death had nothing to do with her. When she tries to leave, Clossen knocks her out, injects her with some drug and leaves a bunch of pills around to suggest she commited suicide. Kojak and Crocker just happen to show up around this time. When Kojak finds Robin near death on the couch, he orders her husband to bring her back to life, which he does. Holding one of the toy soldiers, Kojak tells Clossen "The battle is over."

REVIEW:

The one big problem I have with this episode is the ending. Clossen attempts to kill his wife with some substance taken from a small labelled vial. But do doctors typically carry something fatal like this in their bags? (Quite possible it is morphine, which could kill someone depending on how much of it was injected and where it was injected.) Then when Kojak finds Robin lying down, saying "She's dying," and tells her husband "Save her," Clossen injects her with an antidote, as well as doing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and pounding on her chest. Is this antidote also something that would typically be in a doctor's bag? As far as I can determine, the drug "triptophene" which Moscowitz mentions that is used to kill Oliver (very similar in sound to the essential amino acid triptophan) is bogus, as is "tritophenes," the family that contains this drug. When we see Oliver just before he is shot in the garage, he is still very much alive, though he is sweating when he is sitting in his car prior to this. The way that Molloy is connected to Clossen is far-fetched: When he is at Clossen's place, Molloy steps on one of the toy soldiers that he has knocked on to the floor, and later traces of lead and paint are found in Molloy's shoe. The big confrontation between Clossen and his wife at the end is interesting for the way each of their lives is falling apart for different reasons, including Robin's remark regarding the lovemaking they engaged in after Molloy's visit: "You slept with me for the first time in all these months just for my silence."

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6. (S03E06) Life, Liberation and the Pursuit of Death ★★˝
Original air date: October 26, 1975
Director: Nicholas Sgarro; Writer: Gene R. Kearney

SUMMARY:

Two psychology students, Bob Viliano (Jim Borrelli) and Carey Nystrom (William Katt) coerce Dan Draper (Burt Douglas), their professor at New York College, to come to Nystrom's apartment. There they tell Draper they "intend to graduate with the best records of any two PhDs in experimental psychology," threatening to expose him as a homosexual because of a photo showing him with an old friend, Mark Green, who is the assistant headmaster at a school for boys. When Draper reacts badly to this proposal, Viliano stabs him to death. Later, Viliano puts Draper's body in a large box and dumps his body in the harbor. This is witnessed by Lorelei Mason (Joanna Miles) who is on the dock nearby. She calls the cops, and later helps to produce a sketch of Viliano. When Kojak goes to the college to talk to Draper's boss Hooper (Frank Castellano), he immediately recognizes Viliano from the sketch when he goes to Draper's classroom. Mason later picks Viliano out of a lineup. While this is happening, Nystrom gets friendly with her secretary, Adelle Newman (Nira Barab, later known as Catlin Adams) and finds out the address of Mason's company. Mason works in advertising, a profession Kojak says is "right up there with police work in the nervous breakdown sweepstakes," and is currently working on making her first commercial. Viliano is arrested, but the D.A. can't proceed without corroborating evidence, and Villano is let out on $25,000 bail. Viliano and Nystrom formulate a plan to get Mason to have a nervous breakdown and commit suicide. First, they break into her apartment and water down her tranquilizers with baking powder. Then Viliano tampers with her alarm clock to make her late for work and disconnects her phone and TV, screws up her cigarette lighter, and fixes her fridge so when she opens the door, food falls out. Mason's boss Forman (Robert Patton) not being happy with the ad she is working on doesn't help her precarious mental state either. Nystrom phones her pretending to be "Fred Wesson" from an advertising agency in Montreal currently in New York who is desperate to hire someone to work for him. Viliano then breaks into her place again and ups the strength of her pills and Nystrom as Wesson calls her saying that he is no longer interested in hiring her. Meanwhile, the cops have been attempting to get clues from a fragment of cardboard left on the dock from the box used to transport Draper's body which has his blood on it as well as some Chinese writing. This is determined to have contained a refrigerator (ice box) manufactured in Taiwan, including an ice maker, which is traced to Nystrom's apartment building. When the cops show up there, they find traces of blood on the floor from Draper's murder and Nystrom soon starts blabbing away. He says "We were conducting experiments on her [Mason's] behavior, trying to freak her out, make her snap." Kojak and Crocker go to Mason's place where Viliano has let himself in, thinking that Mason has killed herself, but he finds her hiding behind the shower curtain. Mason is having a total meltdown, and Viliano tells her to kill herself with a pair of scissors just as Kojak and Crocker arrive. Viliano is arrested and Mason is comforted by Kojak. After they are taken away, she to the hospital, he to jail, Kojak gives Crocker a Tootsie Pop, telling him to "take it easy."

REVIEW:

This show is pretty good up to a point, but the ending is far too rushed. When the cops arrive at Nystrom's, they immediately figure out there is blood in a certain area of the floor which looks like it has been bleached! The other clue relating to the floor has to do with splinters of oak with wax which were found in Draper's hair after his body was recovered from the harbor, which is difficult to take seriously. Kojak says that Nystrom's floor is oak. The wood at the edge of the dock was pine; Viliano's room and that of the victim both had carpets. What are the chances of oak from Nystrom's floor being in Draper's hair, since he didn't fall on the floor in a particularly hard manner, not to mention he spent some time in the water? Miles gives a very good performance as a woman on the edge, and of the two students, Borrelli as Viliano is particularly slimy.

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7. (S03E07) Out of the Frying Pan... ★★˝
Original air date: November 2, 1975
Director: Charles S. Dubin; Writer: Jack Laird

SUMMARY:

Detective Lyle 'Sandy' Beach (Eugene Roche) is an alcoholic cop who has been on the force for 18 years and on the sauce ever since his wife died more recently. While off duty, he notices suspicious activity in a warehouse near a bar where he has just finished some heavy drinking and attempts to confront the robbers, but he gets punched out, and they steal his gun and kill Tommy Fallon, his drinking companion. Kojak's wrath and a disciplinary hearing follow soon after, with Beach demoted to a beat cop in an area with the highest rate of crime in the precinct. This, as well as constant needling from his new superior Captain Reardon (Richard Venture), does not bother Beach, because he has worked this area before and has various contacts and informers. Beach has a reputation for complaints about excessive zeal on the job, but, as Kojak points out, also has an arrest record which would be the envy of any cop. Despite Kojak's advice to just "coast" as a patrolman until his retirement, Beach is looking to make some big score which will get him back in the good books of the police brass. Shortly after Beach is back on the streets, the three robbers from the warehouse knock off Lower Manhattan Loan and Savings Company, a fishy outfit run by the wheelchair-bound "Superfly loan shark" Morrie Rogaz (Joseph Bova). During this robbery, Jake Baker, an enforcer, is killed and his body is later dumped by Rogaz' men in Central Park. The slugs from Baker's body are eventually traced to Beach's stolen gun, which was dumped in a garbage can after the robbery where it was later found by Bunky Ott (Eddie Firestone), a local bum, who trades it to liquor store owner Max Persky (Jason Wingreen) for a bottle of booze. Later Persky tries to use the gun when chasing a robber, but Beach takes it away from him because it is unlicensed. Thus, Beach ironically comes into possession of his own gun again, which he asks a bartender to keep under the counter until later. Beach tracks down a cab driven by Roger Patton (Larry Dunn), one of the three men who robbed Rogaz' place and, unknown to Beach, one of the three who he confronted at the beginning of the show. Rogaz sends two thugs who hide in the back seat of the cab and when Patton is finished eating at a nearby restaurant, they pop up and threaten him. Patton drives away erratically, weaving all over the street, trying to shake the two in the back seat and also attract the attention of the cops, with Beach, wearing his street clothes, in hot pursuit. The cab hits another car and rams into a building, killing Patton and seriously injuring Corky Cummings (Wayne Grace), one of Rogaz' men. The other of Rogaz' men escapes, shooting Beach, who ends up in the hospital. Cummings also ends up in the hospital; when Kojak interviews him, he gets nothing. Beach cannot sit still and he goes to Patton's place, where the landlady tells him that a guy named Schuster (Tony Mumolo) has been phoning. Beach returns to the hospital, where he collapses. Patton's place was tossed by one of Rogaz' men, producing little other than an address book, but this leads to Schuster's place where he is shot dead (Schuster is one of the three robbers). Beach overhears a conversation in his hospital room that Kojak is having with Stavros where Schuster's name comes up. Beach calls the police records department and gets information about Schuster's known associates, which includes Nathan Markowitz (Joseph Stern), a thug with a scar on his hand who was another one of the three who punched Beach out at the beginning of the show and robbed Rogaz, who is out for revenge. (Rogaz says "I want to see them gonifs laid out with pennies on their eyes.") Beach leaves the hospital again and goes to Markowitz' place after retrieving the gun from the bar. He gets Ozzie Turnbull (Lee Weaver), a near-blind street musician who is one of his informers, to call Rogaz and tip him off to come to Markowitz's place. Rogaz and his men show up, one of whom shoots Markowitz dead. But Kojak and the cops also show up and grab Rogaz' men. Unfortunately, the passed-out Beach, who was holding Markowitz at gunpoint, dies, because, as McNeil says, "he bled to death."

REVIEW:

Eugene Roche, who appeared in S02E17, gives an outstanding performance as a cop who puts far too much effort into his job, only to have it turn against him. But the show has some annoying questions. For example:

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8. (S03E08) Over the Water ★★★
Original air date: November 9, 1975
Director: Telly Savalas; Writer: Burton Armus

SUMMARY:

Kojak is on a date in an Ellesburg, New Jersey restaurant when he gets annoyed with some punk hassling people at a nearby table and roughs this guy up. Problem is, the punk is Michael Viggers Jr., who owns the restaurant, and his father is Viggers Senior (Titos Vandis), a mob boss who Kojak has dealt with on numerous occasions over the last 20 years. The town police captain, Joe Keene (Roy Poole), is on Viggers' payroll. He arrives on the scene and attempts to calm things down, even offering Kojak a bribe to forget about what happened, which Kojak finds very offensive. When Junior complains to his father, the old man belts him, which makes the kid even more determined to have his revenge. He offers a $25,000 bounty to members of his own organization, and specifically his underboss Crater (Asher Brauner) if one of them will knock off Kojak. Kojak goes to see the father, who smiles and offers hospitality, saying "Trust me that I can take care of this thing before it goes any further." Kojak replies that he knows Viggers Senior is a man of his word, but he doesn't trust his emotions, because he is dealing with his own son. McNeil and Kojak go and talk to the Feds, asking for help. The Feds decline any assistance, but later they pick up Viggers Senior on some relatively minor charge. When his lawyer (Dallas Mitchell) goes to visit him in jail, the old man is disturbed to learn that his son will not provide an alibi to help clear him. Senior tells the lawyer to pass along the word that he will consider anyone who follows his son's orders to kill Kojak as his enemy. However, this doesn't stop Crater from knocking off Sammy (Frank Campanella), Senior's loyal confidante for many years, at that exact moment in a car outside. McNeil gets men from the station to tail Kojak and keep him safe, which drives the lieutenant up the wall. Kojak teams up with Keene, who is finally showing some backbone, and together they co-ordinate a series of raids on the kid's various hangouts in New Jersey. When Junior tries to run over Kojak with a truck, Keene is shot dead, but not before he kills Crater. The number of men around Junior diminishes, so that eventually only he is left. Kojak arrives home one evening and as he enters the building, he luckily sees the kid, holding a rifle, reflected in the glass. Outside, Junior is pursued by the cops and shot dead. When some woman asks who he was, Kojak replies, "Nobody, lady ... nobody at all."

REVIEW:

As Viggers Junior, Michael Cristofer does some very intense acting, but Kojak will not back down, even though McNeil is totally freaking out, suggesting that Kojak go on holiday or on sick leave ... anything to get him away from the kid's death threats. There are a couple of great scenes where Kojak visits Viggers Senior in the Federal House of Detention. The first one is right after Sammy's murder, where Kojak wipes the smile off the old man's face with news of the assassination. Senior says "The boy is no longer my son; you and I must do whatever we have to do." Later, as things get more perilous for Kojak, he again visits the old man, telling him that his own son is responsible for him being in jail, that he set up his own father, and the kid is a punk. Saying "We have to take him in now," Kojak elaborates: "I played a game with you for 20 years of my life. You made your son into what he is, with the same calculated mind that built this fake respect for each other. And now you tfigure your creepy son is going to take me out of the picture, right? And you can sit back and say 'My son went out like a big man.' You figure the papers'll make him a folk hero. And you can save some face, is that it?" When the old man says, "You finished, Theo?", Kojak yells at him, "It's Lieutenant Kojak, you understand?" Senior says, "I understand." A very good script by the show's technical advisor Burt Armus.

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9. (S03E09) The Nicest Guys on the Block ★★★
Original air date: November 16, 1975
Director: Charles S. Dubin; Writer: Morton S. Fine

SUMMARY:

The Acacia Family Social Club is a place where families can get together; it's also a place where illicit activities involving drugs and stolen merchandise are brokered in its back rooms. After Gil Weaver (Roger Robinson) assists in arresting Teddy Mills (Bob Bralver), a runner transporting stolen diamonds from the club, he receives a lot of publicity. As a result, he is approached by his high school pal Richie Linden (James A. Watson Jr.), who was involved in the purchase of the jewellery at the club, to get the diamonds back. Richie offers Weaver $50,000 to do this. When Kojak is told about this scheme, he tells Weaver that he doesn't like Richie, calling him "garbage," but Weaver has difficulty thinking that Richie is anything but his friend. Kojak is obviously considering using Richie and Weaver to help get the guys behind the theft and laundering of the diamonds. Weaver signs a bunch of phony jewels out of the property room and takes them downtown to get them appraised. While at the jeweller's, Richie shows up and steals the diamonds which are destined for two hoods who have arrived in town: Nehemiah Foster (Norman Alden) from Miami and Muttel (Jack Somack) from Chicago. Ritchie is tailed, but leaves the diamonds in the cab he is taking before he gets out. When they are delivered to the two hoods by Dr. John Ennis (Wil Albert), a dentist who then gets into the cab and who was also in on the original purchase where he fronted $100,000 of his own money, the hoods determine very quickly that the paste gemstones are worthless. They decide to contact Weaver, who tells them, with Kojak's prompting, that Richie never showed up to get the jewels and Weaver never got paid (which is not true; he did). When Weaver realizes how he has jerked Richie around so far, he tells Kojak "This job stinks." Muttel meets Weaver in a park, and Weaver tells him that the diamonds will cost Muttel $100,000 because the appraiser figures they are worth $2 million. Richie, who is being tailed by Saperstein and Rizzo, meets Muttel in a movie theater to get his take, but Muttel stabs Richie. Weaver goes to the hospital, where Richie tells him before he dies, "You ain't nothin' but a white man in blackface." Weaver is supposed to meet with Foster and Muttel, but the two of them don't show up because they went through a red light and Foster is busted by a couple of traffic cops, so the surveillance of Weaver is called off. Foster is taken to the precinct house and Kojak is mighty interested in the $100,000 found in a suitcase in his car, which was intended for Weaver. The cops have been checking banks to determine where this money came from. One person is George Lampert (Philip Bruns), an athletic coach with the social club, deeply involved in the illegal activities, who took $23,000 out of his account under suspicious circumstances. Another was Ennis, who took $17,000 out of his account ... and Ennis is also a member of the club. And Weaver says that a few years back, Richie told him that he was the first black man to be admitted to the club. After hearing a wiretapped conversation between Ennis and Lampert, Kojak, who is right across the street from Ennis' place, pays the dentist a visit, and Ennis starts singing like a canary. Shortly after, Lampert is busted at the club.

REVIEW:

There are only a couple of Kojak episodes dealing with cops having problems with the fact that former friends of theirs are now crooks. (Another is S02E22, Unwanted Partners, which involves Crocker.) Weaver has really serious issues with what has happened to Richie, and Kojak walks a fine line trying to get the case solved and not make matters worse for Gil, who gets pretty depressed about the course of action which he is pursuing (over which he has little control, since Kojak is running the show), potentially putting Richie in peril and, at the end, killed. After Weaver tells the men that Richie is dead, Kojak tells him to go home, but Weaver says no, he wants to finish things. Kojak gives Gil the pleasure of arresting Lampert at the end of the show. Top-notch acting by Roger Robinson.

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10. (S03E10) No Immunity for Murder ★★★˝
Original air date: November 23, 1975
Director: Andy Sidaris; Writer: Joe Gores

SUMMARY:

Ariana Merceica (Robert Alda), a casino manager for the Mob, lived in Cuba with his family, but left for some of the neighboring islands after Castro took power. Interpol had their eye on him, and a few years before the show, he moved to Miami and got picked up by the IRS. The IRS wiped out about half of the Miami Mob on tax evasion charges, probably thanks to Merceica making a deal, and he was relocated under the Witness Protection Program to San Diego under the name of Adrian Marshall. But he was stuck in a life style selling cameras and found a new job managing Lester LeBaron Dresses in New York. This company was founded by LeBaron, described by Rick Levine, an employee of Investment Securities Inc. who took over the company after it got into financial difficulty, as "a rich playboy-type kid who founded this organization three years ago because he wanted to score with a lot of models" and who didn't know anything about the business. Merceica, as Marshall, convinced Investment Securities that he could make the company a viable operation -- except money didn't roll in, it rolled out, to the tune of $2.8 million the previous year. Despite the efforts of Levine, who had a view of the "big picture," Marshall threw away money left, right and center, including on himself, buying an expensive house, very expensive cars, and a $95,000 wardrobe for his wife Geraldine (Sally Kemp). As a result, Marshall's relationship with the company has been "severed," but he continues to collect a salary of $200,000 per year while countersuing Levine's company. At the beginning of the show, 37-year-old Colin Duncan Fletcher (John Wyler), an bookeeper from Investment Securities' Cleveland office, is going over the the company's books and finds some interesting things, including bogus Social Security numbers for Marshall and his family. The meek-and-mild Fletcher arranges a meeting at a bar where he gets picked up by a blonde hooker who takes him to a sleazy hotel room nearby. There some guy hiding behind the door clubs Fletcher over the head, killing him. This is where Kojak gets involved. The Feds, under the direction of Malcolm Cane (Gregory Walcott) throw up a huge smoke screen over Fletcher's murder as well as Marshall's involvement in the company. Levine is abducted off the street as his wife watches, horrified, and is convinced by Kane and his men to keep his mouth shut in the interests of national security. Kojak is told by U.S. District Attorney Evan Crowell (Jon Cedar) that his office couldn't do anything about Marshall because "the line between mismanagement and embezzlement is not an easy one to fix." The case is finally solved with a lot of proverbial old-fashioned detective work, including the fact that the hooker connected with the death of Fletcher and her client were Marshall and his wife. At the end of the show, Kojak and his men, figuring a way to overcome Cane's "wall of silence," rush to Marshall's estate, only to find him dead, shot to death by the mob a short time before with his wife forced to watch.

REVIEW:

The writing in this show is extremely dense -- I made about twice as many notes compared to normal when watching it. It is a classic example of Kojak being jerked around by the Feds and coming out on top. Not only do the Feds give him a hassle, but so does Marshall. When Kojak goes to meet him, he is acting like Mr. Slick, immediately threatening Kojak with a lawsuit. Levine is an interesting character. He is running off at the mouth with information until Cane and and his men tell him to shut up. When Kojak grills the formerly loquacious Levine in his office after this, he tells him: "Murder doesn't happen to be in the best interests of this country, Mr. Levine. Verstehn? [Understand?]"

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11. (S03E11) A Long Way From Time Square ★★˝  WHO LOVES YA 
Original air date: November 30, 1975
Director: Ernest Pintoff; Writers: Brian McKay & Gene R. Kearney

SUMMARY:

After Michael O'Brien, a witness to mobster Joe Dumke's killing of city councilman Kane, is himself brutally murdered, Kojak worries that the entire case against Dumke will collapse, despite a one-week adjournment of his trial. The only other witness, Dumke's driver Arnie Saxler (Vincent Baggetta), has disappeared, until an inquiry comes from Nevada where he has been found passed out drunk in his car after causing a hit-and-run accident the night before. When Kojak and Crocker show up in Santa Flora, a town two hours east of Reno where Saxler was being held, they are told that he has been moved down the road to Cory, an even smaller town, where Saxler was wanted on a charge of robbing a grocery store. Cory just happens to be Saxler's home town where he grew up. Santa Flora sheriff Washburn (George D. Wallace) tells Kojak that people in Cory are "desert rats" who "don't generally take kindly to outsiders." Arriving in Cory, Kojak and Crocker meet Lily Weed (Judith Lowry), a "crusty old lady" type who manages the local motel, as well as Penny Rozelle (Judy Kaye), a public defender from Santa Flora who is there to take Saxler's case. They also meet Justice Quinlan (Max Showalter), who has been giving Penny a lot of sexist hassle, saying "You don't look like no lawyer to me," and Chief of Police Peck (William Wintersole). Peck tells Kojak that Saxler robbed some morphine from the local general store, which is run by Quinlan. Deputy Chief B.J. Hawker (Tom Lee McFadden), a boyhood friend of Saxler, tells them that if they release Saxler, who is being held on $50,000 bail, he will escape. Both Quinlan and Peck are very unco-operative. Kojak later talks to McNeil on the phone, asking questions about mob involvement in Cory, considering a freeway is soon supposed to cut through the town which will bring businesses like casinos and legalized brothels. Kojak also figures that the bust for morphine is a setup by Saxler's pals in the town to keep him from going back to New York. Unfortunately, Cory is a rinky-dink town where all phone calls are routed through an operator named Verna (Mary Jo Catlett). She sets up Kojak's call so that Saxler, Hawker and Fred Sutton (Albert Cole), who owns the local bar and has mob connections, can all listen in. Meanwhile, back in New York, Stavros' detective work determines that the guy responsible for O'Brien's death was A.C. Klinger, a "button man" (hired killer) who is working for Dumke's brother in Vegas. When Stavros and Saperstein try to arrest Klinger on the street in front of his hotel, he runs away and is killed when a car runs into him on the street. In Cory, Lily tells Kojak she regrets the recent changes that have happened to their sleepy town and how she had pressure on her to lease the bar to Saxler after threats from Sutton, who she describes as a Vegas "hooligan." Sutton appears on the street and offers to buy Kojak and Crocker a drink, but this is a setup to get the two involved in a bar fight, which results in them being stripped of their weapons and hauled off to jail. Tipped off by Lily, McNeil calls Peck and gets Stavros to talk to Kojak in Greek, so Verna can't understand what they are talking about. Kojak finds out that Saxler is in big with the boys in Vegas, including Dumke's brother, all "one happy family." McNeil obviously puts heat on Quinlan and Peck, since Kojak and Crocker are released soon by Quinlan, with instructions to get out of town in an hour. But Penny, who has been in Santa Flora, suddenly returns with some information from that town's police department which indicates a big discrepancy between the time of the hit-and-run in Santa Flora and the time Hawker saw Saxler in Cory. Quinlan says "Case dismissed," and lets Kojak go back to New York with Saxler. A patrol car from Santa Flora is supposed to be on the way to meet them on their way and escort them, presumably to Reno, but it is intercepted by Sutton and a hit man, who knock out Washburn. Sutton dons the sheriff's shirt, and when Kojak passes, they catch up and the hit man starts firing a shotgun into Kojak's car. The chase goes off-road quickly, and Saxler, with the threat of being turned over to Sutton and likely killed, quickly blabs about Dumke's murder of Kane, and how the gun used in the killing was thrown into the Gowanus Canal. Crocker's shots finally hit home, with the result that the car containing Sutton and the hit man blows up just before it runs into a storage tank. Back in New York, the gun is recovered from the canal, and the trial against Dumke proceeds accordingly.

REVIEW:

This episode has a certain element of "cuteness" about it, with the fast-talkin' old lady and the fast-talkin' rookie woman lawyer. It's definitely a change of pace for Kojak and Crocker, and it was a given that they would end up in towns like Santa Flora and Cory full of hicks and shady characters. There is some amusing repartee between Crocker and some huge guy named Alley Oop, same as the cartoon strip caveman, played by Richard Karron. The ending of the show, likened by Kojak to a western movie, is strictly out of The Dukes of Hazzard, though, complete with the sound of harmonica, banjo and fiddles, instruments which appear elsewhere in the score as well.

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12. (S03E12) Money Back Guarantee ★★★
Original air date: December 7, 1975
Director: Daniel Haller; Writer: Dallas L. Barnes

SUMMARY:

Two patrol cops, Chris Marquez (John Hesley) and Barney Sullivan (Sidney Clute), pull over Forbes (Henry Brown) for driving a suspicious looking car. (Need I add that Forbes is black?) After Forbes tells them that he is connected with United Repossessions, two thugs connected with him and this company suddenly drive up behind the cops' car and start to give the two of them a bunch of mouth. As Marquez starts to call for backup, one of the thugs backs up and then rams the police car, knocking Marquez to the ground. Forbes escapes with them and shoots Sullivan dead. Kojak marshals his men to leave no stone unturned in the quest to find the killer of Sullivan, who was a good friend of McNeil. Sam Bernard (Bernie Kopell), whose stolen Cadillac Forbes was driving, turns up at the station to report it. An investigation reveals that Bernard was killing time for three hours while the theft was going on, he lied about where the car was parked and he is also heavily in debt. When Kojak and Crocker go to visit Bernard in his office and start making various accusations, he refers them to his lawyer. The three men involved in the confrontation at the beginning of the show, including Forbes, turn up for a meeting with Bryan LeBlanc (David Ogdon Stiers), the big boss of an elaborate scheme involving auto loans and car insurance. LeBlanc calls them "The Three Stooges" for having knocked off Sullivan. He tells them he intends to take some of their share in the proceeds to pay for expenses like lawyers, which does not go over very well. Further investigation discovers that several cars stolen in a manner similar to Bernard's have been financed at City National Trust. Stacowski (Emory Bass), the manager of the place, is very co-operative with Kojak in finding out which of his three female employees who handle delinquent accounts pending repossession may be involved in the scheme. Kojak and the cops raid a location where stolen cars are being repainted, thanks to some persuasion with a crook named Freddie the Fender (Walter Wonderman) who was driving one such car. There they find Bernard dead, along with one of the two thugs. Crocker and Saperstein visit Anslow (Del Hinkley), whose car was stolen and who was contacted by a "Mr. Roberts" (LeBlanc). With the help of Stacowski, Stavros pretends to be another guy in debt who will hopefully receive a visit from Roberts, which happens very quickly. After he visits Stavros, the cops follow LeBlanc, but he gives them the slip. When Stavros leaves his car at the appointed parking lot, Forbes shows up to take it. The cops tail him for almost 5 minutes, including an exciting chase, but the car flips over and Forbes is incinerated. Marquez goes to the bank to keep an eye on the three women from the finance department. When Brown's ID is recovered from the car, it shows he is friendly with one of them named Victoria Goss (Beverly Dixon). Marquez follows her, including a hectic run on the street trying to catch up with a bus she has taken, to an apartment building and then calls the other men. Stavros pretends to be a cat outside her room, where it just happens she is meeting LeBlanc. As the door is opened, Kojak says, "Meow, baby."

REVIEW:

This show is very good for the way it depicts the way the men of the precinct get together to find the killer of one of their own. The only thing that I found odd was the way Stavros reacts to LeBlanc's offer. At first, Stavros is skeptical, not having heard the sales pitch, but once he does, he accepts it without asking hardly any questions at all ... like the fact that the whole scam is highly illegal. I also don't know why the two thugs are following Forbes at the beginning of the show and why no one follows him after he takes Stavros' car (aside from the fact that one of the thugs is now dead).

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13. (S03E13) A House of Prayer, a Den of Thieves ★★  WHO LOVES YA 
Original air date: December 14, 1975
Director: Robert Day; Writer: Gene R. Kearney

SUMMARY:

According to IMDb, this episode was the pilot for a proposed new series which was not picked up. Vincent Gardenia stars as the gruff, cigar-chomping former colleague of Kojak Vince LaGuardia who moved to Las Vegas and joined the police force there because of his young nephew Nick (Mike Darnell) who became his ward after the kid's mother (Vince's sister) died. Nick suffers from asthma, which has virtually disappeared because of the change in climate. As the show begins, Julie Loring (Eileen Brennan) drops her neighbor Frank Raynor (Jeff Corey) off at the Golden Nugget casino. Julie is a talent co-ordinator for the place and she talks to two men she recognizes, Burgess (Don Caifa) and Scott (David Hayward). The three of them are involved as volunteers for an upcoming religious revival headed by Margaret McCune (Martine Bartlett) which will benefit an orphanage in Carson City. Raynor, wanted in New York on charges relating to counterfeiting, is recognized by a security guy from the casino, and LaGuardia is summoned. Raynor is taken away to the police station and Kojak is called. Raynor's presence in New York is required to testify at a trial where a swindler is charged with using half a million dollars of insurance checks that Raynor had forged. Kojak is soon on a plane to Las Vegas. Raynor waives extradition, because he just wants to get things over with and get back to living a low-key life in Las Vegas where he also moved for his health. As Raynor is being taken to the airport the next morning, he is gunned down on the steps of the Las Vegas City Hall by Burgess, using a long-range rifle from a nearby hotel. Kojak returns to New York, and LaGuardia begins to investigate the shooting. He talks to Julie, who brought Raynor a change of clothes after he was arrested. Julie says that a couple of weeks ago, she heard an argument between Raynor, who lived in an apartment next door to her. Although she only heard a few words of the conversation, she figures that she could recognize this person if she heard his voice again. LaGuardia goes to Raynor's apartment with Julie and finds plates for a US $50 bill hidden in some fireplace logs. These plates are in an unfinished state, suggesting that Raynor has "lost his touch." In another matter, LaGuardia's partner Sam Lopez (Jay Varela) calls to report that a mobster from Chicago named Joe Torrey (Ed Barth), who LaGuardia once ran out of New York, is in town in connection with some "funny money." LaGuardia interrupts a poker party celebrating Torrey's Las Vegas wedding to a "leggy showgirl" and takes him downtown for grilling. They find some $100 bills on Torrey which are sequentlally only a few numbers different than those which were taken from Raynor a couple of days before. But these are not counterfeit bills. After Julie identifies Torrey as being the man she heard through the walls arguing with Raynor, Torrey finally admits that a couple of months ago, he wanted Raynor "to make something" for him, i.e., the printing plates, but Raynor took his down payment of $20,000 in $100 bills for his services and gambled it all away. When Torrey recently returned to Vegas, Raynor assured him that he was working on "some other angle" to get Torrey all of his money back. Kojak has been doing some digging in New York and has come up with photos of Raynor's cellmates when he was in jail in that state, but these are of little use to LaGuardia. There is finally a break in the case when LaGuardia's precocious nephew Eric recognizes a drug used to treat asthma from Raynor's autopsy report. LaGuardia finds this peculiar, because Julie said that Raynor had weaned himself off any drugs after getting involved with "Personal Power," a self-help technique connected with McCune's ministery. LaGuardia goes to the Las Vegas Convention Center to talk to Julie, who he figures Raynor was using to get access backstage at the casino where she works. But she tells him that this was not the case, Raynor instead was involved with the crusade, and she refers LaGuardia to Burgess and Scott who are in the center's office. When LaGuardia arrives there, the door is locked, which is very fishy, because that is where thousands of dollars from the crusade are being counted. LaGuardia calls in the troops and Burgess and Scott are both arrested for robbery after they are caught trying to escape via the roof of the building. Back in New York, Kojak, McNeil and Crocker read about the arrests in the local paper, where LaGuardia thanks the NYPD for their help in solving the case.

REVIEW:

The show is a great snapshot of Vegas in the mid-70's, and the relationship between LaGuardia and his nephew is well-handled. But the episode required multiple viewings, because it is full of loose ends and unanswered questions and there is no big "AHA!" moment. For example:

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14. (S03E14) How Cruel the Frost, How Bright the Stars ★★★
Original air date: December 21, 1975
Director: David Friedkin; Writers: James Duff & Gene R. Kearney

SUMMARY:

This show is a slice-of-life which happens on Christmas Eve. There are multiple plot threads:

In addition to all the above, Kojak manages to show his usual soft spot for hookers, especially Loretta, who calls him "Colonel," and he also hangs out with a gorgeous Greek girl Elenora (Veronica Hamel) at a restaurant owned by Constantine (Nick Dennis). The structure of this show is very similar to Kojak's Days in the fourth season (S04E19 & S04E20).

REVIEW:

This show is OK, though there is one big goof. Kojak and Crocker go to Dr. Banker's house in pursuit of Swift. They ring Banker's doorbell beside the front door, but over the intercom he tells them everything is OK (Swift has a gun pointed at him). After Swift leaves, Banker pushes the buzzer which alerts Kojak and Crocker that something is wrong. Swift escapes and there is a commercial break, followed by a shot of Kojak driving through the streets of New York. Then we get a scene with Kojak talking to Banker in his apartment! Why Kojak would be seen driving doesn't make any sense, since he is already at Banker's. It is also never established why Houston and Gregg are doing the stakeout in the liquor store, as if there is any special significance to this place, like it was robbed a lot recently. We are also not told why the cops suddenly figure out that Swift's wife is a shyster. I suspect some dialogue from the scene at Banker's place was cut out. Swift tells Banker, "I am going to hell -- and my wife is helping me," suggesting that he intends to kill his wife and then himself.

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15. (S03E15) The Forgotten Room ★★★
Original air date: January 4, 1976
Director: Sigmund Neufeld Jr.; Writer: James Bonnet

SUMMARY:

Nicholas (Nico) Trifores (George Pan), a Greek immigrant living in the States for three years, has a job at the bakery run by Katrina Patropolous (Rhoda Gemignani), a widow in her 30s whose husband died six years before. At the beginning of the show, Trifores is accused of murdering a hooker named Alice Geneen after a neighborhood security guard named Fuchs (Oscar Beregi) says he saw him dumping her body outside his apartment building. Everyone, including Katrina, cannot believe that Trifores could have anything to do with this horrible crime. Kojak's relative Constantine (Nick Dennis) suddenly appears at the murder scene in his bathrobe saying "You know Trifores is a good boy; he never has anything to do with people like her." As well, Trifores' next door neighbor Mr. Antonakis (Alan Napier) says that he never heard a woman in Trifores' room through the walls which are "thin like filo." After he is questioned by the cops, Trifores becomes paranoid that he will be sent to jail or deported, which will mean the end of money that he is sending to his mother who is back in Greece. Circumstantial evidence suggests that Geneen's pimp, Andy Cooper (Phillip R. Allen), was the one who killed her after the two had a violent argument in an arcade witnessed by Big Irv (Frank Geraci), owner of a flower shop. But Cooper is later exonerated because his blood type does not match that on a handkerchief found at the crime scene. Kojak has other suspicions, though, but when he goes to lunch with Katrina and asks her questions about Trifores' sex life and whether he was involved with prostitutes, the whole thing backfires horribly, as McNeil suggested it would. Kojak gets an interesting clue from Father Dimitrius (veteran actor Oscar Homolka), without getting the priest to violate the confidentiality of Katrina's confession. When Kojak comes to arrest Trifores, Katrina says that she and Trifores were having sex at the time of the murder, which Kojak recognizes as a total lie. She and Trifores do become lovers from this point on, though. Earlier in the show, Trifores told her that he considered her to be "family," and that when he first started working for her, he thought she was jealous of the attention some of her female customers gave him. She admitted that this was true, but told him she considered herself to be more like his "older sister." At the end of the show, Katrina comes to Trifores' place, expecting to celebrate their new relationship by going out on the town, but instead she finds him in the basement of the place, burning various things in the building's old furnace from what looks like his "hideout." In an emotional confession, Trifores tells her that he brought women to this room, including Geneen. When she showed up there a couple of days before and asked him for money which he couldn't give her and started screaming to wake up everyone in the building, Trifores strangled her. Kojak arrives on the scene and takes Trifores into custody after a brief confrontation where Trifores attacks him with a shovel.

REVIEW:

Another episode which is not bad, but I have questions about why the "security guard" Fuchs, who looks like a cop, is seen at the beginning of the show, checking to see if doors of businesses are locked and witnessing Trifores' movements during a torrential rainstorm. The neighborhood where Fuchs is working is hardly a gated community. Is Fuchs employed by the neighborhood association or something, or was there work for people in his profession because of a shortage of cops? If you watch the opening sequence carefully, Fuchs actually does not see Trifores taking Geneen's body out of the building over his shoulder (a very dumb move, despite the storm!). Fuchs sees Trifores from the time he has come back up from where he dumped the body and picks up Geneen's shoe which fell on the stairway. Trifores then takes the shoe as well as Geneen's stocking around the corner, where he dumps them, then walks around the block and returns home. There are also questions about the room in the basement (the "forgotten room" of the episode's title). When Kojak asks the landlady (Eleni Kiamos, uncredited) if junk is always stored in the room on the main floor which the medical examiner Prince (Borah Silver, uncredited) suggests was the place where Geneen's body lay for a day, she says, "We had a new furnace put in last year, and it blocks off the storage room downstairs." Kojak opens a door to the basement, and asks "Checked down here?" Prince says "Yeah, it's pretty clean." Near the end of the show, the landlady tells Trifonis that junk in this first floor room which is his has to be moved "back to the old storeroom" -- which is presumably Trifores' hideout -- because the fire marshal considers the junk to be a hazard. Looks to me like there was some sloppy police work -- why didn't the cops check the "junk" when they originally investigated or find the hideout? Perhaps they wouldn't have found anything specific in the basement; it is quite possible that Trifonis was just burning anything because he was so nervous about his situation. But the fact that there was what looks like a bed, pillows and pictures on the wall in the hideout should have certain raised some suspicions.

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16. (S03E16) On The Edge ★★★˝
Original air date: January 11, 1976
Director: David Friedkin; Writer: Alvin Boretz

SUMMARY:

Paul Zachary (Forrest Tucker) is 55 years old, an old-fashioned cop who would rather break down doors and break heads than engage in niceties like reading suspects their rights. Kojak, who has often bent the rules himself, can tolerate Zachary's excesses to a point, though even he has his limits. The show begins with Crocker cautioning Zachary to take it easy with his current obsession, who he is surveilling on the street. For over a year, Zachary has been after Dellman (Joseph R. Sicari), a slimy crook who is connected to the even slimier fence Ballantine (Malachi Throne). But Zachary, who was reprimanded years before for "excessive" interrogation techniques, gets sloppy and Dellman leaves the scene as Zachary makes a hang-up phone call from a pay phone to his wife Carrie (Verna Bloom), who he suspects is having an affair. Dellman goes to meet a travelling jewellery salesman who he shoots dead. He then steals everything the salesman was showing him. Kojak and Zachary go to see Ballantine, who complains of harassment and threatens to call his lawyer, saying "I don't touch illegal merchandise." Zachary goes home, where his wife is on the verge of leaving him. Not only is his wife estranged, but so is his son Steve, who is jail in Singapore. Zachary describes his son as "a homosexual pot-smoker," and his wife slaps his face. When his wife wants to talk about their relationship, Zachary says "I killed a man today," meaning the jewellery salesman. Zachary goes to Dellman's place and starts to get heavy-handed, throwing things around, looking for a gun. Fortunately, Kojak and Saperstein show up and manage to calm things down. Kojak tells Zachary to take the rest of the day off. Carrie comes to the station to talk to Kojak, and tells him that her husband is "not himself recently." Kojak asks if she still has a boyfriend, but she says that she loves her husband, and her pal is "just someone I meet now and then who says nice things to me." Things get worse for Zachary when a witness, a kid who works in a drugstore who saw Dellman meet Ballantine's main man Riggs (Danny Wells) after the robbery, is almost killed when Riggs runs him over on the street as the kid is making a delivery. Kojak is fed up, because Zachary got the kid to identify Riggs and Dellman using only two photos, rather than the standard I.D. procedure and orders Zachary to get a medical checkup, which, of course, he does not do. Instead, Zachary gets one of his informers, a cabbie named Arnold (Richard Stanley), to find out where Riggs' car is being repaired from the damage caused when it ran into the kid's bike. Because McNeil wants Zachary off duty, Kojak takes his gun, but Zachary has another one hidden at home. Zachary goes to the garage where Riggs' car is being repaired, and when Riggs shows up, forces Riggs to go back to Ballantine's with him. Thanks to a tip from Carrie, Kojak arrives at Ballantine's, just as Zachary, who has been wounded by Ballantine, is about to put a bullet in Ballantine's head. Ballantine is busted, and Carrie shows up at the end to go to the hospital with her husband. What happens to Zachary after this point is left up in the air.

REVIEW:

Lots of powerhouse acting in this show, which has a script among the very best, with Kojak (and Zachary) having very snappy and, at times, sarcastic dialogue. The total split in Zachary's marriage is also depicted well, with him saying "You're only allowed so many failures in one lifetime," and his wife telling him she loves him, even while he keeps going on in a middle-aged-man rant, bellowing "Nobody hears me!" McNeil, who can't deal with Zachary's methods at all because of potential problems with the police brass and the press, really screams at one point because he is so fed up. The only thing I thought a bit odd was the fact that the reason Zachary was talking to the kid in the drugstore, that he was a witness to the meeting between Dellman and Riggs, was not established until after the kid ended up in the hospital.

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17. (S03E17) A Wind from Corsica ★★˝
Original air date: January 18, 1976
Director: Daniel Haller; Writers: Mark Rodgers, Barry Trivers, Paul Stein & Charles Watts

SUMMARY:

Victor Bruno (John Vari) was sent to Attica to serve five years to life for murdering someone named "Geronimo." Recently, he volunteered to participate in medical experiments at a minimum security prison from which he escaped. When he arrives in New York, he is suffering from an Asian variant of pneumonic plague, probably induced by the experiments, which is usually fatal in a couple of days if not treated. He contacts his brother Dominic (Joseph Hindy), who meets him at a construction site. Knowing he is dying, Victor wants Dominic to kill Pietro Anselmo (Giorgio Tozzi), who was the one who actually killed Geronimo, but set Victor up to take the rap for the murder. While the show is basically a medical thriller, the cops get involved because of Victor's criminal connections. Working in conjunction with Dr. Martin Lang from the New York Department of Health, they track down people Victor had contact with, including Jose Mendez (Guillermo San Juan, uncredited), a young boy from the barrio who came across Victor's body shortly after he died. At the police station, D'Amato from the Mayor's office starts to throw his weight around until Lang overrides him, threatening to put the city under quarantine if they can't contain the spread of the disease. Dominic obtains a gun from Joe Travino (Al Ruscio) and eventually does kill Anselmo, who tells him that Victor's wife, Nina (Suzanne Charny) put him up to shooting Geronimo so he could have her, but she ended up sleeping with his brother -- in other words, Dominic. Nina is hauled into the station to face questioning by Kojak because he is hoping to locate Dominic through her, but being a member of the close-knit and close-mouthed Corsican community, she refuses to co-operate, preferring, as Kojak tells her, to "settle your own problems without going to the police." Finally feeling the effects of the plague, Dominic struggles to get to the bus depot where Nina works. He tries to shoot her, but passes out just as Kojak arrives on the scene with his men.

REVIEW:

Another episode dealing with the issue of immigrants and how being stuck in their "old country" ways leads to problems with their new lives in America. This show is somewhat less successful than the Greek one two weeks before, despite Italian ambience being created by Cacavas' Italian-sounding score and the playing of classical music on the soundtrack in a couple of scenes. The show has a certain resemblance to the 1950 film noir Panic in the Streets which also dealt with pneumonic plague, filmed on location in New Orleans. That film also dealt with criminals who had a connection to the disease and had a relatively happy ending like this show, where Jose's mother (Karmin Murcelo) is relieved to hear that her son will survive after going into the disease's active phase. Hindy gives a good performance as the conflicted Dominic as does Charny as Nina, who is a major bitch. On one hand she tells Dominic, "Don't throw away your life over some crazy Corsican vendetta," but when she is with Kojak she invokes various concepts to do with honor and omerta, the code of silence. The ending is kind of disappointing, because it's obvious there are still quite a few people who have to be tracked down, like the cab driver who drove Dominic to the bus station!

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18. (S03E18) Bad Dude ★★★˝
Original air date: January 25, 1976
Director: Sigmund Neufeld Jr.; Writer: Joseph N. Gores

SUMMARY:

Professional football star and sometime actor Rosey Grier stars as Salathiel Harms, a bounty hunter from the San Francisco/Oakland area who is after Ezekiel (Zeke) Zonders (Bill Duke). Now known in the New York area as "Sylk," where he has dealings in drugs, prostitution, numbers, loansharking and enforcement, Zonders is wanted after being arrested for 23 felonies three years before in the Watts area of Los Angeles, then skipping town after $500,000 bail was posted. Zonders has hired William T. Baine (Charles Weldon), a.k.a. "Shotgun Willie," to eliminate Harms. But Harms is too clever. At the beginning of the show, he sets up his bed with pillows, a wig and a watermelon which Baine blasts, and later hires a hooker who Baine has used named Delia May (Dee Timberlake) to get Baine to meet him at some location where he is punched out and put in a cab for a one-way trip back to Detroit, his hometown. Kojak has nothing he can arrest Baine for, because carrying a shotgun if it is disassembled is apparently legal. Baine keeps calling McNeil "Sergeant" when he is interrogated. Harms also gets on Kojak's nerves, telling him to "Get out of my face" at the station. Kojak calls him "Cootchie-coo." Harms tracks down Zonders at his apartment, and after disabling a couple of his men, threatens Zonders with some fancy karate moves which persuades him to admit his sins in front of Kojak, who has just shown up. Kojak is only too glad to have Harms and Zonders driven to the airport for their trip back to the West Coast, rather than go through the usual routine of extradition.

REVIEW:

This episode, which some people liken to a blaxploitation film, is very funny. Gil Weaver (Roger Robinson) is working undercover in Harlem, where much of the action takes place. When Weaver wants to know whether Baine is registered at the Gaylord Hotel, the (black) desk clerk gives him a bunch of mouth, calling him first "black boy," and then "Oreo." The clerk's attitude quickly changes when Weaver tries to call the Morals Squad to have the place checked out. The confrontation between Kojak and Sylk, who is dressed like a Superfly pimp, has an affected high-pitched voice and drives a yellow Rolls-Royce with the international license plate HLC 3K, is a classic. Sylk asks "What can humble Sylk do for Super-Honk?" When he replies to Kojak's questions about Baine by saying to talk to his lawyer, Kojak tells Sylk "When I put the lovin' arms on you, baby, you won't be out until you look like Uncle Remus." Cacavas supplies a very good score with funk overtones.

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19. (S03E19) A Grave Too Soon ★★
Original air date: February 1, 1976
Director: Daniel Haller; Writer: Jack Laird

SUMMARY:

An cop named Tony Grimaldi is murdered and his body is dumped on the street. He was the son of Ralph Grimaldi, a legendary New York policeman who, nine years before, got in a shootout with a couple of punks who were the sons of mob boss Franco "Six Bits" Donatello (Harold J. Stone) which resulted in both of the sons and Grimaldi Senior being killed. Tony, after living most of his life away from New York, decided recently that he wanted to follow in his father's footsteps and after finishing at the police academy was working undercover in a meat packing plant controlled by Donatello. Kojak goes to visit Donatello, who has a young wife Cleo (Diana Hyland) and a daughter Adrianna (Jane Alice Brandon) from his previous marriage. Donatello tells Kojak he is no longer out to avenge his sons' death. He and his lawyer give Kojak a lot of mouth, but Kojak gives it right back to them. Captain Badaduchi (Daniel J. Travanti) of the organized crime squad is particularly upset about Tony's death. He gives Kojak the name of an informer, Scruffy Sutherland (Danny Goldman), who may have some connection to the case. As part of his investigation, Tony was shadowing Donatello's lawyer Lou Carver (Quinn Redeker), who was having an affair with Cleo. When they discovered Tony following them, they knocked him off. Sutherland shakes down Tony's apartment and uncovers a camera which contains photos that were taken of this couple who were eating at a Chinese restaurant and having a tryst at the nearby Travelers Rest Motor Lodge. Donatello's daughter, who does not like her stepmother much, spies on Cleo and listens through heating vents and overhears conversations her father is having. Sutherland tries to blackmail Carver with the photos from the camera, but Cleo meets Scruffy on a park bench near The Battery and shoots him dead. When Kojak and Crocker turn up, they find a vital clue, a matchbook Sutherland took from Tony's apartment which contained the license number of Cleo's Mercedes Benz. When Kojak shows up at Donatello's place with a warrant later, he arrests Cleo in front of guests who are assembled for a party. It looks like the case against her isn't as substantial as it might be, until Arianna gives Kojak the gun used to kill Tony, a weapon which has a history going back 25 years, that she saw her stepmother hiding in the family safe.

REVIEW:

The forensics part of this episode is handled very well. But there is a big question as to how Scruffy Sutherland knew Tony, considering Tony's undercover work was very hush-hush, at least according to Badaduchi. Why would Scruffy have tossed everything in Tony's apartment, other than he heard through the grapevine about Tony's murder and wanted to see if there was anything there he could use? There is no suggestion that Scruffy and Tony knew each other. As well, at the beginning of the show, Patrolman Peter Rossini (an unidentified actor) says he recognized Tony's body as being "Tony Grimaldi," because the two of them were in the same class at the academy. But, again, one wonders how this could have happened, because Tony was given a new identity of Giovanni Falconetti (a last name soon to be associated with the villain of Rich Man, Poor Man, which debuted at the same time as this Kojak episode). The topography of the scene inside Donatello's house makes me wonder if Arianna, who is on the second floor balcony, can really see what her stepmother is doing in the closet.

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20. (S03E20) The Frame ★★  WHO LOVES YA 
Original air date: February 8, 1976
Director: Sigmund Neufeld Jr.; Writer: Burton Armus

SUMMARY:

Kojak gets a tip from Eddie Swinton (Dick Dinman), an informer, that Harry Dubin (Madison Arnold) robbed a jewellery messenger and has lots of stuff in his apartment waiting for a fence or an insurance buyback. Kojak is interested, because he considers Dubin to be "a pig," "a creep, "an animal" and "a punk" who was responsible for savagely beating an innocent bystander who got involved in one of his heists many years ago. When Kojak, Crocker and Stavros show up at Dubin's place, they find nothing, except a lockpicking tool. D.A. Donald Bernheim (David Garfield) tells Kojak this evidence is useless, and the case is thrown out of court. Dubin tells Scroope (Michael McGuire), his lawyer, that Kojak shook him down to the tune of $3,000 when Kojak was at his place. Predictably, this gets the attention of Internal Affairs. Kojak goes back to Swinton, who says he got his intel from a guy named Colby (John Quade) who is an associate of Dubin. Feeling bad because his previous tip turned out to be a bust, Eddie convinces Kojak to bail him out of The Tombs so he can hang out with Colby and find out what Dubin's next project is. Meanwhile, Dubin is seeing "money man" Bancroft (Joseph Perry) about bankrolling this project, a payroll theft in the neighborhood of $300,000-$400,000. Kojak shadows Bancroft, but he really has his eye on Dubin. This brings down the wrath of Internal Affairs Captain Henry 'Hank' Rosseau (James Luisi), because Dubin is now an employee of Bancroft. As punishment, Kojak is demoted to pushing paper in the Chief of Detectives office. When Eddie calls Kojak with more information, Kojak refers him to McNeil, which Eddie does not like. Kojak then goes to Scroope, pointing out that Dubin, Scroope's client, is going to be commiting a crime soon, which gets Scroope's interest, because he is obliged to report this. Kojak does a similar number with Rosseau, hoping this will finally get him off the hook, but Eddie is murdered by Colby, who figures out that he is blabbing to the cops. As a result, Rosseau orders up a lot of fancy surveillance equipment with taps installed in Bancroft's place of business and elsewhere which reveal the planned payroll robbery will be at a construction site. The cops follow Dubin and Colby to this place, they are nabbed, and Kojak's name is cleared. He still wants an Internal Affairs hearing, though, so it is on the record that they made a mistake.

REVIEW:

I don't understand why Rosseau gets all excited about Kojak surveilling Dubin, other than having to respond to a complaint from Bancroft. Crocker and Saperstein are across the street from the restaurant where Bancroft hangs out. Colby drives away after dropping Dubin off, and Kojak says "I'll pick up [Colby's] car." But Kojak doesn't follow Colby, he seems to be parked around the corner from the restaurant. When Colby drives by Kojak, he recognizes him and he goes to a pay phone and tells Dubin (who is now talking to Bancroft in his office) "There's some dude out here watchin' you." Bancroft calls Internal Affairs, and Rosseau appears shortly after. There is a peculiar sub-plot in this show involving Crocker and another cop named Moore (Martin Braddock) who seems to have an Internal Affairs connection. They end up together in the surveillance truck, listening to Bancroft and Dubin talking. Crocker complains that Moore has a "soft" job. He tells Moore to his face "You're a creep and I think you get your kicks on baggin' cops on nothing complaints." Despite this, they remain pals, because Crocker rescues Moore when he almost falls off a building during the final confrontation at the construction site. Aside from this, the episode is OK, though some of the surveillance of Bancroft and Dubin seems far-fetched, especially the scene where the two of them meet in a park and there are questions which could be raised about how Bancroft's office was bugged so thoroughly without his knowledge.

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21. (S03E21) Deadly Innocence ★★
Original air date: February 15, 1976
Director: Daniel Haller; Writer: Sean Baine

SUMMARY:

Four years before the show, Detective Joey Fiorello (Anthony Ponzini) was chasing an escaping suspect in a drug bust. This suspect drove through an intersection, ramming a sports car driven by Danny Fisk (Andrew Parks), a young man whose potential career as a basketball star was cut short by the injuries he sustained, which left him in a wheelchair. Fisk's father Aaron (Tige Andrews), owner of a couturier business in the garment district, did not take this well, and following a subsequent drug bust by Fiorello, got the co-operation of Harry Sentman (veteran character actor Whit Bissell), a chemist from the police lab, to participate in a scheme where evidence including a pound of heroin was planted at Fiorello's place. Part of the payoff to Sentman was maintaining the drug habit of his son Martin, a soldier who had returned from Vietnam a junkie, to the tune of $1,000 a week. Fiorello was convicted, in court, resulting in a term in Attica where his life is not particularly confortable, because he is a cop. As the show begins, Sentman's son Martin has died, not because of his addiction to heroin, but because of a piece of shrapnel from Vietnam which was lodged in his heart. After burying his son, Sentman starts to feel guilty about what happened to Fiorello, and contacts Aaron Fisk, who gets his older son Max (Stephen Macht) to offer Sentman $10,000 to keep quiet. When Sentman refuses the money, Max gives the money to Augie Matthews (Anthony Charnota), who runs over Sentman and kills him on the street in front of Fiorello's father's place where he has gone to "make things right." When Kojak and Stavros go to the hospital where Martin died, they run into Murray Ornellas (Gary Glanz), a known pusher who has a job there as an orderly. Based on what the hospital's Dr. Sullivan (Russ Marin) told them, that Martin had a monkey on his back "the size of King Kong," Ornellas is grilled at the station, and reveals he was supplying dope to Martin, who was a frequent outpatient at the hospital. Ornellas says that he received payment on a weekly basis from some anonymous "benefactor" to purchase the drugs. Kojak goes to visit Fiorello in Attica, trying to get some clues. Internal Affairs Captain Hank Rosseau (James Luisi, in his second show in a row), is disturbed that the case is being reopened, especially since he was the one who thoroughly investigated it. Cindy Marshall, (Lee Bryant). a woman from the rental agency which supplied the car used to kill Sentman provides an important clue, other than identifying Matthews, who drove it -- a business card from Aaron Fisk's business given to her by Matthews which came with a promise that she could get a discount on clothing there. Around this time, Matthews contacts Max Fisk, asking to up his payment for the killing from $10,000 to 50 grand. Max's solution is to go to Matthews' place and kill him, but not before Matthews shoots and wounds Max. This all happens just around the time that Kojak and Gomez (Victor Campos) show up at Matthews' apartment, though Max manages to elude them. Max's father manages to patch up his son without sending him to a doctor, and Max goes back to work. Based on further information he gets from a second visit to Fiorello and a sketch of Max provided by a couple of people in an area where Matthews and Sentman were seen hanging out prior to the latter's killing, Kojak goes to confront Aaron Fisk. Danny realizes that the jig is up, and tries to warn Max, who has left the building for a few minutes. When Max returns, Danny mistakenly wheels himself down a flight of stairs in his wheelchair as he yells at Max at the bottom not to return, dying from the injuries he receives.

REVIEW:

Much of the summary above, especially what happened prior to the show, is based on speculation, because the show does not explain how the heroin from Fiorello's bust, which was 87% pure, ended up in his apartment and was switched with milk sugar back at the police lab. Kojak says that Sentman, who worked for the department for 28 years, was completely exonerated when this happened, and Rosseau says that he went over the facts of the case with a fine tooth comb. So who actually made the switch? Sentman is regarded as a totally on-the-up-and-up guy, so it is hard to understand how he could have made this switch (if he was involved), not to mention made a demand of Fisk to keep his son Martin supplied with dope as payment for his "services." Kojak estimates the cost of this drug, at $1,000 a week up to the point where Martin died, would have been over $150,000. It is also a big coincidence that Kojak and Stavros just happen to run into Ornellas as they are leaving the hospital, and Ornellas throws three packets of heroin he is carrying on the floor. Why would he have heroin on him? Is he supplying other people in the hospital as well, since Sentman's son is now dead? The character of Max Fisk is pretty well developed. He is a sleazebag, pretending to borrow the thousands of dollars of company money used to fund Martin Sentman's habit (and pay off Matthews), saying instead that he is using this "petty cash" at the racetrack. The character of his brother Danny, who is the accountant for the company who stays up late at night watching old movies starring Alice Faye and Paulette Goddard, and his father, on the other hand, are not particularly well fleshed-out.

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22. (S03E22) Justice Deferred ★★˝
Original air date: February 22, 1976
Director: Charles S. Dubin; Writer: Jack Laird

SUMMARY:

A skeleton is discovered in a building being demolished. The cops at Manhattan South outdo themselves in figuring out who this is, especially since the body was buried in cement which was poured on Wednesday, May 8, 1957, 18 years before. Among the things investigated are bridge work in the victim's mouth, a bone graft and steel pins in his left leg, buttons on his suit, the fact that he was 5′11″, weighed around 175 pounds, was 30-35 years old and was killed with a single shot to the head using a .22 calibre weapon. Using this and other information, the police determine the body is that of Gary Braden, controller of Empire State Mutual Funds, who reportedly embezzled three million dollars from his company and perished in an airplane crash on Sunday, May 12, 1957, when he was on his way to Brazil. In other words, Braden was murdered before the plane crash which supposedly took his life four days later. The discovery of Braden's body causes concern with Keith McCallum (Michael Ansara), formerly president of the mutual fund company as well as Monica Gibney (Gail Strickland), formerly Braden's wife. The cops figure out the relationship between Gibney and Braden soon enough. McCallum and Gibney were involved in the murder, and they wonder if it can be traced to them. McCallum hires Guy Burgess (Richard Peabody), a private investigator from Trojan Security to track down Anton Maychek, son of Karl, a man who was a virtual double for Braden. Braden had seen Maychek repairing TVs around his apartment building and commented on the similarity to people in his office, which motivated McCallum to track Maychek down and offer him a money-making opportunity which consisted of taking the flight to Brazil using Braden's passport. There are rumours that there was a bomb in Maychek's luggage which caused the plane to crash. Kojak doesn't get anywhere when he talks to McCallum or Gibney. The latter says that when her husband died, she was well provided for, because she was his sole beneficiary. The cops talk to Maychek's former landlord named Dietz (Ned Glass), who knows that Anton saw his father talking to McCallum and therefore is the only witness who can connect the two. They also speak to Rosemary Villepiano, formerly Hawkins, who had an affair with Braden and was the correspondent named in the divorce suit filed by his wife on Tuesday, May 7, 1957. With information from Burgess, McCallum goes to Anton's room at the fleabag Weldon Hotel, shoots Anton dead, and then buries his body in a nearby construction site in a manner similar to Braden. While he is looking through a box of miscellaneous items found in a shoebox at Anton's place, Kojak finds a Phi Beta Kappa key which belongs to McCallum that he takes to McCallum's office. He shows this key to McCallum, who admits that it is his, and McCallum is taken away to jail by Stavros.

REVIEW:

This episode is very good for showing the process of the investigation and how a crime which is almost unsolvable can be cracked. But it is extremely convoluted. For example, it is suggested that Maychek (pretending to be Braden) took the $3 million worth of embezzled money with him on the plane, but this does not make any sense. So if he didn't, what happened to the money? Presumably there was some elaborate scheme by McCallum to make it look like Braden embezzled the money, which was shared by himself and Gibney who supposedly shot her husband using his own gun (which was recently recovered from the crime scene at the construction site). It is also suggested that the large insurance settlement that Gibney got from her husband's death was used to invest in the new company, McCallum Enterprises, where she was a major stockholder. Was there ever some romantic relationship between McCallum and Gibney? There is nothing going on now, because, despite the fact the two of them get together for lunch and McCallum is concerned about Gibney's participation in the murder being uncovered, Gibney is seen with a stud boyfriend who gives her a massage as she is on the phone. The end of the show makes no sense at all, aside from a line of dialogue in the final scene being totally unaudible. Kojak finds the Phi Beta Kappa key in Anton's memorabilia, and it has the initials "K.M." on it (those of Karl Maychek, his father). But these initials are also those of Keith McCallum, and McCallum says that the key belongs to him at the end of the show. If so, what is the significance of the date 6-12-51 on the key? If this is a birthdate, that would be 24 years before the show, which is Anton's age when he was killed!

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23. (S03E23) Both Sides of the Law ★★
Original air date: March 7, 1976
Director: David Friedkin; Writer: Gene R. Kearney

SUMMARY:

Kojak and Crocker arrive at The Upstairs Gallery where Kelly McCall (Susan Sullivan), one of Kojak's female acquaintances, is curating an art exhibition which will include five drawings by Rembrandt. When Kelly goes to show them these works which are hanging in a back room, she is horrified to find that they are all missing. Kojak and Crocker give pursuit to two men who came out of the back room as they went in, the Australian Pourette (Don Knight) and Dutchman Niko (Teno Pollick). After a brief car chase, these guys are cornered, but they don't say anything until confronted by Alex Ross (Ben Hammer), a rich businessman who lent the gallery the Rembrandts. They say they want immunity from prosecution before they will reveal where the drawings are. Ross, who says he has a certain "influence," is willing to do this, but he is discouraged by McNeil who says that what the two men are doing is tantamount to blackmail. Ross instead decides to hire Anton Valentine (David Opatoshu), one of the "world's leading criminologists," to investigate. Kojak has encountered Valentine before when he was studying becoming a cop. He says that Valentine, when he knew him, was "a genius" who was concerned about "justice," but McKee (Macon McCalman), an investigator for the Landmark Insurance Company, tells Kojak that Valentine has changed, and now "plays both sides of the law" for a flat $50,000 per case. Valentine soon arrives in New York, and when he meets with the two crooks, Pourette tells him that they have to get out of jail before they will give him any information. To help finance this, Valentine asks Ross for $200,000 rather than his standard $50,000 fee, to which Ross balks, instead offering to give a painting from his collection which Valentine has requested. Later, Pourette tells Valentine he has no idea where the drawings are, but Niko talks in his sleep, so Valentine wires Pourette with a small tape recorder to record these nocturnal babblings, hoping that it will give the location of the Rembrandts. However, this recorder has extra features that the two crooks can use to break out of jail: an antenna which contains a wire that can cut through the bars of their cell and the ability to listen to broadcasts the police in The Tombs make to each other. Niko manages to saw through the cell's lock and Pourette knocks out a guard. With Pourette pretending to be this guard taking` Niko to the infirmary, they then make their way to a cloakroom (or "check room") used by attorneys where Valentine has hidden some trench coats which they use to get out of the building. Kojak, meanwhile, manages to figure out that the Rembrandts were never taken to the gallery in the first place. Instead, Ross, who is short of money and wants to defraud the insurance company, sent forgeries of the drawings which the two crooks burned in a back room. Ross has kept the originals, which are worth over a million dollars, at his place. Kojak and the cops arrive at The Tombs just as Pourette and Niko escape, and they are nabbed as Valentine is going to drive them to the airport, though he says that he really intended to turn them over to the police when they arrived there, a statement which causes Kojak to roll his eyes. Valentine then offers to get the original drawings back from Ross, and they go to the businessman's apartment. Threatening to have Ross charged with "conspiracy to commit grand theft, attempting to defraud an insurance company and aiding and abetting a jail breakout," Valentine does get the paintings, but he takes them and rappels down the building, telling Kojak over the radio, "I love to double-cross the crooks." When Kojak hauls up the rope Valentine used, he finds the paintings attached to the end of it.

REVIEW:

The premise of this episode, of Ross defrauding the insurance company, is OK, but a lot of the script is dumb. The whole business of the two crooks breaking out of jail is ridiculous. Valentine wires Pourette with a mini-recorder. We have seen this recorder previously when Valentine demonstrated it for Kojak. The one he tapes to Pourette looks completely different. As well, what is on the side of the recorder which Valentine tapes is kind of a dull color and a clip, whereas when this is seen in closeup, it is the other side of the recorder, shiny metal, like a cigarette lighter. The antenna, which was NOT seen on the one shown to Kojak and looks to be about 6 inches long and you would figure is connected to the device, is not connected at all. Pourette lifts it up and biting it, extracts the thin saw from it. Then there is a "pass key for the closet," presumably the attorneys' cloakroom. This is placed on the back of the adhesive tape which Valentine uses to affix the recorder to Pourette's lower torso, except there is no way this key could have been put there, because when the tape is applied, W.A. Dillon (Macon McCalman), the warden of the Tombs, is standing right beside Valentine and watching him! Finally, there is some black dye which is in the filter for a cigarette which Pourette was smoking as the tape was being applied. When he returns to his cell, he gives this filter to Niko, who shakes it into water in the sink in their cell, where it turns black. I don't understand what the point of this is. Before they escape, Pourette is seen rubbing the dyed water into his pants, but his pants are already a black color. There are other head-scratching things like the fact that in their cell, Pourette and Niko are among several other criminals who can see and hear what they are talking about, not to mention cutting through the lock on the cell with the saw. It's amazing that none of these other crooks, even though they would be under the typical "code of silence," would not want to make a deal with the warden by squealing on what is happening. As well, it's curious that when Pourette is taking Niko to the infirmary and alerting the guards to the prison break and talking to the dispatch station on a walkie-talkie, that they do not clue in to the fact this is not the usual guard because of Pourette's heavily-accented voice. As they are leaving the building, Pourette and Niko both walk right by McNeil, who saw both of them close-up after they were arrested and brought back to the gallery earlier! Finally, there is the equally ridiculous ending of the show, where Valentine drops using, according to McNeil, "over 100 feet of high-strength climbing rope." Where did he get this from? Kojak suggests that Valentine "could have had it stashed in Ross's apartment." Uh, I don't think so.

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