After a flighty young woman accidentally witnesses a Mob hit in an Italian restaurant, New York Police Inspector Theo Kojak must both protect her from an unscrupulous Dutch hitman, and bring Mob kingpin Tony Salducci to justice.
After discovering the connection between a corrupt city commissioner and Colombian killers, Kojak is framed for the murder of a call girl and is prosecuted by former police detective Crocker, now an assistant D.A.
Just as Jeremy Jackson attempts to become the first male firewoman in New York, fires begin mysteriously erupting from toilets all over the City and Fire Marshal Marc Marshall is called in ... See full summary »
Even if you are not a fan of the series, this is one TV movie to see
As a young man in the 1970's I watched the occasional episode of Kojak. While I have always liked Telly Savalis as an actor, I was not a regular viewer of the Kojak series; thinking it just another of the ubiquitous "cops and detectives" shows that were so common at the time.
In this movie, viewers get a history lesson in one of the little-known aspects of World War II. Specifically the fact that many in the Nazi-conquered countries collaborated with the Germans.
The most notorious of these collaborators were among the "White Russians" (today the country of Belarus--hence the title of the movie) and the Ukrainians. Both countries have a long history of anti-Semitism, and when the Nazis began the "Final Solution to the Jewish Problem" there were plenty of locals who participated enthusiastically in the rounding-up and killing of Jews.
After a series of murders of elderly Russian men in New York, Kojak discovers that the victims were actually Nazi collaborators who were living under assumed identities. But the plot thickens as Kojak uncovers further evidence that the U.S. government was involved in helping these Russian Nazis get into the country in the first place. And there is a surprise at the end when the murderer is revealed.
This movie makes great use of its New York locations, especially emphasizing the various ethnic enclaves in the city. Savalis steps effortlessly back into the role he left 8 years previously. It's great to see George Savalis in a good supporting role. Susan Pleshette as government-employee-turned-Kojak's-partner is always good. Swedish actor Max Von Sydow as a Jewish witness to the "Russian Holocaust" and Herbert Berghoff as a German Nazi round out the cast with great performances.
Hopefully this move comes out on DVD. So far there has only been a limited release on VHS in the 1990s. It's gripping, moves at a fast pace, and tells about a bit of WWII history that few people know about.
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