|Index||3 reviews in total|
Peter Falk is riveting in here as, "Nate Selko," a "troubleshooter"
from New York City brought into Chicago. Things haven't going well in
the punch-board rackets with Elliot Ness and his Untouchables cracking
down on the gambling game that has swept the city.
"Selko" is a brutal-but-intelligent thug who not only goes after Ness (through a corrupt newspaper man) but also some of the gang members, eventually putting himself in charge through intimidation. In the end Ness has to outsmart him, or he could be out of a job.
That's one thing that makes this episode so good - everyone is going up against everyone else, and let the chips fall where they may. Add to that kind story, a brilliant guest cast - Falk, Murray Hamilton, Vincent Gardenia and Ned Glass - and you have a fantastic episode.
This episode is about something real life Treasury agents would never
concern themselves with...gambling. Still, with "The Untouchables" you
need to forget about facts and just enjoy.
The gangs are apparently getting rich off punchboards--a type of gambling that was common back in the day. In essence, a person paid and got to scratch a single number off a tote board...some were winners and most were not. Because of this, they were very profitable...but the amount of profit is diminishing due the work of Ness and his men. So, a meeting of the various punchboard barons takes place and a new troubleshooter, Nate Selko (Peter Falk) is introduced as the answer to their problems. Soon Selko sets up Ness for shooting an unarmed suspect. And, soon all the folks who could tell the truth start dying! Clearly, Selko is not a nice fellow! The problem is that Selko is so nasty and so scary that even the gangs are afraid of him! What's next?
This one is very enjoyable because of Falk's performance and how well the character is written. Hard to ignore...and very exciting.
The third season of The Untouchables kicked off with a really fine cast
of guest stars in one of their best episodes where none other than
Eliot Ness finds himself in a jackpot.
The Untouchables are investigating a gambling racket using punchboards to pick numbers where many small merchants are forced to have them in their stores. And for the federal government there's that tax angle which nailed Al Capone.
When Robert Stack refuses a bribe offered him by Peter Falk, newly arrived from New York, Falk sets up Ness to where he shoots an unarmed collector for the punchboard syndicate. How I will not reveal, but fellow Untouchables Paul Picerni and Nicholas Georgiade do yeoman service to clear Stack with some forensic investigation.
As for Falk he's one reckless dude who pushes his initial sponsor Ned Glass out of the way and then tries to take over the syndicate from head Vincent Gardenia.
One more role of note is that of Murray Hamilton as a drunken reporter who writes an 'expose' to crucify Stack in the media. There's a scene where a drunken Hamilton meets up with a 'drunken' Ness. Watching that scene reminded so much of what Robert Stack did in Written On The Wind. It was like he was reaching back to that role to make straight arrow Eliot Ness an alcoholic.
With a cast like this giving some great performances it would be a sin to miss this episode.
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