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PHOTOS:




Publicity Still


Jeff Simpson makes short work of the RATS alarm system


A rare use of rear projection in T.J. Hooker


Hooker demonstrates a net device at the Academy


Devil Dan Danko, King of the Hill


Hooker reaches out to the injured cashier


Romano and Hooker discover the Trans Am is a modified hill racer


Pauly, Tess and Jeff Simpson discuss how to de-crown Devil Dan


Romano ready to take on Stacy in the race


Romano & Stacy prepare to meet their destiny




SEASON: 2 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
EPISODE#: 2.7 < prev | next >

"King of the Hill"
AIRDATE: 10.02.82
WRITER: Stephen Downing
DIRECTOR: Charles Picerni

TJ-HOOKER.COM RATING:       

WHAT SAID:  

Hooker tries to clear a friend (James Darren) arrested for a series of robberies when custom parts from the getaway cars are traced to his auto-repair shop. Romano takes place in a departmental go-cart race.

SYNOPSIS:  

Moments after Hooker and Romano leave a local grocery store, young Jeff Simpson, his girlfriend Tess, and his buddy, Pauly, rob the market of all its cash and leave in a car. Intercepting the call, Hooker and Romano join two other police units in an unsuccessful pursuit of the speeding car. Back at the precinct, Capt. Sheridan assigns Det. Conrad to the case, but Hooker has every intention of doing his own investigation. Hooker reveals that all the cars used in the robberies were hill racers. Meanwhile, Jeff, Tess, and Pauly have already invested their loot into Jeff's customized Porsche, which will hopefully enable Jeff to bet Devil Dan Danko in illegal car races. Hooker and Romano take a run up to the racing stretch where Hooker asks his racing buddy Devil Dan for help tracking down whoever's buying the rare hardware put on all the robbery cars. While Hooker and Romano go to Dan's auto customizing shop, the state's sole supplier of the rare parts, Conrad arrives and arrests Dan. Hooker knows that Dan is definitely not guilty and with the help of Dan, Hooker and Romano manage to get Jeff's identity and his address. By the time they arrive, Jeff and Pauly have left to do a last robbery, but Tess is there and tells Hooker where to find them. Romano captures Pauly, while Hooker chases after Jeff, who dies after crashing his car.

REVIEW:  

Most notable for the appearance of a pre-Corrigan James Darren, "King of the Hill" is also another solid episode in one of the finest seasons of the series.

Several plotlines are interwoven with success. The initial sequence at a local grocery store involves Hooker and Romano delivering a new hi-tech security system, nicknamed RATS (Remote Alarm Transmitting System), to the manager of the grocery store. Several grocery store robberies have taken place in a small area of the city within a short span of time, and the LCPD is saving man-hours formerly spent on stakeouts by installing remote security alarms. However, the system only consists of a single metal box with apparently one button for triggering the alarm. Jeff Simpson, Tess and Pauly, a group of hill racers who have been knocking over the grocery stores, arrive at the store and wait until 4Adam30 pulls away before they attack their latest target.

Jeff, the gang's leader, attacks the manager as he carries the RATS box back into the store. Slapping the RATS machine to the ground then kicking it for good measure, Jeff begins the holdup. Tess, his girlfriend, is definitely a reluctant addition to the heist and she stands by nervously while Pauly takes a young cashier hostage. A high-speed chase ensues, with three squads (including 4adam30) in pursuit of the gang's modified yellow Trans Am.

With Romano at the wheel (before the pursuit, he pleads with Hooker to let him drive, informing Hooker and the audience that he's never even driven a pursuit before. He becomes giddy when they receive the call to join the chase), 4Adam30 joins in at the rear of the pursuit. The two other squads close in on the Trans Am, leading Jeff to order Pauly to throw the cashier from the car to shake their pursuers, while Tess protests. The two front squads both stop to help the cashier, while 4Adam30 takes over the chase. Ever the cocky youngster, Romano declares he'll easily catch them, seconds before he misses a turn and crashes 4Adam30 into a tree. It is here we learn that Hooker and Romano have a bad rep for damaging their vehicles.

They return to find the cashier badly wounded ("It's her spine, isn't it," Hooker asks the doctor as she is loaded into the ambulance). She asks Hooker to tell her teachers at the community college she might miss her exams that evening.

After some banter with Sheridan about yet another wrecked car, Hooker and Romano meet up with Detective Conrad, who Sheridan has assigned to the case. They trade sharp barbs at each other, and Hooker decides to steal Conrad's reports so that he can follow up on the investigation himself. Hooker calls in a favor with Air One, the LCPD chopper, which manages to locate the abandoned Trans Am. Hooker and Romano, dressed in LCPD-issue overalls, make a thorough mechanical inspection of the car and discover that it's a modified "hill racer," specially adapted for top speed. Of course, Hooker reveals he has a history with these kinds of things. Romano is impressed.

During an Academy training session, Stacy taunts Romano about his recent car accident, and they challenge each other to a race on the Academy course. We learn that Romano earned the nickname "The South Philly Flash" back in high school, when he used to race on the streets of his hometown.

Hooker and Romano follow up with Hooker's old pal "Devil" Dan Danko (portrayed by an unshaven and cowboy hat-wearing James Darren). Devil Dan is the current "king of the hill," the fastest hill rider in the city, and Jeff Simpson wishes to de-crown him. Devil Dan reveals to Romano that Hooker was the former king, but he never showed up to their scheduled match 15 years ago in order to take a test at the Police Academy, forfeiting the title to Danko ("I always wondered what would have happened if we'd had that race," Danko says with more than a hint of foreshadowing). Danko's young sister Bonnie takes a shining to Romano, and they agree to a dinner date.

They leave the Hill where Danko apparently hangs out most of the day, and go to his Body Shop, which is the only shop in town that could have sold one of the parts used on the modified Trans Am. Det. Conrad appears and arrests Dan for robberies, citing circumstantial evidence.

Romano requisitions some hill racer parts with which to modify 4Adam30. Stacy discovers this and confronts him in the LCPD garage while he works on the car. She believes he has purchased the parts in order to beat her in their upcoming race. Romano denies it, stating that he's trying to avoid ever having any other crooks beat him in a chase. Stacy reveals that she's an ace mechanic, and also knows how to modify a car. Romano becomes nervous about their upcoming race.

Jeff and Pauly set out to pull off one last heist so that they can afford to purchase a turbocharger component for Jeff's hill racer, with which he hopes to defeat Danko and become the new king of the hill. Tess refuses to go on the last caper.

Hooker and Romano visit the injured cashier in the hospital, hoping to find out if she will ever be able to walk again. The same doctor who was somehow miraculously on the scene of her original injury is still treating her, and he decides to test her ability to walk immediately, in front of Hooker and Romano. He tells her to try walking to Hooker's arms. Hooker prepares himself, arms akimbo, and says "Come ooooon..." while she attempts her walk. A few uneasy steps later, and she collapses crying into his arms. "I did it! I can walk!" she says.

With the help of Bonnie and Danko, Hooker is able to find another speed shop that provides the information that they need to convict Jeff. After getting Jeff's address, 4Adam30 rolls to Jeff's house, where they find Tess standing on the porch crying. She fingers Jeff instantly, letting them know which store they've gone to rip off next.

In a bizarre confrontation, Hooker and Romano meet Jeff and Pauly as they come out of the store with another hostage. When Hooker calls out their names, they both immediately shed their ski masks. Shots are exchanged, and Hooker manages to wing Pauly while Jeff jumps into his hill racer and takes off. Romano is left to clean up while Hooker takes the wheel of 4Adam30, heading off towards Jeff--who has made his way to the Hill.

The chase is on, with Hooker narrating his every move. "Don't forget, don't forget," he pleads with himself, hoping he will remember every hairpin turn of the Hill's winding course. Jeff outdrives him every step of the way, narrowly ahead of him, until he reaches Dead Man's Curve. "Slow down! You can't do it! You can't do it!" Hooker pleads from inside 4Adam30, knowing full well that Jeff cannot hear him. Jeff's car flies off the curve, and he dies in a brilliant explosion. Danko is freed of all charges.

Captain Sheridan forbids Romano and Stacy's use of the LCPD track for their grudge match, so Hooker takes them to a go-kart track in order to settle their score. Romano pulls out ahead of her, and the image freezes at episode's end--the viewer is left to speculate on what the final outcome must have been.

Beautiful.

(reviewed by 4Adam30)

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GUEST STARS:

James Darren
"'Devil Dan' Danko"

Roberta Lee Carrolli
"Bessi Danko"

Gary Graham
"Jeff Simpson"

Alan Stock
"Pauly"

Tara St. Andrew
"Tess"


Donna Wilkes
"Karen"

James O'Sullivan
"Conrad"

Roberta Lee Carroll
"Bobbi"

BEST MOMENTS:

- Romano's failure during the first car chase

- Hooker's banter with Detective Conrad

- The Romano/Stacy race subplot and conclusion

- The injured cashier walking into Hooker's outstretched arms

- Stacy and Romano at the go-kart track

BEST LINES:

"I took the crown, Hooker got himself a badge."

- Devil Dan Danko to Romano

"I did it. I did it. I can walk."

"Of course you can!"

- The injured cashier and Hooker in the hospital

"I'm supposed to be driving!"

- Romano to second hostage after Hooker takes off after Jeff

 


EPISODES : the formula | episode guide

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