Harrigan’s Angel


SUMMARY

The Angels are asked to help Starrett Electronics recover some stolen components worth a million dollars. But to do, so they’ll have to work with another investigator named Harrigan, an aged gumshoe who spends as much time surveying the inside of a bottle as the case he’s working on.

Once on board, Bosley and the Angels have breakfast with Harrigan to discuss the details of the case. He wants a drink. They don’t serve spirits. Angels roll their eyes. Harrigan explains his investigative system of taking "shotgun notes" - he writes down everything he sees, then reviews those notes until something clicks - and the Angels exchange some more glances as if he's crazy. Kris, however, takes a sympathetic liking to him, explaining that he reminds her of her father, so she'll be the one to babysit him while the others do some real investigating.

Not noticing they're being tailed by a bad guy in a huge black monster truck, Kris and Harrigan drive to his apartment, which looks even more disheveled than the man himself. As he goes for more hair of dog, Kris sidetracks him by asking for his shotgun notes. Harrigan is made to look more incompetent when the police call to say they've found the car he'd recently reported stolen - turns out he actually just got drunk at a bar last night and forgot it there.

As they leave, Kris continues playing keep-away by accidentally/on purpose smashing one of Harrigan's liquor bottles on the ground. The black truck departs with them, which nobody notices.

While Kris reviews Harrigan's shotgun notes, Kelly and Tiffany talk to a security guard about how he didn’t see the warehouse being robbed even though he was looking right at it on the surveillance camera.

One of Harrigan's shotgun notes leads the duo to a photo engraving shop, with the still-unnoticed huge black truck still in tow. There, they fish around by asking a bunch of vague questions about what the company does, with Kris guiding the line of questioning by whispering tips to her somewhat lost partner. The young Freddy Kreuger sales rep answers with deliberate unhelpfulness, and as soon as Kris and Harrigan leave with no information, he makes a phone call reporting their visit to the other bad guys.

The other Angels go talk to the dispatcher at the trucking company that was delivering those stolen products. Although the man answers their questions with a friendly smile, Tiffany doesn’t like that he doesn’t offer them any coffee and it makes her suspicious that he's hiding something. Kelly dismisses her loony colleague's hunch by promising "she'll think about it". The dispatcher also makes a phonecall to show us he's in cahoots with the bad guys, proving Tiffany right.

Stopping for lunch at a junk food joint, Harrigan refuses to drink a milkshake because he's weirded out by the idea of milk coming from cows. Kris is amused. They leave, continuing to not notice the black truck following them at a distance of three feet, until it finally tries to ram them off the road.

Calling on her Angel defensive driving skills, Kris speeds around winding mountain roads, having to multitask by guiding an inept Harrigan through the concept of getting their pursuer's license plate number. At this point, Harrigan looks totally useless - until, drawing on his war experience, he guides Kris through a special evasive maneuver ("turning") which finally succeeds in shaking the truck. She's impressed.

Back at the office, Tiff kindly shares a tray of milk (which Harrigan won't drink) and homemade cookies (which the other Angels don't acknowledge, because it's Tiffany). Kris does Harrigan a solid by pitching "his" (her) theory to the rest of the group: the thieves could've taken a picture of the building they were going to rob, blown it up to life-size, and then placed it in front of the building while robbing it, thus fooling the guard and his surveillance camera.

Kelly and Tiffany go update their client, who it turns out is masterminding this whole thing and stealing from his own company. Since most of the facts in this case are boring, Bosley conveniently checks out Mr. Starrett and finds he owns a bunch of businesses employing all the suspects. What’s worse, Starrett did no research on how good the Townsend Agency is, because he didn’t think "a drunk and three... broads" would figure it out. So they have to die.

On their way back to the office (far afield through hills and land), Tiffany again proves her proficiency by being the only Angel to notice the monster truck tailing them within a reasonable length of time. After convincing a dismissive Kelly of the fact, they quickly gain the upper hand by swerving the truck off the road and confronting the bad guys at gunpoint.

At his apartment, Kris finds new respect for Harrigan when she finds his old military honors and photos of him with President Eisenhower; she's sobered to learn that his illustrious career got off track when both his wife and baby died in childbirth. Pulling another glass of liquor out of his hand, Kris promises she'll cook him dinner if he forgoes the drink. Drawing on Harrigan's unstocked kitchen, all she's able to pull together is a nasty celery and navy bean omelet, which he politely chokes down.

The meal is interrupted by a call from Tiffany, warning them that more henchman are on the way to kill them. Harrigan gets shot, but Kris saves the day by tipping one bad guy over the porch railing, and simply ordering Freddy Krueger to put his nose on the floor. Despite having been shot in the leg, Harrigan makes a joke about how Kris' omelet is hurting his stomach.

Later that day (?), Harrigan says goodbye to Kris in front of his apartment, promising her he’ll stay on the wagon and getting a kiss on the cheek for it.

BACKGROUND CHECK

Harrigan's Angel Episode #87 Season 4, Episode 19 Airdate: Feb 20, 1980 Writer: Ed Lakso Director: Don Chaffey Guest stars: Howard DuffRobert Englund

WHAT'D YOU THINK?

Rate this episode:

CURIOSITIES

• The Angels are paid twice their usual fee for this case, which makes up for one of the many times they worked for free.

• We get to see the supposed side of the Townsend Agency building where the cars are unusually parked alongside each other like horses at a watering post, even though they’re always shown in front of the office in stock photography used for scenes.

• Harrigan asks if they have company cars, to which Kelly responds "No, that one's mine," pointing out her Mustang, however in other episodes they are said or implied to be company cars (like Angels On Wheels, when Bosley complains about damage costs). We might believe Jill leaving her Cobra to Kris, but there's no reason for Tiffany to have inherited the Pinto from Sabrina if it had been her personal car.

• Kris mentions that her father was an alcoholic who reminds her a lot of Harrigan - this the only tidbit of information about Kris and Jill's dad that we ever got.

• Why does Kris pour out her liquor into another glass, where Harrigan could still get it, instead of down the sink?

• Rude of Kris to crumple and toss Harrigan's grocery list instead of just setting it aside from the case notes.

• A reflection of the boom mic is visible in the guard shack's glass window when Tiffany and Kelly are talking to the trucking company employee.

• A billboard advertising Steve Martin's 1979 comedy "The Jerk" is visible in one scene.

• Kris and Harrigan fail to notice the giant ominous black truck following them at a distance of 10 feet all episode long. The bad guy has to literally ram them before they start thinking maybe something is suspicious about it.

• When the bad guy is ramming Kris and Harrigan in the Cobra, they're driving on one of those barren winding mountain roads, but some shots of the bad guy have neighborhoods with nice lawns in the background. Also their high-speed chase never seems to progress past the same 50-foot stretch of road.

• When Kris gets picked up at Harrigan’s at the end, Bosley, Kelly, and Tiffany are in a station wagon instead of his Lincoln which he was driving all hour long.

• Is the last scene supposed to be the same day, or not? Kris is wearing the same clothes, and waiting for a ride from the other Angels like she ought to be if it's indeed the same day. But Harrigan is wearing different clothes, and they've gone to pick up his car, but he's not bandaged or even limping even though he got shot in the previous scene.

BAD GUYS BEAT DOWN

DRINKS PREVENTED

SHOTS FIRED AT KRIS

SHOTS FIRED BY ANGELS

DAY TO SOLVE CASE (?)

COBRA RAMMINGS

TURTLENECKS (BOSLEY)

CHARACTER DEATHS

FASHION

Everyone looks nicely tailored here, probably to contrast the Angels against the disheveled Harrigan. However, since the case gets solved in a day, we only get to see the one outfit for each. Kris’ looks best as her deep blue suit contrasts her light blonde hair, but Tiffany wears red and beige pretty nicely as well.

Not really a wardrobe repeat, but still worth a mention, is that Cheryl Ladd wore the outfit from this episode to sing the National Anthem at the Superbowl in 1980.

JUDGMENT ZONE

Constant judgment! Everyone was a jerk in this episode, even Bosley. Over breakfast, Harrigan basically explains that he takes notes on his cases, and there's a 40-second pause while each Angel looks at the others like he's insane. Whenever he's out of earshot (or not quite) they talk about him like he's senile. What's the problem?

Kelly also spends the whole episode treating Tiffany like a stupid child, unaware that Tiff is really babysitting her the way Kris is babysitting Harrigan. She's dismissive of Tiff's hunch about the coffee (which turned out to be correct) and she actually tries to talk Tiff out of her suspicion that the black truck is following them - while looking at it in the rear view mirror! Someone has their panties in a bunch about being the only original left.

GUEST STARS

Howard Duff was a well known Hollywood star appearing in many films since the 1940s on including The Naked City and Kramer vs. Kramer, along with countless guest starring roles on several popular television series. He was also once married to actress Ida Lupino, who guest starred in the first season's I Will Be Remembered.

Robert Englund went on to greater fame starring as Freddie Krueger in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, V, the television series, and many more guest starring appearances, and continues to work today.

SCREEN TIME ANALYSIS

While this one definitely belongs to Kris, it's really not as unbalanced as it seems. She doesn't even reach the "twice as much screen time as the others" mark, leading us to label it as Kris centric episode rather than a full-on Kris solo.

  • KELLY
  • KRIS
  • TIFFANY
  • BOSLEY
  • HOW MUCH OF THE EPISODE HAS AT LEAST ONE ANGEL/BOSLEY IN IT 85%

ACTION

A mountain road chase scene with Kris at the helm and Harrigan navigating is more interesting than the standard routine. Somehow Kelly and Tiff get to pull the bad guys over and wave their guns around without looking even slightly cool. Finally Harrigan manages to get shot in one of the most mild confrontations ever, and Kris knocks over a bad guy by slamming a door.

DAIRY FARM

The Angels are so rarely seen eating anytime in the whole series, yet in this episode, someone's eating in almost every scene (and drinking in every other scene, but that's normal). And Harrigan's right, what's with the dairy products all of a sudden? They may be getting him to lay off the sauce, but this is going too far. There's never been milk in the office before, and today they're all sitting around chugging these giant tumblers of milk and acting offended that he would want liquor. Did they forget they're all drunks too?

HOME-BAKED COOKIES

Whether you're a Tiffany fan or not, you have to admit, no other Angel was ever sweet enough to bring home-baked treats to the office. The other Angels neither complimented nor insulted Tiff's baking (even that would've meant Angel interaction, which there seemed to be a rule against in this episode). In fact, nobody else even bothered to take a cookie! C'mon, you guys. Kris, you ate a burger and milkshake in the previous scene, we know you're not watching your calories.

If we were confident Drew Barrymore et al ever watched this far into the original show, we'd wonder if Lucy Liu's bad muffins from the first Charlie's Angels movie were an homage to Tiff's cookies (which are sorta implied to be gross when Harrigan calls them "tasty" but then applies the same compliment to Kris' disgusting omelet).

REPEAT OFFENDERS

This is a rare episode that doesn't have any actors recycled from other episodes.

Don Chaffey also directed Mother Angel, Terror on Skis, Angels on the Street, Angels on Skates, Angels on Campus, Nips and Tucks, Island Angels, He Married an Angel, and Mr. Galaxy.

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

Anna's Rating: 2.5 Stars  Obviously not among the most exciting or iconic of Angel adventures, but with a technically decent plot, a few laughs, and a couple poignant moments, you've got a pretty good episode for a Kris fan. It's just hard for me to get past how rude they initially were to Harrigan, who wasn't really that strange. At least Kris softened up once she got away from the group; I liked how her attitude toward him was ultimately compassionate but not pitying. I was afraid Harrigan would amount to nothing more than a buffoon for the overly disrespectful Angels to laugh at/struggle to tolerate, but he turned out to be quite a layered character rather than just poorly written (a plot twist, for this show). I'm glad they went to the trouble, for a good guest star like Howard Duff - in my opinion, he's one of Charlie's Angels most interesting guest personalities.  He and Cheryl Ladd had a very enjoyable chemistry together, making it regrettable that the sequel written to this episode was never produced.

Also: Tiffany, bless your heart, I'll always love you for baking cookies for your mean friends.

Holly's Rating: 4 stars  A terrific Kris showcase, I love that we get to see her at her best and kindest. I think Harrigan's really shows off her character to its perfection; plus it's fun to see an Angel working alongside a competing detective.