Kojak: Season 1, Episode 0

The Marcus-Nelson Murders (8 Mar. 1973)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Crime | Drama
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 313 users  
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A homicide detective begins to suspect that the black teenager accused of murdering two white girls is being framed by his fellow detectives.



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Title: The Marcus-Nelson Murders (08 Mar 1973)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Teddy Hopper
Jake Weinhaus (as Jose Ferrer)
Det. Dan Corrigan
Mario Portello
Roger Robinson ...
Bobby Martin
Harriet Karr ...
Gene Woodbury ...
Lewis Humes
William Watson ...
Det. Matt Black
Det. Lou Jacarrino
Antonia Rey ...
Rita Alvarez
Josie Hopper
Sgt. Dan McCartney
Maurice Fisher


A homicide detective begins to suspect that the black teenager accused of murdering two white girls is being framed by his fellow detectives.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Release Date:

8 March 1973 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film is based on an actual case known as the "Career Girl" murders that happened on 28 August 1963. It was the date on which 'Martin Luther King Jr.' delivered his "I Have A Dream" speech, as mentioned in the film. See more »


Followed by Kojak: None So Blind (1990) See more »


Don't Give Me A Road I Can't Walk
Music by Billy Goldenberg
Lyrics by Bobby Russell
Sung by Andy Kim
Heard over the End Credits
See more »

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User Reviews

Landmark legal case dramatisation introduces top TV 'tec.
29 May 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Effectively the pilot for the long running TV detective series 'Kojak", this TV movie is actually far more than that, being a dramatisation (with names changed) of an important case in American legal history, in establishing the rights of a defendant to have their legal rights read to them before answering questions relating to the offence.

Not that it helped the young unemployed black victim here, subject to a monstrous miscarriage of justice which sees him charged with three murders and an attempted rape he patently didn't do, who ended up serving time despite the efforts of in particular Kojak (a composite of the actual officers who bravely stood up for the accused) and an experienced defence attorney played by Jose Ferrer after the original court appointee (played by Robert Walden, later Joe Rossi in "Lou Grant") palpably fails him.

The direction eschews showiness and documents with fly-on-the-wall realism, the seamy methods of a so-called respected police force to pin a crime on the first donkey who comes along.

Fans of the TV series will be surprised to see none of the excellent supporting cast which made the show such a success in the 70's, like Dan Frazer and Kevin Dobson, although Telly's brother George, later the hang-dog Stavros gets a bit part as a newspaper reporter. Kojak himself isn't the finished article either as we see him act in ways he never would later on, such as violently losing his temper with a suspect, getting up close and personal with a past lover and even just working as a lone wolf much of the time. Savalas himself is excellent, already displaying the intensity of his character in his fine Italian clothes, although at this stage in his development catch-phrase and lollipop-less.

I read up on the "Career Girls" murders case which begot this drama and commend the makers for staying true to the story and bringing to light an unacceptable weakness in US justice. The fact that it led to a TV series as good as any to ever come of American television was just a bonus, albeit a very good one.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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