Hill Street Blues (1982) – Invasion of the Third World Body Snatchers, and Trial by Fury

Season two of Hill Street Blues came to a close on 13 May, 1982 with Invasion of the Third World Body Snatchers which was written by Steven Bochco, Anthony Yerkovich, Jeffrey Lewis and Michael Wagner.

Renko (Charles Haid) is left reeling upon learning his father has died, but matters are complicated when the vehicle the body was placed in has been stolen!

Lucy (Betty Thomas) is dealing with ending her latest affair of the heart after learning the man she’s been seeing is married. Goldblume (Joe Spano) is attempting to deal with being a single man for the first time in years, and Washington (Taurean Blacque) makes an argument for J.D.’s (Kiel Martin) reinstatement to the precinct after the officer is finally cleared for duty.

Furillo (Daniel J. Travanti) is less than sure about bringing J.D. back on because of his own alcoholism, and his plans with Joyce (Veronica Hamel) to finally get away on vacation together, may be put on hold (again) when she takes a rape case and earnestly believes that the prime suspect is innocent.

While Goldblume helps run down leads for Joyce’s case, Belker (Bruce Weitz) is undercover again, this time as a bum trying to suss out someone who has been murdering the homeless. He doesn’t get a real lead on the case but is stunned when one of the bums ‘sleeping’ in an alley is in fact the discarded body of Renko’s father (Morgan Woodward).

Lots of melodrama this time around, but I do like Joyce’s storyline throughout this episode as she works hard to prove her client’s innocence.

Trial by Fury opened season three on 30 September, 1982. It was written by David Milch who came aboard the series as Story Editor.

Goldblume has grown himself a moustache over the course of the break, but that’s one of the only light things in the episode. In fact by it’s end, Furillo and Joyce are a little upset with the way Frank let things play out in order to catch a pair of brutal murderers.

A nun was brutally raped and murdered and the neighborhood is in an uproar about it, and Furillo uses it to set a lower charge on the criminals in order to get them turn over a confession. Furillo’s right, they did commit the crime, but the way he went about getting the confession is a little unethical.

While the nun’s rape and murder overshadows everything, another murder takes place and it almost gets lost in all the activity that is taking place in the precinct.

Renko and Hill (Michael Warren) get called out on a domestic call that sees a man with his head stuck between the tub and the toilet (he was attempting an escape through a window to avoid an angry husband) but even as melodramatic as this is, it’s handled pretty well.

And finally Belker brings in a gay prostitute, Eddie (Charles Levin) for soliciting, and they form a bit of a bond over the fact that Belker’s father is descending into senility, and Belker defends the young man against his pimp, and encourages him to show a little more self-confidence and self-esteem.

It’s a nice moment, and just like that season three is underway with a bang, so let’s be careful out there.

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