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EPISODES
: the formula | episode guide

PHOTOS:


The most talentless graffiti artists in the world


The graffiti attack on 4Adam30


Rawlins: Portrait of a Maggot


Taking cover behind the counter


Hooker and Romano attempt to escape


"How long you think you can hold onto that gun?"


"For the rest of your life, maggot."


Captain Sheridan almost blows it


"No, they wouldn't do that. Not to me."


"They're pumping in ... tetroid nerve gas."


"My lungs are on fire!"


"I can't stand it anymore!"


"Here, take my gun. I'm your hostage."


Rawlins points the empty gun at Hooker...


...and realizes in sheer disbelief that Hooker is telling the truth


"I'll be thinking a lot about you."


"You're gonna have plenty of time to think. Get him outta here!"

SEASON: 3 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
EPISODE#: 3.49 < prev | next >

"Deadlock"
AIRDATE: 05.12.84

WRITER: Bruce Shelly & David Ketchum
DIRECTOR: Sigmund Neufeld, Jr.

TJ-HOOKER.COM RATING:        

WHAT SAID:  

After interrupting a weapons heist, Romano is wounded and Hooker – who knows his own revolver is empty – is trapped in an elevator in a guns-drawn test of wills with one of the thieves.

SYNOPSIS:  

After agreeing to meet Stacy and Corrigan for a 1:00am rendezvous, Hooker and Romano follow the trail of freshly painted graffiti to a department store, where a burglary is in progress. When they enter the store, the graffiti artists run out and hotwire their squad car. Realizing their car is gone and the phone wire cut, they check out the rest of the store. Up on the fifth floor, Gomez, Rawlins, and Martin have shot and killed the security guard and are preparing to load up as many guns as possible. When Hooker and Romano come across them, Rawlins blasts his shot gun and seriously wounds Romano. Hooker manages to get to the elevator at the same time as Rawlins and they both jump in together. A stray bullet smashes the control and Hooker realizes they are stuck in the elevator and he is out of ammunition. Hooker plays a bluff with his empty gun and manages to knock Rawlins' gun out of his hand. In the meantime, worried about their friends, Stacy and Corrigan have gone looking for Hooker and Romano. When they discover their patrol car abandoned in a park with freshly sprayed graffiti on it, they return to the department store where they saw similar graffiti. When they enter the store, Martin and Gomez fire on them, but they are finally apprehended. In the meantime, the elevator is started up again and Captain Sheridan is there when the doors finally open to take Rawlins into custody and reassure Hooker that Romano will be fine.

REVIEW:  

T.J. Hooker was formulaic television; no one is afraid to admit that. Usually, it is discovering how the formula is applied and executed which brings such joy to watching this show. When the formula is adhered to properly, you're guaranteed a bang-up story. When it's not, it's hit or miss. Usually.

"Deadlock" does away with the formula, stripping the show bare of its previous baggage and reinventing the wheel from the ground up–and in doing so it creates one of the most entertaining hours of Hooker ever put to screen.

Don't get me wrong: there are still elements of the show's formula here. Romano is wounded yet again, this time a shotgun blast to the leg. Also, Hooker has to single-handedly outsmart and capture the main villain. And the 4Adam16 crew spend most of the episode as support for Hooker and Romano. And Romano, that swarthy lothario, is said to have a hot date with a ski bunny named Stephanie later that night. But the comparisons end there.

From the moment Hooker and Romano find their squad car stolen at the scene of a late-night department store ("Bassett's") break-in, this episode plunges Hooker into one of the deadliest scenarios he's ever had to face. Trapped in an open area with minimal cover, he must protect his fallen comrade from the three thugs who sit in wait across the room, and try to devise a means of escape. Particular credit should be given to the episode's director, Sigmund Neufeld, Jr.; a veteran Hooker director, Neufeld here uses the episode's unique setting as a springboard for some excellent camerawork, which helps build tension just as much as the dialogue and plot.

The gang of scum's ringleader, Rawlins, is a man with a past history with the police. Like rogue Academy recruit Jeff Turner in "Terror at the Academy," Rawlins detests cops for what they did to him as a child. It is this hatred that fuels his fury during this deadly game. His obsession with the police has led him to don a fake LCPD uniform in order to gain entry into the department store; his deviousness and depravity know no bounds. His two accomplices, Gomez and Martin, appear not to understand just what kind of insane lunatic they've allied themselves with; however, their fear of him keeps them loyal.

When Hooker crawls behind a counter and finds a telephone, the audience believes he may yet find a way out. However, the brilliantly dangerous Rawlins detects the faint sound of Hooker's desperate phone call, and, instead of shooting Hooker directly through the counter, shoots out the phone system's control box. Escape goes from difficult to nigh-impossible in a matter of seconds as Rawlins decides to let Hooker and Romano suffer in panic rather than pick them off quickly.

A tender moment between Hooker and Romano reveals the gravity of Romano's situation: he tries to give Hooker his lucky twenty dollar gold piece, asking him to give it back to his father if he doesn't make it. "Just hang onto it," Hooker says. "You're gonna need it tonight–when you get lucky with Stephanie."

After a standoff of what seems like hours, Hooker concocts a MacGyver-esque plan for a last-ditch escape attempt. He rigs Romano's handgun with a wire on its trigger on the opposite end of their sheltering counterspace. He hands Romano the wire (who, because of his injury, can't move on his own). Hooker calls out to Rawlins to surrender, and signals Romano. Shots go off at the opposite end of the counter, and Rawlins and his men are temporarily distracted. Hooker scoops up Romano, and they make a run for an elevator. Shots are exchanged, and Rawlins makes for the elevator as well. Hooker drops Romano, dives into the elevator after Rawlins, and a struggle ensues. The door closes, and a stray shot to the control panel traps them in the elevator.

Romano's condition has deteriorated to the point where he appears dead, and Rawlins' men leave him to rot while they attempt to get in the elevator.

Brilliantly scripted and acted, the mind games between Hooker and Rawlins once alone in the elevator are outstanding. Hooker levels his empty gun at Rawlins, and keeps it there; the bluff works, not just because Hooker is such a good actor, but because Rawlins is portrayed as just insane enough not to notice. A series of brilliant exchanges between the two characters create tension so thick you could cut it with a butter knife.

When Stacy and Corrigan hit upon the clues which lead them to the department store, still the situation looks bleak. When Captain Sheridan arrives on the scene, his bumbling conversation with Hooker and Rawlins almost gives away everything to the crazed lunatic. But what Hooker does to gain control of the situation is so uncanny that this reviewer was left speechless upon my first viewing.

Hooker begins to choke. And cough. He grasps his throat in agony. Rawlins is confused. "They're pumping in...tetroid nerve gas," Hooker explains. "I don't smell anything," Rawlins says suspiciously. "It's ODORLESS!" Hooker screams back. "They're sacrificing me to get to you!"

Rawlins remains confused throughout Hooker's (and Shatner's) brilliant acting coup. Hooker offers Rawlins his gun. "Take it ... I'm your hostage!" Confused, Rawlins accepts Hooker's gun–and Hooker uses the momentary distraction to slap Rawlins' gun from his hand into his own. The revelation that Rawlins now holds an empty gun is priceless, and Hooker is able to make short work of his crazed captor.

In a short denouement, we find out that Romano's injuries will heal and Rawlins has been taken into custody. He is paraded past Hooker on his way to a squad car. He threatens Hooker that he'll be back, and one is left to wish Rawlins had returned. Like the vengeful Khan in that other show of Shatner's, Rawlins makes the perfect archenemy.

Beautiful.

 

(reviewed by 4Adam30)

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GUEST STARS:

Mike Gomez
"Gomez"

Dennis Lipscomb
"Rawlins"

Anthony Thompkins
"Phil"

Clarence Williams III
"Martin"

BEST MOMENTS

- Hooker and Romano's conversation about how a full moon makes people crazy

- The graffiti kids hot-wiring, stealing, and tagging 4Adam30

- Hooker and Romano's conversation about Romano's lucky twenty dollar gold piece

- Hooker's MacGyver-esque contraption consisting of a gun, some wire and a clamp

- The entire time Hooker and Rawlins are alone in the elevator

- Hooker's brilliant ruse pretending to be suffering from the effects of tetroid nerve gas

- Rawlins "I'll be back" speech and Hooker's reply

BEST LINES

"If you wanna make big money, you gotta take big risks."

-Rawlins to Gomez and Martin

"Hey, man, this is getting to be a lot heavier than I thought it would."

-Gomez to Rawlins

"You never know on a night like tonight."

-Corrigan to Hooker over police band radio

"Where are they? Jim, I'm really getting worried."

"Ease up. They're okay. We'll run into them any minute now."

-Stacy and Corrigan during their search for 4Adam30

"That's what happens when you have nothing to do and no place to do it."

"And you leave your brains in the drawer."

-Stacy and Corrigan upon finding the graffiti on the side of Bassett's Department Store

"This just makes my day. I hate cops. They been pushin' me around all my life. Now it's my turn to push back."

-Rawlins to Gomez and Martin

"How long you think you can hold that gun...without gettin' careless?"

"About the rest of your life, maggot."

-Rawlins and Hooker during their time in the elevator

"What a lousy hand–with an empty gun, Hooker is a hostage."

-Captain Sheridan to Corrigan

"I'll see you again. I'll be thinking a lot about you."

"You do that, 'cause you're gonna have plenty of time to think. When they close the cell doors on you, you're gonna be old and grey before you breathe free air again. Get him outta here!"

-Rawlins and Hooker as Rawlins is led to a paddy wagon

 


EPISODES : the formula | episode guide

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