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EPISODES
: the formula | episode guide

SOUND CLIPS:



PHOTOS:


Hooker dreams


Portrait of a doomed man: Johnny Durrell


Hooker & Durrell race to confront One-Handed Man


The One-Handed Man & hostage


Durrell is gunned down--in slow motion


"Johnny..."


"...Johnny!..."


"...JOHNNY!!"


Romano picks Hooker up from his hotel room


Hooker recognizes the One-Handed Man


"Give me his name!"
"Hooker, he's dead."


Hooker questions a smug Freddie Hamilton


Hamilton sets up a drug deal with an undercover Corrigan & Sheridan


Hooker captures Hamilton on a rooftop


"You hear me scum? You're going to give me what I want."
(image courtesy of The T.J. Hooker Page)


The One-Handed Man: Wounded & Captured


T.J. Hooker: Sweaty & Triumphant


"You don't owe anyone, anything, anywhere."


"Everything changes, Hooker."
"And stays the same."


Cue the big band music. Beautiful. Just beautiful.

SEASON: 3 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
EPISODE#: 3.28 < prev | next >

"The Return"
AIRDATE: 10.01.83

WRITER: Mark Rodgers
DIRECTOR: Sigmund Neufeld, Jr.

TJ-HOOKER.COM RATING:         

WHAT SAID:  

In the third season opener, Hooker pursues bank robbers who use the same tactics as the gang that wounded him and killed his partner five years earlier. Marine Jahan (who danced for Jennifer Beals in "Flashdance") plays dance instructor [sic] Evelyn North.

SYNOPSIS:  

During a routine lecture at roll call, Hooker gives special emphasis to a gang of bank robbers no one has been able to apprehend. Still haunted by the murder of his detective partner five years before, Hooker returns to the narcotics underworld they once prowled together, fiercely determined to find Det. Johnny Durrell's killer. Neither he nor the homicide department has been able to get close to the murderer. Then the one-handed killer strikes again and commits a bank robbery. Hooker visits Alma Prentice, whose cousin was killed in the robbery attempt five years previously. She claims no knowledge of a one-handed killer. With the help of Stacy and Corrigan, they arrest drug dealer Freddie Hamilton. In the interrogation room, he admits that the one-handed man's name is Jack Clayton. Upon pulling his file, Hooker discovers that Clayton was associated with Red Ford, Alma's brother. He returns to Alma's and she tells him she opened up a room for Clayton above the carousel where she works. They arrest his partner, but Clayton sees the police car and grabs Alma, forcing her to help with his next bank robbery. Fortunately, Hooker and Romano get a call about the bank robbery and, after an ensuing struggle, manage to apprehend Clayton.

REVIEW:  

An episode loaded with exceptional writing, directing, and acting, "The Return" begins with a bang: Hooker tosses and turns, asleep in his bed, experiencing a recurring nightmare . . . once again, he will relive the death of his old partner of five years' previous, Johnny Durrell.

Hooker was an undercover detective then, as we see in the opening of the dream. He and Johnny, dressed in plainclothes, respond to a call of an armed robbery at a bank. When they arrive, they find a one-handed man in a plastic mask has taken a female teller hostage. Johnny plays right into the one-armed bandit's hand, and is brutally gunned down in an extended slo-mo sequence punctuated by the terrified shrieking of the hostage. Hooker leans over Johnny's lifeless body, repeating his name over and over, until he wakes from the nightmare with his dead partner's name still on his lips. "JOHNNY!!!"

A sweat-soaked Hooker gets ready for work, fighting the memory of his dead partner's shooting and a broken alarm clock (which only seems to play big band music). Romano arrives to pick Hooker up, leaving Hooker time only to pull some pants on, shave quickly and splash on some cologne (Apparently, he will shower at the Academy).

After their arrival at the Academy, Hooker calls the roll, revealing why his nightmare has returned to haunt him: a group of bank robbers with an M.O. similar to that of the One-Handed Man have started hitting banks in the area. Coincidentally, 4Adam30 & 4Adam16 respond to a call later that morning which puts them at the scene of a robbery attempt by the One-Handed Man & his gang -- the beast from Hooker's nightmare has returned. Hooker recognizes his partner's murderer, but his lust for revenge clouds his judgement and the crooks get away--but not before Hooker shoots and mortally wounds a member of the gang. He tries to question the man, but to no avail--Romano informs him that the man is dead. Hooker's desperate cries of "The One-Handed Man! His name, give me his name! GIVE ME HIS NAME!" are intensely tragicomic.

After a bitter exchange between Hooker and Captain Sheridan (the Captain tells Hooker he's off the case because of personal involvement, and his botching of the investigation 5 years ago), Hooker defies direct orders and sends himself on a rampage of information-gathering, ready to stop at nothing to nab Johnny's killer.

Ghosts from Hooker's past receive visits from the obsessed ex-detective during his desperate quest.

There's Johnny Durrell's widow, whom Hooker believes may hold vital information which Johnny may have given her with his dying words ("You see, it was personal," she says, "Even the part about the red Ford. We were talking about getting a new car right before he died.")

There's Evelyn North, a former prostitute turned exotic dancer (in proof of an expanded budget for this episode, her dance sequence is set to the original recording of Herbie Hancock's classic "Rockit") whom Hooker & Durrell played for information back in the day ("You guys had quite the cover back then," she says. "Flash clothes and white Rolls. 'Just in from Tuscon.' To me, you were better than Christmas.").

There's Freddie Hamilton, former owner of the "Busy Bee" (the seedy club Evelyn used to dance at 5 years ago) and drug pusher extraordinaire, now owner of an upscale restaurant "in a beautiful section of town." When he won't give Hooker a lead to the One-Handed Man, Corrigan & Stacy go undercover as a couple from Denver looking to score some drugs. A rooftop chase ensues, with Hooker making the bust. Hooker's bilious remarks, in lieu of reading Freddie his rights, only serve to further illustrate Hooker's growing obsession.

And then there's Alma (nee Ford) Prentice, a woman Hooker has suspected knows more than she's told for the last five years. Her job down at the harbor running a merry-go-round may have given her the peace she longed for after the events of five years ago, but Hooker's not buying it. A lucky break comes when Corrigan finds the link to Alma which Hooker's been desperate to find: her brother ran with Jack Clayton, the One-Handed Man, back in the day--and went by the nickname "Red Ford." After a solemn moment for Hooker, Corrigan & Romano to praise Johnny for doing his job even as he was dying, Hooker rushes off to question Alma.

But Clayton, who's been living with Alma, has other plans. He's fed off Alma all this time, because he saved her brother Red from dying in the shootout with Hooker 5 years ago...Red may not be able to walk anymore, but he's safe down in Mexico where Clayton took him. Alma owes it Clayton to provide a safe roof over his head (and hand). Clayton's gang wants to get out of the country before Hooker can catch up to them ("This Hooker, he's got a bad rep, man," one of Clayton's thugs tells him. Clayton's response is to punch him with his hand and threaten to feed him to the fish, "right underneath this pier.") Clayton vows to knock off another bank before heading to Mexico. That momentary decision of greed and vanity proves to be Clayton's undoing.

A late-night confrontation with Alma provides Hooker with her complete confession, and the name of the One-Handed Man. Working round-the-clock (in their civilian clothes, even), Hooker and Romano catch Clayton's gang robbing their "one last bank before Mexico". Of course, Hooker faces a one-on-one confrontation with Jack Clayton, chasing him into a dark warehouse conveniently filled with mirrors. Hooker uses the mirrors to his advantage, proving Clayton to be particularly stupid for a man who has managed to evade the police for five whole years. As Hooker stands over the wounded Clayton, the One-Handed Man spits up at him that he'd almost gotten away with it.

"Wrong, Clayton," Hooker spits back. "I'd have hunted you down even if it would have taken another five years. Or a lifetime."

Hooker pays a final visit to Alma at the merry-go-round, informing her that Clayton is behind bars and that her brother will have to be extradicted and stand trial for what he's done. "You don't feel sorry for him?" Alma asks.

"No," Hooker says coldly.

"That he's in a wheelchair?" she presses.

"I feel sorry for my old partner, Johnny Durrell," Hooker says as he stares off into the distance, surely somehow gazing at the spirit of his dead partner. "And his wife. And his kids."

"You say it like it is, Hooker," Alma reluctantly agrees.

Leaving Alma, Hooker bumps into Romano, Stacy & Corrigan, who have just spent some time at the carnival connected to Alma's merry-go-round. Even though they haven't set foot there, the three of them speak fondly about the thrill of the spinning ride.

"I couldn't think of a better way to spend 50 cents," Stacy says.

"I remember when I used to bring my kids here. It was 25 cents back then."

"Everything changes, Hooker," Corrigan says, looking off into the distance, perhaps looking to that same spiritual plane where Hooker saw Johnny while talking to Alma.

"And stays the same," Hooker replies, the camera moving in on his pensive gaze.

The big band music from Hooker's alarm clock fades up, and Hooker is seen to walk barefoot down a beach at sunset. His pants legs too short, his body snuggly wrapped by a Members Only jacket, T.J. Hooker is left to ponder his fortunes, both good and bad, the same way we all come into and leave this world: alone.

Beautiful. Absolutely, positively, one-hundred-per cent beautiful.

 

(reviewed with extreme pleasure by 4Adam30)

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GUEST STARS:



Eddie Allen Bell

"George"

Michael Champion

"Fleming"

William Lucking
"Jack Clayton"

Judd Omen
"Tom Fischetti"

Laurie Prange
"Alma Ford Prentice"

James Sutorius
"Freddie Hamilton"

Marine Jahan
"Evelyn North"
(credited as "Evelyn West")

Troas Hayes
Unknown

BEST MOMENTS:

- The entire opening sequence: Hooker thrashing in his bed, the dream, his cold-sweat wakeup, his pants pulling-on with no shower, his conversation with Romano, the broken alarm clock's big band music...all of it

- Hooker's shotgun shooting of Clayton's gang member, and his subsequently hysterical attempts to question the dead man

- Hooker's questioning of Durrell's widow, including his attempt at making a basketball shot (he misses), his patronizing reassurance that he doesn't mind that Johnny's wife is getting remarried, and his pompous assumption that Johnny's dying words to his wife were somehow meant for him

- Marine Jahan's dance number to "Rockit," which gives Hooker a chance to ogle a woman in a nightclub

- Every word out of the mouth of Freddie Hamilton

- The ending beach walk scene

 

BEST LINES:

To listen to soundclips of most of these lines (and many more), visit the sounds page for this episode

"JOHNNY!!!"

- Hooker waking up from his nightmare


"The One-Handed Man, I want his name. His name, give me his name. GIMMEHISNAME!!"

- Hooker to the thug he shot dead


"I don't believe in old time's sake, Hooker."

"That's too bad. Because that's one of the few things I do believe in.
"

- Dancer Evelyn North & Hooker


"You don't have have to explain it to me, I think it makes all kinds of sense."

- Hooker to Johnny Durrell's widow on why she shouldn't worry about her plans to remarry


"You've cashed in on human weakness for the last time, now I'm going to cash in on you. You hear me scum? You're going to give me what I want."

- Hooker to Freddie Hamilton upon arresting him after a rivetting rooftop chase

 

 


EPISODES : the formula | episode guide

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