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 – the thieves that have been ripping off their client’s company, Consolidated Appliances. Two of the thieves are in custody and refusing to say a word, 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. (From now on, two of them constantly call each other “Stone” and “Burke”, but the third guy never really gets a name, so we’re naming him Cop Killer.) “Follow her!”
Sgt. Cates: “You’re an overpaid, under worked private eye working for a fat fee!”
When Kelly finds Cates at the courthouse, she explains how she went to his house to pick him up and 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 refuses to say, but 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 that his dad hits him, 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 start ramming her car. And they do – intending to kill her before she can do any more to mess up their operation. She eludes them easily 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 before taking the issue to court, Kelly meets with Sgt. Cates over lunch to talk about his son. He orders Kelly to back off and stay out of his business. She offers her help if he’ll take it, but 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 then 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, Burke phones Cates and orders 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. Cates makes this mistake of asking why that’s strange, prompting Tiffany to launch into a profoundly detailed explanation of their answering machine procedure. Now convinced something is wrong, the gang heads for Kelly’s house with Cates in tow.
Back at Kelly’s, Burke freaks out when he notices that the answering machine is off. Kelly calmly denies that it had ever been on, but he’s still suspicious, and insists that they need to re-locate their little hostage party pronto. Kelly 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 quickly locks the bedroom door, and then takes about 50 seconds calmly examining the latch on her window while the bad guys patiently rattle the doorknob. When it’s finally time for Plan B, she throws a table through the window and Greg escapes just as the thugs burst in. Burke 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.
Stone tries to flee, but barely reaches the edge of Kelly’s lawn before he’s wrangled by Kris and her sassy business up-do. Burke 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, which is where people always get shot when they need to look tough. 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.
Shots are fired, and in a refreshing plot twist, it’s not Kelly that gets shot – this time it’s Sgt. Cates, who then falls dramatically into some garbage cans. Kris and Tiffany spend their 20 seconds of screen time mincing around Kelly’s lawn with revolvers.
Nothing very remarkable, except Kelly begins the episode in a weird turtleneck-and-poncho sort of ensemble that we would only expect from Sabrina.
The only thing in this episode to safely remain in Kelly’s custody is this coat, which turns up in a few episodes later.
GOING TO COURT
This episode’s obligatory courtroom scene is the kind you end up writing when your characters have a legal issue but you don’t know or care how the court process actually works, and you just want to skip to the part with the guns. Wouldn’t Greg have to go to a foster home instead of Kelly immediately getting custody?
This is the last of three identical plotlines (, ) 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?
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 all stop, get out, and look defeated. Amazing skills indeed.
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.)
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?
• If the Townsend Agency as a whole has been working on this case, why was Kelly working alone at the beginning?
• 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.”
• Why doesn’t anyone ever refer to Greg by his 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.
• Clips of this case are shown in the final episode,. 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”. The always-accurate Charlie’s Angels Casebook lists their last name as both “Gates” and “Shanks”. IMDb lists both actors correctly as “Cates” in, but on the page for (when they flash back to ) both are listed as “Shanks”.
Michael Witney also played the guy who hit Kris with his car in , and the police officer in the final episode, .
Rick Casorla, one of Charlie’s Angels favorite returning guest stars, played Marshall in , the voice of Martin the ghost in , Timothy in , and would return once more as Hank in .
John Zaremba: The judge in this episode played Dr. Stafford in .
John Petlock: Williams also played the minister in Target:Angels.
Saundra Sharp: Miss James was also Hilda, one of the football players from .
Dennis Donnelly also directed , , , , , , , , , , , and .
Prolific writer Ed Lakso brought us roughly one third of the series, including , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and .
|Kidnappings||1 Kelly, sort of|
|Turtlenecks:||1 Kelly, 1 Tiffany|
|Shots fired by Angels:||0|
|Shots fired at Angels:||0|
TOWNSEND AGENCY COMMENTARY
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 realize there are like 18 minor bad guy characters, get confused, and give up trying to follow the plot except for the very broad jist 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.
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.
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!
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 Forum 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.