The Blue Angels
There's trouble at the seedy Paradise Massage Parlor in Venice Beach, and Lt. Fine of the LAPD shows up to investigate. The Arab guy from Angels on Ice has just killed a rowdy customer and is threatening to "expose" Fine if he doesn't play along with a coverup for the murder. We can already tell the lieutenant is so crooked he could eat soup with a corkscrew. He shoots and kills the Arab guy, only then turning his attention to the semi-conscious hooker sprawled on the red shag like a snow angel from the wrong side of the tracks. Unfortunately for Lt. Fine, that hooker isn't quite dead, and now she could be a witness to his dirty deed.
All the recent vice raids on the local massage parlor business have come up dry - evidently someone's been tipping them off. And although Police Chief Fenton is known to be vehemently opposed to the notion of police recruits being of the feminine persuasion, he agrees to let Charlie's three Angels launch a private investigation into the goings on to see if they can come up with any leads that their badge-wearing male counterparts have missed.
Sabrina goes inside the LAPD as a visiting advisor from the Phoenix Police Department, working directly under Lt. Fine who we met in Scene 1, and Charlie dispatches Bosley and Jill to Venice's crimson-carpeted den of vice as the Paradise's new managerial team.
Sabrina: "I got my nameplate, I got my badge… just point me to the bad guys!"
A new joint, Telly's Massage Parlor, has just opened for business and Fine suggests that Sabrina earn her chops by playing hooker to try to get some inside information on the new op. Fine drives Sabrina - guised in a blue fringe pantsuit and a wad of gum - to the garbage-laden street behind Telly's. Suddenly, Dirk Benedict and another guy come screeching from the shadows, driving erratically at the fleeing blue-fringed-blur in the alley until she manages to evade their vehicle by ducking in doorways and ultimately clambering up a rooftop ladder to safety. Frustrated, the two men squeal away.
Meanwhile, Kelly's staked out the police station and latches onto some newly-released Hungry Hungry Hookers™ who're headed for a sketchy-looking taco stand. She puts on the jazz, insinuating she's among Paradise's alumni, and fishes for information about who posted the girls' bail. They don't know. Furthermore, the black one is is rightly suspicious, and the other one offers Kelly "some taco".
Back at the parlor, Jill is a braless wonder; one of those fair-haired, California dames, with more curves than the Santa Monica Freeway, and the Paradise's clientele is eating it up, especially since Charlie's arranged for the Paradise to get a business license. And although Jill's entire contribution to the case thus far has been in honing her rolfing skills on the local sleaze, we know she alone is keeping the Paradise afloat, thus making the Angels' sting possible.
We know something's afoot before the Angels do when we spot Lt. Fine ducking into a phone booth within the police station to call Dirk Benedict. indicating that he'd better keep the fools dancing and the babies crying...or something. Translation: Kill Sabrina Duncan.
Back at the office, Charlie finds that the license number Bri reported as having terrorized her is registered to John Barton (Dirk Benedict) - a cadet at the police academy. Sensing a connection, Kelly gives Charlie orders to set her up in Barton's class at the academy where she impresses the boys in uniform with her expert shooting on the academy's range. Barton and Miller (the other guy) invite the sexy new drop-in for a cup of coffee, where they learn that her life isn't as dedicated to the life of service as it is to luxury. The dynamic duo put on a show of bravura, indicating that they're living it up on more than just an officer's salary, and that they're about as committed to being cops as she is.
The surviving hooker from Scene 1 is sleeping off her beating in ICU like a lullaby of broken dreams, E.R. style. Fine sneaks into her room and is about to inject her IV with air bubbles when Sabrina arrives unexpectedly. The battered hussy rouses and Sabrina buts into the situation, gently grilling her about what went down during the shooting. She eyes Fine fearfully, knowing he's the bad guy, but Bri gets her to admit that Paradise is a cover for prostitution, that someone named "Doc" at the police station tips them off, and that his two goons collect the payoffs.
Kelly drives Barton past the Paradise on their way to a lunch date, taking a painfully long pause on the brake pedal to be sure Barton takes note of the cardboard sign Jill's placed in the front window advertising the parlor's new management. When they arrive at the restaurant, Barton (using the codename "Mister Barton") pauses to make a phone call, unaware that Bosley's secretly tape recording his conversation. The tape reveals his report to "Doc" that Paradise Massage has re-opened for business.
Lt. Fine passes Sabrina's office only to find Bill Duncan loitering within, gazing longingly at her nameplate. He introduces himself as Bri's ex-husband and successfully blows her entire cover within a matter of seconds, complete with her place of employment and Jill and Kelly's names. Fine gets wise to their whole operation, and orders Miller to take Sabrina's two lady cohorts to the junkyard and ice 'em - if only they can find this mysterious co-worker Jill Munroe.
Concerned about Kelly, Jill trails her to Deveraux's Restaurant, pretends to bump into her and joins the party along with Miller who also somehow just showed up, and is more startled at the fact that he's just met his quarry than that the beautiful cadet has brought along a knockout girlfriend. The guys suggest they go out somewhere to have a few laughs and/or, kill the girls. Meanwhile, "Doc" has contacted Bosley at the massage parlor to arrange the payoff he needs to make to keep the place running.
Fine: "When you're somewhere between yesterday's dreams and tomorrow's nightmares, where the hell are you?"
Tooling along the freeway in a Gran Torino and getting an earful of Fine's foreboding Noir phrases, Sabrina's suspicions rise as they speed towards an undisclosed location. Meanwhile, the double-daters have arrived at the dumping ground. Realizing something's gone wrong, Kelly and Jill flee into the junkyard jungle and a game of cat and mouse ensues as they evade the dirty cops, ducking and diving among endless rows of wrecked vehicles. Kelly drops a tire on Barton as he's about to shoot Jill, then subdues him with an Angel Chop to the neck. Jill sportily disarms Miller by frisbeeing a hubcap at his face.
For Sabrina, that Torino's reached the end of the rainbow, and Fine's got a pistol trained on her orange jumpsuit. Unluckily for the Coach, he walks right into Kelly and Jill's nest where they've already got the two henchmen on their knees. Unable to face capture, Fine turns the pistol on himself and fires into his belly. "You...know...why."
Back on the office floor, Jill appears to be performing a combination of spinal manipulation and CPR on Bosley, going on to lecture the others about the six chakras, a lesson learned from a customer who wore a turban. Charlie's too busy bimboing to pay much attention to the wrap-up details and everyone pretends to laugh, treating us to a happy ending afterall.
• Do police stations really have wardrobe departments?
• Sabrina's the visiting advisor, why does she have to be the hooker? Why did they need to add someone to their staff specifically to do this, is she the only female in the whole department? Any peon could have put on the fringe.
• Sabrina's wearing pink wedge shoes in the alley attack scene, but they're black at the office afterwards. Maybe she always keeps a spare pair of trusty black wedges behind the bar.
• Why are close-ups of the speakerbox in such darkness during the middle office scene? That shot must be from some other episode where they were watching a slideshow.
• At the start of the firing range scene, you can see Jaclyn standing around the corner for a second waiting for her cue.
• Why is it a Paradise rule that customers have to check their glasses at the front desk?
• How could Fine risk using a phone inside the police station to do his dirty work? Isn't there always the danger that the call could be traced?
• How does Bosley's tape recorder also record Fine's portion of Barton's phonecall?
• If Bill's on assignment in Santa Barbara, what's he doing nearly 100 miles away in Sabrina's L.A. office?
• The reflection of a boom is visible on the windshield when Sabrina and Fine arrive at the junkyard.
• Kate's earring falls off while she's walking toward Telly's Massage, and Farrah's sunglasses fall off her shirt in the junkyard. Not really mistakes - we appreciate little details like that, actually - but it's funny that it happens twice in this episode. They must have re-shot any other prop mishaps. Why did they bother Foleying in the sound of the glasses hitting the ground?
BAD GUYS BEAT DOWN
SHOTS FIRED AT ANGELS
SHOTS FIRED BY ANGELS
DAYS TO SOLVE CASE
The fourth Angel in this adventure is the blue fringe hooker pantsuit, a fashion landmark bemoaned by Sabrina and viewers alike. In better news, Jill rocks all three dimensions in her slinky coral dress, highlighting all protuberances as well as the rose between her teeth. Kelly hauls around a huge empty pleather purse that looks more like a welcome mat with handles.
The standby orange jumpsuit makes its series debut here. There's a good chance you have a near life-sized glamour shot of this on your wall if you own the Season 2 Circus poster. Enjoy, Sunshine.
Wardrobe Repeats Kelly repeats her green and silver combo, which she evidently believes to be hookerish, from Consenting Adults. Sabrina revives her orange jumpsuit in Circus of Terror, and her blue fringe hooker suit is worn by some poor soul in the background of Angels Ahoy two years later. Bosley also wears that same orange shirt and yellow tie outfit in The Big Tap-Out.
ANGEL IN PARADISE
"She really gave me a massage!"
Yeah, and it only cost $20, no tax. A steal compared to the double-teamer of Kelly and Tiffany three years later, who charge a whopping $1,000 for their services. We wonder if it'd still be $20 if Jill gave you more than just a massage. Furthermore, does she get to keep the money she earns at Paradise?
Side note: in a massage parlor that's a cover for prostitution, is it at their to discretion to really give only a massage to certain customers? Or is it all prostitution, all the time? If you have the answers, please comment below. We need to know for a...startup project.
While conferencing with the Angels, Charlie awkwardly holds hands with his “plumber”, a tart zipped into a white jumpsuit. By the office wrap-up, she is still there serving him drinks. This is at least 2 or 3 days later, yet the scene is unchanged. Did she come back, or never even leave the room during all that time?
SCREEN TIME ANALYSIS
Jill wins, but it's pretty well balanced for everyone - including Bosley, whose role in the massage parlor cover gives him screen time on par with the girls'.
- HOW MUCH OF THE EPISODE HAS AT LEAST ONE ANGEL/BOSLEY IN IT 74%
Bri's blue fringe alley attack packed the most action of the hour, which, by the way, is a completely ineffectual way to kill someone, as evidenced by her easy escape on each pass. Why did Sabrina keep immediately coming out of her various hiding places? If she had stayed in that doorway, or stayed up the ladder, they would have left the scene much more quickly.
How Kelly lugged a heavy tire to the top of that teetering pile of junked cars without making a sound is beyond us. We like that Dirk Benedict was not fully incapacitated by having a tire dropped on this head from 6 feet up, but a delicate Angel Chop to the neck did the trick. Jill also gets a fantastic hybrid of her two takedown trademarks, found objects plus sportiness, by using a rusty hubcap as a frisbee. Not only awesome and effective, but the guy probably had to get a tetanus shot afterward, too.
Though it seems like we're supposed to assume Fine died of his self-inflicted gunshot wound, we don't feel we can officially count the death - he's still writhing when the scene ends, plus nobody confirms his death in the wrap-up scene. Why would you shoot yourself in the stomach instead of in the head? There's no guarantee that's fatal, especially if Jill gets that ambulance quickly. How embarrassing would it be to survive and still have to go to prison?
If he did die, it would make him the only character in the show's entire run to take his own life rather than face the Angels' wrath. (And one of only two suicides total, the other being in Angel in Hiding.)
Dirk Benedict (Barton) would later play Denny in The Jade Trap.
Michael Bell appeared once before as Bill Duncan in Target:Angels.
Timothy Carey (Burt, the guy who gets shot at the beginning) later played a miscellaneous evil Arab in Angels on Ice.
Former Rookie Georg Stanford Brown directed this, as well as The Big Tap-Out, Game Set Death, Angels in the Backfield, Angel Blues, Little Angels of the Night, Counterfeit Angels, and Disco Angels.
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, Dancing 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.
Holly's Rating: One of the curiosities above asks: 'If Sabrina was the visiting advisor, why did she have to be the hooker?" Let me answer that for you. Jill was the only choice to play working girl at the massage parlor, and Kelly couldn't even pass for a visiting advisor from KMart. And this, my friends, is how we arrive at Kate Jackson in blue fringe.
Though Blue Angels is one of about 900 instances of prostitution on Charlie's Angels, it's among my favorites because Season 1 takes their hookers far less seriously than in later years when all hookers must be rescued. Speaking of hookers, please take note of the Henna-headed woman in the scene with Jaclyn Smith at the taco stand. Either that lady is one of the most believable actresses ever to work on television, or she's a real hooker. I'm concerned as to her current whereabouts.
In my limited research, I discovered that the only other credit on this girl's resume is a film entitled "The Happy Hooker Goes to Washington", no doubt Oscar caliber, but it came out the same year as this episode (1977) and co-starred none other than her sassy cellmate from the taco scene. Do these two get cast as a package deal - like that parakeet and rottweiler at the shelter who have to be adopted as a pair?
Greg's Rating: While this episode felt a bit too small to be a season finale having the Angels return to the Police Academy to catch some corrupt cops and cadets certainly made the first season feel complete. In a way the Angels are taking on their evil male counterparts as smart Sabrina squares off against Lt Fine the clever leader of a trio of corrupt academy cadets while flirty Jill and Kelly take on their attractive counterparts. It's like a Bizzaro Toni's Boys and it works. Oh and speaking of Bizzaro imagery: the angels seem to be swapping roles for a while this episode with Kelly at the academy shooting range blowing holes in targets instead of the Sabrina sequence we are so used to in the opening credits while Bri herself seems a bit out of place running around (literally) in a blue fringe pantsuit posing as a hooker a role typically assigned to Jill, Kelly or Kris. Above Average.
MORE SEASON 1 EPISODE REVIEWS