"The Hitchhiker" Ghostwriter (TV Episode 1986) Poster

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The Hitchhiker--Ghostwriter
Scarecrow-8824 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Today is the first day…of the rest of my death.

Extremely well cast (Dafoe, Walsh, Bostwick, Haddon, and consummate scene-stealer, Madeleine Sherwood once again walking away with her two scenes) and perfectly trashy episode of The Hitchhiker utilizes the noir formula (backstabbing, treachery, adultery, attempted murder, and criminal misconduct all find their way into the developing dimestore trash plot) to tell the story of a desperate writer willing to feign suicide by drowning (the final scene is a wonderful bit of irony in this regard) in order to gain notoriety and success. That writer is Jeffrey Hunt (Willem Dafoe; he always has been damn good at portraying creeps, and in "Ghostwriter" he once again brings his A-game), and his current "grieving" wife, Debby (Dayle Haddon), is secretly screwing around with her hubby's agent, Tony (Barry Bostwick; Rocky Horror Picture Show). When Jeffrey shows up to prove he's still alive, Debby is certainly taken aback. She wants him out of commission (he plans for them to vacate out of the country for a brand new life, using the profits from his rising popularity after death; the sales of his novels go through the roof once he's considered missing), and agrees at Tony's urging to help kill Jeffrey. But when it appears that Tony and Deb have drowned him in Jeffrey's hot tub all may not be as it seems. With E Emmett Walsh as a cop who is a bit suspicious of Deb and Tony, causing more than his share of irritation to the criminals, always poking around where he's not invited, asking questions that aggravate results. Walsh has always been that kind of character actor who can take three minutes and make them matter whereas a lot of actors couldn't carry a movie for 90 minutes. This episode of The Hitchhiker is so good, even Page Fletcher is used well as the narrator (there are times where his presence feels rather forced and jarring within a story that is set in a location where a hitchhiker seems unlikely), even at the end with the newspaper (nice touch), and his closing words quaintly puts the story (and Dafoe) to rest. Sherwood has a little part as Jeffrey's #1 fan, a librarian who leads the charge in publicly bringing acclaim to his work...she shows up right as Tony and Deb are about to shag; Sherwood perfected the annoying busybody who sticks her nose where it doesn't belong and talks over people. It fits beautifully in this episode because she has a big part in how Jeffrey's publicity gains such strength. I personally loved how fame is actually Jeffrey's undoing...fitting end to a real dirtbag. But in these kinds of plots, most of the characters deserve what they get.
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one of the best episodes of the series
movieman_kev1 July 2007
When Debby Hunt begins cheating on her novelist husband Jeffrey (Willem Dafoe) with his publicist Tony of all people, he decides to fake his own death in order to achieve immortality in the literary world and attempt to reconcile his ailing relationship. This doesn't sit well at all with the two adulterous lovers who vow to kill him for real. I enjoyed this episode a lot and had fun with the twists and turns of the story to say any more would spoil a delightful little tale, so i won't. But suffice it to say, if only all or even half of the series was as good as this one was then the show would have been a bonifide classic as opposed to the mild cult classic success that it currently enjoys. This is one of the episodes that can be found on Volume 1 of the US release of the Hitchhiker. It also has optional commentary by Director Carl Schenkel who has pretty much nothing at all to say making it one of the worst commentary tracks that I've ever heard in my life.

My Grade: B+

Eye Candy: Dayle Haddon shows T&A, as well as a rather quick full frontal
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A very strong and effective episode
Woodyanders14 November 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Struggling writer Jeffrey Hunt (an excellent performance by the always reliable Willem Dafoe) fakes his own death in order to achieve literary immortality. His unfaithful wife Debby (well played by sultry brunette knockout Dayle Haddon) has been having an adulterous affair with Jeffrey's publicist and best friend Tony Lynch (a fine portrayal by Barry Bostwick). Debby and Tony try to make Jeffrey's staged death real, but the plan backfires. Director Carl Schenkel, working from a clever and engrossing script by Thomas Baum, relates the tricky and involving story at a constant swift pace and adroitly builds a considerable amount of both tension and eerie atmosphere. The plot keeps viewers on their toes with several dandy surprise twists and turns before culminating in a real doozy of a dark and startling downbeat ending. Dafoe, Haddon, and Bostwick do sterling work in the lead roles, with sound support from veteran character actor M. Emmet Walsh as the cagey and suspicious Detective Underhill and Madeleine Sherwood as pesky librarian Vivian. Of course, we also get a choice serving of delicious gratuitous female nudity courtesy of the lovely Ms. Haddon. Reginald H. Morris' slick and agile cinematography gives the show a nice glossy look. Michel Rubini's shivery score further adds to the ominous mood. Highly recommended viewing for fans of this series.
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Suspenseful and entertaining. The scheme and plot twist with a sinking feel in the end!
Danny Blankenship1 August 2007
This episode of "The Hitchhiker" titled "Ghostwriter" is well done and probably one of the better written episodes of the entire series. The plot takes an unexpected twist too. You have the always slick and sly Willem Dafoe as a struggling author who just can't sell any books and he's lost the desire to write. So he comes up with his own little scheme only to make it look like his agent Tony(Barry Bostwick) and unfaithful wife Debby(Dayle Haddon)killed him for love and money! Only then this episode takes a memorable turn and plot twist, I will not give it away for those who haven't seen it, though the little scheme backfires as the planned fiction drama sinks down the river! Look for character actor M. Emmet Walsh as an eager and tough detective also. Overall great episode of the series well acted and written.
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