Hill Street Blues (1982) – Rain of Terror, and Officer of the Year

It’s Renko’s (Charles Haid) birthday, and his friends at the precinct go all out to make sure he has a good time though it partly backfires, in Rain of Terror. The present is a call girl, something Renko doesn’t realize at first and then is angry about before reaching a slightly amicable ending.

Written by Anthony Yerkovich, Jeffrey Lewis and Michael Wagner, this episode was first broadcast on 21 October, 1982. W

We learn that the missing person last week, the alien in the jail cell, was actually moved due to a filing error, so nothing really spooky happened.

J.D. (Kiel Martin) and Washington (Taurean Blacque) find themselves busting uniformed cops for theft, just as the late captain Malone said they would. Furillo (Daniel J. Travanti) goes to bat for Goldblume (Joe Spano) over the fifteen-year-old prostitute (the actress who shows up to play her is twenty-seven), offering up his own badge if he’s forced to kick Goldblume off the force.

Howard Hunter (James Sikking) is in the hospital for his operation and biopsy, and though he’s a little anxious about it, things come back fairly good, and he also makes a real connection with his nurse, Linda (Kathleen Lloyd).

And finally, Belker (Bruce Weitz) has a tough time with his movie star ride-along, Gennaro (Leo Rossi). Gennaro upsets the situation in a meet with a drug dealer and then follows Belker to the actual meet, and though he arguably saves Mick Belker’s life, its cost is too high and leaves Belker with some guilt on his conscience.

Officer of the Year is a solid episode that calls out some of the racism that we’ve seen so far in the series, while not really doing anything about it.

Karen Hall penned this episode which first debuted on 28 October, 1982. Ray (Rene Enriquez) wins the Hispanic Officer of the Year Award, Hunter is eager to give commentary on how well the officer speaks English, and everyone at the reception ceremony is labouring under the belief that he’s either Mexican or Puerto Rican and making comments about the same.

Ray is able to call out this behaviour by pointing out that he’s Columbian, and the only other Hispanics he sees in the room are servers and waiters. He tries to tender his resignation to Furillo, who doesn’t accept it and is one of the very few people who see this as a learning opportunity.

Renko and Hill get involved in an assault case, where the woman, Teresa (Helen Shaver) is unsure if she wants to press charges or not, Lucy (Betty Thomas) is ill-prepared for her first court appearance and Joyce rips her testimony to pieces in cross-examination.

Belker is undercover at a massage parlour with Washington and J.D. on a backup stakeout, which leads to the pair stopping a robbery in progress and Washington shooting and killing an armed, but innocent, man.

And Frank Jr., Furillo’s son, has run away from home, so he has that hanging over him for the whole episode as well until Hill brings him into the station.

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