Episode 67: Deckwatch

Hutch poses as a paramedic to get to a wounded killer, a sailor on leave named Hector Salidas, who is holding two of Hutch’s friends hostage. Meanwhile, Starsky attempts to gain access to the house without Salidas realizing it.

Hector Salidas: Michael Baseleon, Laura Kanen: Kathryn Harrold, Hannah Kanen: Susan French, Madelaine: Carole Mallory, Chicky: Will Walker. Written By: Don Patterson, Directed By: Paul Michael Glaser.

QUESTIONS AND NOTES:

The third season ends on a high note with a solidly written, intense story and another great direction job by Paul Michael Glaser. This episode is remarkable for its rhythm and balance, the claustrophobic sense of urgency even though there is little in the way of traditional action. Like other Glaser-directed episodes David Soul’s physical beauty is highlighted in the lighting and camera angles – he looks damn good in every frame of this episode, as he does in “Class in Crime” and “Bloodbath”. The pacing is deliberate and thoughtful, female characters are treated with great dignity (i.e. they’re actually interesting), and there is a special emphasis on a single symbolic image or tableau, and all sorts of interesting ways of seeing.

A “deck watch” is a precision watch used on ships, and the passage of time (both in agonizing slowness and in sudden velocity) is at the heart of this grim episode. This is only one of two episodes in real time (the other is the wonderful “Shootout”), and the high caliber of both makes one wish there had been more like this. The magic of Starsky and Hutch’s near-psychic connection is never more intense than when the clock is ticking.

We also gain more insights into Hutch through an old girlfriend and a surprisingly extensive knowledge of first aid.

All right, perhaps the first shot goes on a bit too long, but the Dan Flavin-like lighting effects and atmospheric music are lovely, and lighting a cigarette, no matter what the anti-smoking lobby says, still has great visual impact. In fact cigarettes are everywhere in the first moments of this episode, from the denizens of the disco to Madeline and Hector (who both are voraciously oral in this opening scene: Hector twists his mouth in odd shapes as he thinks, both smoke, Madeline sucks on ice, Hector picks tobacco from his tongue). The match coming around her shoulders is a slightly menacing touch, and you can see that she’s slightly, oh so slightly, repelled by his encircling arms.

The whole conversation between Madeline and Hector has a world-weary inevitability to it. Madeline barely looks at him and he rarely at her, they murmur their way through a strangely predictable pick-up as if this is some kind of temporal loop, a circle of hell particular to the 1970s in which the doomed are made to sit in smoky bars and pick each other up for empty sexual encounters. This complex and oddly compassionate scene I attribute almost solely to Glaser, who has made several remarkable directorial choices inexorably leading us to a dark emotional cul-de-sac: the barely-heard dialogue that makes no attempt to be intelligible, the heavy smoking, the heavy-lidded seen-it-all sadness in the eyes of both actors. This scene acts out the script, to be sure, but it also goes beyond it in a mysterious and powerful way that can only come from the mind of a director.

Are bracelets with one’s first name engraved on them a 1970’s thing? Or a handy plot device for coroners and police detectives? Two of these bracelets turn up in this series: “Madeleine” here, and “Sharon” in next season’s “Discomania”.

The scene-of-crimes guy says, “No sex. They had that over dinner. Check with the ME on the menu, the killing was just a nightcap.” What does this mean, exactly? How can he tell when they had sex? Knowing the swingin’ seventies, a lack of condoms means bodily fluids in the body and most likely other signs as well, but how can he possibly say when this occurred, and whether or not they had dinner (before or after or during) this encounter? Take-out containers, receipts in her pockets, scent of garlic and onions where it shouldn’t be, what?

He also says the bullet must have nicked an artery, which it most likely hasn’t: if it had, wouldn’t Hector have bled out long ago?

“Feel the same way,” Starsky murmurs after their Chandler-esque dialogue in the car, in which Hutch expresses frustration at tracking down a felon with an injury. It’s surprisingly gracious after his partner has been nothing but combative and obstructive, but then Starsky has never been much bothered by his partner’s temper, or perhaps pretense of temper would be more accurate. He knows Hutch is like a weathervane, an instructive device whose sharp turns and finger-pointing are merely symbolic of a larger weather system. Note, too, the nice framing of Hutch in the window of the car, Starsky in the driver’s seat not looking at him. Glaser has a very sophisticated way of structuring scenes, making the episodes he directs more mature and ambitious than most other directors.

A special shoutout to Chicky, played by Will Walker. He’s the perfect surfer dude.

Here’s a risk you don’t see every day: both Starsky and Hutch have conversations simultaneously with two different people, Starsky with Chicky, who’s about to tell him he’s seen the felon, and Hutch with his ex-girlfriend Laura, who picks a mini-fight with him about his “typical” vagueness. It strays into confusion territory for the viewer as we struggle to listen to both sets of voices, both equally commanding and equally fascinating. Not many directors or writers would dare divide our concentration like that for fear we’ll lose focus and turn away.

Why does Starsky give Chicky such a hard time? Yes, we recognize a smart-ass delinquent who’s had unpleasant run-ins with the detectives in the past, but now they’re searching for a killer, and here’s a guy who says he has something to offer. Holding back for a buck is typical and they should be used to that now and smart enough not to get their buttons pushed (Hutch looks truly frightening when, still stinging from his conversation with Laura, he snaps at Starsky and every vein in his neck looks ready to burst). Later by the bridge they yell at him for not recognizing a seaman’s button. Scared and defensive, Chicky probably forgets any small details he may have retained. This is not good police work.

It is insinuated that Laura’s father was a cop and was killed in the line of duty, although Hannah sums it up obliquely by saying “I guess you could call it that.” It’s a rather odd remark for a woman known for her straightforwardness. Did he have an ignoble end, maybe? Something the family doesn’t like to talk about? If this is the case, my vote would be for suicide. That might explain the never-said but obvious way Hannah and Laura cling to one another, as if for comfort in a world gone bad. And it might explain too why Laura won’t date Hutch – fear of history repeating itself, or at the very least a knowledge of the downside of being a cop. One wonders, too, if this is how Hutch met Laura and her grandmother in the first place, at a funeral for a fellow officer.

“She was just there,” Harry said. “He was just there!” Laura screams.

Should those beat cops have given Laura a passing grade? I wouldn’t have. She’s wild-eyed and stuttering at the front door, and her claim of seeing nothing and living alone does not ring true.

“What do you think?” Starsky asks Hutch when confronted about the danger of the plan to assume the role of a paramedic. Hutch answers irritably, “what do you think I think?” This is a reasonable comeback, given that both of them know exactly what the other is thinking.

When asked what colour Hutch’s eyes are, Laura hedges. She says “Blue, with a greenish tint. Brown sometimes. They get darker.” Patently untrue, and this shows she was never really in love with him. Only Hannah knows for sure, saying confidently, “Blue”.

I like the barking dog and the sounds of children playing as Starsky engineers his climb up the side of the house. It seems more real to have those innocent sounds, and it shows how life goes on, obliviously, while death and violence happen behind closed doors.

Hutch’s order to Laura to “run upstairs and get me some clean sheets” proves his coolness under pressure, because going upstairs allows Starsky to enter the house from the window.

The Sight of Blood. Four characters comment on their own reactions to the sight of blood and it’s very revealing. Hector asks Laura if she likes the sight of blood and her answer is, “No.” Hector says he doesn’t mind the sight of blood. Hutch says of blood, “I’m getting sick of the sight of it on my clothes.” Hannah says, “It’s not easy…I’ve seen lots of it.”

Notice that Hutch, who has been in a blisteringly bad mood throughout the first part of the episode, is now calm to the point of tranquility. He’s in his element, all the petty frustrations forgotten. It goes too far to say he’s enjoying himself, but he’s nevertheless in the moment , as they say, and content to be there. Starsky, on the other hand, doesn’t change at all. He’s a consistent, well-balanced person who doesn’t need to stare down the barrel of a gun to remind him how good it is to be alive.

Starsky shows tremendous patience waiting for his cue. There were many times throughout the ordeal he could have busted in and done a lot of damage, but he doesn’t. In fact the whole show is about patience, every option exhausted before lethal actions are taken.

Imagine the relief when Hutch turns and sees Starsky reflected in the mirror.

“Stand up, Goldilocks,” Harry says. Hutch’s blondness always requires special mention.

At this point Laura’s shaking and crying, while understandable, is a reminder that panic kills. If it weren’t for Hannah’s preternatural composure balancing things out, it would have played out much differently. Is Hutch reevaluating his attraction to Laura at this point?

Is there nothing more thrilling than the one two three count Hutch makes, that Starsky understand so immediately and completely as he stands behind the door?

Glaser insisted on doing some of the stunt work himself and managed to dislocate his shoulder while diving to the ground at the end, forcing him to wear a sling off-camera for the rest of the shoot.

Hector’s last scene is breathtakingly shot. Killed through the seat of a fallen chair, the camera sees the waxy, now-still hand but stops just short of showing his face, hidden by the fleshy leaf of a houseplant: in a sense he has been wiped of an identity, his death erasing anything he might have been in life. He’s also given the dignity of having his face covered. Starsky is still, Hannah is still, the relentless clock ticks, the timpani pounds its death march. Then the gorgeous, funereal piano. It’s as if we’re expected to lower our heads in mourning. It’s clear both Starsky and Hutch see the killing of Hector as a crushing failure, the worst possible outcome, rather than a heroic save. The whole scene has gravitas. The only other denouement to rival this in terms of solemnity might be “Avenger”. Or perhaps Commander Jim’s fall from the tower in “Lady Blue”.

The tag was made up on the spot (as many were), and again shows Starsky’s ease around older women, as he plays cards with Hannah while Hutch flirts with Laura. He must have whispered something very suggestive into her ear to provoke the pie throwing. Notice the uneasy echo of Hector whispering something equally if not more excessively filthy into poor Madeline’s ear in the very first scene of the episode. The laughter between Starsky and Hutch at the end seems unforced and genuine. Once again, Starsky has food thrown in his face, with Hutch having a taste (here, as in the wedding cake incident in “Terror on the Docks”).

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30 Responses to “Episode 67: Deckwatch”

  1. phaedrablue4 Says:

    To answer your question. Yes, bracelets with the girls name worked in script were a 1970s thing. I was given two of them by different boys. I have no idea what I did with them. Oh, and so was ID bracelets for guys. I hand one engraved for my steady in high school in 76.

  2. Jill Says:

    The direction in this episode is just beautiful. The tension palpable. The ticking clock, the calm dignity of the old lady, the olde style decor and photos making the room look like time has stood still here; and the real-time feel, which makes this another favourite of mine along with ‘Shootout’ (as you said, if only there had been more like this). I involuntarily gasped as Starsky shot Salidas through the upturned chair, followed by the equally breathtaking shot by camera of the scene.

    BTW, from the moment I first saw the creepy Salidas, I couldn’t help but think of another psychopathic seafarer, Falconetti, from ‘Rich Man, Poor Man’, another of my fave series from the era.

    And on a lighter note: The tag was fun, and I think their laughter at the end was genuine. Also, British viewers would have been doubly amused by the double entendre in Hutch’s, “I do love a girl with spunk.” 🙂

  3. King David Says:

    But did this double entendre have the same meaning for the US girls? It did for Australian girls. (Mind you, there was a teen mag at the time called “Spunky”. Full of musos mostly, and some local TV heart-throbs.)
    That burst of laughter at the end looks so much as though someone from the crew has said or done something that has set Glaser off; it is a lovely little moment.
    If Glaser dislocated his shoulder at the fall-down, how is it that as he raises himself up again to fire, Glaser looks so composed? Have I got the right bit? I am always really impressed by how Starsky manages to tell us how very aware he is of the gravity of the situation, and all with just a facial expression and eye movements, as he has weapon raised, leaning back against the wall. It’s beyond critical; it’s desperate.
    Yes, why didn’t those two uniform officers twig that something was not right? She looked flustered and edgy beyond anything springing from their reason for calling.
    Another girl (love interest) who doesn’t get a grip. Soap commercial pretty, she seems to be to be without any grit. Can Hutch only choose flimsy girlfriends?

  4. merltheearl Says:

    “Spunk” only meant feisty in North America, no giggly double entendre at all. Kind David, your recent contributions are incredible. Honestly, how you have the time and energy is beyond me! But thank you.

    • King David Says:

      Merl, you made my day. Thank you so much.
      I have a quiet work environment at the moment, so fill in the spaces with this pleasurable activity; it keeps my brain sharp trying to keep up with your eloquence. I keep a dictionary handy and love learning new words.
      What am I going to do when I’ve read all your analyses and made my contributions? This has been such a pleasant sojourn down memory lane.

  5. merltheearl Says:

    Why not do for “The Professionals” what I do for “Starsky and Hutch”, and write your own episode-by-episode guide. Before you know it people consider the expert on the subject.

  6. Alex Says:

    Now I know why this PMG-directed episode stuck with me for more than three decades. Powerful, intense, suspense-filled. I couldn’t remember specifics but knew it was one I had to re-watch if ever I had the chance. Thanks to the universe for putting S&H on DVD.

    I too was struck by the sounds of children playing and dogs yapping while Starsky searched for a way in. Harmless, innocuous every-day happenings juxtaposed with dark, sinister, evil goings-on next door. Remarkable.

    The last scene. Honestly I was gripping my chair by the end. This really was a well-acted, superbly-directed (I’m biased btw – love PMG) thriller of an episode that makes it hard to settle for the standard shoot-em’ up fare we’re usually served. And the music in this one was better than normal IMO. I’m usually not impressed with the music in this series but this time the music heightened the mood. .

    One last comment about PMG giving us flattering shots of David Soul. Merl, you mentioned his doing the same thing in “Class of Crime” and I remember thinking when I watched that episode that he did David Soul no favors when he shot Hutch outdoors in the wind while he spoke to the professor. Surely he could have found an alcove out of the wind for that scene. 🙂 .

    • Anna Says:

      Awww, these gems of all-throughout well-made and unique episodes actually makes me like the standard shoot-em-ups more — the contrast gives the shoot-em-ups a feeling of heightened familiarity and loveability for me, like returning to normal life after one of those hyper-intense unsettling experiences that feel surreal after the fact — just like in real life; while the unique episodes wouldn’t be as impressive or memorable if they didn’t coalesce out of standard shoot-em-ups. It’s like taking all the underlying or unintentional hints of intense creepiness and snatches of artistic flair and brief standout scenes that happen in other ‘normal’ episodes, and suddenly, for one episode, really, openly pushing them right into the foreground of the story instead of hinting.

      There’s a unique quality to a jaw-dropper of an episode popping out of a show with set formulas and crowd appeal that just can’t be captured in a standalone jaw-dropper, or in a show where every episode is non-standard. And I don’t mean just this show, there’s lots of other shows that also have their sprinkling of exceptional non-run-of-the-mill episodes, and the effect is just as great. (I’m personally thinking of some of some of the best really experimental episodes of MASH — another favorite of mine — at the moment.) However, I have an extremely deep and abiding love for way old formula shows with barely any continuity are done, so I may be biased. 😉

  7. Dianna Says:

    Merl, what a lovely, sensitive, perceptive writeup.

    Glaser certainly likes to use unusual camera angles and put frames around things. In this case, he uses that affinity to heighten our feeling of claustrophobia. He points the camera up at an extreme angle when the detectives are conferring with the coroner; he peers through the bridge supports when Hector is watching the police car go by; he puts the camera right on the floor to frame Hutch, and then Starsky, hiding behind the furniture with their guns; he glides the camera up and over to show Hector’s demise. Beautiful.

    In Class in Crime, he focused just a bit too much on setting up tableaux, and sometimes forgot to keep his extras moving around and interacting, but there is none of that problem here.

    I do wish I could understand more of the dialog in the early scenes, particularly between Madeleine and Hector, although I’m pretty sure Madeleine says “chow mein,” rather than “champagne.” I watched several times to see if I could make it into “champagne,” and I couldn’t. Even as “chow mein,” it has little relationship to real Chinese food — a marked contrast to the fact that Hector asks if she likes Cantonese, rather than Chinese, food, which shows he’s eaten the real stuff, in the real place, in an era where few Americans knew there was any difference between the foods of different parts of China.

    Why does Hector prefer to be called “Harry”? It seems like I should be able to figure it out from clues in the story, particularly the explanation that he cuts off right after he tells Hannah to call him Harry. Perhaps it’s right there in front of me, but I can’t figure it out.

    Merl and Alex both liked the sound of children and dogs in the background, but I found it jarring. Perhaps there were no procedures in place yet in the late 70’s, but nowadays when there is a house-to-house manhunt, everyone is told to get inside and stay there till the criminal is found. The police don’t want people milling around if it comes to a gunfight.

    I really like what you said about the theme of the story being patience. Starsky and Hutch almost ruin their investigation, as you point out, by their impatience with poor Chicky, but once they are inside Hannah’s house, they are patience personified, while Hector and Laura are increasingly impatient. Maybe that is the point of the overly long introductory scene, where Hector is patient about choosing his victim.

    King David, I was amused by your comment about learning new words, because moments before I read it, I had looked up a definition for a word you used (“musos”)!

    • merltheearl Says:

      I had to laugh when I saw your comment about what exactly Madeline says at the bar, mostly because my mind went right to the less obvious word when, contextually, “chow mein” works a whole lot better. I have been accused more than once of making things more complicated than they have to be!

      But when I went back and checked, I’m still 90% certain she says “champagne” because of that tell-tale “p” sound, but again I should probably have a script handy before I make these statements. And you’re right, Hector mumbles a whole lot and it would be fascinating to know what he’s mumbling about.

      Thank you for your acute observations; I actually never put it together that those out-of-frame children are in danger but you’re absolutely right, they should have been whisked away from this volatile situation. And I subliminally registered Hector’s insistence he be called Harry and now I’m as curious about the reason as you are. Could it be his father was also Hector and family life was abusive and violent, leading him to get as far from it as possible?

    • Sharon Marie Says:

      I believe he was in the middle of saying Hector was his father’s name. Clearly he had childhood attachment issues!

  8. Bilbrey Says:

    Starsky: “What do you think?”
    Hutch “What do you think I think?” Nuff said. Whatelse could Dobey say, “One hour” and the plan was on!

  9. Wallis Says:

    In addition to the other heightened elements of this episode in contrast to other episodes that you so nicely point out, I also noticed that Starsky shooting Harry at the end was far more brutal than almost any other shooting scene, fatal or not, in this series. I don’t mean it as an insult at all when I say that most shooting in this series is rather stylized — it’s great. A lot of loud pinging and echoing and fun movement and people swinging their arms around and getting off daring angles and shooting while running and lots of opportunities for pausing and ducking and it’s often almost like a dance, and so so fun to watch. In this episode it’s nothing like that. Starsky hits the ground and just slams the bullets in as fast and straight as possible in one movement right into the camera and the destructive physical force behind it is so palpable it almost knocks you over backwards.

    Seriously, the censors were so skittish about violence that every ounce of visible blood in this series had to be pried out of their nervous, queasy fingers, yet something like this they’re okay with? If I saw this show when I was a little kid, blood wouldn’t faze me a bit, but that shooting scene would probably have given me nightmares.

  10. Sharon Marie Says:

    PMG does such a fine job with framing his shots. So many opportunities taken for him to do just that, including the shot through the uniformed officer leaning on the car.

    Did the ticking of the clock sometimes get louder, especially on the downbeat, or is it just my perception?

    The framing, again, after the shooting and angle Glaser used were poignant. He goes between shots of dead Hector with the large plant leaf hiding half of his face, to Hannah looking from the doorway with the door hiding half of her face, then back to Hector.

    Tag: Hutch offers silly ways to leave the police force, including becoming a ballerina. Starsky, in the background, says, “You’d look great in a tu-tu and toe shoes”!

  11. Sharon Marie Says:

    And yes…. oh the ID bracelets of the 70’s. My first boyfriend in 9th grade had one with his name on it. That would have been in ’77/’78. I remember waiting for him to give it to me because that would have meant that we were an exclusive couple. He gave it to me at Christmas. I gave it back to him on Valentine’s Day. There’s a Hallmark card!

  12. stybz Says:

    Great episode. I do like the methodical way Paul directs.

    I heard Chow Mein too. I think it was a euphemism for sex. The first thing Harry asks Madeline is if she’s hungry. Then he says something like, “I thought you might like ??? before ???”. I can’t make out the two words, but I can hear the rest of the sentence clearly.

    Then she asks, “What about now?” He shakes his head and says, “Still on the bus.” This means he needs some foreplay. She didn’t want octopus, which could mean a few things like not wanting a man who was all over her, for example. But she liked Chow Mein, which could suggest that she likes to pleasure men. He replies, “That’s what I mean,” which implies that’s what he wants. 🙂

    That’s how I saw it. I’ve played the scene several times and it sounds like Chow Mein to me. 🙂

    And this “foreplay” leads into the next scene when the cop makes his comments about the victim and killer having sex at dinner. I don’t think he meant it literally. I think he was using metaphors to say that there was no evidence of “fresh” sex. Perhaps the medical examiner could tell how long ago from scent or other identifiable means. So the cop was saying that it happened elsewhere and not on the scene. The “dinner” and “nightcap” references were coincidental, connecting the two scenes together somewhat poetically, but not with any knowledge of what the couple actually did.

    What I’d like to know is how they knew it was a wound in Hector/Harry’s leg long before Chicky even encounters him? How did they know the location of the injury?

    When Harry and Madeline get up from the bar, a couple takes their seats. The woman is also smoking a thin cigar like the one Madeline was smoking. 🙂

    I think the reason Starsky and Hutch give Chicky a hard time is because they know he doesn’t really care about what happens to Harry. He just wants a payoff for his information. Look how long it took him to walk up to Harry. It mirrors the opening sequence of the episode, but it also shows that Chicky, like Harry, is someone who also is a bit distanced from reality. He has no real compassion for Harry. He offers to help, but is in no rush to do so, because he knows Harry will be long gone. He sees his intel as a quick buck and nothing more, and Starsky and Hutch know that. Also, at this point the detectives feel they’re losing daylight (2 hours until sunset) with a man losing blood and possibly dying, so they have no time to waste enduring his games.

    The children’s voices can also be heard inside the house just as Starsky raises himself from a crouched position outside the living room. We hear it as he’s straightening and when the angle switches to Hutch inside the living room as well. I only heard it the one time, but I wonder if the sound got louder and softer throughout, along with the clock that we hear tick loud and soft. 🙂

    I thought it was interesting that when Hector asks Hutch about his partner, he tells him to ask Starsky if he heard of a hotel in New York. He knows nothing about Starsky, and yet he coincidentally asks Hutch to ask him about New York hotels. 🙂

    Here’s a production note for you. Paul Michael Glaser recently gave an interview for Emmy TV Legends. When asked about his approach to directing, he talked about a scene he did in this episode in which he filmed everyone’s portion individually and purposely left Kathryn Harrold for last, because she was becoming increasingly anxious about how to play her role and he wanted that anxiety on screen. Only, he didn’t tell her this until it was her turn. As he was filming everyone else, Kathryn kept telling him she had no idea how to approach the character. He kept reassuring her that she’d be fine. Then when it came time to film her, she said again that she was uncertain and anxious, and he told her he wanted her to use those exact feelings. And she did and he was very pleased with the result. 🙂

    • merltheearl Says:

      Good comments, but I admit I have absolutely no idea how “chow mein” could be a substitute for sex, although of course the entire initial conversation is dripping in innuendo. I wonder if there’s anyone out there with a script we could refer to. It’s all so confusing. One can always find a reason for the poor treatment of Chicky but the point I wanted to make is that it is simply poor police work. But that’s quibbling because the episode is pretty much perfect.

  13. stybz Says:

    I made a mistake in a posting that’s awaiting approval. It wasn’t Kathryn Harrold that was so anxious, but Susan French. She was the one Paul filmed last. 🙂

  14. Starsky537 Says:

    Hello all, I just found this website and I must say that it’s great to read everyone’s opinion and comments. I really don’t have any “in depth” thoughts about this episode like everyone else, but what I have noticed is when Starsky is crouching down getting ready to take out Harry, his gun has no clip. It’s unloaded!! Look very closely, you’ll see it. Also, in every episode that PMG directs, one the main character is a smoker. For instance, Michael Baseleon/Harry in Deckwatch, Jenny O’Hara/Marianne Owens in Ballard for a Blue Lady, Rebecca Baldind/Mickie Marra, the lawyer/prostitute in a three piece suit in Sweet Revenge etc… I’m sorry, I cannot recall his name off hand.

  15. Spencer Says:

    I always loved PMG’s film noir touches – the shadowy lighting, the background sounds, the slow and deliberate pace.

    I loved that in the beginning sequences Starsky responded to Hutch’s abrasiveness calmly and matter of fact, ultimately ending their discussion with an almost non-sequitur “feel the same way.” He never takes Hutch’s abrasiveness personally – he always knows what Hutch is saying underneath.

    “What do you think?” Starsky asks Hutch when confronted about the danger of the plan to assume the role of a paramedic. Hutch answers irritably, “what do you think I think?”

    How often throughout the series does one or the other say something along the lines of “are you thinking what I’m thinking?” Many, many times.

    And that wonderful one – two – three count.

    Psychic connection, indeed!

    PS For the record, I vote for “chow mein.”

    • merltheearl Says:

      Spencer, I concur (finally), after looking at that scene several times. Madeline does say “chow mein.” I was fooled by her pursing her lips part way through the word, making a p shape. I have removed that section and replaced it with a far more relevant one. I heartily thank you and all the other commenters who mentioned this oversight of mine.

      Far more importantly, I love your mention of noir. This whole episode is marvelously heavy with it, from that very specific foreshortened dialogue to the atmospheric (and metaphorical) darkness so particular to the genre. That languor, that existentialism! It’s all there in Spades.

      • stybz Says:

        I got the script from the episode and can confirm it definitely is Chow Mein. As for the line I couldn’t make out, the script has Hector asking Madeline, “I thought you might like dinner before we went out.” That’s when they go into the innuendo about him being “still on the bus” and the “octopus” and “chow mein”. 🙂

  16. Lioness Says:

    This truly is a magnificent episode. Even knowing what’s going to happen, I felt the tension and suspense. Everyone gave a stellar performance. Nothing was hurried, everything was so deliberate.

    Another image of claustrophobia is Harry dragging himself along the narrow, cluttered path between the houses.

    Love the shot of Starsky in the mirror. And the countdown is inspired – Starsky, who’s been ready for action since he entered the house, now comes to attention, readies his gun and fires. Man!

    A minor error: early on, when Harry sends Laura to the grocery store, the clock chimes quarter past the hour. He tells her to be back by 5. She says that 15 minutes. But it’s really 45 minutes.

  17. Sundance Rydr Says:

    Thank you for such a wonderful write-up. You captured my every thought concerning this absolutely creative work of art… It was a suspenseful, heart going into Bradycardia mode, jaw dropping, nail biting episode which will remain one of my favorites… Paul M. Glaser is a DARN good Director whose talent shall live on long after we’ve departed this existence… David Soul wasn’t too bad, either… They are Starskey AND Hutch~some things need no Sequels… Take care. Stay safe…

  18. Miche Says:

    I so love reading everyone’s comments. It’s informative and oh my, so humorous at times. Love your senses of humor, you crack me up!

    The cab scene where Hutch is strapping his gun to his leg before entering the house and Starsky asks him if he’s ok. When Hutch first looks at Starsky his expression is hard, it matches the aggressive mood he’s been in, but then it clearly softens with love and appreciation as he becomes touched by Starsky’s caring as he says ‘I’ll tell you in about an hour’. They are both so friggin genuine with their feelings, no wonder we get off on this show. Their caring gets us in touch with our own and makes us feel so good.

    with love,
    Miche

  19. Gail Says:

    What fun to hear from a new commenter!

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