Epitomizes everything that was wrong with season 2
You know a show is in trouble when it starts cannibalizing its own plots ---- by its second season.
Here we have the grandson (AKA Greg Brady) of a California mobster (David Opatoshu) who is kidnapped by a Vegas mogul (Robert Vaughn) resulting in Pepper doing the only thing she can under the circumstances: dancing as a cabaret showgirl at Vaughn's casino.
We're never really told what the basis for the enmity is between the two high-rolling thugs except that some past hotel deal went sour. But that's not the real problem...
This is the kind of episode POLICE WOMAN would have done effortlessly and very effectively back during Season 1. But now, in Season 2, it's a struggle to make it work: for one thing, Angie has been restrained since the beginning of this season (the feminists, sure her previous effervescent charisma was somehow "degrading to women", pressured executives to permanently tone her down) so she's no longer allowed to play the sexy stuff -- which is a problem when you're dancing around in tights and spangles as she is in this installment (and the other dancers in the revue are DREADFUL!!). There is also a listless lack of energy to the episode which prevents any sense of tension or loss of time from occurring (odd, since the director, Corey Allen, would later become one of the series' best).
And THEN there's the casting of Robert Vaughn. Yes, back in the day before there was any serialization in primetime as routinely exists today, guest actors were often hired several times playing different characters. But given that Vaughn had played Pepper's boss only a year earlier in ANOTHER dance episode ("Blast" in which Angie posed as a go-go girl) his casting here just seems to invite uncomfortable and unfortunate comparisons. And "Generation of Evil" does not win the competition.
Then, once the bruised and unforgiving boy is saved, Pepper offers up a lame dose hospital wisdom to the kingpin that, "You lived your life your way, now your grandson has to live his". Once, this would have been a stinging indictment of the mafia don, delivered with gentle-but-biting irony from Angie. But now, given the changes in the series' tone, she apologetically mutters the line, looking nervously away several times as if she were overly concerned about hurting his feelings -- or momentarily upstaging Sergeant Crowley, heaven help us.
It's not awful, but it just kind of lays there, this episode. And it reflects Season 2's warranted insecurity in the shadow of the much superior Season 1, before The Powers That Be dictated that POLICE WOMAN's tubes be tied.
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