Hill Street Blues: Season 2, Episode 5

Fruits of the Poisonous Tree (3 Dec. 1981)

TV Episode  -   -  Drama
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 28 users  
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LaRue and Washington are accused of entrapment. A ten-year-old girl gets shot and killed by a fourteen-year-old street gang member. Grace Gardner informs Esterhaus that she might be pregnant.

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Title: Fruits of the Poisonous Tree (03 Dec 1981)

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LaRue and Washington are accused of entrapment. A ten-year-old girl gets shot and killed by a fourteen-year-old street gang member. Grace Gardner informs Esterhaus that she might be pregnant.

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Drama

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3 December 1981 (USA)  »

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Strong episode
24 August 2010 | by (The Last New Jersey Drive-In on the Left) – See all my reviews

LaRue (Kiel Martin) and Washington (the supremely cool and engaging Taurean Blacque) are accused of entrapment. A ten-year-old girl gets accidentally shot and killed by a fourteen-year-old gang member in a drive-by shooting. Grace Gardner (the marvelously sexy and vivacious Barbara Babcock) informs Esterhaus (Michael Conrad in lovely avuncular form) that she might be pregnant. This particular episode is without a doubt one of the toughest, most potent, and upsetting shows of the second season: The scene with a despondent mother holding the corpse of her ten-year-old daughter while crying in a back alley is simply heartbreaking, the fact that the weaselly Jenkins (an excellent portrayal by Essex Smith) gets set free because of a technicality is likewise pretty infuriating, and the show concludes on an extremely powerful note with Bates (an outstanding Betty Thomas) blowing away the fourteen-year-old gang member in self-defense. This episode does a sterling job of showing how police officers are flawed human beings who make mistakes just like the rest of us, the occasional long hours cops have to put in either attending night court or working a double shift, and the harsh realities of life in a dangerous urban neighborhood. Fortunately, there's also some very funny business involving a big football game which prevents this show from becoming too unbearable in its overall grimness. Moreover, a scene with Bates, Belker (essayed with customary growly gusto by Bruce Weitz), and Coffey (Ed Marinaro) attempting to subdue a hulking strong-arm brute is quite exciting and realistic in its raw messiness. Jeffrey Tambor contributes a neat turn as smarmy lawyer Alan Watchtel. One of the second season's finest hours.


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