Hill Street Blues (1982) – Of Mouse and Man, and Zen and the Art of Law Enforcement

There’s a lot going on this week when a prominent public defender is murdered in a robbery gone wrong, something that shakes Joyce (Veronica Hamel) to her core, and makes her question her own future, and if she wants to keep working as a lawyer.

Of Mouse and Man was written by Steven Bochco, Anthony Yerkovich, Jeffrey Lewis, and Michael Wagner from a story by Bochco and Michael Kozoll. It first aired on 11 February, 1982.

The guest cast in this episode includes Jonathan Frakes (as a dealer!), Edward James Olmos, who comes to the precinct to file a complaint about a slum lord that runs the building he and others live in, and Goldblume (Joe Spano) investigates.

As the investigation begins for the murder suspect, the precinct makes a sweep through the usual locations and allows Hunter (James Sikking) to show his latent racist tendencies.

Hill (Michael Warren) calls Renko (Charles Haid) out on some of his own racism after Hill gets tapped as the new representative for the Black Officer’s Coalition. This causes some real grief in their partnership and leaves both of them dangling.

Furillo (Daniel J. Travanti) has a lot on his plate, trying to be there for Joyce, while also making sure the investigation and the precinct run as smoothly as they can. When a suspect is arrested we see a different side of Joyce as she pushes him to go after the suspect and get vengeance.

Belker (Bruce Weitz) provides a little comic relief with a pet mouse and his capture of Frakes’ baddie.

Zen and the Art of Law Enforcement first aired on 18 February, 1982, and was written by Yerkovich, Lewis and Wagner from a story by Bochco, Kozoll and Thom Thomas.

On the eve of a major drug bust, LaRue (Kiel Martin) stumbles and begins drinking again. This causes everything to go sideways and Washington (Taurean Blacque) to go in undercover for him, and consequently almost has a real bad go of it, while covering for him.

Goldblume goes after the slum lord while Renko is upset that Hill has to leave him for a few days to work on recruitment for the Black Officer’s Coalition, which means saddling him with a new partner in the interim.

Renko also has to deal with some family situations regarding his sick father (Morgan Woodward) and his relationships with the rest of the family.

And finally, Esterhaus (Michael Conrad) gets saddled with some more melodrama when he causes Grace (Barbara Babcock) some grief over her prior relationships and her sexual activities before he came along. Honestly, he’s not one to talk considering where he was when the series started.

I could have done without the Esterhaus drama, Grace is a grown woman, and sexual activite being, the fact that he attempts to shame her for it is moronic, and a double standard.

That’s all for this week, so until next time, let’s be careful out there.


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