Wiseguy: Season 2, Episode 4

Last of the True Believers (16 Nov. 1988)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
8.4
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Knox Pooley's explosive appearance on an issue-oriented talk show ends in tragedy, and Vinnie and Richie join forces to link yet another brutal murder to the Pilgrims of Promise evangelist.

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Title: Last of the True Believers (16 Nov 1988)

Last of the True Believers (16 Nov 1988) on IMDb 8.4/10

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Jim Byrnes ...
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Frederickson
Alan Burke
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Thurman McGill
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Tucker
Charles Siegel ...
Himowitz
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Meredith Bain Woodward ...
Mrs. Stramm (as Meredith Woodward)
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Storyline

Knox Pooley's explosive appearance on an issue-oriented talk show ends in tragedy, and Vinnie and Richie join forces to link yet another brutal murder to the Pilgrims of Promise evangelist.

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Crime | Drama | Mystery

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16 November 1988 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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When Frank gets into his car wearing his long coat and drives off, it is clear that he has closed the door on his coat. See more »

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Culmination of the Pilgrims of Promise Storyline
17 March 2014 | by (Toronto, Canada) – See all my reviews

FBI undercover man Vinnie Terranova (Ken Wahl) is finally able to manoeuvre his naive young friend Richie Stramm (Tim Guinee) into getting evidence on the white supremacist group 'the Pilgrims of Promise' Stramm has joined. They have committed multiple murder and armed robbery on an armoured truck yet Terranova has struggled to convince his bosses that the situation requires his attention.

As the guru of the movement Knox Pooley (Fred Dalton Thompson) is revealed to be a huckster his lead disciple - profoundly disturbed racist zealot Calvin Hollis (Paul Guilfoyle) ratchets up his own wave of violence putting lives in jeopardy including his. Hollis's near erotic obsession with Pooley is not fully explained and I'm glad it wasn't.

The end of this story arc is among the most frustrating in the series but probably the most profound. As with the conclusion to the other arcs on the show, Terranova is denied full satisfaction. His passionate idealism may have changed with each passing episode but his understanding of how dark human evil can get still comes up lacking. The limits on what law enforcement and the justice system can do to thwart it will never be something he can abide.

In this case he will risk anything if it means he can save Stramm from turning to the dark side. One might well wonder what it is about ghetto simpleton Stramm that Terranova thinks is worth saving. My only guess would be that it has a lot to do with how many people Terranova has lost and how many others gave up on him when they heard he was a mafioso.

What this episode deals with most efficiently is presenting the fraudulent elements which utilized the cult of racism for profit whilst disowning the violence of low-level flunkies. The FBI loves to take credit for splintering the KKK into minor factions. What they don't like taking credit for is the bureau's own suppression of civil rights leaders.


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