Hill Street Blues (1982) – The Young, the Beautiful, and the Degraded, and Some Like It Hot-Wired

The Hill is inundated with phone calls, thanks to the promise of a reward, with false and potential witnesses and leads for the investigation into the murder of DA Pam Gilliam, whose suspect is protected by red tape, and chains of evidence, laws protecting the innocent. Goldblume (Joe Spano), however, thinks he has a good one and runs it down, but is it too good to be true?

The Young, the Beautiful, and the Degraded was written by Anthony Yerkovich, Jeffrey Lewis, and Michael Wagner from a story by Michael Kozoll and Steven Bochco and first aired on 25 February, 1982.

J.D. (Kiel Martin) is in danger of being run off the force by Furillo (Daniel J. Travanti) after a drinking relapse cost them a bust. Esterhaus (Michael Conrad) is still reeling over Grace’s (Barbara Babcock) past sexual activities, illustrating a ridiculous double standard. He’s really upset about it, but it is just moronic the way he reacts and behaves, though he does do it from an emotionally valid place.

Poor Belker (Bruce Weitz) begins to wonder if he’s getting too old for the job when a suspect gets away from him.

Hill (Michael Warren) is getting ready to leave the Black Officers Coalition as he doesn’t care for the political angles that are becoming part of the position, and Renko (Charles Haid) is happy to have him back by his side.

And Joe’s (Ed Marinaro) and Lucy’s (Betty Thomas) problems collide when they answer a domestic call that takes them to someone Joe has been involved with.

A lot going on this time around!

Some Like It Hot-Wired also has a lot going on. Written by Bochco, Yerkovich, Wagner, and Lewis from a story by Bochco and Kozoll, this episode first debuted on 18 March, 1982.

There’s a rash of car thefts in the area, including Esterhaus’ but Washington (Taurean Blacque) is able to bust the circle, and discover that J.D. is working with the Police Impound as a way to eat some dirt and prove himself again.

Joyce (Veronica Hamel) has some serious questions about her future as a defender as the murdered DA case continues to fall apart. She wonders what she’s in it all for.

Goldblume is passed over for promotion and is assigned temporary undercover duty. It seems a prostitue and a couple of thugs posing as police officers are shaking down johns. And this is where we get two surprise guest stars, Meg Tilly and John Ratzenberger! He gets shot and wounded during the operation, and is left reevaluating his own career.

Hunter (James Sikking )sticks his head in to deliver some racist-tinged commentary, and pays for it, while Furillo’s (I swear Travanti is fighting a cold in this episode) boss delivers some sexist commentary about him controlling the women in his life.

Finally there’s some nice stuff between Hill and Renko as they work to reconnect, and Renko opens up about how sick his dad, who won’t even let him sit in the same hospital room with him, really is.

While the racism and sexism is really jarring, and sad to think this was forty years ago, and there are still folks who think the way some of these characters do, the stories are well thought out, and while still a little melodramatic, it’s also becoming really fun.

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