The writing in this episode really fell short. This review contains spoilers necessary to justify my low rating, so proceed at your own risk.
Hart to Hart was a great show in its time, and I still enjoy watching the old episodes. I'm writing this as a fan. The show's basic premise that the Harts always end up in the middle of a murder has to be accepted, just as in "Murder, She Wrote," but it should still require the writers to put some effort toward story credibility each week. In this episode, the trouble starts when the Harts buy opera tickets from a scalper and end up in seats where a hit man is supposed to accept an assignment. The incredible series of unlikely coincidences created in order to put the Harts into this predicament is pretty ridiculous, which sets the tone for the rest of the episode:
The Harts decide to assume the hit man's identity in order to further
the investigation, even though they have no real reason to. The police seem to go along with this, as if Jonathan is in charge of the case.
Jonathan, as the hit man, has to call a number later in the week to
get further instructions from the crooks. The police need him to keep the crooks on the line in order to perform a trace. What? They already have the number!
The crooks, on the other hand, know something's up and use their own
equipment to thwart the trace. They also initiate a trace of their own
back to Hart's office. The police and Jonathan seem to be oblivious
to the possibility that the real hit man has been in contact with his clients.
Their friend, the police detective in charge of the case, is killed
during an attempt on Jonathan's life. Almost nothing is made of the officer's murder; the Harts and two lower level detectives proceed with the original plan as if nothing has happened. Jonathan and Jennifer engage in their typical lighthearted banter as they prepare for their next move. The unceremonious demise of supporting characters is common in TV, but this one was oddly dismissive.
The crooks told Jonathan he has an invitation to a costume party
where the intended victim will be in attendance. The Harts show up at the venue in advance and openly use their real identity with the host and anyone else who is in earshot (which, of course, include the crooks pretending to be caterers.)
Jennifer is kidnapped and held outside the party to insure Jonathan's
cooperation. The two detectives with him are incapacitated by something dropped in their beverages (no other officers are present, despite the known fact that a murder for hire plot is supposed to unfold.) Jonathan shoots at the intended victim and intentionally misses, starting a shootout with the crooks in a room crowded with innocent guests. Only after Jonathan prevails and runs outside to rescue Jennifer do the detectives awake and additional police backup arrives.
Finally, the dated disco music during the entire party scene is
really bad. And I liked disco music back in the day.
If you've read this far, the only reason to watch this episode now is to judge for yourself. I count this one as a miss in an otherwise hit show.
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