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EPISODES
: the formula | episode guide

PHOTOS:


Hooker as Santa opens fire on Marino


Hooker gives chase in Mr. Preston's car


Hooker gives Mr. Preston the keys to his own car


Stacy is powerless to stop Sue Ann, Troy and the baby


Sue Ann, Troy and the baby hold up a convenience store


Marjoe Gortner's chameleon-like acting skills at work


Hooker tells a priest about his belief system


Romano, Hooker, Stacy & Corrigan decide to eat at Joe's

SEASON: 3 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
EPISODE#: 3.39 < prev | next >

"Slay Ride"
AIRDATE: 12.17.83

WRITER: Rick Husky
DIRECTOR: Bruce Kessler

TJ-HOOKER.COM RATING:         

WHAT SAID:  

Stacy becomes emotionally attached to a sick baby abandoned by a couple involved in armed robberies.

SYNOPSIS:  

As Hooker and Romano move in to make a drug bust, an old sedan driven by Troy Don Eldridge, along with his wife Sue Ann, and their two-month-old baby, swerves in front of Corrigan and Stacy, keeping them from the chase. Hooker is able to apprehend one of the dealers, but the other, Marino, gets away. With Christmas a few days off, Stacy is shopping in her local supermarket when she, Troy Don and Sue Ann arrive at the checkout counter together. Troy Don pulls a gun and when he thinks the store owner is holding out on him shoots him. He and Sue Ann run out of the store and Stacy calls an ambulance. Later she remembers that Troy Don's car was the one who blocked them during the drug raid. Back at the precinct, Hooker receives a call from Father DeMarco about an abandoned baby who matches the description of Sue Ann's baby. Meanwhile, Sue Ann wants her baby back and has returned to the church to get it. Stacy has also gone to the church to visit the child when she recognizes Sue Ann. She calls the precinct for help just as Marino and Troy Don appear at the church. They take Stacy hostage, but Hooker, Corrigan and Romano arrive just in time to arrest Troy Don and Marino.

REVIEW:  

A nighttime undercover stakeout operation opens this holiday episode. Hooker, undercover as a none-too-convincing streetcorner Santa, oversees the operation as Romano plays a Christmas tree salesman at a streetcorner tree merchant. 4Adam16, in plainclothes (although Corrigan wears a black sweatshirt with the letters "LCPD" emblazoned across his chest) sit in a car along with Eddie Sutton, an old partner of Hooker's from vice. Corrigan and Romano are down in the dumps because their date with the Biel sisters has been postponed; Stacy is morose because she broke up with a lawyer.

After a scuffle with the corner's real Santa, Hooker spies Rodriguez, his intended target, about to make a drug buy at a mobile home. George Marino meets Rodriguez at the mobile home, and attempts the sale. Hooker shouts for them to halt, a gun battle ensues (with Hooker in full Santa gear), and 4Adam16 attempt to give chase as Marino and Rodriguez escape in a getaway car. Our heroes' path is blocked, however, by a young couple with a baby in a station wagon, who scream at the undercover cops for no good reason.

Hooker commandeers a citizen's car by flashing his badge, and the chase begins. After several agonizing minutes without incidental music, the crooks' car flips over and Marino gets away; Hooker nabs Rodriguez, however, who is pinned inside the car.

Cut to Sherry's Bar, where an extremely poor cover of Elvis Presley's version of "Blue Christmas" plays. Hooker gives Mr. Preston (the citizen whose car he stole) his own car to use for the holidays. Romano calls his mother back in Philly, telling her he'll be home for Christmas. Stacy tries to get her cohorts to join her for dinner the next night, as her father is out of town for the holidays. They all cancel on her, leaving her despondent. Hooker has the Christmas blues since it's the first Christmas since Fran and the kids moved to Oregon.

Stacy goes to a grocery store to shop for Christmas dinner (her cohorts have decided to join her after all). At the market, the baby-carrying couple from the night before enter and rob the market, killing the shop owner in the scuffle. Stacy isn't carrying her service revolver so the couple gets away, but she gets their names: Sue Ann and Troy. Troy has a (obviously marker-applied) tattoo from the U.S.S. Lincoln on his arm. Their station wagon also has Texas plates.

Said station wagon picks up George Marino; apparently Troy is an old accomplice of his, and they decide to pull another job. But both Troy and Marino are upset about Sue Ann's baby, so they force her to abandon the child at a local church before their heist.

The next day, Hooker and Romano track down Danny the Gip, an old informant of Hooker's who's recently found religion, at a soup kitchen. He may have information about Marino. Of course, he does, since he used to work with Marino. He turns 4Adam30 on to Carlita Frasier, a call girl who's currently dating Marino. They head to Popeye's strip club just in time to catch her dancing topless to "Jingle Bell Rock." Hooker's powers of suggestion force Carlita to agree to call him the next time she sees Marino.

A call is received about an abandoned baby, so 4Adam30 & 4Adam16 investigate. Stacy becomes attached to the baby, whose name is Sally Ann Eldridge. She takes Sally Ann to a doctor and begins to care for her as one of her own.

Hooker is trying to call Fran & the kids, but they're never home. He becomes angry. Corrigan comes through with information on men who served on the U.S.S. Lincoln. Hooker flirts with a female officer, joking about mistletoe. Carlita tips Hooker off about Marino's next job.

Marino & Troy start their job, with Sue Ann in tow. Sue Ann, however, steals their getaway car to return to the church and get her baby back. She arrives at the church to find Stacy discussing adoption with a priest. Marino & Troy arrive (apparently via public transportation, while carrying two sawed-off shotguns in broad daylight). Stacy manages to phone 4Adam30, but she's taken hostage just as they arrive on the scene.

A tense confrontation ensues, with Stacy, Sue Ann & Sally Ann being led down the aisle of the church at gunpoint. Once they make it outside, Hooker shoots Troy, saving Stacy. He then pursues Marino (who has commandeered the getaway car) in another painfully long car chase through a hilly area. Hooker forces Marino into a ditch, then makes the arrest.

Later, at night, Hooker finally makes it through to Fran and the kids at a public phone booth. In one of Shatner's most powerful performances as T.J. Hooker, we hear only his end of a conversation with Chrissy Hooker. Heart-wrenching in its delivery, Hooker's monologue about missing his family on Christmas is seriously one of the finest examples of Shatner's depth and range as an actor.

"I miss you like crazy, honey," he says before hanging up, pulling his Members-Only jacket up around his ears, and heading off to the church to meet Stacy, who has decided against adopting Sally Ann. Hooker reveals to the priest that he follows no formal religion. Hooker & Stacy leave the church, resigned to spending Christmas in each other's company. However, they are surprised by Romano & Corrigan on the church steps, who have rented Santa suits for the occasion, and decided against spending Christmas with their families. The group decides to get a hot turkey sandwich at Joe's Diner (a final slap in the face for Stacy's group dinner plans), and the four walk arm in arm down the street, singing "Santa Claus is Coming to Town."

Beautiful.

 

(reviewed by 4Adam30 and Johnny Durrell)

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GUEST STARS:

Terry Burns
"Mr. Preston"

Betty Ann Carr
"Police Woman"

Jake Dengel
"Danny"

Robert Dryer
"Troy Eldridge"

Marjoe Gortner
"George Marino"

Sharon Hughes
"Carlita Frasier"

Charles Knapp
"Santa Claus"

John McLiam
"Father DeMarco"

Stack Pierce
"Eddie Sutton"

Philece Sampler
"Sue Ann Eldridge"

Fred Daniel Scott
"Al Franks"

Robert Vega
"Hospital Intern"

BEST MOMENTS:

- The zeal of Robert Dryer's performance as Troy Eldrige - every line he delivers is spoken as if his life depended on it (see photo in sidebar for an example of Dryer's one facial expression displayed throughout the entire episode)

- Marjoe Gortner's performance as George Marino. Nobody lets other actors shine like Marjoe. His versatility is a wonder to behold, whether he plays a thug on T.J. Hooker, a bandit on The A-Team, or a thief on The Greatest American Hero

- Hooker's car chases, while sublimely lengthy, are nonetheless uncomfortable to watch

 

BEST LINES:

"Merry Christmas, punk."

- Hooker to Rodriguez immediately before his arrest

"The last thing I want to find under my tree on Christmas morning is you."

- Hooker to Romano on his plans for Christmas


"Think she can give us George Marino?"

"That's the one present I want for Christmas this year, Junior."

- Romano & Hooker discuss Carlita Frasier

"To love isn't always enough."

- Hooker to Stacy and a priest

 

 

 


EPISODES : the formula | episode guide

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