A contract killer after falling for a girl decides to quit. But his brother who idolizes him wishes he would go on. Barnaby is hired by the girl's family to find her. Eventually he asks ... See full summary »

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Cast

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...
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Clay Wakefield
Geoffrey Deuel ...
Lester Wakefield
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Vicki Singer
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Timmer
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Margaret Singer
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Cheryl Moore
Priscilla Morrill ...
Mrs. Bryner
John Carter ...
Lt. Biddle
Buck Young ...
Don Thurmond
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Storyline

A contract killer after falling for a girl decides to quit. But his brother who idolizes him wishes he would go on. Barnaby is hired by the girl's family to find her. Eventually he asks about her boyfriend, the killer. When his brother learns of Barnaby, he tries to take care of it. But things get out of hand. Written by rcs0411@yahoo.com

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Crime | Drama | Mystery

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31 December 1974 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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If It Wasn't For That Meddling Kid Brother...!
20 April 2016 | by (Omaha, Nebraska) – See all my reviews

An inventive episode and a hard lesson against leaping to conclusions. A concerned mother hires Barnaby Jones to locate her estranged daughter, Vicki Singer. Jones' otherwise routine investigation inadvertently arouses the fears of a mobster who mistakenly assumes Jones is looking for Vicki's fiancée Clay, a contract killer.

QM Productions were known for netting great actors, and this episode is a testimony to that. The Wakefield brothers were played by film stars Peter Strauss, late of SOLDIER BLUE and on the cusp of RICH MAN, POOR MAN, and Geoffrey Deuel, who played a sympathetic Billy the Kid in CHISUM. They were very believable as brothers Clay and Lester. Clay, suave, smooth, and with a girl on his arm. Lester, number two and trying harder, unable to disguise his resentment of Clay's fiancée Vicki and recklessly eager to prove himself as a contract killer ready for prime time.

The episode opens with Clay and Vicki riding through a park on a bicycle built for two, laughing and falling in love. All appears light and gay until Clay begins eying a middle-aged golfer. He sends Vicki to buy the hot dogs while he returns the rented bicycle, but Clay slips off the green and confronts Don Thurmond, an industrialist, and guns him down mercilessly with a 9mm silenced pistol.

This was the last contract of the title. Clay wants out of the killing business and into a happily married life. But little brother Lester had his own plans, wanting the killing to continue as a family business.

An unintentionally funny moment along the way: Barnaby taking a flying leap and a fast slide down a grassy hill after the shooting starts, then scrambling up the hill with his gun drawn. Try that, Fish! And a nostalgic moment for fast food fans of a certain age was seeing the old Burger King "Home of the Whopper" sign in the background during Barnaby's first visit to Timmer's service station.

As was often the case, Betty had little to do except look worried and warn Barnaby to be careful. Betty also brings glamor to the series, though she had competition in Bonnie Ebsen as the midriff-baring service station attendant Cheryl. It was fun to see Darleen Carr, looking like a young Patty Duke, playing a bigger role than she did as Mike Stone's daughter Jeannie on THE STREETS OF SAN FRANCISCO (another outstanding QM Production).

Sprinkled throughout are references to the hardscrabble lives Clay and Lester had, and what Vicki suffered with her now-repentant mother. I wondered if the story was setting up a REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE scenario, but that never happened. Barnaby gives Vicki a grandfatherly lecture about forgiving one's parents their shortcomings that was both memorable and meaningful.

The ending descended into schmaltz, even playing the cute, cuddly kitten card for maximum emotional impact. Such shameless manipulation of the audience, better suited to MARCUS WELBY than BARNABY JONES, dropped the episode from an eight-star to a seven for me. Now if it was a puppy instead of a kitten ....


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