Leslie (Mary Crosby), daughter of a veteran Los Angeles police detective, is raped in her sorority house by a deranged scuzzo (Joseph Reale). Her over-worked cop father Lieutenant Dan Slate (Kenneth McMillan), normally a steadfast professional goes ballistic and tries to kill the apprehended assailant who is only too delighted to gloat about what he has done.
Detectives Ken Hutchinson (David Soul) and David Starsky (Paul Michael Glaser), friends and colleagues of Slate's plead with their superior Police Captain Dobey (Bernie Hamilton) to be given the case to try to exonerate Slate. The widowed vet, whose daughter has become nearly catatonic from the attack, muses that he has nothing left. His plans don't include vindication.
'Young woman in peril' story lines were a staple of titillating old detective magazines and found their way into movies in the 1970s. Brutal violence committed by intruders in sorority houses was a newer phenomenon which appeared mainly to exist in slasher movies. The chief threat in sorority houses was, and is, hazing by older sisters.
The theme of vigilantism and critique of a criminal justice system that appeared to favor criminals was very much in vogue at the time. Casting Kenneth McMillan - an actor who so often portrayed villains, as a vengeful dad made for an intriguing turn even amidst less plausible aspects of the plot. It offers subtext on a form of villainy.
I always found Mary Crosby convincing and wondered why she never became a bigger star. Other guest-stars Kenneth McMillan and Carl Anderson were as serious and competent at acting as the series regulars. The level of hard work and talent could still be lost within the confines of a production designed to meet the demands of a superficial formula.
Solid performances all around don't necessarily square everything. But I appreciate the effort here and in other entries in this series - one seemingly nobody else looked at as anything other than crass, insubstantial schlock churned out as an afterthought by producers and the ABC network.
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