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"Sword of Justice" A Double Life (1978)

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A Show So Good NBC Had To Can It

Author: Jason Daniel Baker from Toronto, Canada
4 March 2013

Wealthy young playboy Jack Cole (Dack Rambo) is framed for embezzlement by his dead father's former business associates (J.D.Cannon & Larry Hagman). His mother (June Lockhart) dies thinking he is guilty.

He is given a five year stretch in maximum security prison which begins with his receiving a severe baptismal beating by resident members of the Aryan Brotherhood. Jack is considerably less of a soft touch than he is taken for. He learns criminal skills and tricks making the most of his time inside.

After being released he is ready to vindicate himself and exact retribution. He concludes "You don't know how rotten the top can look until you've seen it from the bottom". Though the show would evoke 'The Saint' this pilot episode echoed themes present in The Count of Monte Cristo.

This was a solid starting point for the NBC series With a decent premise (Though hardly original) and good writing punctuated by witty dialogue. Series star Dack Rambo had finally found a vehicle worthy of his talents and a solid supporting cast along with flashy guest stars were recruited to flank him.

The exceptional sophistication of those elements help the viewer overlook certain implausibilities and the asinine title. For instance it is pretty unrealistic to show a guy getting maximum security prison for embezzlement. It is even less realistic to show him being able to get a taxi in San Francisco when he needs one.

NBC gave this show a ten episode run during 1978-1979 before pulling the plug. Given the history of that network particularly at the end of the 1970s it is remarkable that a quality show like this should last even that long.

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