Episode 47: Fatal Charm

A possessive woman becomes dangerous when Hutch tries to end their relationship.

Diana Harmon: Karen Valentine, Linda Baylor: Roz Kelly, Max Frost: Paul Lukather, Kathy Marshall: Janice Heiden, Salesman: Woody Skaggs, Benny: Michael Stipanich. Written By: Jeff Kanter, Directed By: Earl Bellamy.


Okay, hold on to your hats, here is one my favorite episodes in the canon, one that never loses its powerful impact after repeated viewings, that seems as authentically scary as the day it was conceived. Maybe it’s the nearly oppressive focus of the story, the lack of extraneous details, or maybe it’s the subject matter, always relevant and squirmingly uncomfortable. Maybe it’s Karen Valentine’s unusual performance. Or the direction, neat and unfussy, with a underplayed nod to Hitchcock. Maybe it’s because this episode was shot under very trying circumstances, David Soul, suffering from a potentially fatal pneumonia, having been out of the hospital for only three weeks. (According to the story Glaser was very protective, bringing him coffee, finding him places to sit in between shots, and urging him to let Epper do more of the stunts. Soul refused, particularly after Epper was knocked down by a car during filming and had to go to the clinic). All the elements are here: tight script, great performances, genuine shocks, and total focus.

Roz Kelly, this time as fellow detective Linda Baylor, just can’t let the tough-chick act go, can she? Or was she pressured to be such a one-note actor? One wonders. (As an aside, her character was to have become Hutch’s new partner if Glaser had not returned for the third season. As consolation, she was to have another big role later, but was unavailable when the opportunity came.)

The guys are comfortable around Linda but have zero romantic inclinations toward her, not even the notoriously flirtatious Starsky. This is in stark contrast to every other encounter with a woman, even the married ones. What, if you’re businesslike, practical, and tough, will the boys not like you? Or do they know something about her we don’t? Now there’s a storyline I’d like to see.

Starsky gives Hutch a lesson on manliness in the emergency room: be brave, no screaming, no crying, no carrying on, be a soldier. This is doubly funny when you consider it’s Hutch he’s talking to, the very epitome of stoicism. Of course this is typical of the joking and teasing that passes for much male communication, and here it’s particularly charming. But when Starsky jokingly downplays Hutch’s pain, telling him it’s just a scratch, can this be seen as a foreshadowing of the later situation with Diana, during which he is similarly myopic and/or unsympathetic?

Starsky listens for Hutch’s heart with the stethoscope. He says he “can’t hear a thing.” There are more than a few times during the series where he says Hutch is a man without a heart, but Starsky is very good at levelling a charge with an undercurrent of affection.

Eavesdropping: When Hutch encounters Starsky with his hand stuck up the vending machine he tries to sound disparaging by saying, “You ought to be ashamed of yourself” but then, nearly imperceptibly, gives his friend another dime. Then when he says the injection he received doesn’t hurt “where it shows” Starsky obliges by kicking him playfully in the behind. They then walk off together, making plans for the evening. I wonder if this scene, with its intimacy and affection, is what sends Diana over the edge. Because surely she’d see a lot of patients throughout her day, even handsome ones. Maybe even cops. But watching how the two guys interact with each other – that mix of exasperated familiarity and loving indulgence – makes her think: gotta get me some of that.

Diana tells Hutch she has “some steaks in the refrigerator.” Now, it’s very unusual for a single girl to have two steaks ready to go at any given time. She’s dressed in a nightgown so isn’t planning to pick some up, and they are not in the freezer where anyone else would store them. Without a microwave, thawing would be difficult. Seems like she has prepared in advance for luring a guy into her apartment.

I love the detail of the moving boxes in Diana’s place. It adds to the sense of chaos, of an unsettled, restless life perpetually in transition. It’s easy to imagine Diana was fired from her job in Dallas or Chicago or somewhere, for another stalking or violent incident never reported by an embarrassed male victim.

Hutch is non-committal with Diana throughout their brief relationship. To her suggestion they stay at her place for the night, Hutch’s reply is “Whatever.” To Diana’s admission she followed him to bar is, “I guess I should be flattered.” To Starsky and Kathy’s suggestion of a foursome, Hutch’s reply is a pallid “Sure. Sounds, uh, sounds great.” He looks tentative and unhappy even when they sit together at the fire (an apartment with a real fireplace – how unusual and expensive is that in Los Angeles?) What is it that makes him so tepid? Her forthrightness, her weird energy? Does he sense, deep down, that she’s a shitload of trouble? Whatever it is, he doesn’t like her but sleeps with her anyway. A Very Bad Move, and not only because it sets in motion the terrible events to come, but it hints at the fact that Hutch has ignored his instincts, which I’m guessing would be howling bad news! bad news! at the top of their synaptic lungs.

Starsky has brought lovely stewardess Kathy Harmon over to Hutch’s place. I love how Kathy comes forward and kisses Hutch right on the mouth, and the two of them hug for a long moment. Diana may be psycho but she’s right to think there’s more to this than meets the eye. Starsky says, “she looks pretty good, doesn’t she,” sounding relaxed and complacent while taking a drink from Hutch’s beer, and all this seems very all for one, one for all. The sharing and admiring and kissing and chug-a-lugging is free and easy, yes, but this is not to denigrate Kathy’s wonderful decency, her wholesomeness, and the feeling you get that she would make a great friend. After all, she loves to dance, offers to help Diana and doesn’t have a problem diving right in and using her hands to clean up cold pasta. She doesn’t become upset when Hutch steps on her. She is quick to include Diana in a foursome. She doesn’t go too crazy when drink is spilled on her. She has a fun-loving spirit without inspiring jealousy between Starsky and Hutch. And best of all, both Starsky and Hutch like her. A lot.

The four go to the disco, and we see one of the few times Hutch seems to both dance well and enjoy it, too. Although he does step on Kathy’s foot, prematurely ending a very fun time.

Since when does the DJ come out and dance on the floor? And yet this one does, with enthusiasm.

Hutch calls himself “Hutchinson” when he scolds himself. “Hutchinson, you sure picked a winner,” he tells himself about Diana. When he is deep in Marsha’s lair in “Tap Dancing”, he asks himself under his breath, “What did you get yourself into, Hutchinson?” What do you think Starsky refers to himself under similar circumstances? Or does Starsky never second-guess himself?

“It’s that old fatal charm of yours,” Starsky says. “Gets them every time.”
“It’s not funny, Starsk,” Hutch says, but is Starsky being funny, or is telling the truth? What does “fatal charm” mean anyway, and why does Hutch have it? Is it being so beautiful you kill any chance for a normal relationship?

Starsky’s error in reading Hutch and Diana’s body language shows both a lack of sensitivity and a pervasive sexism. While I can hardly blame him for taking things lightly – both guys have had dealings with some pretty flaky girls over the years, and some overly-controlling ones as well, certain a trip down the aisle was imminent – but in this instance he should have seen Diana was a little more intense than the average date. He ignores Hutch’s obvious discomfort when suggesting a foursome. The weird vibes with Diana at the disco, her curt “I don’t dance” and the murderous staring at Hutch dancing with another woman, doesn’t set off alarm bells. You can see him thinking, “whoa, weird chick” and then not thinking about it any more. He gives Hutch bad advice about “reading her the riot act” and splitting. Even the horrifying scene at Metro doesn’t impact him as severely as it should, and, even more markedly, the next day’s mess at Hutch’s apartment doesn’t alert him unduly. Is he so dismissive because he doesn’t tend to take women seriously? Are there different rules for women? With Rosey, for example, he’s capable of lying, withholding, and strong-arming her to get what he wants. Most others are momentarily arresting, beddable, then forgettable. He’s obviously capable of deep feeling (he really puts himself out for women like Rosey, Emily Harrison, and Sharman, and, one surmises, Helen Davisson) but it’s usually as it relates to his sense of security, of rightness, and balance. He’s chivalrous and protective, as long as the woman conforms to his expectations. It just bugs him when the landscape isn’t ordered the way he likes it, and women are elements in that landscape. I am being hard on him because he is a product of his time and his environment, and these few lapses are those of any man. Perfection is boring anyway, especially in a dramatic characters, and it means that Starsky – and Hutch – are complicated and flawed beings. Only Terry was his equal and his friend.

For his part, Hutch is much more willing to throw himself into the chaos of passion and damn the consequences. In a sense, he’s looking to be thrown off-balance by romantic love. He’s seeking disorder and turmoil as a distraction from what I believe is a subtle, often hidden, but persistent depression. He needs to be distracted. Starsky, on the other hand, is masterful and conservative, moving pieces in his landscape around like one of those toy train builders with their obsessive tiny trees and trestles made of toothpicks. It’s no surprise he’s actually working on a model of a ship when Hutch comes over to talk about his problems. All the elements in his man-made landscape tend to behave, staying where he puts them. But Hutch is not a world-builder or a master-controller, despite the impression he gives. He’s a romantic and a nihilist, and Diana is just the sort of rogue element he’s both attracted to and helpless against.

Although there is a real and vivid villain here, am I alone in thinking there is a layer of culpability on the part of Hutch (symbolic of men in general, if you want to get political about it) that I feel has emerged only in time? I’m pretty sure it wasn’t intentional when this episode was shot, and it probably wasn’t part of any of our initial viewing of it, but whose life history of secret disappointment and betrayal hasn’t engendered a smidgen of compassion or understanding for this woman? It feels as if, watching now, we are seeing someone who has been battered by life, far too eager to please and be pleased – so typical of many women in this pre-feminist world – and who is genuinely bewildered by the torments and obstacles life and love has thrown at her. I always have the feeling she is on par with Monique Travers, who also had a small, frightened voice inside beseeching her to stop acting crazy.

Diana buys Hutch a watch, proof of why she knows nothing about him.

In the next scene she is wearing the best dress ever. If it wasn’t for the psychotically murderous impulses, she’d be perfect. Very pretty, has steaks in the refrigerator at the oddest times, buys great gifts, doesn’t hesitate to have sex with men she barely knows, wears fantastic outfits.

Diana and Abby in “Vendetta” both invite Hutch to dinner, put a gift on his plate and wait for a late Hutch. Both relationships end badly.

When Diana phones Hutch and begs to see him, she’s winding something around her fingers as she talks on the phone. It could be either be something as sinister as a garrote or as innocuous as dental floss, but the use of the prop here is genius.

The scene by the doors at the police station has to be one of the all-time riveting scenes in the series. Valentine, for her part, is completely spellbinding. She doesn’t ratchet it up too much, never goes into what you’d call camp, and as a result she’s fucking scary. The guys seem completely stunned by her outburst, Starsky particularly – watch his blank look of horror. Part of it comes from the fact this woman is letting it all hang out in public, in front of fellow officers. Embarrassment for men is worse than physical violence – somehow, this scene can be seen as more damaging than the knife-welding attack later. She’s completely commanding despite being half their size. “You!” she screams at Starsky. “You’re just like him… Let me tell you something about your friend. He’s not even a good lover!”
Hutch says quietly, “Diana …” It’s a reprimand, but a quiet one, almost pitying.
She leaves, throwing the watch on the floor. Long, embarrassed silence. Dobey orders everyone away.

Diana says a puzzling thing in her fury: she screams that she had to have someone cover for her at the hospital because she though Hutch was sick or wounded. She says this while obviously wearing a fancy dress. The guys don’t seem to catch on that there was no way she’d be on duty this evening dressed like that. Why does she compound her rage with a rather useless guilt-trip aimed at Hutch? Does she even believe it herself, or is this proof of her mental disintegration?

How did Dobey know about Diana’s ploy of pretending to be “the kid sister from Boston”? It doesn’t seem like something Hutch would tell Dobey, out of embarrassment. And Starsky has already pooh-poohed its importance. Yet it is the key that puts it together for Starsky. If Dobey hadn’t mentioned it, it would have been too late for Hutch.

What happened to Hutch’s hand injury by the time he gets into the shower? It doesn’t seem to bother him, he scrubs vigorously, and yet only a few days, at most a week, has passed.

In “Lady Blue”, Dobey almost takes Starsky off Helen’s case because of Starsky’s personal interest in it. Yet in Linda Baylor’s attack Dobey tells Starsky and Hutch, “Knowing how you feel about Linda, I’m going to assign you to her case.” Why the difference in how he sees emotional involvement of his officers in these two cases?

Hutch doesn’t know it’s Diana who stabbed him, yet that’s the name he calls out in his dark apartment. It’s been preying on his mind, and here it is, his worst nightmare come to life. And yet he’s practical and methodical in his response, a true cop, knowing that nothing kills you faster than panic.

A chatty, articulate person normally, and someone who has proven before how stinging and painful hurtled words can be, Diana is silent during this scene.

If Diana had slipped Hutch’s gun from the holster hanging over the door, this series would have had a very different ending.


39 Responses to “Episode 47: Fatal Charm”

  1. Shelley Says:

    I thought the script writers and Karen Valentine did an excellent job with the character of Diana. About midway through the first encounter between Hutch and this woman, I started feeling a bit unnerved about her, yet her creepiness was so subtle I wasn’t sure. That was a nice touch, making it believable when she went psycho, and it also made Hutch’s reactions to her believable. He didn’t seem captivated by her that first night, but also didn’t seem to pick up any reason to be wary.

    Speaking of psycho, replicating the shower scene from ‘Psycho’ was also intriguing, as they like to bring in movie references on this show.

  2. Jill Says:

    I agree with other comments, Karen Valentine was excellent in this role. At first you feel a bit sad, even embarrassed for her, that she’s so desperately followed Hutch to the bar: is she just completely smitten with him at first sight? Or is this her usual M.O. with any guy she wants to get to know? Is she just lonely and needy for attention? Or does she imagine herself as some femme fatale who enjoys snaring the man? Maybe a mix of both. With each scene, she becomes more creepy, with her inner “bunny boiler” bubbling nicely away under the surface. And then in the excellent shower scene, she really did look like a woman possessed!

    On a side note (relating to previous linguistic observations from other episodes – e.g. Starsky’s car “bonnet”), once again, I noted a British-English word used: in the scene where Diana has to give Hutch an injection, he refers to his “trousers” rather than (usual US) pants. I love these little peculiarities. 🙂

    • Tank Stoner Says:

      On the subject of (insert entity)-English, there are many instances in British TV and song where American-English phrases are used. The Kinks’ song ‘Come Dancing’ has 2 of them. (US) Parking lot rather than (UK) car park and (US) ‘bowling alley’ rather than (UK) Ten-Pin Centre’

      • Jill Says:

        We do say car park in the UK, but I’ve never heard or seen Ten-pin centre; everyone says bowling alley, or just “going bowling”. Think was so even in the 70s, as there was an episode of The Professionals set in a bowling alley.

      • Tank Stoner Says:

        I always thought that in the UK, Ten-Pin was used because of another game called ‘bowling’ there. And then there were other British bands that used American-English phrases/words. Status Quo and The Outfield both used the word “vacation'(US) as opposed to ‘holiday’ (UK) because it sounded better. But then again Warren Zevon sang about London as if he was a native of it while Lynard Skynard used the word ‘trousers; so what’s fair is fair.

  3. King David Says:

    I find this episode hard to watch, because Diana is so obviously unbalanced. What has made her this way? That scene where she belittles Hutch in the station is horrible; Starsky should feel ashamed too, for not twigging that all was not well in Paradise.
    (Not even a good lover? Hutch? I am sure he is a skilled, if conservative, lover, so somewhere along the way she has not felt satisfied by Hutch’s ministrations, and he for his part probably felt less-than fully mentally engaged [mechanical coupling for the sake of it?] but what would it have taken for her to feel satisfied? She seeks to damage Hutch in the most cutting way possible.

    Poor Roz Kelly – she really does have a lovely figure, though.

    “Fatal Charm” – is supposed to mean Hutch has the charm to kill any resistance from a lady he has his eye on, not that he is so chatming that someone wants to kill him. I think this is a great title and I applaud the double entendre; I wish other episodes had had clever titles.

  4. Dianna Says:

    Oh my God, this was the most harrowing episode ever.

    It was the complete opposite of Voodoo Island, and rather an antidote to it, and it hit me in a couple of rather personal ways, the first of which you can probably guess.

    Diana Harmon was the creepiest, scariest, most traumatizing character ever, an effect that I’m sure is enhanced for me by her name. (Luckily, she spells it differently!)

    If I had known about this character, I would have used some alias at this site!! Dianna/Diana not being a terribly common name, I always react when I hear it, unlike a John or Susan who hears their name all the time. So when Hutch says MY name to calm her at the station, when he calls out into the darkness of his apartment, and when Starsky yells it in the hall, I was thoroughly horrified.

    The whole episode is a waking nightmare for Hutch, because no one listens to him when he is in trouble. Starsky and Dobey don’t really notice that Hutch has asked for a ride to the hospital, and once he is there, he complains that the doctor was dismissive too: he “hardly looked at it.”

    This story shows what would become of Hutch if Starsky weren’t there caring for and protecting him and noticing his needs. Starsky just does not catch his cues at all, until he realizes that Harmon (sorry, I can’t use her first name!) is the one who assaulted Linda. Notice the look that Hutch gives him when he says, “You can count on me!”

    (What is distracting Starsky, anyway? Is it some residual voodoo left over from the Episode I Would Rather Forget?)

    Even Hutch is not really listening to Hutch! When Harmon shows up in her nightgown, he suddenly becomes rather cool toward her (“Whatever.”); still he ignores his reservations about her pushiness (“I guess I should be flattered”), but he does not act decisively till she has a knife in her hand.

    In a way, Hutch is more alone in this episode than he was in Survival. There he knew without a doubt that Starsky was doing everything he could to find him, but in this episode he has no one to turn to. Starsky, Dobey, the doctor, Huggy — and of course a nurse! — are people he should be able to rely on, but they all turn a deaf ear. It may be easier to heal from dehydration, exposure, blood loss, and crushed leg than it is to heal from this lone ordeal. Notice how utterly defenseless he looks when Starsky finally arrives. He mouths something. Is it “I’m sorry”?

    Besides Harmon’s unfortunate first name, I have another personal connection to this story, which you may or may not care about, but what the heck:

    The episode aired Sept. 24, 1977, just after I left my Northern California home for college. California was in its second year of a very severe drought which hit hardest in the northern 2/3 of the state; in fact I just read that 1976 and 1977 were the two driest years in the history of California.

    Los Angeles had an arrangement that guaranteed it a certain number of gallons of Northern California water (as well as Colorado River water) each year, so Angelenos barely noticed the drought. They were still hosing down their sidewalks while Northern Californians’ lawns died; we only flushed the toilet when absolutely necessary, reciting the mottos, “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down,” and “In this land of drought and sun, we do not flush for number one.” We could not take baths; instead we ran the shower enough to get wet, turned off the water to lather up, and then turned the water on again just long enough to rinse off.

    People in my family’s area reduced their per capita water use by 36%, but people in L.A. only reduced it by 12%.

    Thus, in the climax scene of this episode, it pains my Northern Californian heart to see Hutch turn on his shower and then wander all over his apartment rearranging things while all that imported water runs down the drain unused. (As in: “Dianna? Why do you want to hurt me Dianna?” “Because you’re wasting all that Northern California water, you inconsiderate oaf!”) Feeling so irritated with him when he was in mortal danger made the episode especially creepy for me.

    Brilliantly done, but I don’t imagine I will watch it over and over for fun.

    Others’ comments & questions —

    On the phone, Harmon is fussing with the chain of the long necklace she was wearing at the disco. You can just glimpse the pendant in her right hand.

    Dobey’s assessment of the guys’ emotional involvement with Linda compared to Helen: Linda is injured, while Helen was murdered. Linda is a respected colleague, but Linda was a lover. Either the writers are being inconsistent, or these differences are enough to make a difference in case assignments.

    I don’t think Harmon meant it when she said Hutch was a bad lover. Remember that in his apartment she said that last night had been “lovely.” She just says he is a bad lover because she wants to injure and humiliate him, not because she was dissatisfied at the time.

    That odd DJ’s dancing isn’t even in time to the music. Maybe he is a symbol of time being “out of joint.”

    I love Merl’s word-picture of Harmon’s reasons for moving to Bay City.

    Continuity & editing:
    We see two different exteriors for Harmon’s apartment, the first of which is the building Gillian lived in (and is used in one or two other episodes as well, but I can’t recall which).

    When we see Harmon’s hands close up, she has a thick layer of beige nail polish. When we seem them in context, they have clear or no nail polish. The beige nail polish looks just like the polish used by the lady from Crowley Pharmaceuticals in A Coffin for Starsky, so it may be the same hand model.

    I love the way that Hutch tenderly rights his overturned plants. And Linda’s obvious distaste for Frost. But it’s a little strange to use a civilian like Huggy as part of a bust.

    Why does Starsky leave open the door of the interrogation room?

    Why does Harmon leave the bathroom after stabbing Hutch?

    How is it that Starsky arrives at Hutch’s house before “the nearest black-and-white”?

    A “taco burrito enchilada with guacamol”?? That’s like saying a “hamburger sandwich meatloaf with mustar”.

    One more note:

    I can picture a brainstorming session for this episode:
    “What if there were someone fixated on Hutch like Fifi is, except she was psychotic?”

    • merltheearl Says:

      Thank you for seconding me on this fabulous episode. This is the series at its very best: adult-themed, intelligent, and scary. You have some very good questions as well, none of which I can answer. And I am happy you cleared up what Diana is holding while she is on the telephone.

      As for your personal associations with this episode, I find them fascinating. One of the added complications/delights of this series is the fact that we are seeing it in the present and in the past simultaneously. Subconscious, nearly visceral responses are mixed with cool contemporary hindsight, and it’s a potent experience. As an example, for years the squeak of leather always brought on a rush of undefined negative emotions in me. I knew someone with one of those supremely ugly 80s leather sofas and every time I sat in it something dark nestling in the back of my mind made itself felt. It’s only when I saw “Gillian” again that the subconscious met the conscious and I understood the harrowing source of my association.

    • Tank Stoner Says:

      And then a few months later, Southern California had what was at the time it’s wettest year in history

  5. Wallis Says:

    I like how a couple of the central themes of the episode are foreshadowed in the first act — Starsky clambers on top of Hutch while the latter is injured during the chase after the purse-snatcher. Not because he’s being a dick or anything, but just because he assumes Hutch is a tough guy and can handle it. Later, with Diane, he behaves the same way, assuming that because Hutch is a big tough cop, he isn’t in any real danger from some screechy little woman.

    In Dobey’s office, Hutch interrupts his explanation of what happened to tell everyone in the room, quite loudly and clearly, that he needs to go to the hospital and will Starsky please give him a lift. Starsky and Dobey both ignore him and then Dobey orders Hutch to the hospital and Starsky offers him a lift, as if they hadn’t heard him before. Later, the same thing happens, with Starsky and Huggy ignoring Hutch’s insistence that there’s something seriously sick about Diane — not even arguing against it or having any particular reason to not believe, but simply because they don’t even hear him, don’t absorb and process anything Hutch says, and Starsky and Dobey have to re-figure the whole thing out all on their own from Linda’s landlord’s report, not because Hutch got through to them.

    The idea of being silenced and incapable of communicating information to anyone is a really powerful horror trope — it’s related to claustrophobia or restraint, being trapped inside one’s own body and unable to get out of it using the only means people having of getting out of it, which is communication. Being silenced by other people’s perceptions, rather than from someone forcibly stopping you from speaking is even creepier, because it’s more relatable to viewers with normal lives. Everyone has been in Hutch’s shoes at some point, even if the thing they needed to say wasn’t anywhere as important as “there’s a crazy lady stalking me.” It’s a very surreal feeling — as if for the duration of the misunderstanding, you are living in a completely separate parallel universe from everyone else — in their universe, you have no problem. In your universe, you do have a problem. And there seems to be no way to pull the people you’re asking for help into your universe even if they’re right in front of you and talking to you, which is a deeper sort of silence than one due to forcible restraint or separation. It’s more like being in space, where there’s no air to carry your words to another person’s ears even if you’re right next to them. I think that’s part of what makes this episode so oppressive and scary.

    • merltheearl Says:

      Yes, exactly. I have a nearly visceral feeling of horror watching this episode and that’s a large part of it. Many people have had this experience in life, myself included. Thank you for expressing this complex, ineffable quality so magnificently well.

    • Dianna Says:

      Yes. Wow. Exactly.

      • DRB Says:

        As a contrast to the point that no one is listening to Hutch, we have Starsky’s phone call intercepted by Diana. (So much more effective than the “usual” shot of the phone ringing and ringing while the stalker is preparing to attack.) That gloating tone when she tells Starsky he is going to be too late was the worst moment in the episode for me. It is a huge relief that her prediction is untrue this time, but there is a devastating premonition that one day Starsky will be too late for Hutch.

  6. Grevy's Zebra Says:

    It’s a very rare occurrence for me to go through an episode wanting to reach through the screen and smack Starsky in the face! I suppose even really good friends are capable of big fails every once in a while, but talk about terrible timing. Wake up man!

    One of the things that makes this episode especially creepy is how close and warm Starsky and Hutch are together for the most part, which makes Starsky’s complete fumbling of the ball when it comes to Diana even more jarring and frightening. Their teasing and bantering in the hospital, Starsky fooling around with the stethoscope “trying to find Hutch’s heart” and giving him the bullet, Hutch rescuing Starsky from the vending machine o’ doom, Starsky giving Hutch that playful little kick in the ass…it’s all so cute and comfortable and normal, and then the Diana thing happens and Starsky ought to have Hutch’s back 100% just like he always does, but here he just doesn’t, and THAT is just as terrifying as Diana is because it fucks with the viewers’ expectations so much, like having the ground drop out from under their feet. I don’t think this plot would be anywhere near as scary in a show with more of a self-sufficient loner character who works mainly on his own.

    • Anna Says:

      Oh yes, yes. While Diana is genuinely terrifying all on her own, a not-insignificant portion of the episode’s horror comes from the viewer watching Starsky dropping the ball so badly, and going into the classic horror device of the audience knowing something the characters don’t know but really need to. We’re conditioned to take for granted the process of “1. One guy gets into trouble. 2. He goes to his partner for help. 3. They fight their way through the trouble together.” The fact that this process comes to a screeching halt right as we’re subconsciously gearing up to think “okay, now Starsky will come and everything will be fine” really contributes to the effectiveness of the horror.

      (It’s also rather amusing that the Playboy Island episode right before it tried to invoke a similar thing with the random voodoo murder attempt and just fell flat on its face. The difference in quality between some of the episodes in this show is just plain unsettling.)

  7. Adelaide Says:

    This is one of my favorite episodes too, merltheearl. Such an effective horror episode. Karen Valentine is just amazing here — she absolutely rivets everyone’s attention when she’s onscreen. The fact that all the pieces come together so slowly yet without dragging shows great suspense writing.

    The character stuff here is incredibly, incredibly fascinating. Hutch’s sleeping with Diana is disturbingly depressing. He isn’t at all sleazy or creepy, nor is he cruel or insensitive, yet neither is he earnest or appealing or remotely interested in her, nor is there a spark of chemistry or heat. It’s so painfully obvious that all he’s thinking is “what the hell, I have nothing better to do tonight.” Somehow, this makes her obsession more horrifying than if he had actually had fun with Diana, because it’s so completely inexplicable — sure, we love Hutch because we know him so well, and yes he’s gorgeous, but what would Diana see in him? All she got was some bored, listless, untalkative guy who just goes “mm-hm” whenever she says something. He seems so apathetic and numb that it hurts to see him.

    I’ve gotta go off of your theory — that she was riveted by that little glimpse of Hutch’s intimacy with Starsky and absolutely had to make a grab for it. After all, unless her insanity came out of nowhere all of a sudden, she’s probably never had anyone get close to her or understand her or like her for who she is — since who she is is a psychotic clinger. Even I, upon seeing Starsky and Hutch’s quiet, proprietary closeness in the examination room, and later when Hutch extracts Starsky from the vending machine and when Starsky gives Hutch that affectionate boot to the ass, felt a brief but powerful wave of envy and longing rush over me for a minute. To an affection-seeking, greedy, unreasonable person like Diana, it would be like seeing everything you ever wanted dangling right in front of your nose. (It’s also interesting, though probably completely coincidental, that when Diana is chewing Hutch out at the station, she informs *Starsky* specifically that Hutch isn’t a good lover.) In spite of the fact that she’s a woman, in the scene where she trashes Hutch’s apartment, the part where she lies on Hutch’s bed and repeatedly, rhythmically plunges the knife into his mattress is some of the most skin-crawling rape-imagery I’ve ever seen.

    The end, when she screams in despair, “Everybody loves you! Why can’t you love me?” is haunting and probably absolutely crushing to Hutch. Look at the poor guy mouth “I’m sorry” even though he’s horribly traumatized and bleeding and she just almost killed him. He has a terrible guilt complex and now he’s being punished for the crime of being loveable, which plays tragically straight into his insecurity about not deserving the good things that are given to him (Starsky’s love being the biggest example) and feeling like he has to pay for it or test it to make sure he’s not getting suckered. What a sickening experience for him. I just want to give him a hug.

    I think, as far as I can recall, this episode may be Starsky’s biggest failure as a friend in the series. The fact that there’s no excuse for him to fail so badly here — he’s not fighting with Hutch, he’s not preoccupied or distracted, he’s not being misled by accident or on purpose — when he’s normally stalwart and faithful to near-superhuman levels is chilling and really contributes to the “everything that you take for granted goes horribly wrong” theme of this episode — one-night stands aren’t supposed to violently explode all over your life, friends aren’t supposed to blow you off when you need help, you’re not supposed to almost get your brains bashed out while walking into your apartment just after you successfully busted a drug dealer without getting a scratch. Everything and everyone goes so damn wrong in this episode that the moment of getting your hopes up after the smooth-as-clockwork perfection of the drug bust feels like tantalizing mockery. Even worse, Hutch seems to waver and dismiss his own opinion after his conversation with Starsky — he trusts Starsky so much that when Starsky blows off his worries, he believes him. After all, Starsky has never steered him wrong before on anything important. I wonder how guilty the guy must’ve been after this episode. Narratively and emotionally, it was absolutely 100% crucial for Starsky to be the one to arrive first and rescue Hutch from Diana in the nick of time.

    I can’t tell how deliberate and self-aware the writers were in crafting the Starsky-Hutch communication fail, but deliberate or not — in this whole complex episode of fascinating little tidbits, my single favorite shot in the entire episode comes in the scene at the end before the tag, right after Starsky pulls Diana off of Hutch — Hutch starts to slide down the wall, Starsky grabs his arms, and there’s a close reaction shot of Starsky while he asks (or begs, rather) “you ok?” in an absolutely broken voice with the most devastated look on his face that I’ve ever seen — I think Glaser had tears in his eyes — and you can tell that everything he’s done wrong all episode has caught up with him and the realization that Hutch is horribly mentally and physically scarred because Starsky didn’t adequately protect him has just gutted him, yet he manages to make this moment all about Hutch and Hutch’s wellbeing, completely quashing any “it’s all my fault” self-indulgent self-flagellation.

    • Grevy's Zebra Says:

      Wow — I have to admit, to my shame, that I never really bothered to think about why Diana got so obsessed with Hutch in more depth than “she’s nuts” but I love the idea that she’s been pushed away from people all her life due to her clinginess and mental instability, and seeing Hutch behave so intimately with Starsky made her transform Hutch in her mind into the perfect dispenser of affection and love and everything she’s always desperately needed. But she’s so possessive that she won’t settle for just being around Hutch, she must isolate him to absorb every drop of his affection all for herself. I know people like that, even non-insane ones.

      I never noticed that Diana specifically informs *Starsky* that Hutch isn’t a good lover! I just checked the episode on youtube to see that scene, and she really does — she gets right in Starsky’s face and says “let me tell you something about your friend..” She also jealously takes both Kathy and Linda out of the equation as swiftly as she can, to ensure they won’t touch Hutch, so perhaps she thinks telling Starsky that Hutch is lousy in bed is the best way to make Starsky not want to bang him (because there is just *no way* Hutch is actually lousy in bed. He cares way too much about being as good as he possibly can be at stuff like that to be an inept lover). If she apparently believes *everyone* is trying to bang Hutch it shows that she has self-victimization issues, thinking that the whole world is out to screw (pardon the pun) her out of owning her perfect blond fantasy object.

    • DRB Says:

      “…now he’s being punished for the crime of being loveable…”

      Masterful comment; it has absolutely haunted me since I read it.

      While watching the episode initially, I felt bad for Diana. Hutch’s casual acceptance of her invitation to love her at least physically was devastating when he became upset with her visit the following evening. She certainly did not understand the mixed signals he was sending her any more than Hutch understood her fast-developing obsession with him. So Hutch has to bear some of the blame for the chaos that followed.

      But then Diana decides to force the issue, declaring herself to be his fiancee and buying a hugely expensive gift–$1200 would buy a good car in this era!. The apprehension that began while watching her hatefulness at the disco escalates at this point to dismay. She is already so delusional that nothing good can come from the situation. From this point on, the blame falls squarely on Diana because she is so unwilling to accept that Hutch is not committed to her nor is he going to be. However much she desires to have his love, she should be able to understand that you cannot force anyone to love you. Her horrifying accusation and question as Starsky pulls her away from Hutch are not related issues. “Everyone loves you! Why can’t you love me?” do not make sense. The outburst only underlines how little she knows of love. Love does not depend upon the recipient. Love is a choice that the one who loves makes. To punish another for failing to love you is the most selfish action imaginable. Hutch’s pitiful response, “I’m sorry” cannot absolve Diana. She did not love Hutch either.

  8. Harley Schrader Says:

    I know this is barely related to your review, but I wanted to mention before I forget. — one of the little things I miss a great deal about TV these days is the fact that the 1970s’s lack of dexterity with camera angles and editing meant the onus was far more on the actors to demonstrate physical prowess and power without the help of filming tricks.

    Not that actors nowadays aren’t physically capable, just that they don’t *need* to be — film technique has become so refined that a director could use it to make a squirrel seem to have the physical capabilities of Bruce Lee — and action scenes are always enhanced by a multitude of ultra-tight angles and lightening-fast edits and POV switches that the realism is somewhat blunted.

    Back here though, with all the stodgy, wide-angle, distant shots that compress the actors into a visible single physical plane as if on a theater stage, you can see them moving through it unassisted by any camera tricks like circus performers, and they have only their own physical power (or their ability to project the appearance of power) and it’s so much more palpable and believable. And this is even when *not* including the parts that are or could be done by stunt doubles.

    This is evident throughout the series, but I mention this point on this episode’s review because this episode has one of the most visually arresting examples of this that I can recall: the scene where Frost, after his suspension is torn out, tries to make a run for it on foot, and Starsky leaps onto the car with the agility of a cat, snags Frost by the back of his jacket, and stands right on the car roof dangling Frost off the ground by the scruff of the neck for several seconds without moving his feet once, all in one fluid motion.

    It’s extremely memorable (and, for the record, incredibly, incredibly hot), and the pleasure a viewer gets from seeing a demonstration like this is really underrated, in my opinion.

    Now, the really *bad* part about 1970s TV was the slow-motion. Whoever invented slow-motion deserves a kick in the teeth. I’ve seen it used well, occasionally even *very* well, but never so well that it was absolutely unavoidably necessary; and I have very very frequently seen it used poorly or blatantly in ways that haven’t aged well to the point of knocking any hope of suspension of disbelief right out. That Hitchcockian shower scene, man. It was so *close* to being perfect!

    • merltheearl Says:

      Harley, this is great, thank you. You’re right about those long, wide takes. It something I would have articulated more fully in “If Starsky and Hutch Were Made Today” if I had thought about it. A lot was demanded of the actors and they have the bruises and sprains to show for it. As for slow motion, you’re right there as well, but I would venture to suggest “Vampire” is an exception – I for one will never forget the scene of Rene on the attack in the underground garage (shiver).

  9. Sharon Marie Says:

    I don’t think it is at all unusual for either of the guys to seek out recreational one night stands. Hutch certainly saw this one night with the cute nurse as recreational! And I took Starsky’s initial reaction to Diana as it being just another one of those girls Hutch picked up and will eventually go away, maybe thinking, “He does it. I do it. We both do it.”

    As for how Dobey knows about Diana’s use of ‘a friend from Boston’, I figure that after the confrontation at the station where Diana guts Hutch emotionally in front of his work associates in *the* place where she figures Hutch would be in control the most and have the most to lose, Dobey would have had a sit down with the two of them. As a business owner myself, I most certainly would have taken my employees into my office to document what happened, and to also see what could be done.

    Diana is wearing a fancy dress, yes. But as soon as I saw it I screamed, “Cruella DeVille”!

    Now to the scene…. and let me start with the oft pontificated issue with Hutch: Why the HELL does this police officer not understand that leaving a key over the door is an invitation for bad things to happen? I shake my head that him doing this has repeatedly led to bad people gaining entrance to his home. And yet, he keeps doing it!

    When Hutch walks in his apartment there is a moment when he stops and cocks his head as though his cop instinct tells him that although he has the key in his hands this time – and looks at it (as opposed to earlier when it was missing from over the door and Diana was inside cooking), something isn’t quite right. But he dismisses it.

    Even though we see Diana there, hiding behind Hutch’s hutch (yeah, I know), everything is standard quo until we see the huge knife and the creepy music is cued. From there when she turns off the light it is nail biting time. They do a great job with the lighting, shadows and camera angles. I kept wanting to scream at him to go for his gun – *get it*!. Then when he finally looks up at his holster and sees it’s empty, Soul gets a fantastic look on his face that tells us he realizes that this just ratcheted up the crazy factor ten times.

    • merltheearl Says:

      Sharon Marie, thank you for this, however, I’m not sure anyone has said it’s unusual for Hutch or Starsky to have a one-night stand, but rather how unusual it is for Hutch to go for someone who does not appear to be compatible with him. Not that Diana isn’t attractive, because she sure is. She’s sparkly and charismatic, in my opinion. This may be seen in the luxury of hindsight, but Diana seems wildly invested in Hutch in a way Hutch normally would find off-putting.

      • Sharon Marie Says:

        I see what you mean about Diana not being his usual match. On second thought, their pairing was a bit jarring, but perhaps maybe this is what they were going for. I watched again and had the thought that Hutch would have usually caught on to Diana sooner than he did. So I have to agree with you!

  10. Sharon Marie Says:

    Another thing…. where was the gun? What happened to it? We don’t see Diana with it. It’s just missing from the holster. I would like to have seen hutch take it from petite Diana as she struggled to handle the very heavy weapon.

  11. Darren Read Says:

    The second S&H episode which has the same storyline as a Clint Eastwood film this one being ‘Play Misty For Me’, the other was the episode ‘The Committee’ which resembles the film ‘Magnum Force’ which of course stared David Soul.

  12. Louie Says:

    I agree that this was a really well-done episode, and Karen Valentine was great. Also, it reminded me of the Michael Douglas/Glenn Close movie “Fatal Attraction” right down to the title…and only later I remembered that “Fatal Attraction” came out a decade *after* this episode. I’ve never seen “Play Misty For Me,” so I don’t know exactly what happened in that movie…but because I had “Fatal Attraction” in my mind, for a few minutes I was confused and thought the scene in the kitchen with Kathy Marshal meant that Kathy was Hutch’s girlfriend and he had cheated on her with Diana….and I was going “what! Hutch would never do that!” before figuring out during the dance scene that she wasn’t actually Hutch’s girlfriend.

    Starsky’s behavior was pretty frustrating in this episode, although I wasn’t as bothered by it as Adelaide. But he doesn’t protect or support Hutch the way he usually does…why? Is it all because Diana is a woman, or is there another reason, like he thinks Hutch brought this on himself? He rolls his eyes wearily in a kind of older-brotherly “here he goes again” way when Hutch is worrying about Diana at Starsky’s apartment.

  13. Spencer Says:

    I watched this episode last night after reading comments from viewers here who were disturbed that Starsky was not particularly supportive of Hutch in this episode. But I have to stick up for him a bit. Yes, Starsky missed Hutch’s initial discomfiture with inviting Diana out for the evening, but I think he was just trying to make sure his buddy (and his buddy’s potential date) were included in the evening fun. I loved the way Starksy watched Hutch having a good time dancing with Kathy with such a charmingly indulgent smile and also how he asked Diana to dance. (Not every man would find it necessary to make sure a friend’s date is having a good time – but this is Hutch’s date so Starsky pulls out all the stops trying to include her.) Viewers may have been bothered by the model ship building scene wherein Starsky didn’t seem upset by Diana’s trashing of Hutch’s apartment. However, I thought perhaps he didn’t act upset and tried to down-play the incident not because he wasn’t concerned but more as a way to placate Hutch, who tends to be high strung. Then, when Hutch’s apartment is trashed, Starsky is right there helping him put things back together. When Huggy unceremoniously picks up Hutch’s broken guitar Starsky (rather than Hutch) cautions him to be careful with it because it’s “a man’s heart.” Starsky knows how dear that guitar is to Hutch and wants to spare Hutch any more grief. There’s a lot of little gems in this episode: I love all the shadows and the scene where the Torino charges ahead of the squad cars to dash to Hutch’s apartment. Also the lines in the hall: Diana screams “everyone loves you” (so beautifully apparent) and Starsky asks Hutch, “where are you going?” (he’s desperate to keep Hutch with him.)

    • Anna Says:

      Spencer, I think you make some really good points here. Perhaps, watching Starsky and Hutch, we can get a bit spoiled by their friendship — I remember a while ago laughing at another fan who complained that Starsky or Hutch missed an opportunity to reassure the other in some episode (I forget which) because I was thinking how ridiculous it was for us to be bitching about getting to see our guys show a quantity of affection that the fans of any other show would be ecstatic to see their show’s duo of bffs display. Like an Olympic athlete moaning about how she won *only* two gold medals and got the silver the third time. But I guess we just get so used to Starsky being able to nearly read Hutch’s mind and instinctively give him exactly what he needs and wants (and vice versa), we get all surprised and judgmental when he makes well-intentioned errors that any friend could make.

      I agree with you on the excellence of the climactic scenes. They’re really suspenseful and memorable, especially that “everybody loves you” line — chilling, and such an insightful and succinct way to tie together Diana’s obsession, with a nice touch of irony, as she says it right when Starsky is hauling her away so that he can check on Hutch.

    • Tank Stoner Says:

      The full line was ‘Everybody Loves You !!!! Why can’t you love me?!?!?!?!?! You don’t think this is the end, do you!?!?!?!? DO YOU!?!?!?!?!”

  14. stybz Says:

    I thought this one was very good. That said, I believe that if I hadn’t seen plots like this before, I probably would have found it far more disturbing than I did.

    I thought there was an interesting parallel between Diana’s paintings on the floor and Hutch’s at his place. 🙂 I’m not sure what it is, but I found it interesting. I’m convinced there’s some sort of symbolism in here destroying his paintings, but I’m not sure what that is. 🙂

    I didn’t care for the velour outfit she wore. It looked like a housecoat. When they say, “Let me slip into something more comfortable,” she took it literally. 😀

    The fact that she had steaks ready in the fridge surprised me at first, too, but then I wondered if she had planned all along to invite Hutch back to her place. She might have rushed to the store and got the steaks home before she showed up at the bar looking like she just left work. 🙂 I guess it all depends on how long they were there before she showed up. 🙂

    I wonder what she would have done had Hutch turned her down right from the start. 🙂 That would have been an interesting twist. 🙂

    It’s not unusual for a DJ to dance with the crowd, especially back in the disco era (and it’s even more prevalent and encouraged today). Production note: sometimes the song we hear them dance to is not the song playing during filming. Or, in some cases, there’s no song at all and everyone has to improvise the rhythm. I thought the DJ did pretty well despite whether the song he was dancing to had the same beat as the song we hear.

    I think at the end of the day despite their bond, neither partner likes the other meddling in their love life (Gillian, I Love You Rosey Malone). Hutch often accuses Starsky of having poor taste in women, so maybe Starsky feels Hutch won’t listen to him (Starsky and Hutch are Guilty, Rosey Malone). I also think that they’re distracted by the case to really deal with the mess at Hutch’s. Starsky chides Huggy about the guitar and then the phone rings, leaving them no time to really discuss the situation on camera. They’re still wrapping things up when Linda is attacked and back then it was a relatively new thing to even consider jealousy as a motive for murder, so they don’t even consider it’s Diana who attacked Linda. In some ways, I guess they both think Diana got her aggressions out of her system and won’t bother Hutch again, especially since he changed the locks.

    How she got into the apartment with the new locks is questionable. Hutch should have had a heart to heart with his landlord, but again he might not have had time.

    I loved Starsky’s concern echoing something Hutch said to him in Shootout “Don’t go away from me”), saying “Where are you going?” It’s not only a reaction to Hutch wanting to sit down as it is him worrying that Hutch was slipping into unconsciousness. 🙂

  15. Blunderbuss Says:

    Everyone has left such great comments here I feel like I’m just repeating what has been said already, but I’ll add my opinion.

    First, I love your idea that seeing Starsky and Hutch’s affection and intimacy is what made Diana fixate on Hutch. Adelaide’s analysis was excellent too. Diana sees a gorgeous blond guy half-naked, then also sees him being so sweet and warm with his friend, and wants that. She deludes herself into believing this fantasy scenario where Hutch loves her and wants to marry her and is so comfortable with her that she can just waltz into his apartment and start using his kitchen, and acts on it to force her fantasy of Hutch caring about her and treating her with the same kind of affection and familiarity he showed Starsky to become reality. Then she flips out when real-life-Hutch refuses to conform to fantasy-Hutch.

    Second, It was only after I read this review that I noticed Diana addresses her claim that Hutch isn’t a good lover personally to Starsky, not to the hallway at large. She tells Starsky, with loathing, “You! You’re just like him!” and “let me tell you something about your *friend.*” Demeaning a man’s virility in front of his peers is one of the most embarrassing things ever, but it works best as a public, large-audience, “hey, everyone, listen up!” thing, kind of like rigging someone’s pants to fall down in front of a classroom. But she specifically says it to Starsky. Why would Starsky give a flying fuck what kind of lover Hutch is? Isn’t that a taunt more appropriately leveled at a man’s girlfriend or date? But perhaps the answer to that is obvious in Diana’s paranoid mind. She does conclude Linda Baylor is romantic competition on even less basis – being dressed skimpily while walking with Hutch – after all. Would she have gone after Starsky too if she hadn’t decided to skip straight to killing Hutch? Now *that* would have been an interesting route to go…

    I also agree that the look on Starsky’s face when he holds Hutch up at the end is heartbreaking. He must have been truly guilt-stricken after this. Add another to the unending tally of episodes where I would be fascinated to see some more aftermath.

    • merltheearl Says:

      Blunderbuss, what an amazingly perceptive reading of Diana’s manic/accusatory scene at the police station. You’re absolutely right, the combination of the content of her speech and just who it is directed to is very odd, very incendiary, and very telling. It’s something I missed completely – I was too taken with the whole scene itself to really dissect it as you have. Wonderful.

    • Anna Says:

      The theory that Diana’s obsession with Hutch was started by her desire to have an attractive man like Hutch treat her as affectionately as he treated Starsky is surprisingly…sympathetic? She’s still nuts, but I think for us who love these men’s relationship so much, maybe it is a kind of understandable type of nuts.

      And putting that theory together with this interpretation of Diana’s tirade in the police station, gave me shivers. I’m certain the writers never intended it, but it would add a whole extra layer of complexity to Diana’s delusions and obsession. As well as her “everybody loves you, why can’t you love me?” line.

      • merltheearl Says:

        It’s true, I can never see Diana as purely villainous, but rather as deluded, lonely and confused. Partially, I think, it’s because of Karen Valentine’s beautifully expressive face, her raw neediness. I can’t imagine Hutch would carry a lot of anger either, once the wounds have healed.

  16. Tanya Says:

    When people pay such close attention to the scenes, it really pays off, looks like details enhance the bigger things we all already love about Starsky & Hutch.

    I only have a few original comments:

    *Does anyone else think it’s weird that Hutch doesn’t know that he needs a shot in the butt rather than the arm? I think that as many times as he’s probably been injured, being a cop, all this medical stuff would be second nature to him by now.

    *In the hospital hallway scene in front of the vending machine, when they walk off, it just caught my attention more than it usually does how bendy Starsky’s legs are. He often walks as though he has springs on the soles of his shoes.

    *I like Starsky’s first line at the bar: “I’ve started thinkin’ this is a one-sided relationship, *you* hurt yourself, *you* say where we’re gonna go….” It’s so funny that he lumps together Hutch “hurting himself” (not “getting hurt”) with Hutch calling the shots about their activities, like Starsky’s the one victimized by Hutch’s injury. Which is actually pretty much true, going by the “they are one entity” theory, is it not?

    *The scene when Starsky and Kathy come in and interrupt Hutch and Diana during the spaghetti making scene has so much going on. Hutch only has to say “House calls, huh?” and give Starsky a subtle look to make Starsky realize something’s up. However, as soon as he asks “What happened?” Hutch says “Never mind” and brushes him off. He can’t talk right now, but he wants Starsky to know something’s off, and to silently figure it out himself without drawing attention to them. A very cop-like sort of thing to do. Then again, when Starsky figures out Hutch isn’t enthused about Kathy appearing, and tells him why he brought Kathy over, Hutch again says, with a meaningful look “It’s my evening for surprises.” “Oh?” “Mm-hm!” He wants Starsky to figure out some more. But then, when Starsky decides that the best way to smooth things over is to announce “Hey, lets go out for Chinese food!” he jumps in pain and surprise as Hutch evidently elbows him in the ribs in a failed attempt to say “Shut up!” and gives Starsky another meaningful look, like “No, moron, that’s not what I meant!” There’s so much silent communication.

    *I like how Hutch strides around Dobey’s office in an aggravated way like an impatient kid after Starsky ignores his request for a lift and keeps talking about the case to Dobey. I can almost hear the unspoken “come oooooooonnnnn” from Hutch and the unspoken “be quiet and let me talk, hon” from Starsky. This sort of happens again later in the episode with the ship building scene, where Starsky is kind of infuriatingly calm. I don’t really know if it’s because he’s genuinely blowing off Hutch’s concerns, or just trying to be the calm and unflappable one while Hutch vents, or maybe a bit of both. He rolls his eyes obnoxiously when Hutch keeps talking about Diana, and seems to be thinking “here he goes again” as commented before me.

    *I love the hospital room scene where Starsky is attentively checking out Hutch with the stethoscope. The injury is very minor and he’s not worried at all, but even when not worried at all, he’s still engrossed with Hutch and seizes the opportunity to explore Hutch some more, to the point of listening to Hutch’s insides. I find that really endearing. I also like that he casually hangs over Hutch’s shoulder until Diana actually tells him he needs to get out of the room (and he goes “oh!” as if it hadn’t even occurred to him that Hutch’s privacy extends to him.) The “bite the bullet” gag is really cute too.

  17. Laurie Cahoon-Draus Says:

    Just a quick note before I do a big analysis, but I think part of Starsky’s “failure” here is a cultural one, that ‘a big, strong man couldn’t really be in danger from a small, attractive woman, could he?’ So he might as well ignore it, forget it, it’ll be fine, it’s probably not that big a problem.

    • merltheearl Says:

      Laurie, yes, thank you for your observation; I say much the same thing when I note the “lessons in manliness” during Hutch’s emergency room visit. Manliness can, and often does, make a man dangerously vulnerable.

  18. DRB Says:

    I agree that Karen Valentine was superb in this episode. That expression when she was watching Hutch dance seemed absolutely foreign to that usually cute face. Her eyes were filled with deadly hate; I was at a loss to understand how anyone could miss that there was something very wrong!

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