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EPISODES
: the formula | episode guide

PHOTOS:



Toothpick is nervous as he waits for Big Guy


Corrigan shoots at Big Guy


Big Guy retaliates as he gets into Toothpick's car


Hooker views the composite sketch of Big Guy


"You're going to jail, gun dealer!"


Hooker accosts a young man with a "ghetto blaster"


Hooker says yo to Cassius Isley


Hooker roughs up Toothpick while Romano pleads with him to stop


Stacy briefly wakes from her coma

Toothpick and Jobina held hostage by Hooker


Hooker waits for Big Guy to walk into his trap


Big Guy counts jewels and drinks milk


Hooker enters Big Guy's room without a search warrant


Stacy wakes from her surgery and talks to Hooker

 

SEASON: 4 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
EPISODE#: 4.50 < prev | next >

"Night Vigil"
AIRDATE: 10.13.84

WRITER: Frank Telford
DIRECTOR: Winrich Kolbe

TJ-HOOKER.COM RATING:        

WHAT SAID:  

Hooker puts his career on the line combing the city for a burly robber who shot Stacy and left her with a bullet lodged close to her heart.

SYNOPSIS:  

While on patrol, Stacy and Corrigan stop at a sandwich shop for coffee. As Stacy enters the shop, she comes upon a robbery in progress and is shot down. Corrigan chases the suspect, a big, burly man, but loses him when he jumps in a waiting sedan driven by a black man named Toothpick. At the hospital, Hooker and Captain Sheridan learn Stacy is in a coma, with a bullet lodged in the wall of her heart. The bullet is traced to a store owned by Robinson, who denies selling the guns. While in the store, Corrigan spots Toothpick and dashes after him. As he jumps into a waiting car, Corrigan realizes it is the same car that was used in the getaway when Stacy was shot. During another robbery committed by the Big Guy and Toothpick, one of the officers hears the name "Jobina." Hooker is able to track down Jobina who tells him that the Big Guy hangs out at a cafeteria in the area. Hooker goes to the cafeteria and waits until the Big Guy arrives and then follows him when he abruptly leaves. He follows the Big Guy back to his hotel room where Hooker calls for backup and then bursts in on the Big Guy. Gunfire is exchanged and the Big Guy falls through the window to the street below. Later, Stacy awakens from surgery to find Hooker at her bedside, telling her how he got her assailant and that she is going to be fine.

REVIEW:  

T.J. Hooker is a fascinating example of a television series that wasn't afraid of character development. Over the course of its five year run, the audience is treated to any number of changes within the lives and motivations of the central figures of the show.

So it is with "Night Vigil," an episode which sees the initially hostile relationship between Jim Corrigan and Stacy Sheridan (as evidenced in episode 2-26, "Payday Pirates") turned on its head, with Corrigan as concerned about Stacy's well-being as if she were a member of his own family–and as respectful of her abilities as an officer and partner as any cop could ever hope to be.

In fact, Corrigan becomes filled with regret for something as inconsequential as allowing Stacy to enter a coffee shop by herself while on duty. Altho it is a usual haunt for the 4Adam16 crew, Corrigan realizes all too late that "the uniform is a target." After Stacy's brutal encounter with the Big Guy's handgun, Corrigan insists on replaying the scenario in his head, while Hooker must help his old friend get past the events of the day as best he can.

Not to say that Hooker remains a pillar of strength in this episode, by any means. Stacy is his goddaughter, after all, and Hooker has watched her grow from a small child into a damn good cop. With a determination that borders on vengeful obsession, Hooker vows to take down the scum who shot Stacy at any cost. It is with this decision that Shatner really begins to shine in this episode. Throwing gun dealers around like they were so much pocket change, Hooker hasn't acted this upset–or this obsessed–since the Johnny Durrell murder investigation that ended with the conviction of one-handed man Jack Clayton.

It's all here: Hooker calling in old favors (with a prostitute he busted years ago, who leads him to the gun dealer who sells cop-killing "super slugs"; with basketball coach Cassius Isley at Carver High, a man Hooker set on the straight and narrow years ago and who is able to provide valuable information about the whereabouts of Toothpick, the Big Guy's partner). Hooker consoling Captain Sheridan, Stacy's father, at the hospital when it is revealed Stacy has slipped into a coma. Hooker and Corrigan, off-duty, harrassing a young black man (who wears roller skates and carries a "ghetto blaster") at a carnival. Hooker making several bold pronouncements about how and when he'll stop the investigation–namely, over the Big Guy's dead body. Although it is Corrigan's partner who has been gunned down, this becomes Hooker's personal vendetta.

Corrigan and Romano become mere pawns in Hooker's dangerous game–so dangerous it could cost all of them their badges, as Hooker and Corrigan's run-in with the top brass informs us. For all of Hooker's near-vigilantism up to this point, he has never sunk to the depths he does here. His physical and mental harassment of the gun dealer who sold the "super slugs" is police brutality at its most heinous. However, you can't help feeling this is what has to be done. Hooker's rage is infectious. When Hooker finally succeeds in nailing the gun dealer and running him in, the audience breathes a collective sigh of relief, for justice–however blind–has been served (in yet another connection to "Payday Pirates," gun dealer Lucky Robinson is portrayed by actor Mike Genovese, the same actor who plays Peter Doyle in "Payday Pirates"–and who therein also receives a brutal Hooker questioning!).

Eventually the bullish tactics catch up to him, and Hooker is kicked off the case. More determined than ever, Hooker takes Toothpick and his girlfriend Jobina hostage with Corrigan and Romano's help. He physically threatens Toothpick while Romano pleads with him to stop. He plays mind games with Jobina. His methods are questionable, but again somehow they work: Hooker succeeds in retrieving vital information from Jobina about the Big Guy's regular hangout, a sleazy cafeteria in a horrendous part of town.

In true Hooker fashion, he waits until he is off-duty to nab the Big Guy. He sits in the cafeteria waiting for his massive nemesis, his tiny table in the greasy spoon the nexus of a web that is rapidly closing in around the Big Guy–Hooker is the spider to the Big Guy's fly. The Big Guy finishes his meal and heads to his room at a nearby hotel; Hooker melds with the shadows and trails him there undetected.

Hooker's thirst for vengeance must be satiated. He allows himself a moment of clear thought before he completes his mission: he asks the hotel's desk clerk to call the police and request backup. Then, he sets off on the hunt for his own personal Kurtz.

The hotel is your typical sleazy number. The Big Guy's room is tiny and filthy ... Hooker can sense it even through the closed door. While the Big Guy sits behind a grimy desk examining his stolen jewels and drinking a carton of milk–with big band music on the radio–Hooker takes a few moments to plan his attack. He kicks in the door, and his eyes meet his enemy's. The Big Guy barely has time to wrap his fingers around his gun's handle before Hooker begins pumping lead into his chest with such deadly force that it propels the Big Guy back through his hotel room's window, where he falls several stories to the street below. Corrigan and Romano arrive to find Big Guy lying dead, as Romano's quick check for a pulse confirms. A silent glance between Hooker, above in the window, and Romano in the street below says it all: the deed is done.

After this brutal display of violence, we're treated to a view of Hooker's softer side as he sits at Stacy's bedside. Miraculously, she has survived the surgery which could have killed her. As she awakes from her coma, Hooker's face is the first she sees. Their conversation is brief, yet revealing about their past relationship ... Hooker's fatherly advice and protection have obviously been there for Stacy her whole life, and will continue to be as long as Hooker has anything to say about it.

Beautiful. Just beautiful.

 

(reviewed by 4Adam30 and Johnny Durrell)

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GUEST STARS:

Al Berry
"Store Employee"

George Cheung
"Dr. Coe"

Holgie Forrester
"Nurse"

Mike Genovese
"Lucky Robinson"

Fay Hauser
"Jobina Wright"

Lenny Hicks
"Mitchell"

Steve James
"Coach Cassius Isley"

Larry Flash Jenkins
"Toothpick/Willie Joe
Ellington Brown III"

John MacBride
"Hotel Desk Clerk"

Pepper Martin
"Big Guy"


Edward Mason
"Frank"

Willard E. Pugh
"Roller"

Marcia del Mar
"Lecha Martinez"

BEST MOMENTS

- Hooker's confrontation with the gun dealer

- Hooker's questioning by internal affairs

- The carnival sequence, when Hooker and Corrigan take down a young black boy on roller skates

- Hooker's reunion with the coach Cassius Isley at Carver High, who he busted and set on the straight and narrow path

- Hooker's rage unleashed on Toothpick

- Stacy's post-comatose mumbling about the Boogeyman, to Hooker

- Big Guy's apartment, complete with clock radio playing big band music and chocolate milk carton

- Hooker shot first

BEST LINES

"Life is great."

-Stacy to Corrigan


"As we rolled in here, she said...'Life is great.'"

- Corrigan

"I forgot for just five minutes that the uniform is a target."

-Corrigan

"I remember when Stacy [was a little girl] and broke her arm...I remember thinking...such a helluva big cast for...such a little kid."

-Capt. Sheridan to Hooker in the hospital

"Hey, you got no right!"

"No rights? I've got a police officer with a slug jammed up against her heart. I don't wanna hear about your 'rights'!"

- Gun dealer and Hooker

"You're going to jail, gun dealer."

-Hooker to gun dealer

"Tatoo this on your skulls, both of you: I'll walk over ten dirtbags like him if that's what it takes to catch the punk who shot Stacy."

- Hooker to Corrigan and Romano

"You know, when I was in there, the Boogeyman came to me again."

"But you threw him out on his head."

"Mm-hmm. Just like you told me to."

-Stacy and Hooker after Stacy's surgery


EPISODES : the formula | episode guide

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