Hill Street Blues (1982) – The World According to Freedom, and Pestolozzi’s Revenge

Things get pretty dark on the Hill in The World According to Freedom, and Furillo (Daniel J. Travanti) is pissed. Written by Michael Wagner, it first aired on 7 January, 1982.

A gruesome collection of murders and rapes seems to be gang motivated, and it makes Furillo and the rest of the precinct incredibly angry. He hauls in the local gang leaders and demands that they help by turning the criminals over, or he’s coming down on all of them.

It’s a really dark, but well-done story, and it is balanced off by a storyline with Belker (Bruce Weitz) and a costumed vigilante who calls himself Captain Freedom (Dennis Dugan), which seems to be a riff on The Greatest American Hero that was airing at this time. Belker makes a connection with Freedom, but worries about the fact that there may be something wrong with him, and he’s going to get himself hurt.

LaRue (Kiel Martin) struggles with needing a drink after going undercover in a holding cell and witnessing a suicide attempt. There are a lot of dark themes running through this episode.

Happily, Renko (Charles Haid) and Hill (Michael Warren) are played for some comedy relief, meant to balance off against the really dark storyline that Furillo finds himself in, he even snaps at Joyce (Veronica Hamel).

It’s interesting to see how this episode plays out, how the horrible things humanity does to one another affects those who have to deal with and clean it up. It’s even more horrifying when the gangs turns over the three perpetrators, and they’re just teenagers.

Pestolozzi’s Revenge was written by Anthony Yerkovich, Jeffrey Lewis, and Michael Wagner from a story by Michael Kozoll and Steven Bochco. It first debuted on 14 January, 1982.

Renko’s gun has been stolen, Furillo risks perjury when he and Hunter (James Sikking) are subpoenaed to testify about police corruption, and Captain Freedom makes another appearance, and makes a rather stunning revelation to LaRue and Washington (Taurean Blacque), if it’s true, but he may just be losing touch with reality. Coffey (Ed Marinaro) and Bates (Betty Thomas) have some personal problems to work through.

There is some troubling racism and sexism that rears its head in this episode, even as we laugh at the way Hill and Renko keep having problems with their patrol cars, not o mention Renko’s stolen service revolver.

It feels like a lighter episode when compared to its predecessor, but with the recurrence of Freedom, and the corruption thing making a reappearance, and knowing it’s politically motivated, you just know that these things are going to play out in meaningful ways.

But we’ll have to wait and see what happens. There will be more next week, but until then, let’s be careful out there!

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