Kojak - Season 5 Episode Reviews

Kojak - Season 5 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 THREE or SEASON FOUR
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.
= Below average, a show to avoid.
1. (S05E01) The Queen of Hearts Is Wild ★★★
Original air date: October 2, 1977
Director: Leo Penn; Writer: Don Bellisario

SUMMARY:

The fifth and final season gets off to a good start with this episode. During a card game at the station, one of the detectives, Tony Bufino (uncredited actor) is sent out for beer. While he is at the corner store, a robbery takes place with the elderly owner shot dead. Tony pursues the killer, William Altman (also uncredited) and is fatally shot by him in a parking garage. This is sort of witnessed by Mary Benson (Connie Sawyer), an old lady who Altman seizes, and in more detail by Janet Carlisle (Paula Kelly), a slick-looking dame driving a hot sports car. After calling the cops, Carlisle splits the scene, though Mrs. Benson gets a partial plate number and later helps produce a sketch of her. Although Carlisle is tracked down, the cops' efforts to get her to identify Altman are stymied, because she is an undercover agent who has infiltrated the local mob and is the mistress of Arnie Brace (Charles Cioffi). Robinson (Edward Power), her handler, pulls rank on Kojak, saying that if they break her cover, months of investigation will have been wasted. This leads to the usual screaming match. After they let Carlisle go, Kojak starts to get under Brace's skin by putting the mash on her when she is at a casino with her boyfriend. This causes Brace to get violent back at his place, giving Carlisle two black eyes. With time running out, Kojak employs a clever ruse. He follows Carlisle to a restaurant where she is having a meal with Brace and two other guys and tells Brace that Carlisle is now his girl friend. This causes Brace to go into a rage and attempt to shoot Kojak in a nearby parking garage, thus violating a rule one of his mobster pals told him: "Don't carry a piece." Brace is busted and Carlisle makes a big noise, telling him that the reason she was in the buildilng where she witnessed the shooting was because she was cheating on him, and because he is such a jerk who has treated her so badly, she gives notice that she is walking out on him and will testify in court the next day, identifying Altman as the grocery store killer. Carlisle's cover is not blown, and Brace will hopefully be locked up soon on a wide variety of charges. Carlisle says that she will go back to work undercover in the syndicate despite all this, because "They dig me; I'm an educated freak ... I'm going to stick with it."

REVIEW:

This story deals with familiar issues: the death of a cop on the job and hassles from the Feds in jurisdictional matters. Cioffi's Brace is a nasty guy, though we don't find out much about him other than the fact that Kojak has had dealings with him in the past, and he is involved with drugs and prostitution. He has a reputation for beating up women. Carlisle says that they have tried numerous angles to get at him -- murder, extortion and tax schemes -- none of which worked, so it is critical that the case not be blown. The way Kojak makes Brace jealous by putting the mash on his girl friend is quite amusing, though you have to wonder how Kojak easily tracks her down to some haute couture dressmaker, the casino and the restaurant.

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2. (S05E02) A Strange Kind of Love ★★★
Original air date: October 9, 1977
Director: Sutton Roley; Writer: Joseph Polizzi

SUMMARY:

Rectangle Cab driver Terry Lawson (James Sutorius) is obsessed with radio station WWRK late-night talk show host Rita McCall (Lee Bryant). Her program is broadcast from what looks like a storefront, where people on the street can watch her talking calls from "the little people, the night people," reacting to them and and dishing out advice as she sits in a hanging wicker chair. When McCall jokingly complains about her employer Stuart Bradford (Doug Hale) on the air, saying "stamp out lousy bosses," Lawson shoots Bedford as he leaves his parking garage (Bradford later dies). When Kojak comes to investigate the shooting, McCall starts to give him a bunch of mouth along the lines of "the streets of New York are not safe any more." Lawson goes to his apartment where he lives with his sister, and listens to more of McCall broadcasting while sitting around dressed only in his underpants. McCall goes on a subsequent rant about hookers, saying she wants to "bring an end to prostitution in our city," telling her listeners to "demand the police get tough." Lawson's reaction is to hire a hooker (Juno Dawson) and, after droning on in a robotic fashion about his mother who was abused by men, shoots her dead. Kojak meets with McCall, who is wearing a head wrap. He calls her a "psychiatrist without a couch" who is only interested in ratings. She resists his request to "tone it down." Crocker's remark that McCall has "a big mouth even when you're off the air" does not help. Kojak gets a cop to stand near McCall as she is on the air, acting as bodyguard. One night when the cop leaves the station after the program concludes, Lawson hides in the back seat of the cop's car and kills him. The cops start to trace Lawson's calls, which pisses her off more, and even McNeil is also getting fed up with her, telling her when she comes to the station, "You have a mouth -- close it!" Kojak visits McCall at home, telling her "some people work at night to avoid relationships." McCall tells him she has big dreams about "anchoring a prime-time news show." She tells Kojak that she won't be his bait. Lawson is finally tracked down with the help of voice analysis on some of his calls, some of which is far-fetched. When Kojak arrives at Lawson's place, his sister says that he has gone out to see "that girl" -- pointing to a picture of McCall on the water heater. Lawson has indeed gone to McCall's apartment. When McCall rebuffs his advances, he screams "You don't want me, you don't want me!" He pulls out a gun and is just about to shoot her when Kojak and Crocker show up. Lawson is wounded and taken away. Before he leaves, Kojak tells McCall, "You know, some people learn the hard way, Rita. You, well, you just go too far sometimes. You remember that, you'll be OK."

REVIEW:

I found McCall's on-air persona and overall attitude to be very annoying, including a lot of confrontational New Age mumbo-jumbo, though she was definitely not as pushy as some her male counterparts of the era, people like Joe Pyne and, in Canada, Pat Burns. On the other hand, Lawson is a total psycho, well-played by Sutorius. When Kojak visits McCall to try and get her to co-operate with the investigation, he raises his voice very loudly. On the other hand, Kojak has a touching scene when he talks to the father of the murdered cop on the phone.

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3. (S05E03) Laid Off ★★★
Original air date: October 16, 1977
Director: Nicholas Sgarro; Writer: Burton Armus

SUMMARY:

Despite getting laid off from the police force because of budget cuts, Kenny Murray is a pretty upbeat guy with two jobs, including driving a cab. His wife Ann (Jenny O'Hara) doesn't share his enthusiasm, though, because Kenny owes about $20,000 to a shylock named Lewis (Joe George) and the two of them and their young son are having great difficulty making ends meet. Ann is suffering from serious depression and seeing a psychiatrist four times a week, who is recommending that she should go to Bellevue. At the beginning of the show, Murray foils a robbery by one of his taxi customers, a punk named Simpson (Jed Cooper). This guy is arrested and Kenny is hailed as a hero by his former pals at Manhattan South. But when he goes to court, Murray is persuaded by Duff (Anthony Ponzini), who works for a local gangster named Hobart (Lee Wallace), to change his testimony for $1,000. Kenny forgets certain details and the case is thrown out, much to the disgust of Kojak and Crocker. Turns out that Simpson ripped off Hobart, so Hobart wants to dish out his own "justice," which is that Simpson is killed. Murray finds himself getting other "job offers" from Hobart, delivering proceeds from their numbers racket to the bank and also transporting bottles of drugs. Because of his financial situation, and the fact that Lewis is threatening his wife, Kenny takes this work. Murray quits his job and switches to the Duet Cab Company, which is owned by Hobart. Kojak finds that the cab Kenny has started driving is connected with Simpson's murder. Another one of Hobart's men, Victor (Anthony Charnota), is getting nervous because he figures that Murray is checking out the contents of some of his shipments. Duff starts to put heat on Murray, and Kojak is tailing his cab, which is seen by Victor. Kenny cals Kojak and lets him know that he is likely to be knocked off. Hobart and Victor take Murray to the print shop and are about to execute him when Kojak and his men show up. As the two hoods use Kenny as a human shield, Kojak says "Remember what you were taught," and Murray knocks both of them over backwards. Later, at Kenny's apartment, Kojak joins him and Ann for dinner. Kojak says that while it will be a tossup between the "good" and "bad" things that Murray has done recently, he seems optimistic that Kenny will be back on the force eventually.

REVIEW

Kojak is sympathetic to Murray's predicament, telling McNeil that he ended up the way he is because of "what we did to him ... we took away his pride." At the end, Kojak tells Kenny and Ann that if he was in the same situation, he would have probably acted the same way. Good acting all around. The only thing I found a bit odd was that after Murray was taken away at the end to be silenced, Duff immediately knew that they were taking him to the print shop, where presumably the labels for their illegal drugs were printed.

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4. (S05E04) Cry for the Kids ★★★
Original air date: October 23, 1977
Director: Leo Penn; Writer: David Taylor

SUMMARY:

When mobster Jason Krieger's brother Eddie is murdered by Lenny Malone (Louie Elias) and Art Largo (Don Watters), two hoods employed by rival gangster Jonas Vukich (Al Ruscio), Krieger (Philip Pine) vows revenge. Through his main man Hackford (Jack Ging), he hires Billy Sherback (Barry Miller), a punk neighborhood kid, to knock off Malone. This killing takes place in a parking lot, and there are no credible witnesses. But under Malone's body, Kojak finds a bag with food being delivered from the restaurant run by Billy's parents Stan (Carmine Caridi) and Ellen (Linda Carlson). When he goes there to investigate, Kojak is told that the bag was packed by Karl Scheer (Louis Guss), their dishwasher. But Scheer has suddenly taken a powder, except to reappear briefly later on the street asking Billy for money to keep his mouth shut. (Soon after this, Scheer is found dead.) Billy's hard-working parents don't know much about the activities of their son, who had a run-in with the cops before when he was arrested for a "prank" breaking into a warehouse and who is continually truant from school. Like most juveniles, Billy's records are sealed and not available to the police, which drives Kojak up the wall because it hampers his ability to solve the case. Hackford is pleased with the way that Billy took care of Malone, and has another job for him: the murder of Largo, who they have tracked down to some fleabag rooming house. Billy would rather not do this, but Hackford suggests that if he doesn't co-operate, his parents' restaurant might be firebombed or his mother might have her "pretty face" messed up. Kojak talks to Sister Catherine (Regina Baff), who witnesses him talking to Billy. He finds out that Billy has hardly been at school, and when he pushes the sister for an explanation why she never did anything about this, she replies, "I want to stay alive. I don't want to be stabbed to death by his [Billy's} gang friends going to my car." Billy goes to Largo's place and kills him, though the whole experience totally rattles Billy, who leaves another lunch bag outside the place. Kojak gets a warrant for Billy's place, where he finds a gun, money and a fancy suit which he says is better than the ones he owns. Billy is hauled downtown and Kojak grills him, but Sgt. Harriet Clark (Susan Adams) from Juvenile oon puts a stop to this. Billy then appears before a judge who lets him off on probation for a year, citing the fact that the charge of murder against him was not proven and he has no criminal record (which, strictly speaking, is not correct, but the record is sealed). As the proceedings come to an end, Kojak interrupts the hearing which causes the judge to clear the room and have a talk with Kojak, saying he had no choice in what he did because in dealing with Billy, his hands are basically tied. Kojak goes to Billy's parents' restaurant, but he is not there. He calls Crocker, telling him to find Billy and also track down Krieger and Hackford. Kojak himself runs into Hackford on the street and gives him a hard time, so much so that Hackford offers to pay a couple of women passing by if they will be witnesses to Kojak's brutal (not) treatment of him. Vukich and his strongman meet Billy at a park and Vukich doesn't seem terribly upset about Billy's killing of his two employees. This is because he wants to set up a meeting with Krieger and Hackford where Billy will kill them both. This is arranged, and because of the tail on Krieger and Hackford, the cops are close by. Billy pulls out a gun as Vukich gets away and Hackford shoots Billy and also attempts to escape. Hackford is nabbed and busted and Billy, who is not too seriously injured, is taken away in an ambulance.

REVIEW:

This episode is pretty good, though Billy, the kid, tends to start crying and blubbering whenever faced with a crisis. The actor playing the part looks around 15-16, whereas he was actually over 19 in real life. The frustration felt by Kojak and McNeil is very evident almost to the point of the show getting preachy. At the end, over a freeze-frame of Kojak, we hear heavy quotes from the two of them during the show, as well the judge who let Billy off the hook. Kojak has some great lines, including during his confrontation with Hackford: "I know you're slime, and you deal in slime, and your friends deal in slime. Next time I'm gong to break your chops with my lollipops [as he is sucking on a Tootsie Pop]." Like he did with episode S02E03, which was about a rape, Cacavas provides a simple-sounding theme which detracts from the show's seriousness.

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5. (S05E05) Once More From Birdland ★★½
Original air date: October 30, 1977
Director: Nicholas Sgarro; Writer: Gene R. Kearney

SUMMARY:

When jazz singer Francesca Milano (Andrea Marcovicci) is introduced to Kojak by her manager Al Grant (Milt Kogan) after a performance, she is very cold to him. Her father K.C. (William Windom) has been in jail for 14 years, convicted of a murder which he did not commit. Even after someone breaks into her place, puts her in the closet and steals her scrapbook with clippings about her father's trial, she tells Kojak "I don't want the police in my life," because cops beat up her father when he was arrested. The intruder is later determined to be her father, released from prison early because of health issues. The circumstances of her father's trial are suspicious. Andrea has a letter from her father to her mother, who died from cancer five years before, saying that the man who killed the pusher was named Addison (Julius Harris), and that K.C., a celebrated jazz clarinetist, was framed by Robert Smith (Richard Venture), a hotel detective. When she learns from the jail warden that her father got early parole, Andrea makes a more-guts-than-brains move by going to Addison, a big threatening black guy into pimping and dope with an equally threatening gang. After she offers him $1,000 to not kill her father, Addison takes the money and scoffs at her, saying she was a "damn fool" not to have gone to the police instead. Kojak shows up and manages to extract both Francesca and himself from a very tense situation. Addison's thugs then stab him to death because he let Kojak go after he told him, "I didn't get where I am backin' down from honky cops." (This stabbing is not seen.) K.C. looks up former members of his quartet to help him track down Smith. From pianist Joe Penney (Teddy Wilson), he borrows $200 to purchase a gun, and guitarist Bob Harris (Joshua Shelley) tells him exactly where Smith is currently employed (kind of a far-fetched revelation). While pursuing K.C. after he uses the $200 to buy a gun from Mark Fish (uncredited actor), Crocker is seriously injured when he is struck by a taxi. Despite this, he comes to the station late at night and figures out Smith's home address. When Kojak and Francesca arrive there, Smith's wife (Peggy McCay) tearfully tells them that her husband framed K.C. because the now-dead Addison had threatened to kill their four-year-old son. In a nick-of-time finale, Kojak shows up at Megan's Bar where Smith works, just after K.C. arrives there and wants Smith (who is also armed with a gun) to sign a paper saying he lied at the trial. Kojak manages to defuse the situation, and the show ends with Francesca joining her father with the other two members of his combo and singing their theme song, For All We Know.

REVIEW:

While Andrea Marcovicci acquits herself very well in the acting and vocal departments, the latter considering she is a professional singer -- though I don't know if that was the case when the show was made, it's hard to accept William Windom as a clarinet player, especially in the final scene where his fingers are not synchronized with the notes he is playing very well at all. The other two musicians -- the pianist and guitar player -- are much more believable as actors, even though Harris only goes back to his "old role" at the end of the show.

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6. (S05E06) Caper on a Quiet Street ★★½
Original air date: November 6, 1977
Director: Edward M. Abroms; Writer: Michael Wagner

SUMMARY:

As the show opens, Danny Schwartz (Al Henderson), member of a gang that robbed an armored car of $6 million which left three people dead and is the only one who knows where the money has been hidden, is having his brains picked by Millie Blasky (Candy Azzara), a hooker whose pimp, Ryan (Armand Assante) is Schwartz's former partner. Schwartz tells Milly that he has no intention of revealing the location of the loot, which was supposed to stay hidden for a year. When two of Ryan's associates, Diesel Ramero (Bill Vint) and Brad Quinn (Chuck Bergansky) suddenly emerge from a nearby truck and come after Schwartz, he flees down the street, at one point running on the roof of cars which are stuck in a traffic jam. This climaxes in a spectacular stunt. Schwartz collapses and, because he has lost his medication on the street, dies of a heart attack. Kojak, who has been watching all this with Crocker and Stavros, talks to Milly, who is leaving the scene. Kojak knows Milly, having put in a good word for her with the D.A. in the past, and tells her that Ryan, who is using her, is bad news. Crocker and Stavros follow the truck containing the two departing hoods, which parks near the Cutler Hotel in Queens near 25th Avenue and 80th Street where Ryan is hanging out with several shady types who are trying to locate the money: the hothead psychotic Ramero, "wheel man" Jesse Hoffstetter (Lawrason Driscoll) and Quinn. Two more men join the gang later: Smoot (John Samo) and another identified in the credits only as "The Expert" (Eugene Davis) who knows the ins and outs of apartment building telephone and alarm systems. The cops are alerted to a theft of tools which could be used to break into a building and rip the walls apart. Some tools are put into the truck outside the hotel, observed by Crocker and Stavros, who are doing surveillance, pretending to be painters from Slocum and Sons working on a nearby building. But the tools being put in the truck is a deception to throw off the cops, because the building where the money is hidden is nowhere near that location. Kojak finds out the street where this building is located from Bobby, Hoffstetter's companion who Ramero has beaten up very badly. Kojak browbeats Milly more when she comes to his office, and when Bobby also shows up and she sees what Ramero has done to him, she decides to lead the cops to the building with the loot. The gang is using a metal detector after forcing tenants who are still in the place into the hallway and, later, the elevator, including some hysterical woman who keeps jabbering in a foreign language. Meanwhile, heavily armed NYPD members show up outside and enter the place. At one point, Milly turns on Kojak and Crocker, holding a gun on them, but when she lets Hoffstetter take over, Kojak and Crocker spray Hoffstetter in the face with water from a sink and overpower him. Ramero, who was wounded by an old man with a gun in one of the apartments when they first started searching the building, is acting more and more irrationally, harassing an attractive woman hostage and killing Smoot when the woman escapes and he can't see straight because of his loss of blood. One by one, the gang members are dealt with by the cops until the end, when the money is finally found. Ryan and Milly tussle over the suitcase full of cash which slips and falls down the stairway, dumping money all over the place. Back at the station house, the entire gang is charged and Milly is to be sent away. Once again, Kojak says he will put in a good word for her.

REVIEW:

This episode required multiple viewings to understand how the cops find out where the building with the money is located, which is somewhere on 61st Street. At the beginning of the show, Ryan says that thanks to Schwartz dropping dead, "We got to hit the whole damn building," meaning they know exactly which building it is. Later, he says "Denny worked in this building, he put it [the money] somewhere." When they are in the building, Ryan tells the men to focus on "six apartments where the fire was ... Denny said he plastered the money in one of them." A burned fragment of a blueprint, supposedly of the building, is found at Schwartz's place after he dies, which doesn't make a lot of sense. Why would he be keeping it? McNeil receives several blueprints from the City Planning Commission which may match this fragment, but this is not used to locate the building, only help the cops later once they are in the building. There are a lot of continuity issues as to which floor of the building the gang is on. The elevator suggests they are on the fourth floor, but at one point, Ryan says "we're moving along three." The number of tenants in the building is stated to be fifteen, with ten of them typically home during the day, but the building seems much larger than this. The topography of the stairway at the end of the show which some of the gang run down in relation to the camera work also leaves a lot to be desired.

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7. (S05E07) Letters of Death
Original air date: November 13, 1977
Director: Nicholas Sgarro; Writers: L.T. Bentwood, Marvin Kupfer & William A. Schwartz

REVIEW:

The problem with this show is that all these clues as to what is going on are thrown at the viewer, but at the end, everything is so horribly confused, the whole plot collapses. Seriously, through much of the show, Telly Savalas looks like he would rather be anywhere else! The central character in this episode is supermodel Janelle Rawlings (Cristina Raines), who is known as the "Midnight Mist Girl." As the show begins, she is being fawned over by the heavily-accented photographer André (Aharon Ipalé), who is trying to get the right pose out of her. She is given an envelope which came in the mail, containing a letter which says "Janelle. Guttertramp. Slut. Sloane's Blood is on your hands," sounding like something you would get on social media these days. When the cops go to the apartment of the aforementioned Bradley Sloane, one of the co-owners of the modelling agency, they find him dead. Janelle is very upset, because she was fond of Sloane and dated him. Bert Marino (Stanley Kamel), headhunter for the agency, was the one who found the body. When he keeps answering Kojak's questions intended for Janelle, Kojak tells him to get lost. Mrs. Broom, who lives in the same building, helps the cops produce a sketch of a woman she saw coming to Sloane's apartment. Janelle later thinks this sketch looks very much like her sister Margaret, who is dead. Another model from the agency tells Stavros that Sloane was a "bum" because of the way he treated her. April Daly (Leigh Hamilton), a hot blonde and aspiring model who figures she is over the hill at the age of 32, tells Kojak that she was with Marino the night of Sloane's murder, even though she was not, likely because she wants some favors from Marino. Janelle has her father living at her apartment. He is near-catatonic for some reason which is never explained and is cared for by a nurse ... who also looks like the sketch of the mysterious woman who killed Sloane. Marshall Tyler (Bernard Behrens), the other owner of the agency, returns from a trip to the West Coast and goes to visit Janelle. He is a older man, a slimy character who tells her that Sloane was "into a lot of strange relationships." He offers her a "two movie deal," and doesn't have many kind things to say about Marino, telling him, like Kojak, to get lost. When Marino is out of the room, Tyler says "Bert is a stray dog who picks up the leftovers." Janelle also wants Tyler to go away, but before he leaves, he tells her "I can make it happen for you." The nurse is listening to this conversation as Janelle invites Tyler back into the room. Soon after this, Tyler is also found dead, murdered by the mysterious woman, who is only seen far away as she shoots him point-blank. Janelle receives another letter which says "If they touch you, they deserve to die. Tyler found that out." When she comes to the scene where Tyler's body was found, Janelle freaks out, screaming at Kojak "I am a murderer," because friends and animals she has had contact with all have died, and her father is just as good as dead. Around this time, another character is introduced into the story, Eddie Hogan (Jason Wingreen), a seedy individual who is a desk clerk at the Hotel Garner. He seems to be having an affair with a woman living at the hotel in room 412 who looks like the nurse or maybe Janelle's sister or maybe even Janelle (don't ask me which). Hogan, who is lying around in his undershirt, looks through a desk in the room, which presumably belongs to this mysterious woman, and finds some newspaper clippings as well as photos of Janelle, Tyler and Marino in envelopes. Later, Hogan shows Rizzo some photos of Janelle placed near the hotel switchboard, but says he cannot recognize the woman in the police sketch, even though she looks similar to the woman he is having an affair with (as much as we can see of her, she is only seen in a shadow). Hogan takes the sketch of Sloane's killer to the hotel's bar where the mysterious woman is having a drink by herself. He tells her that the cops "wouldn't show their appreciation [if he identified who she was], but 'Margaret' [i.e., her] would [if he kept things quiet]." Janelle herself comes to the hotel later to inquire about whether her supposedly dead sister is living there, and another desk clerk says that she is. But if Janelle and Margaret are the same person, this clerk doesn't notice! Soon after this, Hogan is found dead in a room right off the hotel lobby. (I really don't understand the whole point of this business with Hogan and I don't know why the mysterious woman would want to have sex with him, because he is a total slob.) Stavros takes a trip to the Midwest to investigate Janelle's past. He finds that her sister Margaret took LSD when she was a groupie for a rock band, ended up in a hospital and later changed her name to avoid her father who was looking for her, and really did die. So what the heck is the deal with Janelle? Is she someone with a split personality? Kojak says words to the effect that Margaret is not dead as far as Janelle is concerned. Near the end, Janelle, as Margaret, starts screaming at Kojak and her father, calling her sister "That tramp Janelle, that whore!" (She actually spits at her father prior to this.) Janelle pulls out a gun and points it at Kojak, who screams "Janelle, don't let Margaret use you again." The whole ending is crazy, though not cringe-worthy like earlier scenes where Kojak and, later, a drunk Marino talk to Janelle's zombie-like father. During the latter, the only time the old man even attempts to say something during the entire show is when Janelle pulls a gun out of her pocket as if she is going to shoot Marino, but she quickly puts it away. At the end as she is being taken away by the cops, Janelle tells Marino, "My sister did such terrible things." Not as terrible as the people who wrote the script for this show, though!

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8. (S05E08) Tears for All Who Loved Her ★★★½
Original air date: November 20, 1977
Director: Joel Oliansky; Writers: Chester Krumholz, John Meredyth Lucas & Ross Teel

SUMMARY:

Robbie Austin (Fred Bier), a "top level echelon hood" with close ties to a mob boss known only as "Papa" (Sam Jaffe), is shot dead by his wife Carol (the sexy Jennifer Warren) after his bodyguard and chauffeur Fred Toomey (Granville Van Dusen) hesitates to do the job. She stands to inherit $3 million, and Toomey was going to benefit with $10,000 and a split of Austin's estate. When Kojak shows up to investigate, we learn that Carol was once romatically involved with him. As a result, he assigns Crocker to be in charge of the case. Carol tells the cops that she was "ignorant" of her husband's business affairs. Crocker starts to get emotionally involved with her, visiting her more than once, walking with her in the park and taking her out for drinks. When Papa gets a couple of his thugs to bring Carol to see him, she gives him an emotional story, and he applauds, telling his men, "In all the plays you go to on Broadway, you never saw a better performance." Kojak shows up and tells Carol to get in his car. Papa tries to get chummy with his "old friend" Kojak, who turns on him and says "I'm a cop and you're a killer, and an old one. You're getting tired, your teeth are falling out, your nails are dull, and in that graveyard, you've got more victims than I can count." Toomey comes to Carol and blackmails her, saying he wants $50,000 right now, because he "wants to be somewhere else." He threatens Carol with the gun she used to kill her husband -- who he says was going to dump her -- which he still has; her fingerprints are all over it. Later, Papa's goons convince Toomey to "waste" Carol and a meeting is scheduled for Pier 86 the next morning. Carol has another gun, however, and Kojak and his men show up at the last minute to prevent Carol and Toomey from killing each other. Carol whispers to Kojak that they could do a lot of things with her $3 million inheritance, but Kojak slaps the handcuffs on her and she is taken away.

REVIEW:

For a last-season entry, this show is surprisingly good. Carol is a real femme fatale playing all the men in her life to the max. Crocker gets so worked up over her that when Kojak starts asking questions about the investigation, Crocker tells his boss, "Just stay the hell away!" There are a couple of big clues that establish Carol as the killer: the fact that her doctor said she was allergic to sleeping pills, which she said she took prior to the killing of her husband by some stranger who broke in to the house, and the fact that she turned on the light after the shooting, which means she saw who the killer was. (She claimed that the murder scene was totally dark and the killer ran into her on his way out.) The score by Cacavas has a very "classical sound" to it with a lachrymose solo viola or cello, some of which sounds like it has been electronically altered.

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9 & 10. (S05E09 & S05E10) The Summer of 69 ★★★★
Original air date: December 4 & 10, 1977
Director: Gene R. Kearney; Writer: Gene R. Kearney

SUMMARY:

The show begins with Ray Blaine (Stephen McHattie) visiting the grave of his mother in Providence, Rhode Island with his father Howard (Sam Gilman). According to the father, Ray was responsible for his mother's death in 1969 because he was "crazy as a child, an animal." Ray says that when his father was at work, his mother went out, suggesting she was having sex with other men. Ray further says that after he was 12 years old, his mother "took me in on it," perhaps meaning child sexual abuse. As Ray leaves the cemetery, his father tells him his mother always hated him. Ray's response is to drive through the cemetery, knocking over his mother's tombstone with his car. Ray leaves Providence and heads for New York City. On the way there, he picks up this free-spirited blonde woman. She resists his for intimacy and he eventually murders her, leaving her in the trunk of his stolen car which is abandoned on a New York street. Kojak gets a call when the woman's body is discovered, because the way she was killed, including her wrists being tied, stab wounds in her back and tape on her eyes, the last of which was never revealed to the public, is exactly the same as The Clothesline Killer who murdered three women in 1969, a case which was closed when Kojak shot the man he thought responsible, Fred Toner (Brian Farrell). Kojak is now concerned that he shot the wrong man. Blaine visits a boxing gym run by George Devane (Woodrow Parfrey) where his old friend Rudy Diaz (Pepe Serna) hopes to buy an interest with the proceeds from $30,000 worth of marijuana growing in the basement of his apartment. Blaine, who had a certain reputation in prison as a boxer, tries out with Quade (Harrison Page), a black fighter who is being groomed for big things. Blaine is knocked out by Quade, but two guys, an older one identified only as "The Man" (Alex Dreier) and his sidekick Silas (Kenneth O'Brien) have their eye on Blaine because he it looks like he doesn't want to fight, but "to kill." Blaine, who is seriously conflicted over his murderous ways because of his Catholic faith, reacts by hiring a hooker and strangling her. Because of Kojak's connection to the earlier case and wanting to avoid any issues if he did kill the wrong man, Kojak is taken off the case by the Chief of Detectives (Thalmus Rasulala) and assigned to a desk job. Instead, Kojak says he will go on vacation, which just means that he investigates behind the scenes, staying in a back room at Stella's bar and keeping in touch with McNeil. Previously, Kojak visited Irene Van Patten (Diane Baker), who was his girl friend in 1969, asking her if she recalled certain details of the case. He got a chilly reception, because she has not seen him for many years, but when she meets him again, she apologizes, telling him that she had him tailed by a private investigator back then because she was suspicious that he was having affairs with other women. This was true, and one of the women mentioned in the P.I.'s report was a waitress named Sheila (Catlin Adams), who saw Blaine together with a friend named Gail Ryan who became the last of the original murdered women. Kojak also manages to find the radio from Blaine's car which was abandoned on the street; the radio was stolen by some punk from the neighborhood who works in a garage. Using a process of elimination with the pre-set station buttons on the radio, Kojak determines that the car came from Providence, and later using other information obtained by some of his fellow cops, that Blaine is a likely suspect for the killings, both recently and eight years before. Kojak's replacement in the precinct, Lt. Williamson (Phillip R. Allen) has Blaine hauled in for questioning, even though they have no hard evidence to put him away. As a result, "The Man" arranges for Blaine's release and, as he drops Blaine's off at Rudy's place, offers him a high-paying job as an assassin. Blaine is about to leave town to pursue this new vocation, but Kojak, armed with information from Sheila, who he has managed to track down, arrives at Rudy's place. Blaine attempts to hide in the basement with the marijuana farm, but Kojak figures out he is there and appeals to Rudy to give up his friend. Kojak goes down into the basement, where Blaine is killed after a gunfight. "The Man" calls his boss to report what happened, saying how disappointed he is, and Kojak is welcomed back to the station by the men working there.

REVIEW:

Gene Kearney does triple duty with this show as writer, director and producer. He is complimented by outstanding acting by everyone concerned, especially Stephen McHattie who is so good ... which is to say so bad. Watch the scene near the end where "The Man" offers Blaine $20,000 in advance for "his services." He says he wants Blaine to be a hit man for his organization, but Ray says he can't do this because he is "too religious." Blaine continues, saying every time he has killed, he has gone to a priest but could not confess. "The Man" says "You have just confessed, finally, haven't you? An end to the guilt, that's the real prize I offer you." Blaine falls, sobbing, into the arms of "The Man," who pats him on the back. As Blaine sits back up, there is a huge grin on his face and he is laughing, totally evil. There are only a couple of small flaws with this episode. One is that the clothesline used to murder the women in 1969 was a particular type of rope called Bluebird. So is the one used in the first murder at the time of the show, which seems like a huge coincidence, but perhaps there were not that many brands of clothesline rope available. The second has to do with how Toner, the burglar, and Blaine, the killer were mixed up in 1969. There is blood evidence on Toner's jacket which Toner says was "borrowed" by Blaine as they are removing things from Toner's room, including cameras which Toner had stolen, in a flashback. Blaine was obviously wearing the jacket when he committed the early murders. (Toner and Blaine were living in rooms next to each other at the YMCA.) As well, the knife used in the killings was in the pocket of this jacket. Blaine says "I must have lost it." Blaine no doubt sneaked back into Toner's room after the latter was killed by Kojak and planted the jacket and the knife there as well as some of the ropes. (Blaine was arrested on October 17, 1969, the next day, charged with stealing the cameras.) Cacavas provides an excellent score, which incorporates several pop tunes of the era including Going Out of My Head.

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11. (S05E11) Case Without a File ★★½
Original air date: December 17, 1977
Director: Nicholas Sgarro; Writer: Joe Gores

SUMMARY:

[This is the last summary of the regular season shows I am writing, so it is a bit longer than normal...]

Private detective Larry Jordan (Lyman Ward) arrives outside his office with his girl friend (Angel Tompkins), who is driving her Cadillac. They smooch a bit and he goes into his building to meet with a client, though the time is after 3 a.m. in the morning. The girl friend, whose name is Jocelyn Mayfair, is a brunette. She is really a blonde, and wearing a wig. (Has Larry never noticed this?)

Jordan leaves a taped message for his secretary to settle with his wife (from whom he is getting a divorce) for $2,000 a month and book him a trip to Bermuda.

Jackson Kilpatrick (Sidney Clute) shows up at the office and gives Jordan an envelope containing $5,000, saying he will give him the rest next month. Kilpatrick then shoots Jordan dead. Outside Jocelyn hears the sound of gunshots. She runs into the building, bumping into Kilpatrick on the way out. She finds Larry's body and calls the cops, then wipes her prints off the phone and elsewhere.

Although Sidney Clute's TV and film career started in the 1950s, he looks like an old-style gumshoe from a 40s (or 50s) film noir. His character actually is a detective from NYPD who has been selling BCI (Bureau of Criminal Investigations) information to Jordan's partner, ex-cop Nelson Hewett (Floyd Levine) for a very high price, which is a felony. Jordan found out about this and was shaking Kilpatrick down. Kilpatrick committing murder over this seems kind of extreme.

Kojak at his men show up at the office to investigate. Hewett tells Kojak that Jordan wanted to square things away with his wife Joan (Shelby Leverington), who arrives around this time. She is bitter about her husband leaving her, saying "This part of my life is over." Hewitt says that while he and Larry were partners, they didn't work on too many cases together.

Kilpatrick is trying to track down Jocelyn by calling her aunt Marion Mayfair (Margaret Fairchild), who lives at 940 Parklane, Easthampton, Long Island. This is the address that Kilpatrick got when looking up Jocelyn's motor vehicle registration for her car with the licence number 374-FEM. The aunt tells Kilpatrick she is not Jocelyn's answering service and hangs up.

Back at the station, Kojak and the men go through Jordan's paperwork, finding information which he could have only gotten from BCI statistics. McNeil wants them to investigate this right away, saying "Our files in the wrong hands could be pretty dangerous."

Kojak is at Jordan's funeral along with Hewett and Jordan's secretary Donna Socrates (Erica Hagen). Hewett says the night Jordan was murdered, Donna was with him, "an on and off thing for about a year now." There is a couple attending whose presence is questionable: Phil Brean (James Blendick), a bartender who came to the agency a few months ago and a woman who is a singer at his club, who Hewitt says should more correctly be called "a swinger." He says she was "slipping away from [Brean] to see a doctor about some medical problems," i.e., having an affair. This singer is actually Jocelyn without her brunette wig and Brean's wife.

Kojak brings up the issue of Hewitt buying information from some crooked cop, but Hewitt brushes it off, saying he is quite aware of the penalties for doing so and that "sometimes we need that information."

Kojak returns to Jordan's office to go through his financial reports. He runs into Donna, who seems much more cheerful than she was at the funeral. Donna, who starts to act like a dame in a private eye movie, sitting on his desk, asks Kojak if he ever considered being a P.I., adding that she always wanted to work for one after watching the TV show Richard Diamond which featured an enigmatic woman named Sam who answered Diamond's phone calls. Donna pours Kojak a shot of booze as he puffs on a cigarette he found in Jordan's desk drawer.

They are interrupted by "Ma" Wonderly (Kathleen Freeman), who owns a used car lot, Wonderly's Wonderful Wheels in Queens. She is a loud and overbearing middle-aged woman who grabs the booze on the desk and pours herself a drink. She says she talked to Jordan on the phone on the afternoon of the day he was killed and he was going to handle a case for her. But Donna slips away to check the records, and finds that this is totally untrue. Ma wonders if Kojak can take her case, thinking he works for the firm, and he plays along.

Wonderly says that Jordan is supposed to locate "a broad" named Jocelyn Mayfair who has ripped her off for a $12,000 Cadillac convertible after making only the down payment. She gives Kojak Jocelyn's Long Island address, saying that when she phones, no one will talk to her. Ma says not to talk to Jocelyn, just "find out where she is and I will do the rest." Donna says the charge for Kojak's services is $100 a day plus expenses. Kojak adds, "This is not your local gendarmerie, you know, this is private personal service."

Dressed in a trench coat, Kojak goes to see the aunt on Long Island, totally annoying her by smoking in the presence of her pet bird Eloise (which the aunt has asked him not to do). Jocelyn is described by the aunt as "the offspring of my pecunious younger brother who went out west and never returned." She has ended up as "a girl of very bad habits" with "bad friends" and is "married to a very common sort of man." The aunt thinks that Jocelyn's husband-to-be bought the Cadillac for her instead of a ring. When Kojak lights up another cigarette, the aunt gives him Jocelyn's current address and kicks him out.

Kojak arrives at Jocelyn's place in Greenwich Village only to find her miserable and in tears -- and a blonde. When Kojak tells her he came to see about the payments on the car she got from Wonderly, Jocelyn says she has no idea who Wonderly is, and that Phil, her husband, bought her the car when they were married, paying cash. She tells Kojak to check with the Motor Vehicles Bureau. After he leaves, Jocelyn stops crying and puts on her brunette wig.

Crocker investigates and finds that the Cadillac was purchased with cash from an auto dealership on Staten Island. Kojak goes to Wonderly's car lot, where he tells her what he has learned about the car's history. She is annoyed because he actually spoke to Jocelyn, until Kojak flashes his police badge, telling her that Jordan also never had a case from her. Ma says that after hearing about Jordan's death, she went to the agency, making up a story about how he already took her case so someone else from the place would just take it over.

Ma suddenly changes her tune, saying she wanted to hire a P.I. because she thought her boyfriend, the salesman on her lot identified in the credits as "Greek God" (Tony Sirico) who is a young, "vigorous" "hunk of man" is cheating on her. She says she found Jocelyn's name in her boyfriend's matchbook after he was playing poker with his friends, a game which he never wins.

Kojak gives Wonderly a phony address -- 189 West Houston Street, Apartment 5D -- for Jocelyn. He leaves his micro-cassette recorder in the office for a few minutes and records a call from Ma to someone who she gives Jocelyn's address to, telling them "Now this squares us. Get out of my life, you understand?" He returns to pick up his hat where he hid the recorder, telling her "You better give us old guys a shot too," then goes back to the station where he gets Crocker to analyze the dial tones from the call Ma just made, which was to 753-5505.

Kojak returns to Ma's car lot, where he tells her the reason for him to investigate her "Balkan baklava" boyfriend is baloney. She replies that the truth is, someone who is trying to get her for something that happened in her past is extorting her for $200 a month, but recently told her if she would get Jocelyn's address, the payments would stop.

Crocker says the phone number with the answering machine belongs to "Ray Smith, probably an alias." It 's located in a mail drop at Room 203, 42567 Hudson Street.

Jocelyn and Brean go to Jordan's apartment, where Jocelyn says she has never been before. Brean urges her to go to the cops and tell them what she knows about Jordan's murder, even though she really didn't look at his killer that closely. Brean is hoping for a reconciliation, asking her to come back to his apartment, but she says she wants to stay there "with Larry's memories" for one night. Brean gives her a gun to make her feel "safer." She says "If I have to [use it], I will." They are interrupted by Kojak, but Brean hits him with a suitcase and they both flee. (It looks to me like Kojak could have seen Kojak during this altercation.) Kojak makes note of their license plate as they leave, 032-YIP, which is later traced to Brean.

Kojak goes to The Boathouse where Brean works as a bartender and Jocelyn is a singer. He asks another bartender named Jeff some questions, finding out that Brean prefers brunettes, which is why his wife wears a wig. Kojak overhears a phone conversation between Brean and Jocelyn where he tells her not to stay at Larry's place any more, because he is worried that whoever killed Jordan might track her down. But she is there anyway.

Kojak goes to the apartment where he pulls out his police badge when Jocelyn tells him to leave. When he says that Brean is a major suspect in Jordan's death, she says she still loves him and she helped him kick his drinking habit. But she says "I thought his love would carry me, until I met Larry." When Kojak tells her they are working on getting the person who is after her, she pleads with him not to leave and says, tearfully, "Help me make it through the night."

Not surprisingly, Kojak cannot resist, but sometime during the night, Jocelyn gets hold of Kojak's "little black book" which he carries with him and finds Kilpatrick's address.

Kojak goes to see Hewett the next day and suggests that Brean is Nelson's killer, because his wife was Larry's secret lover. Kojak tells Hewett he really wants the name of Hewett's informant, but this is all a setup to make Hewett call Kilpatrick. When Crocker checks the Bureau of Criminal Identification, he finds Kilpatrick there reading Brean's file, and overhears a phone call Kilpatrick makes to Hewett saying "we don't have much on him." Armed with the fact that Kilpatrick is Hewett's contact, Kojak returns to the office, telling him that Kilpatrick was shaking down Ma Wonderly and probably a lot of other people using the information he obtained from BCI.

Kilpatrick goes to his office, but Jocelyn, who got the address from Kojak's book, is there and she shoots him dead with the gun Brean gave her. Kojak, who is still with Hewett, speculates that Kilpatrick was the one who killed Jordan.

Kojak returns to The Boathouse. He and Jocelyn go to track down Brean, who is at the end of the pier nearby. He asks both Brean and Jocelyn where they were around the time that Kilpatrick was murdered. Jocelyn says she was there around six when Kojak says he called the place. But Kojak then says he never called. When Brean threatens to kill Kojak because he killed Kilpatrick, Kojak tells him about the love that Jocelyn had for Larry. Brean forces Kojak to walk down some stairs, but Kojak hits him and Brean falls down below. Jocelyn confesses to killing Kilpatrick, telling Kojak he will "get the best of" her if he gets her off the hook. Kojak tells her it is time he started acting like a cop, showing her that he has been recording everything she said.

REVIEW:

This episode is seen by some as an homage to classic crime films like The Big Sleep, To Have and Have Not and The Maltese Falcon. (McNeil actually refers to The Maltese Falcon at one point.) Like these films, the plot contains wacky characters like "Ma" Wonderly, red herrings and goes off in unanticipated directions. The well-dressed Kojak assuming the persona of a hard-boiled detective is not that easy to accept, especially considering he never takes off his trench coat or even his hat while he is on the job interviewing people. It's also hard to understand why McNeil does not make a lot more noise about the fact that Kojak is really not spending much time around the office. The plot of this episode seems unusually complicated, but it really is not ... if you watch the show multiple times, as I did.

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12. (S05E12) I Could Kill My Wife's Lawyer ★★★
Original air date: December 24, 1977
Director: Russ Mayberry; Writers: Gene R. Kearney & Harriet Margulies

SUMMARY:

Men from the precinct are out for some R&R on a boat owned by Richie Centorini (Joey Aresco) when they are called back to work by Kojak. During the subsequent stakeout of a large cocaine transaction, Centorini saves his elderly partner Larry Morton (Paul Larson) who is wounded during a shooting. Because he is close to retirement age, Morton is "put out to pasture." Centorini is having serious personal problems. His wife Sally (Shera Danese) is pregnant and acting "crazy." She comes to the station to lambaste him in front of his colleagues, accusing him of being unfaithful with informers who are hookers. She leaves in a huff, telling him not to bother coming home any more. Sally goes to Everett Craig Coughlin (David Ladd), a very sleazy lawyer specializing in divorce. Pressed for cash, Centorini puts his boat up for sale. Coughlin sends Jerome Smith (Joseph X. Flaherty), his process server, to offer $2,000 for the boat, which is worth at least five times that. Centorini is pissed, and confronts Coughlin in the parkade of his building, calling him a shyster and smashing the headlights on the lawyer's car. This incident comes to the attention of McNeil. Through his lawyer Greg Kirkorian (Herbie Braha), Centorini makes what he thinks is a reasonable offer to his wife, but Coughlin pooh-poohs everything. Centorini responds by taking all his earthly possessions and depositing them in Coughlin's front office. He also gives a Coughlin a symbolic blank check, telling him to "help yourself." Soon after this, Coughlin gets together with Alvin Kettle (Douglas Dirkson), an arsonist-for-hire. That evening, Kettle torches Centorini's boat, but also ends up burning himself to death. As Centorini confronts the remains of the boat the next day, Kojak suggests that he get revenge on Coughlin, who was obviously responsible, by making a case against him. Part of the problem is trying to establish a connection between Coughlin and Kettle. Kojak visits Coughlin in his office and finds out that Coughlin was out of his office at a certain time, probably when he was with Kettle, but cannot get any further details. Coughlin takes the blank cheque Centorini gave him and makes it out to Kettle, then has it deposited in Kettle's mailbox where it is eventually found by the cops. This does not go well with Internal Affairs. The now-retired Morton helps build a bogus case against Coughlin with the help of Nadine (Misty Rowe), who works for The Diplomat Massage Parlor, as well as police records which suggest that Coughlin's car was in an accident, in order to force the lawyer to admit where he was when he met Kettle. Using this information, a "citizen's arrest" of Coughlin by Morton is made, but at this point, Kojak can't take Morton's "frame" any more and tells him to "stay out of Manhattan South." However, Kojak gets Stavros to follow up on information that Coughlin provided, which finally leads to a connection between him and the arsonist and enough evidence to go to a grand jury. Kojak is quite happy to tell Coughlin what he thinks of him in the hall outside the courtroom. As far as Centorini's wife Sally is concerned, she has been feeling for some time that her lawyer's methods were too extreme, and the show closes with the two of them fixing up the burned boat.

REVIEW:

Coughlin really is the Lawyer from Hell and David Ladd's performance almost verges on parody at times. Leaving his office, Kojak has a great line for him: "If you come to my office first, would you call first? You'll feel right at home. We got cock-a-roaches." At the end of the show, Kojak rattles off the things Coughlin will probably have to face -- conspiracy to commit arson, a homicide during a crime, forgery and planting false evidence -- so that the smug look is wiped off Coughlin's face for a few minutes at least. Then Kojak sucks on a Tootsie Pop. I thought at first Centorini's wife's mood swings during her pregnancy were kind of extreme (especially the business about getting a divorce), but a quick Google search of "crazy pregnancy" changed my mind on that.

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13. (S05E13) Justice for All ★★★
Original air date: January 7, 1978
Director: Jim Benson; Writers: Michael Kozoll & Ross Teel

SUMMARY:

Kojak gets an "offer he can't refuse" to become the chief investigator for the prestigious law firm of DeHaven, Lindsey and Moore, in charge of criminal, corporate, industrial and military cases at a salary of $60,000 a year. The man making the offer is Tom DeHaven (Charles Aidman), who refers to some of Kojak's most celebrated cases: The Marcus-Nelson Murders, the Azure Dee case and the Chinatown Murders, calling Kojak "the smartest, toughest policeman in New York." Kojak is kind of preoccupied for the moment, though, because a batch of contaminated heroin is killing junkies, five in three days. It isn't until a couple of college girls die from overdoses that the investigation kicks into high gear. Francis "Sonny" Canavere (Michael Cavanaugh), the pusher who supplied the girls, is picked up based on a sketch by his building's janitor (Rudy Bond). When his lawyer, Kyle Becker (Peter Hobbs) recommends that Canavere take a deal offered by Assistant D.A. Linnick (George Wyner), pleading guilty and accepting a sizeable amount of money from an anonymous benefactor, Canavere freaks out at the prospect of spending another stretch in jail and hangs himself in the precinct's washroom. When Linnick starts complaining about how this has caused the heroin investigation to flounder, McNeil scoffs, telling him "You're an Assistant D.A., period, and not such a great one at that." Crocker gets a lead to a boutique called Billy's Corner, run by Billy Spender (Sammy Williams), who imported the heroin from Mexico and then did a bad job of cutting it. A search of Spender's store finds a scale used for measuring dope as well as some packets of heroin. Paperwork from the store reveals Spender is in partnership with Christopher Wyatt (Ralph Byers), son of a local big shot who uses DeHaven's company as his law firm. It appears from this paperwork that Wyatt not only financed the store, but also Spender's trip to Mexico. Disturbed by this information, Kojak goes to DeHaven's office and runs into Wyatt, who is just leaving. Kojak says he feels uncomfortable taking his new job, and finds out that Spender was going to the take the fall for the heroin-related deaths and Wyatt was going to pay $150,000 per year to Spender for every year he spent in jail. Kojak says "That's not my idea of law; that's not my idea of justice." He leaves DeHaven's office as the lawyer calls him a "poor, dumb cop."

REVIEW:

This episode is good, but there are a few minor details that could have made it better. For example, Kojak gets a lead on Spender's store via Crocker which consists of some small piece of paper. Presumably this was something they found on Canavere's person after he killed himself at the station. But it is not specifically described. Canavere leads Crocker on an interesting chase which involves jumping from building to building across alleyways; this goes on for about two and a half minutes. Some of the music during this show is kind of mediocre.

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14. (S05E14) Mouse ★★½
Original air date: January 21, 1978
Director: Harvey S. Laidman; Writer: Art Eisenson

SUMMARY:

Irving Paul Abernathy (Ben Piazza) comes to see Dr. Theodore Shane (Peter Brandon) regarding a bill of $16,000 which has been due for a year. Abernathy refuses to pay this, which is for an operation on Abernathy's mother which he says was not only unnecessary but constituted "murder." Also present at this meeting is Todd Flynn (Lincoln Kilpatrick), an enforcer for loan shark/bookie Billy Dunvalo (Michael Witney), to whom Shane owes a lot of money for sports betting. When Abernathy goes away and returns later, presumably with the payment, Flynn starts hassling him on the street outside Shane's office. Abernathy grabs Flynn's cane, knocks him down and breaks his kneecaps, sending him to the hospital. When Kojak goes to visit Flynn in the hospital, he refuses to say anything. Dunvalo is there and he tells Kojak that Flynn was hit by a car. Shane, who witnessed the assault on Flynn from his office, calls Abernathy and threatens to expose him. Abernathy tells him if he does that, he will tell all that Shane killed his mother to pay off his gambling debts. There is a witness to the assault on Flynn, Edith Leverkune (Laura Campbell). She remembers that before Abernathy fled the scene in a taxi, he touched the boot of a vintage Rolls-Royce which was parked nearby, perhaps leaving his fingerprints. Kojak puts a tail on Dunvalo which annoys him so much that he tells Flynn to swear out a complaint against Abernathy just to get the cops off his back. Dunvalo calls Shane and offers to forgive the doctor's debt if he will give him Abernathy's name and address, which the doctor does in a meeting between the two in the public library. Kojak talks to Shane's nurse Beth Avild (Marti Stevens), who tells him that Shane made numerous calls to "Mr. D" (Dunvalo) and, in her opinion, the operation on Abernathy's mother was completely unnecessary. The Rolls-Royce containing Abernathy's fingerprints almost gets washed, but Crocker arrives to save the day. The prints reveal Abernathy is a bonded and certified public accountant. Kojak and McNeil discuss whether they should bust Abernathy. Kojak says "This guy hasn't got a life worth living," but McNeil says that despite Kojak's sympathy for him, he is still a felon, and that "We both know the difference between the law and justice." Kojak and Crocker catch Dunvalo breaking into Abernathy's place and Kojak arrests the accountant as well. Only problem is, in doing so, Kojak conveniently forgets several procedures such as reading Abernathy his rights, so the case is thrown out of court, thoroughly upsetting Assistant D.A. Cecilia Quinones (Maria Smith-Caffey). Quinones does manage to get Shane to testify against Dunvalo for bookmaking and attempted extortion if the doctor will agree to give up medicine. Dunvalo laughs at Kojak when he meets him in the hallway, saying that his punishment will be relatively insignificant. As the show closes, McNeil tells Kojak he will probably face Internal Affairs over his sloppiness in dealing with the case, but Kojak's attitude is "to err is human."

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This is a potentially interesting story, but some of the characters could have been better developed. The "mousey" Abernathy is not particularly nerdy, to the extent that Kojak and McNeil discuss near the end of the show. He just seems kind of nervous and there are a couple of shots focusing on the way he walks. I think it is very unlikely that he could really have put the much larger Flynn out of action. This is not like the classic episode of The Defenders where William Shatner kills some guy who is blocking his way on the street because Shatner had developed martial arts skills in the military. Leverkune is not a head-turner like many of the young women who come to the office, but instead is kind of new-age flaky, participating in group therapy sessions. At least that is something different. Neither the character of Shane and Dunvalo are particularly convincing. This is the first of two shows in a row which feature female assistant district attorneys. It is interesting that the case against Abernathy is lost, because earlier Quinones is seen lecturing Kojak and his men on the importance of following procedures when arresting someone. While she is giving this speech, Rizzo is reading The Racing Form.

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15. (S05E15) Chain of Custody ★★★
Original air date: January 28, 1978
Director: Russ Mayberry; Writers: Chester Krumholz & Matthew Rapf

SUMMARY:

Kojak's tailor Charlie Gerson (Jack Somack) wants to come down to the police station and swear out a warrant against loan shark Frank Hennessey (Paul Sorensen), but before he leaves his office, he is visited by Hennessey's son Joe (Madison Arnold) who threatens and kills him. As Joe flees the building, he dumps his gun in a garbage can where it is grabbed by a mounted policeman who then pursues him in a patrol car with another cop. The gun is thrown on the car's back seat and not secured, so the chain of custody is broken. When the case comes to trial, it is badly bungled by Assistant Deputy Attorney Tom Turner (Jack Hogan) and thrown out by Judge Walter Miller (Alan Rich). Kojak has some inkling this would happen, because he heard on a wiretap of Hennessey's office that "it's all been arranged," meaning that the charge of first degree murder against Joe would be overturned. Kojak is furious, berating Turner in front of everyone in the courthouse hallway, calling him a "blundering idiot" and saying "I'm going to nail [Hennessey] just to prove what a dumb dog you are." Later, Kojak tells Turner that he is also going to prove that he lost the case on purpose. This does not go over well with the police brass, and Kojak is suspended and ordered to turn in his shield. Kojak continues to investigate as a private citizen, talking to Assistant DA Lakos (Phyllis Glick), who says that Turner lost several cases in the last couple of years which were connected with Hennessey. Kojak also meets with Judge Walter Cleary (Fred Carney), who suggests that if you want to make a case go your way, you should fix the judge. Kojak goes to Turner's stockbroker Joseph Yardley (Paul Napier), pretending to be the owner of Kojak Importing, a company which deals in olive oil. Yardley tells him that Turner has a lot of money to spend on high-risk stocks, much more than Kojak knows Turner is making with his yearly salary. Meanwhile, Turner goes to see Judge Miller. Miller knows Kojak is snooping around but says that Kojak will never know that Turner borrowed money from Hennessey, who he describes as "an influential man." On the wiretap which is still on Hennessey's office, Kojak hears Turner and Hennessey discussing the case, with proof positive that Turner was paid off. Kojak gets "invitations" for both Turner and Miller to testify in front of the grand jury. These subpoenas were created by Cleary, who gloats over his participation in helping to clean up corruption in the court system. But Kojak lets him have it too, saying the only reason he took this action was because Cleary wanted to get Miller's job for himself.

REVIEW:

There have been several shows during the last five years where Kojak got jerked around by the district attorney's office, but they saved the best for last, with Kojak up against what seem like insurmountable odds. There are a few problems with the script for this one, though. For example, some time after he is suspended, Kojak is seemingly back on the job, with no mention of when or why this happens. He is seen hanging around with McNeil in the station house and going to see Turner asking for a wiretap on Hennessey's office -- but there already is a wiretap, which Kojak got approval for from Laktos near the beginning of the show! (Wouldn't Turner know about this?) The look behind the scenes in Miller's office is interesting, but there is no indication how Miller is going to benefit from intentionally conspiring to throw a case with Turner, as he tells the assistant D.A. As well, nothing is really done about the fact that Louie (Bob Basso) actually witnessed Joe shooting Charlie at the beginning of the show and no one from the D.A.'s office bothered to interview him about this. Of course, this may have something to do with the issue of "double jeopardy" which resulted when Joe Hennessey was let off the hook.

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16. (S05E16) The Captain's Brother's Wife ★★★
Original air date: February 4, 1978
Director: Charles S. Dubin; Writers: Chester Krumholz & Rift Fournier

SUMMARY:

This episode features Shelley Winters as Evelyn McNeil, the captain's sister-in-law. Her husband, McNeil's brother, was also a cop, but he was shot in the line of duty, retired and died some time ago. Evelyn is a compulsive gambler and a con artist who is connected with various shady individuals. When Kojak gets her a job at a stock exchange, she uses the company's phones to take bets and when she buys a $375 watch for McNeil's wife with a bounced cheque, Kojak covers the debt. She owes a lot of money to two hoods named Hicks (John Karlen) and Morgan (Frank Sivero), but when she has to give $5,000 to two other shysters, she makes up a story that she had to pay off Kojak. At the same time that Evelyn is driving him nuts, Kojak is in charge of an operation to keep a protected witness named Charlie Winston (Basil Hoffman) safe. Winston is scheduled to appear in front of the grand jury where his testimony will likely result in gangster Larry Arcadia (Andy Romano) being charged with first degree murder. When Winston manages to escape from Rizzo and Stavros, who are in charge of taking care of him, Kojak and McNeil have to make up some pretty elaborate excuses to keep District Attorney Lynn (Conrad Janis) from finding out. Winston doesn't stay lost for long, returning to the dry cleaners where his girl friend Marie (Sondra Blake) works. He is grabbed by the cops and hidden away again. Meanwhile, Arcadia is hauled to the station and told by Kojak to keep far away from Winston. On his way out of the place, Arcadia hears mention of Evelyn by Rizzo, and he gets his men to abduct her. Then Arcadia phones Kojak to say if he wants to see Evelyn alive again, make sure that Winston does not appear at the grand jury. Fortunately, Evelyn's new boyfriend Jack Cohen (Herb Edelman) follows her after she is grabbed by Arcadia and his men and calls Kojak, who quickly arrives at the warehouse where she is being held. Arcadia is busted and Winston testifies. But Evelyn is still in trouble, because Hicks and Morgan confront her at her apartment, wanting to meet with Kojak who has been "bought." Kojak shows up and tells them to forget about the debt that Evelyn owes them, or he will "leak it out on the street what a fool this little lady made out of two top sharp gamblers." As well, Evelyn has to get out of town by the next evening. Hicks and Morgan accept this deal, and Evelyn and Jack leave for Israel the next day.

REVIEW:

Not a bad show, which contains some big laughs as well as several good lines from Kojak. When he confronts Evelyn over the bounced check for the watch, and she says "not exactly" as to whether she has any money in her bank account, he tells her "That's like being 'not exactly' pregnant!" Later, after she is rescued from being kidnapped, Kojak tells her: "When your diaper's wet and you're getting a rash, don't call a cop!" As he lays down the law to Arcadia at his office, Kojak says "I'm not in your shoes, and I'm glad, because they stink, and so do you." There is one lapse in logic, though. When Winston escapes from protection, Marie says that he is concerned about his pet dogs, who are kept in various kennels around town, because Arcadia might use the dogs to get at him. Soon after this, without any explanation as to what happened, other than a vague suggestion that if Arcadia's man came searching for him at the dry cleaners once, he won't return, Winston and the dogs are suddenly at the cleaners where he is picked up by Kojak and his men.

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17. (S05E17) No License to Kill ★½
Original air date: February 11, 1978
Director: Ernest Pintoff; Writers: Bob Bralver, Charlene Bralver & Gene R. Kearney

SUMMARY:

Paul Markham (Michael Baseleon), a hitman known as "The Major," attempts to assassinate Frank DeMarco (Alex Courtney) as he is playing golf with his wife and son at the Bronxwood Golf Course, but misses, which is very unusual, considering he has over 100 kills to his name. The police arrive at the scene almost immediately, but they lose Markham when pursuing him into the 53rd Precinct in the Bronx on his way towards Manhattan. Because Kojak had a connection with Markham in the past, he goes to the crime scene where he meets Lt. George O'Mara (Kenneth McMillan), a cop who has been on the force for 23 years. Kojak is obsessed with catching Markham, and gets himself reassigned to O'Mara's precinct, which produces bad blood between the two of them, since, as McNeil says, they are "dead opposites." When Kojak interrupts an interrogation O'Mara was conducting in a restaurant with Gene Vacelli (T.J. Castronovo), another Italian who was present at the golf course, O'Mara tells Kojak "You just got your ego in a line because The Major knocked off some diplomat you couldn't protect a half dozen years ago." DeMarco is unnerved by the hit, and goes to visit Chok Low (Evan Kim), who he suspects is behind it. Low is a shady businessman attempting to get shipping companies to move merchandise from Korea to the United States and charging them a fee for the privilege of doing so. DeMarco pays Low some money that is owed. Low later meets with Markham and tells him he doesn't need his services any more, but Markham says that when he gets hired to do a job, he completes it. Low tells The Major "DeMarco lives ... or else." Because of this affront to his honor or his business ethics, Markham shoots and kills Low. After Low's body is found, Kojak goes to the Kim-Chee Importing Company which paid the lease on Low's car and asks some questions. Jimmy Lee, the owner of the place, and his brother Ben talk among themselves in Korean before answering Kojak, who has brought along Gardner (Justin Low), a black cop who understands their language. After they leave the store, Gardner tells Kojak the two men totally "lied through their teeth" to him, saying that Low always had his hand out for bribes, and he was under investigation by immigration authorities who were just about ready to deport him. O'Mara, who is more and more frustrated that his case is getting out of his hands, has a brainstorm that Markham might have been trying to kill DeMarco's young son, so he goes to talk to DeMarco, unexpectedly meeting Kojak on the way there. The encounter with DeMarco, his wife Irene (Gail Landry) and his young son Robbie (David Hollander), seems uneasy, but he brushes off their concerns. Soon after at a Little Italy celebration near DeMarco's place which he is connected with because he is president of the local area's businessmen's association, Kojak and O'Mara watch out for Markham trying to finish the job. Markham is indeed there, disguised as a friar. When he doesn't genuflect with the other people in the crowd as a priest at the podium does, Kojak and Markham pursue him. During a struggle with O'Mara, Markham shoots himself fatally. At the end, Kojak and O'Mara still have words with each other, but hearing the sound of an Italian dance being played, they lock arms and start twirling around.

REVIEW:

This episode really shows signs of script fatigue. At the beginning of the show, Crocker has heard within 45 minutes of Markham's attempted hit that he "has been ID'd from the rifle he left behind." Would Markham have purchased the rifle under his own name? As well, it is highly unlikely that the cops at the crime scene in 1978 would have had the resources to do a fingerprint check in 45 minutes, assuming that Markham even left fingerprints. Markham is unknown to the cops on the scene, because when Kojak shows up and starts talking about him, O'Mara has no idea who Markham is. Kojak gets himself reassigned to O'Mara's precinct with McNeil's co-operation, but it is obvious to O'Mara that this was not done at the request of someone higher up as the paperwork Kojak shows O'Mara says. Kojak suggests that Low originally encountered Markham, who is a Korean vet, in Korea, which is ridiculous, because Low looks young, just like Gardner the cop, who was born when the Korean war was on (Gardner's mother is Korean, his father was "the biggest hell-raiser in the Marines.") Not only that, it is suggested that Markham did more than one job for Low, which is not confirmed anywhere in the show. O'Mara's brainstorm about DeMarco's kid doesn't make any sense, because he thinks the kid, who is only 7 years old, might know something about why Markham wanted to kill his father. DeMarco's excuse for leaving the golf course after the shooting is also pretty lame, saying that he was playing badly and decided his wife deserved a big breakfast instead of being "stuck with a lousy golfer in a crabby mood." Finally, near the end of the show, Kojak suggests that the reason Markham missed killing DeMarco was because the sight of DeMarco acting abusively to his son on the golf course brought back bad memories of when he (Markham) was abused by his own father and his trigger finger slipped. (Kojak and O'Mara also witness DeMarco being violent towards his kid when they are at his house.) Despite this, Markham shows up at the Little Italy celebration and is in the front row of the crowd with a gun ready to knock off DeMarco. Did this consummate professional killer expect that he would escape? Talk about stupid.

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18. (S05E18) The Halls of Terror ★★
Original air date: February 18, 1978
Director: Edward M. Abroms; Writer: Chester Krumholz

SUMMARY:

This episode puts the usual Kojak procedural in a medical setting, as Ellen Fowler, a doctor at the McLean-Baxter Medical Institute, is killed while she is about to restock the pharmaceutical supplies. Only a week before, another doctor was murdered 100 yards from the hospital in the parking lot. Both were strangled with what looks like rope. Psychiatrist Dr. Ellen Page (Zohra Lampert) is concerned that the police presence is having a bad effect on her patients, many of whom are unstable. She tells Kojak "Half my patients are going to murder someone; the other half are killing themselves." Dr. Samuel Fine (Michael Lerner), an administrator, on the other hand, doesn't want the place locked down. There is large police presence in the hospital, including all of the usual men: Crocker, Stavros, Saperstein and Rizzo. The cops encounter a wide variety of patients in the psychiatric ward: Hector (Gary Allen), a middle-aged man who cannot deal with stress; Ralph Donner (Ralph Gelblum), who was involved in a a car accident and no longer speaks to anyone; Thomas (William Gaynor Dovey), who threatens a nurse with a broken bottle; Professor Lacey (Ken Kercheval), who got into an altercation with some students who were sitting on top of his car; and Christopher (Meeno Peluce), a young boy who is having multiple operations for some unnamed disease. Monica Brady (Charlene Dallas), one of the nurses, gives Kojak background on Fowler, who had a reputation as being "loose" and was dating a married neurosurgeon named Alfred Parker who drowned in his swimming pool a year before after getting entangled in a water polo net. Page gets a peculiar phone call from the killer, and doesn't tell Kojak about this because she thinks it is not important. Of course, Kojak is annoyed when he finds out. When he is visiting Page in her office, she gets another threatening call. Kojak has to also consider "relationships" which develop among the staff at the hospital. Even Fine had an affair with Fowler, though only for a couple of weeks; the previous week's homicide was Parker's assistant; there was the affair between Fowler and Parker; and so on. When they are alerted to suspicious activity in one of the operating rooms, Kojak and his boys find a man and woman from the staff fooling around on an operating table. (Kojak says to Crocker, "Didn't you ever play doctor when you were a kid?") After Fine is also attacked, Kojak tells Rizzo he wants lists of people at the hospital which cross-checks doctors with nurses and with patients. Later, when Kojak gets Page to leave her "cocoon" at the hospital and come to his office, they compare notes and determine that a Dr. Larson is a likely suspect as next victim (or is he the killer?). After they rush back to the hospital, they find Larson being attacked by Ralph, who targeting the people responsible for his treatment. He says "I wanted somebody to make me better, and they didn't." Page attempts to explain what happened with Ralph as "conversion symptoms": "He developed the limp and the loss of speech in order to ward off the awareness of his own rage against the hospital, against the doctors, against his mother and when he was venting his rage against his victims, he no longer needed the symptoms." The show ends with Kojak offering to take Page -- a woman who has no life except for her work -- out on a date, but he is superceded by Dr. Fine who, we suspect, has had the same idea in his mind for quite some time.

REVIEW:

This episode is interesting, in that it gets Zohra Lampert to play a relatively "normal" role. But there are some things about it which might have been improved with some editing, either with the script or the show itself. As soon as Ralph appeared around the 5 minute mark, I figured that he was the bad guy because of his demeanor. Ralph's mother (Erica Yohn) is a lush, and she dotes over her son excessively, which he totally rebuffs. Christopher, the kid, who is in the same room as Ralph, says he "heard about the car, which crashed with Ralph in it," telling the mother, "You're lucky you didn't get hurt too." There is a suggestion that Ralph, who "used to smile all time," ended up in hospital because his mother was driving the car and drunk when they had their accident. I don't know why Christopher isn't in the children's ward; he doesn't seem to be having any psychiatric issues. He seems to be have been inserted into the story to give it a certain "cute" factor, like where he gets a piggy-back ride on Kojak's shoulders, saying that he is counting the freckles on Kojak's bald head and later when Kojak gives him his badge as a sort of talisman to keep the kid safe during yet another operation. Kojak figures out that Ralph, who attacks Brady twice, first as she enters Fine's office after the attack on him and the second time in a stairwell, is not interested in killing her, because he has her confused with another nurse named Grady who treated him and who is off on medical leave to have a baby. This, as well as the fact that Brady couldn't positively identify the man in either of these encounters, is kind of far-fetched. Parker dying a year before under suspicious circumstances is surely just a coincidence. Are we supposed to think that Parker was involved in Ralph's treatment and Ralph has been in the hospital for a year? You also have to wonder how Ralph could have easily left the psychiatric wing of the hospital and murdered the other doctor in the parking lot the week before.

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19. (S05E19) May the Horse Be With You ★½
Original air date: February 25, 1978
Director: Charles S. Dubin; Writer: Rift Fournier

SUMMARY:

Three people, including Stacey (Mary Louise Weller) who has known Kojak since she was a kid and he was a beat cop, have an interest in a horse named Francesca. In fact, Kojak put up the money for Stacey's share. But the horse became lame and, because of high boarding fees at the race track, was moved to the stables at the NYPD Mounted Division, run by Danny Fogarty (Benny Baker), a 40 year veteran of the force who is believed can restore the horse to health. Prior to moving the horse to the stables, Stacey's boy friend Bert Gaines (Jeff Conaway) arranged for Francesca to receive stud services from the championship thoroughbred Omahan, with the result that Francesca is now with foal. Bert has been making a deal with a gangster named Ferarro (Richard Foronjy) to sell him the horse. Bert enters the stables late at night and "steals" back Francesca, resulting in an encounter where Fogarty is punched out, sending him to the hospital. Moving Francesca back to the race track stables, Bert disguises her with a "star" of white paint on her forehead. When Omahan dies, Bert tells Ferraro that he wants $50,000 more for Francesca, but predictably Ferraro will have none of this, which ends up in an interesting pursuit across the tops of railway cars in the Flushing Meadow rail yards. Ferraro and his thugs go to the boarding stables at the race track and attempt to take possession of Francesca, but Tracey leads the horse on a chase around the stables just as Kojak and his men show up and bust Ferraro, his henchmen and Bert. In addition to these horse hijinks, Kojak has to put up with some efficiency expert named Elliott Myles (Sy Kramer) hanging around the station and driving him crazy. He also has an encounter with Shirley (Sally Kirkland), a woman who wants to become a lady handicapper, but is just a bookmaker. When Shirley is busted at the track, she sends her friend Harriett (Jill Jaress) to see Kojak with a tip for his investigation. Harriett is an exotic dancer, and, like Shirley, she has hot pants for Kojak, calling him "irresistible." He tells her "I'm overweight, middle-aged, I work too hard, and I get very tired very often." She offers to take him to Las Vegas.

REVIEW:

This is another light-hearted episode, similar in many ways to the third season's A Long Way From Time Square. One of the major similarities is in the comedic score by Cacavas, which features a banjo, mouth harp and typical "western" sounds including a wood block making the clip-clop sound of horses' hooves. There are a lot of attempts at humor with the word "pregnant" as it relates to horses. The show is sort of OK, but as the series winds down towards the end of its fifth and last season, you sort of wonder if the writers were starting to run out of ideas.

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20. (S05E20) Photo Must Credit Joe Paxton ★★½
Original air date: March 4, 1978
Director: Jim Benson; Writer: Gene R. Kearney

SUMMARY:

Diane Marco (Antoinette Bower), a reclusive actress, returns from Europe to the United States. She is followed everywhere by paparazzo photographer Joe Paxton (Tige Andrews), who is obsessed with her. In, fact, she has sued Paxton for $12 million for "harassment" and invasion of privacy over a 12-year period. Despite this, Paxton follows her from Paris, arriving ahead of her on the the Concorde. Marco arrives at Kennedy airport with $3 million worth of jewels. She is picked up by her sister June (Denyce Liston) and her sister's fiancé Roger Layton (Andrew Robinson), who are using a limousine and pretend to kidnap her. Kojak, who fondly remembers Marco from her golden years, is tipped off by a former informant and fence, Billy ("Bijou") Butler (comedian Arte Johnson) that Marco is going to be robbed. As Marco leaves customs and immigration at the airport, Paxton is there, but Layton confronts him with a gun and uses the flash from Paxton's own camera to blind him so he can't see what is going on. As Layton is about to drive away, he is almost hit by a car and drops his gun on the street. This gun is later found by Crocker and Stavros, who arrive at the airport shortly after, and is traced to a department store robbery two years before. Marco goes to stay at her sister's apartment, where Layton stores her jewelry in a recently-installed wall safe. Paxton is taken to police headquarters for questioning, telling Kojak and McNeil that he helps to keep Marco in the headlines. McNeil wonders if the "kidnapping" is just another publicity stunt, but Paxton swears that it is not. June and her boyfriend leave Marco alone while they go to Fremont's department store where they both work. Paxton gets a tip as to where Marco is staying. He enters the building under a ruse, and then climbs down to Marco's sister's apartment terrace. Diane catches him taking photos of her through the window, and confronts him with a gun that June left for protection. Paxton manages to charm her out of using the gun, and the two of them become chummy, with him convincing her that they should pool their efforts at keeping her in the news. She seems to like this idea, because she lets him give her a big kiss, offers him a glass of wine and allows Paxton to take glamor shots of her. But around this time, Layton is up to no good, working in conjunction with Willie (Robert Ball), a fence, to steal Marco's jewelry. He returns to the apartment and, wearing a mask, forces Marco to open the safe. Paxton, who has been in the kitchen getting some more wine, emerges and there is a confrontation where Layton shoots Marco by mistake. She is rushed to the hospital, but the circumstances of Paxton being in her apartment and his explanation for how he got there does not go over well with Kojak and McNeil. Paxton is arrested but later escapes from the squad room and goes to the hospital to make sure that Marco, whose condition has been touch-and-go, is OK. Paxton knows that Layton was the one who shot Diane, and he goes to Fremont's, where Layton is attempting to sell the jewels to Willie, who is now offering him $70,000 instead of the $200,000 they originally discussed. Willie looks at a sample of the diamonds, determining that they are paste (phony) just as Paxton shows up. Layton takes Willie's gun and the money and flees through the store, followed by Paxton and Kojak who has also arrived. Unfortunately, as Layton attempts to escape, he shoots Paxton dead. The show ends with Marco placing flowers at Paxton's grave as a quartet of tabloid photographers take pictures of the scene. She tells Kojak "For once, I don't mind it being in every paper in the world."

REVIEW:

Compared to most Kojak shows, this one is pretty straight-forward and not that interesting. Considering Andrew Robinson's penchant for playing psychos, he is largely wasted in this episode. Denyce Liston, playing Diane's sister, is very attractive, and wears a colorful blouse after she gets rid of her limousine chauffeur outfit. Arte Johnson is very oily in his brief role. Tige Andrews, on the other hand, is far too deferential to Diane and not particularly sleazy like you would expect, especially considering the still-frame photos of him at the beginning of the show where he is seen very aggressively stalking her and having a cup of something thrown in his direction.

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21. (S05E21) 60 Miles to Hell
Original air date: March 11, 1978
Director: Gene R. Kearney; Writers: Gene R. Kearney & Mike Frankovich Jr.

REVIEW:

This episode is pretty dumb. Crocker is in Las Vegas, ready to board a plane which will take him and Vic Whitley (Paul Picerni), an extradited prisoner, back to New York. The cops there want to talk to Whitley about the bust of a truck containing 3 tons of marijuana connected to him and his brother where a cop was shot. Just as Crocker and Whitley are approaching the plane on the tarmac, they are kidnapped along with Mae Rainey (Ethel O'Connell), a well-known Vegas talent agent, and Sally Addison, half of an act known as the world's only twin topless magicians (Priscilla Barnes, who also plays her sister Vicki). These four are taken by the kidnappers and locked in a room at the back of the Sunset Pawn and Loan Company (also known as Stoney's Pawn Shop on its front, where there are numerous "going out of business" signs). The truck used for this is then taken and abandoned in the desert in the middle of nowhere. The reason for this is to keep the cops preoccupied searching in the desert for the kidnap victims while the men behind all this, including Russ Barton (Gianni Russo) -- also one of many volunteers helping the police to find the kidnap victims -- rob an airplane coming from Mexico full of marijuana which will be soon landing in another out-of-the-way location in the desert. After Crocker and his prisoner disappear, Kojak is quick to hop on a plane for another trip to Nevada. Aside from befriending Vicki the not-kidnapped topless magician, he also goes to talk to Liberace, who is one of the Rainey's clients. In a performance which is arguably better than the flamboyant pianist's cringe-inducing "serious acting" in the movie Sincerely Yours,, "Lee" cracks some bad jokes and signs a photo of himself for Saperstein's mother in addition to complaining that Rainey was responsible for a bad investment in a frozen yogurt franchise. (Liberace says that his "friend" Doc Severinsen -- who does not appear in the show -- was also duped.) In the back room of the pawn shop, Crocker and Sally transform a cigarette lighter into an explosive device, which is given to Phil Reed (Dick Dinman), the owner of the place, who is also in on the robbery of the plane. Vicki and Kojak, who is wearing a New York Yankees jacket and no shirt, end up in the desert incessantly driving around in Jeeps with cops and volunteers (many more of the latter) searching for clues relating to the kidnapping as Dukes of Hazard-like music with fiddles, banjos and a mouth harp plays in the background. Volunteers Barton and Reed manage to get everyone (except Kojak and Vicki, of course) off in the wrong direction while they wait on the runway for the incoming plane full of dope. The plane lands, they commandeer it, and after they take off, Reed lights up a big cigar that Joe Wayne (Billy Kay), the other guy in on the scheme, wants to smoke in celebration. The lighter which Sally gave Reed explodes, setting the inside of the plane on fire. A return to the air strip is in order, where the three hijackers are all busted when the clueless Las Vegas cops, alerted by Kojak as to what is going on, suddenly appear. Vicki's sister Sally, who we last saw locked in the back room at the pawn shop, also suddenly appears, which makes no sense at all. The ending of the show is actually pretty funny.

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22. (S05E22) In Full Command ★★★½
Original air date: March 18, 1978
Director: Telly Savalas; Writer: Chester Krumholz

REVIEW:

In this final episode for the series, Danny Thomas appears as Assistant Chief Howard Brokaw. He is seen driving around in a police car equipped with all sorts of radios and other communication devices so he can monitor what is going on everywhere with the cops. Kojak is at a crime scene where a body is found, the victim of an ongoing gang war which has produced 10 killings in 8 weeks. Brokaw shows up there, totally ignoring Kojak as he greets McNeil, who is an old friend. Brokaw is the head of the new organized crime unit and he tells the men present to round up everybody connected with Gomez and Dagostino, two prominent gangsters likely connected with the hit. When Kojak suggests this is a not a good idea, because he is hoping someone will contact him with information about the crooks' plans, Brokaw says "Let's do it your way." Brokaw goes along with Kojak as he meets with an informant, Mary Torino (Susan Tyrrell). Kojak has made a deal with her that if she provides him with good tips, he will help spring her son from jail. Brokaw intrudes on Kojak's conversation, telling him to bring Mary in, which Kojak does not do. The next day, as McNeil is giving a speech to the troops at the station, Brokaw arrives and gives his theory on the recent outbreak in gang activity; "Consider the simple but obvious possibility that these deaths may be the direct result of a general decline in toughness toward criminals." Later, McNeil tells Brokaw if he is going to be dropping in regularly, why not move in, something which Brokaw unfortunately accepts. Brokaw takes McNeil's office, and McNeil moves in with Kojak. Kojak butts heads almost immediately with Brokaw. When McNeil says that Kojak has his own style, Brokaw replies that Kojak relies too much on the integrity of hoodlums. McNeil looks more and more disturbed. When Brokaw asks where Torino is, both Crocker and McNeil say she was not brought in because she is more valuable out on the street. Brokaw is furious, saying "She is a prostitute!" Not only is Brokaw being disruptive, but so is his assistant Dave Simmons (Donegan Smith) who tells Stavros to get rid of his plants and complains when Saperstein uses a complaint form as scrap paper to write an address. Brokaw tries to be friendly with Kojak at Stella's restaurant, but Simmons is snooping on a phone call that Kojak makes with Torino, who is still out on the street. When Crocker and a rookie go to Classic Cars, a hangout for gang members, Crocker is knocked out by one of the thugs when he sneaks into the place. Brokaw is still going on about getting Torino, despite McNeil's objections that she is providing valuable information on an upcoming meeting of the gangs. Brokaw is still on Kojak's case, and when Kojak offers to withdraw from the case, Brokaw accuses him of wanting to be a martyr. When Kojak leaves, Brokaw tells McNeil that he considers Kojak to be a "renegade." That evening, Brokaw, in his full-dress uniform, goes to see Patricia (Karen Montgomery), a high-priced hooker. He tells her that he was passed over for promotion again, talking about an incident in his past where it sounds like he had an affair with a city councilman's wife. Despite this, Brokaw is confident that he can whip the men of the precinct into shape and convince everyone in the police brass that he would make an excellent Commissioner. Simmons interrupts to tell Brokaw that Kojak's whole crew have gone to a new stakeout. Brokaw gives Patricia a wad of money and leaves. At the stakeout, which is at the abandoned Superior Theater, Brokaw is still throwing his weight around, asking if anyone seen with an outstanding warrant was picked up. Everyone there is incredulous, and Kojak orders them to get to work. Brokaw tells Kojak he considers him insubordinate, saying "I will punish you." Out on the street where the operation is in progress and Torino has appeared, Brokaw further interferes by yelling to arrest her. He narrowly misses getting run over by a truck, and is saved by Kojak, who pushes him out of the way. When Simmons tells Kojak "Look what you did to him," Kojak says "Keep your mouth closed until I get my men out of there, or I'll come back and blow your head off." The crooks all emerge from the theater and they are busted. As Brokaw threatened, a disciplinary hearing for Kojak follows. Brokaw says "I came into Manhattan South to get the job done, but Lieutenant Kojak blocked me at every opportunity." When it looks like the decision of the brass around the table won't go his way, Brokaw tries to make a case that Manhattan South is inefficient by pulling a bunch of complaint forms that he fished out of the garbage can at the station from his attaché case. Brokaw tells everyone that out of 35 complaint forms used the previous day, only 7 were actually for complaints; the remainder were used for scrap paper. The people around the table, including the Chief Inspector (M.P. Murphy) are speechless. Brokaw leaves the room, but not before saying "I will be a good Commissioner." Back at the station, the Inspector apologizes to Kojak and Torino's son is released for a few days to be with his mother.

REVIEW:

Despite being best known as a comedian, Danny Thomas pulls off his very serious role quite well, though at time his portrayal of an over-zealous cop almost goes over the top. The scene at the hearing at the end where Brokaw pulls the complaint forms out of his attaché case and ends up with one of them held between his teeth has serious overtones of the famous trial scene in The Caine Mutiny starring Humphrey Bogart. I found watching this show very uncomfortable, knowing that everything that came out of Brokaw's mouth concerning Kojak would be negative.

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