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SEASON: 6
EPISODE#: 6.4 < prev

"Deadly Odds"
AIRDATE: 11.05.86

WHAT WOULD HAVE SAID:  

When a local basketball player is suspected of point-shaving, Hooker must bring down a gambling ring.

SYNOPSIS:  

The episode begins with an exciting basketball game at Los Angeles County College gym. As the camera pans across the crowd, Hooker, Romano, Stacy and Corrigan are in attendance. Clearly they are enjoying their time off-duty. The camera then cuts back to the on-court action as an LACC player steals the ball and drives to the basket for an uncontested layup.

Romano: Whoa! Did you see that?! Henderson's got 27 points already!

Stacy: And it looks like he's got a good chance of scoring over 30.

Hooker: His fifth straight 30-plus game.

Romano: Hey, Hooker, do you think this kid's got a shot at the pro's, playin' at such a small school and all? I mean, LA County College isn't exactly Georgetown or North Carolina.

Hooker: You'd be amazed at how thorough the pro scouts are, Junior. They usually get their man.

Corrigan:[smiling] Reminds me of someone else we know.

Just then the buzzer sounds, ending the game--an easy victory for the LACC team. The group collects their belongings and begins to leave when a voice calls out, "Hooker? Is that you?"

Hooker spins around to see an attractive brunette. Hooker is momentarily speechless. Finally, "Julie? My gosh, it's good to see you. How long has it been--5 years?"

"Five years, four months, and 11 days. But who's counting?"

Hooker laughs sheepishly and tries to change the subject (much to the amusement of his friends) by introducing her to the rest of the gang. When he wounded his shoulder in the line of duty years ago, Julie was the physcial therapist who helped him back into action. His reaction, however, suggests that their relationship went beyond the professional level.

Corrigan then asks what would bring her to a college basketball game. Julie explains that she's been going to every game to watch her brother, J.J. in action. As if on cue, J.J. arrives to greet his sister.

Romano: Your brother is J.J. Henderson? Hooker, why didn't you tell us you knew J.J.'s sister?

Hooker: I'm embarrassed to admit that I didn't make the connection until now. Of course J.J. was a lot younger then.

J.J.:[to Hooker] You ever play basketball, Sgt. Hooker? I'm always looking for tips on my game.

Romano: Yeah, Hooker played back when they still used peach baskets.

Hooker: Well, truth be told, I was known to have a pretty mean hook shot--but I don't think there's much I could teach you.

Another young man approaches the group and nudges J.J., mentioning something about an appointment. J.J. abruptly excuses himself and heads off with the stranger.

Julie sighs and rolls her eyes at her brother's new found celebrity. Hooker suavely remarks, "You know my shoulder's been acting up a bit lately. Maybe you could give me your professional opinion...over dinner tomorrow night?" Like every woman, Julie finds it impossible to resist Hooker's charm.

The story moves to a swank penthouse apartment, with J.J. talking with his new friend, Joe Sanfelippo. Sanfelippo indicates that the apartment belongs to his associate, Mr. Big. J.J. is awestruck by its luxury, saying that it's the kind of life he'd like to lead. Mr. Big walks into the room and meets JJ, telling him to relax and enjoy himself. Mr. Big asks him what he thinks about the next game against the heavy underdog, Bayside. JJ tells him that it'll be no problem--a tune-up for the playoffs.

J.J.: Heck, I'll go ahead an guarantee a win--I think I might even score a career high.

Mr. Big: Guarantee a win? Heh heh. I like your confidence, kid. But in my business, the only thing you can guarantee is losing. If you have the right connections, of course.

Sanfelippo then informs J.J. that they want him to shave points against Bayside--not to lose the game, but enough so that they don't cover the point spread. J.J.'s reluctant to do it, but Mr. Big pushes the right buttons: it's easy money, and he's got no shot at the pros by playing at a Division III school. Desperate for a break in life, J.J. sips his drink and agrees to it.

The next day, Hooker and Romano are talking about his upcoming date in 4Adam30. Romano asks him if he's going to bring flowers, what kind of wine he's serving, etc.

Hooker: Since when are you so interested in my love life, Junior?

Romano: Hey, if you play this right, it could work out well for both of us. You never know Hooker--if J.J.'s as good as you say, he may need some financial advice with shoe contracts, endorsements, restaurant investments--you name it.

Hooker: And let me guess: you're the just the guy to provide it.

Romano: Back in South Philly, Dr. J is everywhere! All I'm sayin' is stay on Julie's good side, Hooker.

The episode then shifts to Hooker's apartment, where he and Julie are catching up over dinner. They talk about the missed opportunity of their relationship and maybe giving it a second chance. During the conversation Julie mentions that it's been difficult taking care of J.J., from both a financial and a disciplinary standpoint. It seems like every time she sees him, he's hanging with new friends, some of whom seem a little shady. Hooker re-assures her that he's just going through a transition, but that he'd be happy to talk to him.

Julie: Is it true you used to play basketball yourself?

Hooker: [smiling] Maybe a little "one-on-one" will convince you.

Hooker kisses her while the screen fades to black.

The story continues with the end of another basketball game. This time J.J.'s game is a little off. Julie comments on how unusual it is for him to play this badly--especially against a lousy team. During a timeout JJ wanders over to the players' huddle but is distracted. He scans the crowd and sees Sanfelippo at center court who in turn nods back. The fix is in. J.J.'s team ekes out a victory, but Hooker is suspicious. "Maybe I should have that talk with J.J. sooner rather than later."

Hooker pulls up to the LA County College gym in 4Adam30. He asks Romano to check with his contacts on any gambling irregularities. Romano balks and insists he doesn't know any bookies, at which Hooker just stares at him, knowing better. Realizing it's a lost cause, Romano nods and drives off.

Hooker wanders over to the basketball court after practice. J.J.'s already there, doing a post-practice shoot-around. After some goading, the two play a pick-up game of one-on-one. During the action Hooker informs J.J. of his point-shaving suspicions. J.J. vehemently denies it, but Hooker proceeds to preach at J.J. the entire time (shades of his wrestling exercise with Romano in "The Survival Syndrome"):

Hooker: You're playing a dangerous game, can't you see that?

J.J.: I've got it under control!

Hooker: I don't think you do--you may just find yourself fouling out...of life! [J.J. shoots the ball and it clanks off the rim of the hoop.]

To underscore the point, Hooker invites a friend over to the gym, L.A. Lakers star forward, James Worthy. The two met each other through volunteering at a youth center. Worthy further counsels J.J. that the pros don't want anything to do with players who associate with gamblers. After their talk, J.J. vows to break off all contact with the gamblers.

Later that night, Mr. Big is conducting business at the penthouse. Sanfelippo arrives and tells them that J.J.'s not cooperating. Angered by this development, he decides to take out an 'insurance policy' and hit J.J. where it hurts: by taking Julie hostage.

Meanwhile, at the LCPD precinct, Hooker checks in with Romano. He informs Hooker that the results of LA County's last game raised some eyebrows, but that there's a lot of betting on tomorrow's game. And because it's the playoffs, the game is going to be televised--a rarity for the LACC program. According to his sources, most of the local action is going through Sal Delvecchio, known to bookies as Mr. Big.

Hooker begins formulating a plan to take down the gambling ring. He instructs Romano to spread the word that another high-roller wants in on the action. "I think it's time someone cut Mr. Big down to size."

Gameday finally arrives. After Julie drops J.J. off at school, she is approached by Sanfelippo and a couple of thugs. She tries to flee, but they overtake her car and kidnap her. When Sanfelippo calls Mr. Big to give him the news, he also mentions that a high roller wants to place a large sum of money on the game, in person. Mr. Big agrees to meet with the man.

As gametime approaches JJ receives a phone call during warm-ups telling him his sister is in peril. Ashen-faced, he nods and prepares to throw the game.

The action picks up at Mr. Big's penthouse where he and his crew are getting ready to watch the game. There's a knock at the door and it opens to reveal the high-roller... Harry Grant.

Resplendent in a camel-hair topcoat and Foster Grants (as well as a hidden wire), Hooker-as-Harry enters the penthouse and gets right down to business: he wants to place a six-figure bet on LACC. To ratify the deal he opens up a briefcase stuffed with stacks of money. Nevertheless, Mr. Big seems reluctant to take the bet, not knowing Harry Grant or anyone that could vouch for him.

The scene cuts to 4Adam16, where Stacy, Corrigan and Romano are listening to the proceedings via Hooker's wire. "Uh-oh, do you think Big suspects something?" asks Romano.

"Possibly," Corrigan responds, "but if anyone can work their way out of a predicament, my money's on Hooker."

"Don't you mean 'Harry Grant'?" Stacy chimes in.

In the penthouse:

Mr. Big: You waltz in here from outta nowhere, flash some chump change and say you want to drop 100 Gs-- how do I know you can cover that kind of dough?

Harry Grant: The way I see it, I could ask the same question of you. But I understand your hesitation. Since time is of the essence, I propose we settle this as sportsmen. We cut cards. If I get the high card, my bet stands. If you get it, I'll take my money elsewhere.

Mr. Big can hardly resist the challenge, so the two draw cards. First Mr. Big pulls the King of Hearts. Tension mounts as 'Harry Grant' selects his card. The camera tightly focuses on Hooker's grim countenance. Concentration turns to relief as he reveals the Ace of Spades. The relief is echoed inside 4Adam16.

"You win this hand, Grant. But I have a feeling your luck's about to change," Mr. Big scoffs.

With that he flips a switch at his desk and the front wall separates to reveal a large television monitor. He then instructs Sanfelippo to check on their other "guest", "in fact, why don't you bring her in here so she can watch it, too. We know she's a big fan of LACC."

Hooker is about to settle into a chair when he sees Julie being led out of the back room. Unfortunately, she also sees him and runs to his side, "Hooker! Thank God you're here!"

Mr. Big's momentary confusion is replaced by rage. He and his thugs draw their guns. "What are you--a cop?! I thought I smelled bacon!"

Hooker: Kidnapping? That's a new trick for lowlifes like you. But I guess extortion was the only way to move the odds in your favor.

Mr. Big: Talk all you want, tough guy, but the fix is in. At the end of the night, I'm going to be rich. And you're going to be dead.

Suddenly the door bursts open, and Stacy yells, "Freeze!" With weapons drawn, Hooker's back-up has arrived and proceeds to apprehend the racketeering scum.

Back at the LACC gym, the game is underway. Hooker, still in his Harry Grant wardrobe, rushes into the gym with Julie in tow. He makes his way behind the bench and gets the coach's attention. The coach calls a timeout and as J.J. walks toward the bench, he notices Julie and rushes to embrace her. Knowing his sister is now safe, he goes on to have a fine game and impress the pro scouts in attendance.

Romano catches up with Hooker. "There's just one thing that bothers me: How did you know you would draw a higher card than Mr. Big?"

"That, Junior," Hooker grins, "was luck."

Freeze Frame.

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GUEST STARS:
George Clooney
"J.J. Henderson"
Connie Selleca
"Julie Henderson"
Dennis Farina
"Sal Delvecchio/'Mr. Big'"
Robert Romanus
"Joe Sanfellipo"

James Worthy
"Himself"

BEST LINES:

"You'd be amazed at how thorough the pro scouts are, Junior. They usually get their man."

"Reminds me of someone else we know."

- Corrigan, alluding to Hooker's tenacity

"Hooker played back when they still used peach baskets."

- Romano, alluding to Hooker's age

"You know my shoulder's been acting up a bit lately. Maybe you could give me your professional opinion...over dinner tomorrow night?"

- Hooker, showcasing his masterful rapport with the opposite sex

"Is it true you used to play basketball yourself?"

"Maybe a little 'one-on-one' will convince you."

- Hooker, more of the same

"...you may just find yourself fouling out...of life!"

- Hooker warning J.J. on the dangers of gambling

"In my business, the only thing you can guarantee is losing."

- Mr. Big

"I think it's time someone cut Mr. Big down to size."

- Hooker


EPISODES : the formula | episode guide | the lost season

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