Furillo (the always superb Daniel J. Travanti) considers leaving the station so he can run for commander. Renko (Charles Haid) and Hill (Michael Warren) investigate the murder of a 15-year-old hooker. Lt. Hunter (a gloriously loopy James B. Sikking) and his EATers squad go poking around the grimy sewers in search of alligators. Washington (Taurean Blacque) and LaRue (Kiel Martin) play a joke on Hunter by planting a big fake rubber alligator in the sewers. Director Georg Stanford Brown and writer E. Jack Kaplan ably milk plenty of gut-busting humor from the "Operation Gatorbait" premise; it's a total hoot to see Hunter and his men get bombarded by all sorts of vile glop and it's likewise positively hilarious when the gung-ho Hunter and his squad open fire on the fake alligator. Moreover, there are also amusing moments between Calletano (the highly engaging Rene Enriquez) and Esterhaus (Michael Conrad projecting his usual winning warmth and affability) in which they go back and forth on proper protocol and a nice running gag concerning an orphan cat. This episode deserves extra praise for handling the seamy subject of the prostitute's murder in a tasteful, realistic, and unsentimental manner. Veteran character actor Dolph Sweet contributes an excellent performance as Lt. Emil Schneider, the shrewd and weary detective who's in charge of the hooker murder investigation. And Barbara Bosson is in divinely shrill form as endearing raving neurotic Fay, who this time gets all bent out of shape by an obscene phone caller.
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