There's no action, little mystery, and no villains in this story of Friday and Gannon being sent to a Community Relations Conference at Lake Arrowhead. They use a conference center owned by the University of California and lent to community agencies like the Police Department.
The conference is pretty well organized. The participants are split into groups of half a dozen or so, and Friday is designated the leader of one group. Any suggestions about how to improve community relations? Well, yes, offers one white officer. Why don't we stop bending over backwards to accommodate the minorities? He brings up several examples of cases in which blacks acted guilty of a crime but were let go anyway. Friday and Gannon shoot it down. Lots of people act nervous when being questioned by the cops and it's not necessarily an indication of guilt. Further, saying that we bend over backwards for minorities may be just another way of saying we should be harder on them. But the guy is adamant.
There's a black officer in the group too and he gets a little heated. He's always found that black suspects are more willing to talk to him than his white partner because they expect a fair shake. Friday and Gannon nail him, too, for reasons I forget.
On the morning the conference ends, Friday and Gannon are walking out the door when the white racist is coming in. He acknowledges that Friday and Gannon were right. We all need to take a look at ourselves, and sometimes we don't like what we see. He took a long walk through the woods, but he wasn't alone. The black cop was with him. His problem is solved.
I enjoyed the episode without fully believing it. If the white racist and the black racist talked things over for an hour and realized how prejudiced they were, they were anomalies. Short of head trauma, it takes more than an hour-long walk through the woods to change a core attitude. As William James said, "Everything is hitched to everything else." The radical change of a single attitude has a ripple effect, so that a dozen other attitudes must be adjusted. Our beliefs have to mesh with one another. It's a long process and the motives must be intense and enduring.
I'll give a hypothetical example. A man has a firm core belief. His wife must share it or how else could they get along. A week at the conference brings him around and he changes his mind, admitting to himself that he was wrong all along. Okay, now how does he deal with his wife? How about his children? How about his friends at work?
There's no way to comment on the acting because, as usual, so little is required. That's one of the most likable things about the program. It's like watching robots negotiating a simple maze. But I miss it when Gannon doesn't have a really silly obsession. He has one here, but it's not too funny.
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