The episode "House Call" from the TV show Young Dr Kildare, centers on the character of Dr. Leonard Gillespie (Gary Merrill), instead of the good Dr. Kildare. In this episode Ted Thatcher (Don Johnson) overhears Dr. Gillespie handling a female patient's kidney stone issue. Ted approaches Gillespie asking if he might be able to help his friend. Reluctant to leave the hospital premises, Ted pulls out a knife on the doctor, and forces him to come home with him. The doctor arrives to find a young female has overdosed, and Ted and his friend are scared to contact the police or take her to the hospital. Dr. Gillespie tries to save the girl, but insists she will die if she's not taken to the hospital. Becoming desperate, the two friends' heroin addiction is taking an effect on their judgment on the situation. Ted becomes unhinged and starts coming up with ideas of getting rid of the girl's body as well as possibly plotting the murder of Dr. Gillespie. As the girl's life hangs by a thread, Dr. Gillespie is tied up, and Ted tries to invite his drug dealer over for a hook up. I won't give away the conclusion, but it's an interesting little drug addiction mellow-drama.
I'm not sure if this series was typically on the thriller side of things, but this one is almost like a 50s style noir number at times. Ted played by Don Johnson, embodies a kind of Bogart or Cassavetes' style of character. Chain smoking, while holding Gary Merrill hostage, he reminded me of a character from Desperate Hours (1955) or The Night Holds Terror (1955). It's not a bad performance, but his character does seem a little uneven in the half-an-hour running time. His oncoming drug-related-sickness seemed a bit of a rushed transition. Yet, for an early role in both TV and film, Don Johnson shines exceptionally well. If Sal Mineo was Don Johnson's mentor, this episode seems like something Sal would have tackled back in his youth. An interesting episode, with a noted young performance from Don Johnson.
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