A gang of ex-convicts, led by their former parole officer, utilizing his familiarity with S.W.A.T. procedures, invades a heavily guarded rare coin auction and makes off with two million dollars is gold in "Sole Survivor."

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
...
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Rod Perry ...
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James Coleman ...
Ellen Weston ...
Betty Harrelson
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Frank Hunter
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Sylvestor Gray (as James McMullan)
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Bo Tate
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Ben Wiley (as George Di Cenzo)
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Hilda
Ben Wright ...
Mr. Jarvis
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Timmy Lacey (as Ike Eisenman)
Burt Douglas ...
Lacey
Ari Sorko-Ram ...
Sgt. #1 (as R.B. Sorko-Ram)
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A gang of ex-convicts, led by their former parole officer, utilizing his familiarity with S.W.A.T. procedures, invades a heavily guarded rare coin auction and makes off with two million dollars is gold in "Sole Survivor."

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heist | See All (1) »

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Action | Crime | Drama

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26 May 1975 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Hunter's Caper, Rooftop Snipers, and Ike Eisenmann as Tiny Tim
19 May 2014 | by (Omaha, Nebraska) – See all my reviews

Snipers firing from rooftops are a not uncommon occurrence in the world of SWAT (in fact, there are two rooftop snipers in this episode alone). Hondo dispatches his team with authority, but Street goes rogue and decides to jump the sniper from above. The sniper sees Street's shadow and prepares to shoot, forcing Hondo to wing him. Street gets called into Hondo's office and reamed for being a hot dog.

That opening scene sets the stage for the main plot. Frank Hunter, a fired and embittered parole officer, hatches a caper. He rounds up a number of his former parolees, each of whom possesses a special talent. Together they're going to heist an auction of rare gold coins worth $2 million.

In a way, Frank Hunter is the anti-Hondo, assembling his own SWAT team and likewise dispatching his men to their discrete tasks, from photographing the layout of the auction room to preparing explosives to crack open the display case. Hunter even ensures SWAT will be preoccupied with nuisance calls and thus far from the scene of their heist. It's almost the perfect crime. Alas, the best laid plans of mice, men, and criminal masterminds often go awry.

Simon Oakland, fresh off KOLCHAK THE NIGHTSTALKER, plays Hunter with bombastic aplomb. He's almost a sympathetic figure. He has genuine affection for his former parolees and brags about their talents ("Have you seen what he can do with a semi-automatic? Pure artistry!"). One can't help but feel sympathy when he looks down on the gold coins scattered before him as if to say they were "such stuff as dreams are made on." Hunter's gang is made up of James MacMullan as the pipe-smoking, nattily-dressed numismatist Sylvester Gray; George DiCenzo as the gum-yakking gunman Ben Wiley; and Hal Williams--between gigs as Officer Smitty on SANFORD & SON--as explosives expert Bo Tate.

Ellen Weston, so sexy as Dr. Steele in three memorable episodes of GET SMART, was transformed into a frumpy hausfrau on SWAT. Through no fault of her own, she was inducted into the Sorority of Superfluous Spouses that boasts among its members Barbara Barrie of BARNEY MILLER and Marcia Strassman of WELCOME BACK, KOTTER. This episode of SWAT simply ground to a halt when the scene shifted to Hondo and Betty waxing domestic over coffee.

On that note, the episode's fast-moving plot slowed to a crawl when the focus shifted to eight-year-old Timmy, son of the first sniper. Timmy's hard-knock life breaks the hearts of Hondo and company. Ike Eisenmann did a fine job and plays Timmy as a tender but tough kid, one soft enough to cry it out on Hondo's shoulder yet sharp enough to engineer an escape from the boys shelter. You just know Timmy will grow up, overcome his rough childhood, and do okay.

As is the formula, this episode is bookended with some light comedy--using the term loosely--opening with Hilda selling stale donuts and even, if I heard right, shouting "Roach coach!" as she descended the stairs. Let's just say this scene would never have made it onto The Alan Brady Show. The closing scene was hokey but heartwarming and I admit I liked it a lot.


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