Research scientist Don Orley (Paul Wilson) drives to a bar to meet with Los Angeles Spectre investigative journalist Marlene Lewis (Darleen Carr). He wants to blow the whistle on a nefarious plot to get a dangerous "food enhancer" called APS approved by the FDA when it isn't safe for consumption.
Looking anxious, red-faced and sweating profusely Orley is not the picture of prime health himself as he begins to reveal what he knows. He suddenly dies right in front of her after offering cryptic details on what it is about. The startled reporter believes the man was poisoned. She also thinks that she was too after having been given six months to live following a physical evaluation by her doctor.
Riptide detective agency partners Cody Allen (Perry King), Murray Bozinsky (Thom Bray), and Nick Ryder (Joe Penny) devote themselves to the case after hearing her story. As they delve into the project Orley was involved in they notice a trail of deaths made to look like accidents. They could each become chalk outlines on that very trail as they get closer to the scheme and the culprit behind it.
As an implicit appeal to female viewers the detectives spend an entire scene talking about how to best be considerate of their client's feelings - a woman who knows she has little time left to live. The warmth and sensitivity of the Riptide boys was supposed to be part of their cachet with that demographic. But it wasn't very subtle and could be interpreted as condescending. The character is after all, a journalist who is good at what she does and is unafraid to rattle cages. Any inky stained wretch - male or female knows the dangers.
The male demographic could easily relate to the brotherly dorm atmosphere of the life the guys lived aboard the Riptide. Because of that we see the comedic scene in which the guys try to get themselves organized to launder their clothes. It is a catastrophe and Cody hasn't even planned ahead enough to have something to wear to the laundromat. The first sight Ms.Lewis has of them features Cody shirtless (Hello ladies!) with he and the other two holding a long overdue pile of cruddy threads. These are overgrown frat-boys and we get constant reminders of it.
Implicit in that reminder is the sexist notion that they could really use a woman to take care of them - a trade off a lot of lonely women at home watching on TV at the time this was first broadcast would make after checking out Cody and Nick for an hour every week. It was a trade off women used to be called upon to make as their point of entry into a single adult man's life. That signal is continually put out there.
Old-fashioned women were probably very receptive. Insecure women who didn't particularly mind house work may have felt encouragement seeing a way in with these photogenic but nevertheless nasal-voiced immature himbos but only them or guys who looked as good. The important thing was the notion of an opening being filled on the Riptide with Cody and Nick.
As if to balance out how gender roles were changing a scientist friend of Murray's does him a favour then says he owes her one which she clarifies by saying "one" means "The one with the mustache" i.e. Cody.
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