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Review of Episode: "Chicago 2-1-2"

Author: Lame-Username-1234 from Australia
15 September 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This was one of many anthology series that aired in the 1950's. These series presented short stories with the plot, cast and characters changing with each episode. It is safe to presume that like most of them, the quality did vary from episode to episode. Nevertheless, I recently saw an episode of this series titled "Chicago 2-1-2", which I will review. In this episode, we are shown the operations of a Fire squad and it efforts to not only fight fire, but also stop arsonists from destroying property and lives. A string of fires in the same era leads to suspicion, and while at the scene of one of the fires, one of the fire department people asks a news reporter to film some footage of the crowd watching, hoping that the "fire bug" who started it may have stuck around to watch his "work". They notice that a young man that notices the camera, looks worried, and quickly gets out of view. A search though police records reveals a youth with a troubled history, and after finding out where he works, they get more suspicious from the reactions of his employer. The young man then starts another fire, being told by his employer that nobody was in the building. However, a young woman was in the place and calls the fire department, only to pass-out from the smoke (on a real-life side note, smoke inhalation is the biggest cause of death during a fire, as opposed to the flames). The crew find her, and the fire bug, still at the scene, notices one of the inspectors and runs away, but gets noticed and is eventually trapped and caught. At first says he is innocent, but after learning that a woman may die from his actions, breaks down and tells the whole story about him and his employer. Of note is that he reveals he doesn't yet shave, followed by a orchestral cue designed to draw emotion from the viewer.

Overall, it was an entertaining short drama (25 minutes) and can be found both online and on a budget DVD, as the copyright for the episode has expired. I'd be interested in seeing more episodes of this series.

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