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SEASON: 3 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
EPISODE#: 3.34 < prev | next >

"A Child is Missing"
AIRDATE: 11.12.83


TJ-HOOKER.COM RATING:         

WHAT SAID:  


On a "fishing trip" in Mexico, Hooker trolls for a diamond thief who also kidnapped his own son -- an act of revenge against the boy's mother.

SYNOPSIS:  

As seven-year-old Brian Randall leaves school and begins to walk home, young Paula Bennett approaches him and convinces him to get into a car with his real father, Dave Berk. Berk takes him to the club where Paula works. He leaves to meet with paroled convicts Welch and Springer to plan a jewelry store robbery. When Brian's parents arrive at the precinct, Hooker assures them their son will be found. While out on patrol, Hooker and Romano respond to a call on a jewelry store robbery. They arrive as the three make their getaway, and manage to apprehend Welch and Springer. Welch gives Hooker Berk's name and address, but when they arrive there they discover that Berk has taken Paula and Brian to Mexico to sell the stolen jewels. Hooker contacts Officer Pete Gomez's cousin Miguel who is a detective down in Mexico and flies down there undercover determined to find Brian. Miguel and Hooker track Berk to Hidalgo Madera's home. When Madera tries to cheat Berk, Berk grabs the gems and makes a getaway. Unable to apprehend Berk, Hooker and Miguel return to the hotel where Berk has left Paula and Brian. When Berk returns, Hooker chases and apprehends him. Brian is returned safely to his parents.

REVIEW:  

This classic episode opens with a chilling abduction scene where a man and woman (David Berk and Paula Bennet) coax young Brian Randle into their car with every trick in the book. Back at the precinct the distraught parents file a missing person's report while Hooker tries to assuage their fears. Hooker is so upset by the young boy's abduction that he and Romano begin combing the formidably-sized Los Angeles neighborhoods in the hopes of turning up a blind lead. The duo doesn't find little Brian Randle, but does turn up an abandoned refrigerator in a woman's back yard. In a self-righteous rage, Hooker tears the refrigerator door of its hinges with the woman's own crowbar, then disgards the tool in the bushes. He lets her know how serious her offense is while Romano watches admiringly.

Meanwhile, the kidnappers hideout at Popeye's strip club where Paula works. Berk mentions that the trio is pulling out for Mexico tomorrow. He then confronts Brian about the true nature of his lineage, claiming to be his father. Little Brian distractedly colors pictures, unable to process such a strange claim.

Over at the Randle home, Hooker and Romano are getting hot and heavy with the questioning of Brian's parents. Hooker asks the tough questions while Junior takes notes. Would anyone have motive for such an act? Anyone at all? The Randles then reluctantly reveal that an ex-con named David Berk is Brian's real father.

Meanwhile, Berk and some masked accomplices are busy robbing a local jewelry store. In a move of pure bravado--Berk enters the store, fires one shot into the back of a witless security guard, then blasts the ceiling, sending plaster flying. Somehow the guard manages to wing one of the masked men as they flee the scene. The three thugs make off with the jewels and hideout in a garage as 4Adam30 is called into pursuit. Berk flees while the other two hide and wait. Hooker and Romano flush the thugs from the warehouse and trap them in an alley. Hooker uses some strongarm tactics to coerce Berk's name and "Popeye's" out of one thug as he squeezes his gunshot-wounded arm. 4Adam30 heads straight for the stripclub to find out from Crystal (a local talent) that the trio has already left for Morales, Mexico. Hooker then fingers a drawing of a red bird that young Brian left behind.

Conveniently enough, detective Pete Gomez back at the precinct has a cousin Miguel who happens to live in Morales. Also conveniently enough, Miguel is a detective. Hooker announces to no one in particular that he's using some accumulated overtime to head to Mexico and "turn over some rocks and find a snake."

In Mexico, while a puckish cabbie takes Hooker to Miguel--Berk, Paula and Brian are holed up in a dirty motel. Hooker gets Miguel to agree to help by mentioning the stolen jewels and possible insurance reward money. Miguel eventually leads Hooker to a prostitute named Catalina. While Miguel takes his siesta in his convertible, Hooker tangles with the bordello bouncer, ending the exchange by hurling the burly Mexican bouncer down a flight of steps. After some questioning, Hooker gets his lead out of Catalina: Madera, a rich, dangerous crime lord is in on a stolen jewels deal that may involve Berk. The ever-charming Hooker then convinces Miguel to give him directions to Madera, and lend him his car and gun.

Hooker comes upon Madera's Hacienda as the deal is going sour with Berk. A bevy of Mexican officers, lead by Miguel, bust in on the deal as it goes down. Berk flees with 300 grand while Hooker and Miguel pursue. The detective duo lose Berk in the chase and try to narrow down the possible motels in the area. When Miguel mentions the "Red Parrot Motel," Hooker remembers little Brian Randle's drawing he found at Popeye's. It's just the kind of clue TJ's accustomed to. Miguel and Hooker find Berk at the Red Parrot and Hooker flushes him out of his hiding spot as Miguel makes sure Paula and Brian are safe. Hooker rolls, ducks, dodges and returns fire until Berk's gun is empty. Then he starts his slow stride toward Berk while firing from the hip. Berk crumbles to the ground, cowering in fear as Hooker fires shot after shot around him, taunting him. In a moment more of revenge than mercy, Hooker decides to let Berk live and go to jail, because kiling him would make it too easy on him.

Back in the States, 4Adam30 drive little Brian right to his front door. The Randles race from their front door to embrace Brian on his front lawn while Hooker and Romano smile and exchange glances. Brian states that he wants to be a police officer when he grows up. Hooker pontificates to Mr. Randle that Brian thinks of him as his real father, and vice versa.

 

--Reviewed by Corrigan

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GUEST STARS:

Jesse Aragon
"Luis"

Henry Darrow
"Miguel Gomez"

Nate Esformes
"Madera"

William Forsythe
"Welch"

Gina Gallego
"Catalina"

Martha Gallub
"Woman"

C.J. Hincks
"Sara Randall"

Barbara Horan
"Paula Bennett"

Steven Keats
"David Berk"

Jillian Kesner
"Crystal"

Len Lawson
"Salisbury"

Ken Smolka
"Larry Randall"

R.J. Williams
"Brian Randall"

Charles Lucia
"Springer"

BEST MOMENTS:

- Hooker's verbal abuse of the woman with the abandoned refrigerator

- Hooker's fist fight with the Mexican bordello bouncer

- Hooker's shakedown of the wounded jewel thief
- Hooker's slow walk at Berk as he shouts insults and fires shots at him

BEST LINES:

"You tell your husband Harry when he comes home that he's lucky that little Brian Randle isn't in there . . . or I'd wire him closed!"

- Hooker to the woman with the abandoned refrigerator

"Squeeze the trigger and you're a dead man."
- Hooker to a cornered jewel thief

"I'm the guy that's gonna bury you."
- Hooker to Berk

"'Cause I don't like your face . . . 'cause of what you did to Brian . . . 'cause I'm enjoying it."
- Hooker to Berk after being asked, 'Why me?'


EPISODES : the formula | episode guide

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