After discovering the connection between a corrupt city commissioner and Colombian killers, Kojak is framed for the murder of a call girl and is prosecuted by former police detective Crocker, now an assistant D.A.
After a flighty young woman accidentally witnesses a Mob hit in an Italian restaurant, New York Police Inspector Theo Kojak must both protect her from an unscrupulous Dutch hitman, and bring Mob kingpin Tony Salducci to justice.
Those who were fans of the original "Kojak" series or who have been discovering it anew on DVD thanks to the recent (and long overdue) release of S2 should be forewarned that if they ever come across this TV-movie, the first of the post-series Kojak movies, they will see almost none of what made the series fun. Basically, what has happened is the character of Kojak has been shoehorned into a thin story that has almost nothing in the way of police process but is just an excuse to dramatize the highly suspect arguments of author John Loftus (who I might add has also written some dubious and thoroughly discredited junk trying to link the Bush family to the Nazi regime) about the Americans smuggling in Nazi criminals from Russia after the war. And to bring about this, Telly Savalas has basically been told to forget about playing Kojak the way we always enjoyed watching him (we don't even so much as get one scene of him with a lollipop!). Instead, Kojak is the mouthpiece for some pretentious speech making about America disgracing itself and covering up etc. etc. that frankly comes off as irritating in the extreme. Even though brother George Savalas is back as Detective Stavros (he died not long after this was made), and Detectives Rizzo and Saperstein are still around there's none of the old sense of great camaraderie that existed in the original inside the station that made watching Kojak fun. Dan Frazer as Captain McNeil shows up only in one scene and it's not clear what his position is in the department now since he's no longer Captain at Manhattan South. He's only there for Kojak to vent at.
As for the plot....there were more inconsistencies than I could count. It's predictable from the beginning who the killer is yet for some reason they try to manufacture "suspense" out of this. Then we get an implausible climactic confrontation between the killer and his final target that makes no logical sense whatsoever except to give us the contrivance of a final scene in an interesting locale with Kojak and his new partner Lustig (a stand-in for Crocker, since Kevin Dobson was by now busy with "Knots Landing") situated far back. The pretentiousness to promote dubious scholarship was bad enough, but they couldn't even give us a decent Kojak story in the process (toss in an awful 80s synth score that gets annoying after awhile and it only makes the viewing experience more painful). I love ya Kojak, baby, but not in this silly mess.
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