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Good Police Procedural
gordonl5612 August 2011
Warning: Spoilers
The episode opens with a night shot of a prison yard. Suddenly the darkness is filled with flashes from gunfire as a prisoner is seen dropping over the wall. The prisoner dives in a waiting car and speeds off.

Next day all the police forces in the State get a notice on the escapee. The convict is heading to NY to do something unpleasant. He is out to kill his ex-wife who had turned States evidence on him 8 years before.

The detectives in Robert Taylor's squad get the assignment to find and protect the ex-wife. The ex-wife, Mary Murphy, has remarried. The woman refuses protection because she is sure that the ex will not find her. The detectives tell her that if they can find her, so can the ex.

She agrees to protection, but with conditions. It turns out there is a son, Ray Ferrell, from the first marriage. Plus she had told the new husband, Murray Hamilton, that the first husband was dead. So to keep up the fiction, one of the detectives, Tige Andrews, poses as Murphy's uncle. Hamilton is told that Andrews is in town for a few days and will be staying with the family.

Several days later a panel van parks up the street from the house. A man gets out with some packages and heads for the house. The man (who we get to see for the first time) is noir favorite, Lawrence Tierney. Tierney rings the door buzzer till Hamilton answers. Tierney bulls his way in and flattens Hamilton with a punch to the head. "WHERE is she!" he bellows as he begins a general curb stomping of poor Hamilton. The boy Ferrell is watching the whole thing from the hallway.

Just then, Andrews and Murphy pull into the driveway after a quick trip out for groceries. As Andrews and Murphy get to the door, Andrews realizes something is amiss and draws his piece. Tierney, who had seen the pair turn into the driveway, exits out the side door and circles the house. Just as he is about to plug Andrews in the back, a neighbor's dog starts barking. This throws off Tierney's aim and allows Andrews to get off several shots in return. Tierney hot foots it back to the van and speeds off.

Inside the house they find Hamilton lying in a bloody heap on the floor. An ambulance is quickly summoned and Hamilton is whisked to the emergency room. Needless to say that Murphy has to come clean with Hamilton about hubby number one.

The next day, Tierney is turned into a well-ventilated stiff after the boys in blue corner him.

I found this a most enjoyable way to spend 25 minutes in front of the boob tube.

No need to mention Tierney's noir pedigree. Mary Murphy (who passed this last May) had roles in THE INTIMATE STRANGER, THE DESPERATE HOURS, THE WILD ONE, HELLS ISLAND, MAKE HASTE TO LIVE, THE TURNING POINT. Murray Hamilton is best recalled as Mr. Robinson in THE GRADUATE and as the Mayor in JAWS.

The episode director was Stuart Rosenberg. Rosenberg is best known for COOL HAND Luke, THE DROWNING POOL and BRUBAKER. The D of P was George Diskant. Noir fans are of course familiar with his work on, RIFFRAFF, THEY LIVE BY NIGHT, A WOMAN'S SECRET, PORT OF NEW YORK, BETWEEN MIDNIGHT AND DAWN, THE RACKET, ON DANGEROUS GROUND, BEWARE MY LOVELY, K.C. CONFIDENTIAL, THE BIGAMIST.

Arnold Laven served as the producer.
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