The series finale: James Michael Gunther, the businessman who was the lead villain in "Targets Without a Badge" two shows earlier, returns to put out a murder contract on Dave Starsky. ... See full summary »

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Episode complete credited cast:
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...
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Sean P. Griffin ...
Jonathan Wells (as Sean Griffin)
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Doctor (as Conrad Bachman)
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Bates
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Ivan Bonar ...
Lancaster
Lou Felder ...
Schneider
Stefanie Auerbach ...
Nurse
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Jenny Brown
Herb Davis ...
Butler
Richard De Lizzi ...
Patrolman
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Orderly
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Storyline

The series finale: James Michael Gunther, the businessman who was the lead villain in "Targets Without a Badge" two shows earlier, returns to put out a murder contract on Dave Starsky. Starsky is critically wounded and seems to be dying. Hutchinson wants revenge, but can't seem to find Gunther -- until Gunther unexpectedly hands him a present -- the corpse of his own lawyer Bates in Gunther's office. Written by Peter Harris

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Action | Crime | Drama | Mystery

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15 May 1979 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Last show of the series. See more »

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In memory of Hutch
24 July 2016 | by (Michigan) – See all my reviews

The series finale episode is a welcome relief to at last end the carnage of Season 4 and the destruction of a great show. (Unfortunately I still have more of Season 4 to watch; I jumped to the last episode in the hopes of easing the pain with some closure).

We won't get many scenes of Starsky and Hutch together here at the end. PMG is directing this one, so no time for acting. We open with the guys playing ping-pong, competing again, one-on-one against each other, instead of being the team we first came to know and love. Walking to the parking lot, they are ambushed and Starsky is shot in the back. This is their final scene together until the last closing scene. Hutch sits by Starsky's bedside, convinced he will die, and he can't even take his hand. He acts like he's grieving, but this Hutch from Season 4 has very little heart, so it's hard to tell.

Hutch tracks down the person who put the hit on them while Starsky manages to pull thru. The scenes in the middle, where Starsky opens his eyes and Hutch dances around happy that he's alive, are obviously shot separately with PMG and DS not even together. Cut to Starsky in bed, cut to Hutch dancing with nurse. (Real Hutch would have been at Starsky's bedside, welcoming him back from the dead.).

The final scene gives us our four primary actors celebrating in Starsky's hospital room. Hutch is drunk and Starsky is hopped up on pain pills, as an excuse for PMG and DS to barely maintain their characters to the end I'm guessing. Starsky and Hutch demonstrate some final closeness as friends, but after all the distance between them through Season 4, it doesn't help much. Mercifully, it finally ends.

I always thought the demise of Starsky and Hutch came from PMG's dislike for the violence of the show and constantly threatening to quit. But after experiencing Season 4, I see the show was killed by the changes in their relationship and in Hutch's character. I know DS initially thought the Hutch character was too "white bread" and wanted something more meaty. But you can't take the sincere, compassionate, nurturing Hutch from the first two season and turn him into a brooding, angry man; that was not character growth, it was character assassination.

I can say with not much doubt that I will never want to see much of Season 4 again. There are some things DS had going with Hutch that I could have adjusted to, but it was all too much. I feel like Season 4 could have been resolved for me with just a couple scenes in the finale that would have brought Hutch's character back to someone I felt good about. It was not to be.


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