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"Chain of Command" is an unusual episode of any cop show because for once it focuses on the upper ranks in the police department--not the detectives or uniformed officers. It's also nice because you get to see some familiar older actors (Stuart Whitman, Edmond O'Brien and Charles McGraw) in these roles.
When the show begins, you see a cop deliberately gunned down by someone in the shadows. This was not a robbery gone bad but someone looking to execute a police officer. While the Chief (O'Brien) seems to think this is just some isolated incident, the Captain (Whitman) isn't so sure--he thinks some group might have begun targeting police. Even after another cop is killed, the Chief inexplicably drags his feet--so the Captain takes the initiative. Interestingly, the trail ends up leading right back to the police station!
I appreciated this episode because it was timely. Some black militant groups were pretty scary back in the 70s and did target cops. Additionally, the show DIDN'T just say it was caused by a bunch of nuts- -some of the instigation was the result of overzealous cops who gave the black community reason to dislike them. Very interesting--very well made. The only negatives I noticed were at the end. The police sure looked WAY under-gunned for such a confrontation. Additionally, watch closely as the cop begins climbing the rope to the roof--you can see that he cannot do it and the scene QUICKLY changes to him and the other police on the roof...ha!
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