Angel’s Child


SUMMARY

The episode opens with a nighttime stakeout already in progress - the police are watching three guys rob a building. Kelly, dressed for success in an enormous wool poncho and heroin hair, identifies the thieves as the same ones the Agency has evidently been keeping tabs on. The police move in, and one officer is fatally shot. Sgt. Cates, his partner, apprehends one of the thieves, and looks intent on blowing the punk away even though he's unarmed and cooperating. Kelly screams at him and after several tense moments, he fires his gun angrily in the air, probably killing someone across town via random gunfire.

Sgt. Cates arrives home to find his ten-year-old son, Greg, asleep in front of the television way past his bedtime. Greg explains that he got lonely and wanted to see his dad when he got home, but the Sergeant is still off the deep end and having none of it. Greg tries to hide, but his dad breaks down his door and child abuse sound effects ensue.

Cut to the office, where Bosley and the Angels are discussing the case - those thieves have been ripping off their client's company. Two are in custody and refusing to talk, and the third (the cop killer) is still on the loose. Kelly excuses herself to go pick up Sgt. Cates and take him to court for the arraignment.

Greg answers the door, informing Kelly that his dad already left on his own. Sensing something is wrong with Greg besides just his personality, Kelly opens the door and barges into the house without asking, getting a clear look at the kid's black eye and split lip. Kelly pets his face while making concerned expressions and grilling him about how he got hurt. He insists that he simply fell down, and is eager for her to leave.

As she drives away, she's observed by three thugs in a car, one of which is the cop killer himself.  "Follow her!"

When Kelly finds Cates at the courthouse, she explains how she talked to his son, and then asks about the bruises. He seems very upset that she's seen Greg, and bellows at her to stay out of his personal life.

At the office, everyone is jabbering stock filler dialogue about the case except Kelly, who's loafing catatonically on the sofa. When Charlie eventually asks what's wrong, she announces that she's leaving "to see a little boy with a bruised face". No one makes any effort to reply. Outside, Kelly is again observed leaving the Townsend Office, letting the thugs know that she is a detective. They decide she may know too much, and continue following her.

Greg is minding his own business on the neighborhood playground when Kelly approaches and resumes pestering him about his bruises. She eventually gets him to admit he's being abused, and explains that his dad needs help. With the boy successfully friended, she gets back on the road and calls Bosley, who is sitting alone at the office shuffling papers aimlessly. A very depressed-sounding Kelly says she needs to talk to someone - "You'll do for starters." (Thanks?)

The thugs are still tailing Kelly, and suddenly they're out on that deserted winding mountain road, so you know they're going to try to ram her car. She escapes them and winds up back at the office, where she reports that 1) she can't remember what the car looked like at all, and 2) it was a blue Cadillac. Kris sympathizes, but warns that accusing a police officer of child abuse could get very messy. Tiffany, draped decoratively on the couch, looks hesitant as well, and Charlie sounds most reluctant when he agrees that they'll all back Kelly up.

As a final resort, Kelly meets with Sgt. Cates to offer her help, but also warns that if she sees Greg hurt any more, she'll have him taken away. Cates gets madder than ever and storms out.

Everybody goes to court and Kelly is granted temporary custody of Greg. Afterward, Bosley, Tiffany and Kris appear from nowhere and offer Kelly a couple days off (which it really looked like she was already taking anyway) and she takes Greg back to her house.

As Kelly arrives home, the thugs meet her on her doorstep and take her hostage inside. They allow Greg to wait, unsupervised, in Kelly's bedroom for his own safety. Once everyone settles around her Hostage Sofa, they phone Cates and order him to spring the thieves from jail if he ever wants to see Greg again. When no one is looking, Kelly switches her answering machine off.

A bit later Sgt. Cates is at the office, yelling about the situation. Bosley calls Kelly and is perplexed when he gets no answer. Tiffany launches into an oddly detailed explanation of their answering machine procedure to clarify why this is strange. Now convinced something is wrong, the gang heads for Kelly's house with Cates in tow.

Back at Kelly's, the thugs freak out when they notice that the machine is off. Kelly calmly denies it'd ever been on, but they're still suspicious, and insist on re-locating their little hostage party pronto. She goes to fetch Greg, who's been sitting glumly on the bed all this time without even thinking about opening the giant window three feet away.

Kelly locks her bedroom door and throws a table through the window, allowing the kid to escape just as the thugs burst in. Thug #1 pulls a gun on Kelly while the rest chase Greg - Cop Killer quickly nabs him a short way down the street. The Bosleymobile screeches up and a furious Cates charges Cop Killer, who makes good on his threat to shoot, but Cates beats the crap out of him anyway.

Thug #2 tries to flee, but barely reaches the edge of Kelly's lawn before he's wrangled by Kris and her sassy business up-do. Thug #1 emerges from the front door with Kelly hostage, but she knocks the gun out of his hand with the help of Tiffany providing cover.

Kelly, Cates and son sit on her lawn waiting for the ambulance to arrive because he's been shot in the arm. Greg just wants to go home with his dad, but the Sergeant is now completely changed for some reason, and shares an obligatorily touching moment with his son. He explains to Greg that he needs to stay with Kelly until he gets himself straightened out, and thanks her for her meddling.

BACKGROUND CHECK

Angel's Child Episode #82 Season 4 Episode 14 Airdate: January 9, 1980 Writer: Ed Lakso Director: Dennis Donnelly Guest stars: Simon Oakland,  Rick Casorla

WHAT'D YOU THINK?

Rate this episode:

CURIOSITIES

• If the Townsend Agency as a whole has been working on this case, why was Kelly working alone at the beginning?

• In the first office scene, boom shadows are visible on the wall over Kris' head.

• Wow, it would not be difficult to rob that house when Greg answers the door. "Are you home alone?" "Yus." "Do you have a lot of cash laying around?" "Yus." "Does your dad have a gun?" "Yus."

• Once again, Charlie seems to be able to sense that Kelly "seems preoccupied" even though he can't see her through the speakerbox, and she's being no less quiet than the others.

• Why doesn't anyone refer to Greg by name? Everyone keeps calling him "the boy" all hour long.

• "Police officers are just men wearing uniforms," says Kelly, the female former-police-officer, to her fellow female former-police-officer colleagues.

• Ask not what your set decorator can do for you ... Why is this 1980 courtroom still hanging portraits of President John F. Kennedy?

• Gawking Alert! Review the scenes taking place outside of the courthouse and keep an eye out for curious onlookers watching the filming. They're standing in clusters at the curbside, and a few are even peeking out through the courtroom windows at Jaclyn.

• This episode's court scene is the kind you end up writing when your characters have a legal issue you have to address, but you don't know or care how the court process actually works, and just want to skip to the part with the guns.

• When she's made her move to escape and seconds count, why does Kelly spend like a full minute calmly examining the latch on her window before deciding to break it? And why do the bad guys so patiently stand there rattling the knob before breaking the door down?

• Clips of this case are shown in the final episode, Let Our Angel Live. Kris makes it sound like everything turned out OK, but doesn't give any actual updates on Greg's situation.

• There seems to be a lot of confusion around this father and son duo. They are called throughout the episode, and listed in the end credits, “Cates”.  IMDb lists both actors correctly as “Cates” in Angel’s Child, but on the page for Let Our Angel Live (when they flash back to Angel’s Child) both are listed as “Shanks”. (We looked to the always-accurate Charlie’s Angels Casebook for help and they're listed there as both “Gates” and “Shanks”. )

KIDNAPPINGS (SORT OF)

BIMBOS

SHOTS FIRED AT ANGELS

SHOTS FIRED BY ANGELS

DAYS TO SOLVE CASE

MUSTANG RAMMINGS

TURTLENECKS

CHARACTER DEATHS

FASHION

Nothing very remarkable, except Kelly begins the episode in a weird turtleneck-and-poncho sort of ensemble that we would only expect from a drunk late-Season-3 Sabrina.

Wardrobe Repeat The only thing in this episode to safely remain in Kelly's custody is this coat, which turns up in Nips and Tucks a few episodes later. Tiffany's maroon turtleneck belt thing is also seen in Angels On Skates.

Jaclyn Smith Child

Jaclyn Smith Nips

wardrobe-tiffany-maroon-child Child wardrobe-tiffany-maroon-skates Skates

ACTION

Kelly('s stuntman) breaks a window, that's... sort of action, right? Kris and Tiffany spend their 2 seconds of screen time mincing around Kelly's lawn with revolvers.

THE KIND ANGEL

Here Kelly earns a large chunk of her reputation as the Kind Angel. Remember how they used to make Sabrina look smart just via contrast, by writing the other two as unbelievably stupid? Well, we don't know that Kelly really did anything extraordinary here, but she emerges as the Concerned One when everyone else acts weird and hesitant about helping the abused child. Would the rest of them not have done anything?

ANSWERING MACHINE PROCEDURE

"We have a procedure that we all follow. We turn our answering machines ON as soon as we leave the house, and then we turn it OFF as soon as we get home. That way we're always in touch."

We know Tiff was just doing her best to sell one of her scant few lines, but really? It'd be understandable if it was something special, but she basically just explained how an answering machine works. We'd like to know how often the whole Agency comes bursting through one Angel's door on a false alarm because someone was in the tub and couldn't reach the phone in time. Or does the Procedure specifically address the issue of bathroom use? (You know Tiffany has considered this. And probably typed up copies of the agreement for all.)

SCREEN TIME ANALYSIS

This is Kelly's biggest solo episode and, with a whopping 30 more minutes for Kelly than anybody else, it's also the second soloest episode of the whole show.

  • KELLY
  • KRIS
  • TIFFANY
  • BOSLEY
  • HOW MUCH OF THE EPISODE HAS AT LEAST ONE ANGEL/BOSLEY IN IT 89%

DRIVING ACE

For some reason, Kelly seems to have a reputation as a great driver (Bosley says that the bad guys wouldn't have made a move on her while she was driving, because she's "just too good"). In the staple Bad-Guys-Ramming-Angel-Car-On-Deserted-Winding-Mountain-Road scene she manages to elude the enemy vehicle by, um, turning. And they stop, get out of their car, and look defeated as her Mustang gallops off into the mountains. Amazing skills indeed. Check out Angels on a String, Angel Blues, Waikiki Angels and Taxi Angels for more vehicular Kelly action.

HOSTAGE HOUSE

This is the last of three identical plotlines (Angels Belong in Heaven, Avenging Angel) where Kelly approaches her home, gets intercepted on her front lawn by a guy with a gun, gets held hostage inside her own house, says something stupid that angers the bad guy, and gets shoved down on her Hostage Sofa while making an melodramatic expression. Why did they have to write all of these scenes EXACTLY the same?

Jaclyn Smith Heaven Jaclyn Smith Avenging Jaclyn Smith Child

REPEAT OFFENDERS

Michael Witney also played the guy who hit Kris with his car in Angel On My Mind, and the police officer in the final episode, Let Our Angel Live.

Rick Casorla, one of Charlie's Angels favorite returning guest stars, played Marshall in Antique Angels, the voice of Martin the ghost in Haunted Angels, Timothy in Pom Pom Angels, and would return once more as Hank in Angel on a Roll. (TA also interviewed him, by the way.)

John Zaremba: The judge in this episode played Dr. Stafford in To Kill an Angel.

John Petlock: Williams also played the minister in Target:Angels.

Saundra Sharp: Miss James was also Hilda, one of the football players from Angels in the Backfield.

Dennis Donnelly also directed Angel Flight, Angels in the Wings, Caged Angel, An Angel's Trail, Dancin' Angels, An Angel's Trail, One Love... Two Angels, To See an Angel Die, Angel in Hiding, Waikiki Angels, Stuntwomen Angels, and Angel on a Roll.

Prolific writer Ed Lakso brought us roughly one third of the series, including Hellride, The Seance, Dirty Business, The Vegas Connection, I Will Be Remembered, The Blue Angels, Pretty Angels All in a Row, Angels in the Wings, Angels on Horseback, Angels in Vegas, Winning is for Losers, Pom Pom Angels, Counterfeit Angels, Disco Angels, Terror on Skis, Angel in a Box, Teen Angels, Marathon Angels, Angels in Waiting, Angels Remembered, Love Boat Angels, Avenging Angel, Angels on the Street, The Prince and the Angel, Angel's Child, One of Our Angels is Missing, Catch a Falling Angel, Dancin' Angels, Harrigan's Angel, Three for the Money, To See an Angel Die, Angel in Hiding, He Married an Angel, Angel on the Line, Chorus Line Angels, Stuntwomen Angels, Angel on a Roll, and Let Our Angel Live.

OUR TAKE

Joann's Rating: .05 Stars The screenshots on the episode menu for this episode tells you everything. Kelly’s dressed like Nancy Reagan. Plus, I dislike (kind word) stories other than nursery rhymes revolving around kids. And I really don’t care about this one. He’s not as annoying as Skip, but maybe it’s Orphan Kelly that’s getting tedious. The way this episode starts off throws me for a loop. It’s so in your face and over the top with stakeout from nowhere, cop shooting, and Kelly yelling, “He’s unarmed!” over and over (twice). Weird. Every emotion Kelly goes through is dripping with pathos. It’s a melodramatic quagmire. Her anger is infused by rabid and staccato line delivery and head turns, and then she’s all solemn and whispery because of...the battered boy. Ssshhh! Quiet. We’re hunting wabbits. Speaking of rabbits, where the bejesus is the office that Kelly, driving on LA streets, suddenly winds up in the hills, pursued by the baddies? And she’s not just on Mulholland Drive. No, she’s practically in Vegas. And notice the big pour of whiskey (ginger ale) she pours herself? Sabrina would have been proud.

The menu art isn’t misleading, btw. Kelly dresses ala Nancy Reagan throughout the hour. Kris looks like she wants to be on Bonanza. Tiffany was dressed best, but maybe if you look the best, all you get (at best) is 6 lines of dialogue. Yet, this episode can’t be crumpled and tossed at the cats for playtime because of the utterly classic (at least in the TA universe) explanation of the answering machine system. At least they gave that line to Tiffany. Although thinking about it, considering how asinine it is, maybe it was out of meanness.

Anna's Rating: 1 Star Season 4 solo-episodes always make me groan and this is no exception. There are a lot of repetitive scenes, especially the ones with the bad guys conversing in their car, for which they might as well have rolled the same footage 4 or 5 times. Before long you lose track of all the minor bad guy characters, get confused, and give up trying to follow the plot except for the very broad gist of "bad guys are following Kelly" (which is a safe bet for pretty much any episode). That poor kid was safer getting beaten at his dad's house.

Holly's Rating: 4.5 Stars It's always nice to see an Angelic slice of personal life in an episode; this one provides just a bit of that, although it is twinged with the oddness of Kelly's interaction with the rest of the Angels. Why are they all acting like strangers? This storyline is kind of a Skip-Redux-Meets-Angels-Belong-in-Heaven hybrid, co-starring mute onlookers Tiffany and Kris. I enjoyed the fact that Kelly hired a female attorney (with a single shock of gray hair to add legal distinguishment) to represent her case. It's so Charlie.

Brolly's Rating: 3 Stars I'm not the biggest fan of Angel solo outings, but this one gets Brownie-points for trying to tackle a serious issue. It does so in not that realistic a way but it's the thought that counts, right? Although, in a campy show like Charlie's Angels it does seem out of place. It clashes with the overall tone of the show. Anyway, what else? The answering machine procedure is something to behold. Unintentional comedy at its best!