Hart to Hart: Season 1, Episode 3

Jonathan Hart Jr. (6 Oct. 1979)

TV Episode  |   |  Action, Adventure, Crime
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 45 users  
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An innocent woman is blackmailed by her ex-husband into using their son to extort money from Jonathan.

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Title: Jonathan Hart Jr. (06 Oct 1979)

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
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...
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Max
...
Connie
...
Vince (as Bill Lucking)
Randy Gray ...
Jonathan Hart Jr.
Michael Alldredge ...
Hope Clarke ...
Teacher
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Storyline

An innocent woman is being blackmailed by her ex-husband, who threatens to implicate her in a robbery. He forces her to send her son to Jonathan, saying that the boy is Jonathan's son, Jonathan Hart Jr. Jonathan realises that the boy is not his but is determined to find his mother and discover what the real story is. When the boy is kidnapped during an outing to the zoo the mystery deepens. Then his mother turns up and she appears to remember personal details about Jonathan. However, Jonathan becomes suspicious when a ransom demand is made. Written by jem

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Release Date:

6 October 1979 (USA)  »

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(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Goofs

When 'Jonathan Hart Jr' is in bed and Max is telling him the alternative Robin Hood tale, his pillow is a dark red colour. Later that same night when Jonathan & Jennifer come in to see him the pillow is a lighter creamy colour. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Disappointing paternity episode chock full of plot holes
29 March 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I'd never seen this episode in the original run as far as I remember, and I was looking so forward to it. Unfortunately, I was really disappointed. So, I carefully watched it again, and I think I've figured out that the issue with this one is that it's one of the handful that just don't translate to anything acceptable in 2015. When you watch Hart to Hart, you just have to do two things, A) Suspend your disbelief that perfect people like this could exist, and B) Remember that this is a product of life as it existed 36 years ago. I can do that with nearly all of them, but not this time.

In this episode, a single mother played by pre-ET Dee Wallace is manipulated by her abusive ex into extorting money from Jonathan by duping him into thinking her 8yo son is his. There is a lot of potential for serious angst and drama here, which they capitalize on in some ways. From the moment the boy hits the gate buzzer and Jonathan relates to him with warmth and kindness it's gold. RJ and the boy, played by Randy Gray (and WOW is this kid good) are very sweet and have some lovely sensitive moments. But the plot holes are endless, I mean there are just so many problems here, beginning with the very premise. There was no real reason I could find for the mother to cave to this. She could have just gone to the police, it made no sense. The Harts' immediate actions of just giving the kid a room without too much by way of questions was off, and their lack of hard feelings later really didn't sit well with me. Anyone who would let their 8yo be in the control of someone else for, ostensibly, weeks and a pitiful $200k (even accounting for inflation), is not OK. At one point they just leave the suspect in the room with the money, the school gives out this boy's personal information to the Harts, who are great big nobodies to this kid as far as they know, and then the kid never actually goes to school during this time. And the big to-do of searching high and low for the kid's mother – would the boy not know his mother's name? She worked at a hospital, very easy to find.

Now, wrapped up in this train wreck of an episode, there are pieces to appreciate. It's Stanley's first appearance, and his character is set right at the get go, I loved that. Randy Gray might be an Adam Rich lookalike, but he has real talent, it's too bad he left acting (or maybe a good given the fate of most 70's child actors). I don't know if the show bothered to clear film locations, but the onlookers at the zoo positively gaped at the Rolls. And scenes J&J share in the immediate moments after the boy shows up are what soapy goodness is made out of. When they're alone to discuss it, the air is so pregnant with angst that I felt it here on my couch. The way they had that scene go was very interesting, and I'm honestly not sure if the writing there was driven by chauvinism or feminism. I am sure, however, that I hated the way they parted from the kitchen. Maybe when I revisit this episode in the future I'll be able to verbalize why. In the end, Jennifer's absolute belief in her husband and her truly unconditional devotion to him (and vice versa) is paramount and the whole reason this show works. The acting was tops throughout the episode, especially that of William Lucking as Wallace's ex. He's really freaking effective and downright menacing. I also loved when Jennifer got really angry, and Jonathan has to remove her to the kitchen to calm down, that got me very excited.

BLOOPER ALERT --> In the park, I feel like Dee forgets her line. William Lucking had delivered his line, and then Dee Wallace had put her hand to her head and stayed silent as if in thought. But that's a weird acting choice, and no one else was directed like this, so I really think it was a classic, "I forgot my line" move. I think Lucking is really good, because instead of just waiting there, he went on and said, "if you don't want the cops to get an anonymous tip," to which she interrupted out of nowhere and said, "never hold up, never hold up." There's no way it was scripted like this to step on his line after an awkward silence, she forgot her line.

Some good elements here, and the last scene with the boy and his guitar made me weepy. But this episode was uncomfortable and, honestly, wrong on a lot of levels. It does not hold up in 2015, and it utterly disappoints me to say that.


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