With the help of his new wife Anita, Joe Varnum robs luxury stores by assaulting the proprietors and injecting them with a stolen (and potent) knockout drug to ensure that he will have sufficient time to get away safely. The Highway Patrol's involvement intensifies when two of his victims die from the injections. A radio broadcast alerts the Varnums of one of the deaths and they attempt to flee the state. Dan Mathews is able to ascertain their whereabouts and eventually finds himself involved in a standoff in which Joe Varnum crassly attempts to use Anita as a shield. Written by
Hypo Bandit is a well crafted, sharper than usual episode of Highway Patrol, featuring an urbane well dressed criminal and his not very bright wife. His modus operandi is to send his wife into a store to check out the layout, then, after she leaves, enter the store, deliver a knockout dose of some kind to the owner or manager with with hypodermic needle, take the money and run. This couple has a good thing going for a while.
The bandit's Achilles heel is that he doesn't know how to administer his shots professionally. He has some background in health care but never learned how to use a needle properly, which leads to some unintended consequences. The good stuff here is the confident, good looking villain, as played by Richard Vath, an obscure actor whom I know absolutely nothing about. In appearance and manner he resembles B leading man Kent Taylor, which makes him somewhat attractive in spite of his criminal tendencies.
As an entry in the Highway Patrol seres, this is top of the line. This guy's a clever fellow, smart but with little formal education, he sees himself as superior to others, uses his clueless wife as his yes-woman. I found this episode well above average due to its far more complex and intelligent than usual villain, who's quite sophisticated for a small time criminal, and somewhat of a dandy, which makes him a bit sympathetic, to this viewer anyway, and while I wouldn't say I was rooting for him, to succeed I could see why some people might have found him charming. If this were another type of TV series the story could easily have been expanded to an hour, which have made it even better
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