Battlestar Galactica: Season 1, Episode 5

The Long Patrol (15 Oct. 1978)

TV Episode  |   |  Sci-Fi, Action, Adventure
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Reviews: 1 user | 3 critic

Starbuck's unplanned double-date with Cassiopeia and Athena on the recently-reopened luxury liner Rising Star is interrupted when the Galactica picks up long-range transmission traffic ... See full summary »


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Title: The Long Patrol (15 Oct 1978)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Maren Jensen ...
Laurette Spang ...
Tony Swartz ...
Flight Sgt. Jolly (credit only)
James Whitmore Jr. ...
Ted Gehring ...
Sean McClory ...
Adulteress 58 (as Tasha Martel)


Starbuck's unplanned double-date with Cassiopeia and Athena on the recently-reopened luxury liner Rising Star is interrupted when the Galactica picks up long-range transmission traffic indicting human life in a distant solar system on the other side of a vast asteroid dust field. Starbuck is recalled to duty to pilot the Starchaser, an up-powered reconnaissance viper denuded of weaponry and bearing a voice-activated computer - Computer, Oral Response Activated, known simply as CORA - that can handle the vast increase in performance in the new viper. Starbuck is enthralled by the new viper, but less enthusiastic about CORA, who bears a personality that grates on Starbucks nerves. Starbuck picks up two star-craft from hundreds of years vintage and in the process he is double-crossed and knocked unconscious by a smuggler of liquor. Starbuck later finds himself incarcerated on Proteus, a prison planetoid that is a surviving body from hundreds of such penal facilities scattered through the... Written by Michael Daly

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Release Date:

15 October 1978 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Robber's asteroid home is in fact the same set that was used in Battlestar Galactica: The Lost Warrior (1978). See more »


When Starbuck is approaching the planet the cargo ship lands on, it is clearly moon-like: barren and filled with craters. Yet when he lands the planet is lush with vegetation. See more »


Athena: Hmm, Starbuck, these mushies are just heavenly.
[offeres him one]
Lt. Starbuck: Oh er, No, thanks
Athena: Too bad we can't have any fresh protein with them...
See more »

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User Reviews

Condemned Of Space
28 December 2010 | by (Camden, NJ (The Forbidden Zone)) – See all my reviews

Of the 4 one-off episodes that were quickly thrown together, this has always been the most watchable. Donald Bellisario, who worked on such shows as BLACK SHEEP SQUADRON and MAGNUM P.I., contributes his 1st solo script for the series, and it's a whopper. A lot goes on here, so much that it almost seems this one could have been a 2-parter. But maybe having so much going on at a rapid-fire pace was a good way to cover up for the fact that, simply, a lot of it just DOESN'T make sense!

The story opens with the fleet leaving their own star system. Are we to really believe that everything we've seen up to now has all been in the same system-- even "LOST PLANET OF THE GODS"? Seemingly against character, Starbuck has volunteered for a long solo re-con mission, but mostly because whoever does so can enjoy themselves in luxury on the "newly-reopened" Rising Star cruise ship. Due to a mix-up, he winds up dining and romancing BOTH Athena and Cassieopia, each without the other knowing. (What a guy!) But when his re-con ship is ready, his dinner is interrupted by the call to duty (what kind of "special privilege" is that?). The reactions of the ladies when they see each other is priceless. Athena gets angry-- Cassieopea, merely amused.

The re-con ship has been outfitted with an advanced talking tactical computer nick-named "C.O.R.A.", who Starbuck slowly develops a grudging admiration for. This was an idea reused by Glen Larson 4 years later on the show KNIGHT RIDER. I wonder how many TV series wound up owing something to GALACTICA?

Things get very complicated when Starbuck discovers the existence of a penal colony whose prisoners used to supply arms and liquor to the Colonies. Used to-- because sometime during the 1,000-year-long war with the Cylons, communication was lost and the penal planet was somehow FORGOTTEN. But that didn't stop their production of booze or their patriotism-- especially when the guards in charge insisted on keeping things going as they were, without ever telling anyone that nobody has come to pick up their "products" in 500 years. Generations have gone by, with the children of the guards still guarding the children of the prisoners. Talk about an insane science-fiction concept! Rod Serling might have gotten something deep and thoughtful out of this... on GALACTICA, you feel like you've wandered into an episode of LOST IN SPACE.

Among the guest cast are Sean McClory (who played the ghostly Scotsman in the LIS episode "The Astral Traveller"); James Whitmore Jr. (who, before turning to directing, was a regular as the "comic relief" character on the first season of HUNTER); and Arlene Martel (who played Mr. Spock's Fiancée in the STAR TREK episode "Amok Time"!).

When a greatly relieved Apollo & Boomer finally find Starbuck, Boomer is exasperated at Starbuck's being all exited about being "rich" for finding a small mountain of aging booze. I can really picture James Garner in Starbuck's role sometimes.

In the end, it was not to be, for a few Cylon fighters, following a radio signal, wind up destroying all the booze before getting blown away themselves. As the fleet continues on its way, the indication is that unlike the previous episode, the humans from the prison joined the refugees, presumably because if they were left behind the Cylons would have come in force and wiped all of them out.

This is definitely a case where the characters totally outshine the plot, and you wind up enjoying the episode in SPITE of itself!

6 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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