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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is the pilot episode of the crime series, Target: The Corruptors.
It ran for 35 episodes during 1961-62 and starred Stephen McNally and
Robert Harland. McNally is a big city newspaper columnist who exposes
crime and the nasty types involved. In this episode, the "target", is
the mob ran garbage collection racket in NYC. McNally is contacted by a
garbage hauler who is sick of the outrageous "dues" he pays the union.
The day he is to meet McNally he is killed and buried under several
tons of garbage. McNally quizzes the man's daughter, Arlene Martel, as
well as her husband, Art Batanides. Batanides, a garbage hauler
himself, wants nothing to do with McNally. He is of course scared silly
that he might be next. McNally sends in his special undercover man,
Robert Harland, to get a job with the firm. They give him a watertight
cover as an out of town driver looking for work. The boss of the firm
is Peter Falk. Falk is an old time mobster who reacts with violence
when crossed. Walter Matthau plays the smooth talking president of the
firm's union. He is also the link to the higher up boss in the mob.
Harland gets the feel of the outfit and listens in to all the talk
around the place. A few days later Falk decides to get rid of
Batanides. If the father in-law was talking to the papers then maybe
the son in-law is also. He sends a couple of the boys to take care of
the matter. The two botch the hit and Batanides tells McNally and the
police what he knows. The cops grab up the two hit men for a round of
third degree. With the added info from Harland's undercover work they
have enough to arrest Falk. While all this is going on, Matthau has
been complaining to the real boss, Robert Middleton. Matthau is telling
Middleton that Falk's cowboy tactics are drawing unwanted attention
from the police and the papers. Middleton agrees and tells Matthau to
handle the situation. The police raid Falk's yard and slap the cuffs on
him. "You'll never get me to talk!" rants Falk. As they bundle Falk
into a car several shots rings out and Falk drops dead. McNally writes
the story and the mob backs out of the union. Interesting stuff.
McNally's noir credits include, BEWITCHED, ROGUES' REGIMENT, CRISS CROSS, WOMAN IN HIDING, WINCHESTER 73, NO WAY OUT, THE RAGING TIDE, SPLIT SECOND, MAKE HASTE TO LIVE, A BULLET IS WAITING, VIOLENT Saturday. The cast also includes Steve Conte, Richard Devon and Allen Jaffe. The director was vet TV helmsman Don Medford. The writers were Palmer Thompson, Don Brinkley and Chris Knopf. The d of p was George Diskant. Diskant worked on DESPERATE, RIFFRAFF, THEY LIVE BY NIGHT, PORT OF NEW YORK, BETWEEN MIDNIGHT AND DAWN, THE RACKET, ON DANGEROUS GROUND, THE NARROW MARGIN, BEWARE MY LOVELY, K.C. CONFIDENTIAL.
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