Starsky and Hutch: Season 3, Episode 1

Starsky and Hutch on Playboy Island (17 Sep. 1977)

TV Episode  |   |  Action, Crime, Drama
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 37 users  
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The boys are tasked with investigating Playboy Island. The island is owned by billionaire William Thorne, and a series deaths have attracted the attention of the authorities. They believe ... See full summary »



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Bernie Hamilton ...
Papa Theodore
Craig Stevens ...
Walt Healy
Louis Nye ...
Phil Hill
Jinaki ...
Johnny Doors
Anitra Ford ...
Patti McGuire ...
Pussycat (as Patricia L. McGuire)


The boys are tasked with investigating Playboy Island. The island is owned by billionaire William Thorne, and a series deaths have attracted the attention of the authorities. They believe the appearance of Johnny Doors, a high ranking crime syndicate figure may indicate an attempt to take over the financial empire by the Mob. Written by

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Action | Crime | Drama




Release Date:

17 September 1977 (USA)  »

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Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Infamously shows the main characters in blackface while going undercover as Calypso singers. See more »


References The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams (1977) See more »

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User Reviews

The Beginning of the End
25 March 2011 | by (Valley Village, CA) – See all my reviews

I'll still give it a 5 out of 10 because of the nostalgia factor for me and the fact that S&H was one of my favorite shows growing up, but one can see that this is the point from whence the series began to go down hill. Partly because of the advocacy groups in the 70s that were against violence on television and partly because of PMG's growing frustrations with playing Starsky the same old way, the show was given a major overhaul for season 3 and retooled from its original season 1 (and to a gradually lessening degree, season 2) format of gritty and violent stories about two tough streetwise cops fighting crime on the mean streets to an aspect that focused more on stories revolving around some sort of personal issue of either Starsky or Hutch (even towards the end of season 2 you could see this trend starting with the episode "Nightmare" that despite featuring a quite violent and disturbing theme about the rape of a young retarded girl, the character of Lisa was still a "personal friend" of S&H and not just some random crime victim). While I did, and still do, enjoy watching the show, especially all of season 1, I must say that, in some parts, this episode strains my tolerance level almost to the breaking point. It's got a weak and pointless opening which features our two super cops in a restaurant/bar supposedly just about to go on vacation to a lake and discussing the pros and cons of outdoor life, when some seemingly random babe picks them up and takes them 'home'. It turns out that she's a cop leading them to a meeting with Captain Dobey and another guy who is an agent of some kind, in which S&H are told that instead of going on vacation they're now going undercover on Playboy Island to help solve some mysterious murders and save an aging tycoon. It's a needless setup that purports to be a "cover" so that some, to this point rather nebulous and non-existent, criminal element does not cotton on to the game at hand. IMO it could have been avoided and just opened with S&H arriving at the meeting. But it's filler so that this can be a "movie length" two-parter, and there's more filler to come. S&H arrive on Playboy Island in the (ridiculous and completely unnecessary) personas of two members of a waste removal company on some silly industry convention. It gets sillier from there on in: there's a ludicrously stereotypical voodoo shaman who laughs insanely and continuously; a "helpless" nurse who turns out to be the mastermind behind the entire series of killings; unexplained (and impossible) voodoo-style killings that even just as inexplicably affect Starsky and force him to almost kill both himself and Hutch; a crazy scheme involving a fake marriage; and so on. None of this is totally unbearable for me, again because I love the show and S&H are two of my favorite TV heroes, but all of it could have been more cleverly and more believably constructed. For instance there is no earthly reason why the voodoo shaman, upon first capturing S&H, would not just kill them outright, as he has been doing with all others who threaten to get in the way of the evil plan. Instead, S&H meet with the nurse and ask her if she can get the tycoon out of his mansion compound. She says she cannot and so S&H infiltrate the place in a rescue attempt and get caught by the bad guys. The shaman throws some sort of "voodoo powder" at them (which is never explained in the show and yet could easily have been described as some sort of psychotropic drug that would have made it more believable) and the show ends with the cliffhanger scene of S&H writhing in agony from the effects of this powder. Right then and there they are helplessly in the voodoo shaman's power and he could easily dispatch them, but instead episode 2 opens with them washed up on a beach none the worse for wear except for some residual dizziness. They then proceed to run into the nurse again and repeat the entire sequence wherein they ask her if she can get the tycoon out of his mansion compound -- and quite conveniently she now comes up with the brilliant idea of "I can get him to the market." I mean, wtf? She can "get him to the market!" Really? If it's suddenly that easy why couldn't she have done it in the first place? Oh wait, they had to stretch this episode into a two-parter. Anyway, it gets even wackier from that point on and devolves into a car chase that looks more like it belongs in an episode of The Keystone Cops than Starsky & Hutch. So I won't go on except to say that, on a purely escapist level, I still enjoy this silly episode... and there are plenty of bikini-clad babes present to make for some re-watchable eye candy... and, unlike the 2007 movie, no matter how bad this story is, it still features the real Starksy and Hutch and not Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson desecrating the characters.

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