The Untouchables: Season 1, Episode 1

The Empty Chair (15 Oct. 1959)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Crime | Drama
8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 70 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 1 critic

With Capone in prison, Frank Nitti tries to grab the open top spot in the empire. But Capone's bookkeeper is giving him a run for his money.

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Title: The Empty Chair (15 Oct 1959)

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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
...
...
Brandy La France
Bruce Gordon ...
Betty Garde ...
Norma Guzik
...
Nicholas Georgiade ...
Abel Fernandez ...
...
Peter Mamakos ...
Gus Raddi
Herman Rudin ...
Tony Volpe
Richard Benedict ...
'Fur' Sammons
Wally Cassell ...
...
Walter Winchell ...
Narrator (voice)
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Storyline

After 18 months of hard work by Eliot Ness and the Untouchables, Al Capone is convicted of tax evasion and sent to prison. It's only the start however for the law enforcement officers as Capone has left a fully functioning mob empire intact. Soon however, Capone's top enforcer, Frank Nitti, is eliminating some of his competition for control of that empire. In the process of fighting Nitti, Ness recruits a new member of the squad, one-time barber Enrico Rossi who had volunteered to testify against the crime boss after witnessing a shooting. Nitti's main competitor for Al Capone's empty chair is the mob's bookkeeper, Jake Guzik. Ness' plan is to create a rift between the two by focusing on Nitti's personal holdings and leaving the others alone. Guzik proves to be a far more intelligent opponent than Ness may have given him credit for so he tries to get a dead mobsters wife, Guzik's niece, to inform on the bookkeeper. Written by garykmcd

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Genres:

Action | Crime | Drama

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Release Date:

15 October 1959 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Quotes

Agent Enrico Rossi: Mr. Ness... I want to do more than testify.
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User Reviews

 
Great Start To A Classic TV Series
12 April 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Not having seen this show in over 40 years and having loved it as a young teen, I couldn't wait for the DVD to finally come out with Season One. I am sorry it's only half of the opening season, but at least it's a start.

This was great to watch, right from the beginning,because, for those like me who have forgotten or for new viewers, it gives us the background of all the major players. We get quick profiles of the men who were called "The Untouchables," beginning with the leader "Elliot Ness," a role that brought a lot of fame to actor Robert Stack.

Stack had already starred in several melodramas in the mid '50s but this TV series really made him a star. His right-hand man on the show, "Enrico Rossi," wasn't on the team right away, as I re-discovered watching this. Rossi (Nicholas Georgiade) was an assistant barber, who witnessed a brutal massacre in his shop and then had "the moxie," as Ness put it, to confront one of the thugs and be willing to testify against Frank Nitti. Ness is so impressed he hires Rossi shortly afterward on a conditional basis.

The opening episode re-unites us with Bruce Gordon as Nitti, "The Enforcer" as he was labeled. He's the chief villain since Al Capone has just been put in jail. We see Nitti try to take charge over the other three major hoods, but is stopped by the much smarter bookkeeper "Jake Guzik" (Nehemiah Persoff), who persuades Nitti and the two others - "Phil D'Andrea and Fur Sammons" - not to make the mistakes Capone made. They'll keep Capone's chair empty (hence the title of this episode) and run things smarter as a group.

Meanwhile, Ness and his boys try to figure out how to get Nitti charged in the murder. That's difficult because the other witness, the head barber, won't testify he saw anything. How can they get Nitti? If not this crime, maybe on tax evasion, or maybe they can start the crooks to mistrust each other. That's the theme for the rest of the program: how to send Nitti and his boys to jail.

It also was fun to see guest star Barbara Nichols who plays "Brandy LaFrance." If that name doesn't suit the roles Barbara played here and in many other TV programs and movies, nothing does.


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