I saw "A Wasted Weekend," episode 12 from season 7 of Hill Street Blues. This episode, famously, was written by Broadway playwright David Mamet (who wrote Glengarry Glen Ross, among others).
It also is the ONE episode I have never seen. I was a devoted fan of Hill Street back in the day never missed it -- and this was without benefit of a VCR or Tivo (it was the '80s). But one episode -- this one -- got by me, owing to my having a night job.
Nearly all Hill Street episodes are day-in-the-life tales, and usually that single day. This was a little different. First, it didn't begin with the morning roll call scene before the opening credits; it actually began with the credits. And writer Mamet crafted a story that stood alone and wasn't tied to the show's continuity. He also focused on just a few members of the ensemble. Captain Furrillo appears only briefly at the start and end of the episode; J.D. LaRue and Neal Washington really just get cameos; Mick Belker is just a walk-on; and Joyce Davenport doesn't even appear at all. Sgt. Lucy Bates criticizes the guys for going out to "kill Bambi," and her partner Patrick is just hanging around.
Lt. Norm Buntz spends the day with a detective from the Polk Avenue station, who was assigned to desk duty because she shot and killed a stickup man who had a shotgun the night before. Buntz takes it upon himself to lift her spirits and lets her know that he's been where she is, and that she's a hero, even though people are treating her like dirt.
The main plot was that recently retired Sgt. Stan Jablonski, uniformed officers Bobby Hill and Andy Renko, and Lt. Henry Goldlume plan to go on a weekend hunting trip. God knows why they all go to the police station first, but they do -- and Furillo asks Goldblume, being a lieutenant, to hang around to speak to a group of visiting Boy Scouts about law enforcement as a career. (Furrillo has been summoned to police headquarters for some nominal reason.) So Henry resolves to join the other three later, and things, for him, go very wrong.
First, as he prepares to give his speech, he is asked to listen to a civilian who has an odd complaint: her boyfriend won't make love to her. After he gives the speech, which reflects on duty and camaraderie, he starts to leave the building -- and the woman loudly yells that he raped her. So then he's stuck until Internal Affairs clears it all up. Then he realizes he's broke, and nobody will lend him any money, so he goes to a check-cashing place (it was the '80s; there weren't ATMs on every corner). Unfortunately, the place had been robbed not ten minutes before he got there. Even more unfortunately, the robber carjacks him.
With Jablonski and company, they first can't find the key to the cabin they're renting for the weekend (it's supposed to be hidden outside), so they break in. Then some guy and some woman come in; they've gone to the wrong cabin! (Jablonski smooths it over; the guy was cheating on his wife, so he gets the guy to agree that they'll all forget it ever happened.)
As for Goldblume, the carjacker, at gunpoint, just has him drive to nowhere, but discovers Goldblume's service weapon (yes, even though he's on vacation, he's still got it with him). He orders Goldblume out of the car and then orders him to get into the trunk. But when he spots a shovel in the trunk, he orders Goldblume to dig a grave (!)
How does Goldblume get out of this? He pleads for his life. He declares to the carjacker that it's not a kidnapping because I never saw you. My car got stolen. Nobody knows we're here. Nobody knows you. All we have is a description. But you don't want to kill me. If you do, they'll come after you. "If you kill me, you'll be killing us both," he says.
It works; afraid he'll get clipped in the back of the head, Goldblume opens his eyes to find the carjacker -- and his car -- gone. He hitches a ride back to town, back to Hill Street Station (what, he didn't go home?), gets a backup weapon and immediately also gets the paperwork to authorize having it and schedules an appointment on the pistol range to certify. And he tells the captain he was kidnapped.
Our intrepid hunters have lesser bad luck; Jablonski tells Hill and Renko about a dim secret from his days in World War II, and later, when they spot a buck, Hill steps on a spike that goes through his shoe and into his foot, and that's the end of the journey.
Overall, the episode was good. The critics loved it; at the time, the show was kind of running out of gas, so a change-of-pace story with half the action taking place away from the day-to-day police work, was refreshing.
And I can mark this off my bucket list.
I've been watching several of the final season episodes of Law & Order. I had drifted away from watching the show about when Jerry Orbach left, so I haven't seen many of the episodes from its final five years on the air.
Somewhere along the way, they elevated Jack McCoy from Executive Assistant District Attorney to District Attorney -- in part to freshen up the show, in part because of another in the show's periodic round of budget-cutting, and in part, I once read, because somebody Jack McCoy's age had no business being an "assistant" district attorney.
It's kind of amusing, though, to have McCoy be the D.A. because now he's saying all the stuff Adam Schiff used to say to him. ("Take the deal!")
Somewhere along the way, they elevated Jack McCoy from Executive Assistant District Attorney to District Attorney....
The last episode to include DA Arthur Branch (Fred Dalton Thompson) was season 17 episode 22. At this point former Senator Thompson began a campaign for the 2008 Presidential Election, and had to be replaced. McCoy was elevated, I think at first by appointment, later election, to the District Attorney job.
I found Late Night with Seth Meyers too boring to watch to the end -- after the segment with First Lady Michelle Obama was over, who could care about the rest? -- so I flipped to NBCSN and found coverage of the Paralympics at Rio.
I got the tail end of a men's wheelchair basketball game between the U.S. and Germany -- the U.S. won -- and then something interesting: men's blind soccer. I don't know how many players on each team were actually blind, but all of them had bandages over their eyes and a green felt blindfold over those. The goalies and referees, however, were not blindfolded. Brazil won, 3-1.
It wrapped with the medal ceremony for women's swimming, and the gold medal winner, from the U.S., singing along to the national anthem, which was pretty nice. (I noticed the gold medal is inscribed in Braille.)
Over the weekend I watched the celebrity roast of Rob Lowe (taped last week). Ann Coulter was one of the roasters. Her routine was like watching a train wreck... in slow motion.
I just watched "Mickey's Touchdown," a Mickey McGuire short, based on the Fontaine Fox strip Toonerville Folks. Mickey Rooney played Mickey, and Billy Barty played his little brother, Billy. It's the first time I've ever seen one of these shorts.
Now on is a 1956 episode of Crossroads, "The Rebel," starring Vincent Price as Rabbi Gershom Seixas, the first American-born rabbi and personal friend of George Washington.
We're watching Sliders on Netflix streaming. Into the second season and are enjoying it. Never watched it before.
I'm watching Cher's solo variety show without Sonny Bono, Cher, from 1975, with her doing a duet with David Bowie, running through a medley of then-popular hits. It's as trippy as it sounds.
3rd Rock from the Sun, Season 4. Smart actors and smart writers in the service of dumb jokes hit a sweet spot for me.
Aaaaahhhhhhh ... Night Court.
I was just thinking last night, as I watched Larroquette swashbuckle and play the caring friend in The Librarians, that he's just as watchable now as when he was playing my favorite lovable cad.
Larroquette is always entertaining, no matter the role.