Hill Street Blues (1983) – Life in the Minors, and Eugene’s Comedy Empire Strikes Back

While Coffey (Ed Marinaro) faces an investigation into the cause of death of the PCP-addled perp that died in a cell, Belker (Bruce Weitz) goes undercover as a blind panhandler before getting some devasting personal news.

Life in the Minors was written by Michael Wagner, David Milch, and Karen Hall from a story by Steven Bochco, Anthony Yerkovich and Jeffrey Lewis. It was first broadcast on 24 February, 1983.

I got a couple of laughs from a little throw aside thing in the script, there’s a search going on for a missing detective. His name, Sonny Crockett (from Miami Vice which hadn’t quite launched yet, but Yerkovich would be involved with, he liked the name) and he’s not played by Don Johnson here by Dennis Burkley, and is nothing like the character that would make such an impact on the 80s. Another fun tie-in is Gregory Sierra who would be Vice’s lieutenant for the first few episodes is featured in the episode and a lawyer involved in the search for the character.

Furillo (Daniel J. Travanti) and Davenport (Veronica Hamel) sort out their issues, and Furillo even suggests the idea of marriage, so things seem to be improving on that front.

There are some funny moments throughout, Fay (Barbara Bosson) makes an obligatory appearance to stir up drama, and Renko (Charles Haid) and Hill (Michael Warren) go out hunting for the perp who was in the cell next to the dead man to get his testimony, even as the dead man’s family arrives at the precinct.

And then there’s the creepy story of J.D. LaRue (Kiel Martin) hitting on one of the high school girls, Kristen (Ally Sheedy), and Washington (Taurean Blacque) having to spell it out for him what will happen should he follow his lustful thoughts. Ugh.

Eugene’s Comedy Empire Strikes Back was penned Yerkovich, Milch and Hall from a story by Lewis, Bochco, and Yerkovich. It first aired on 3 March, 1983.

Belker is still dealing with the death of his father, and the fact that Tataglia (Lisa Dutton) is transferring to another precinct (which doesn’t mean the relationship is over, but adds some undue stress).

Furillo and Davenport tie the knot!

Bates (Betty Thomas) goes undercover as a bus driver with Renko and Hill as a pair of passengers, and oh, the colourful people they meet.

And Coffey’s investigation continues, as everyone becomes more convinced that Crockett is the one actually responsible for the man’s death, and that Coffey is innocent of the crime. Ron Silver shows up as a lawyer, who isn’t sure about ADA Alvarez’s (Sierrra) position on the matter.

La Rue deals with Kristen, being scared to his senses, eventually, and also makes a weird life choice backing a comedian (Terry Kiser) with an unfortunate last name, and an unfortunate medical condition.

The patrols and casework continue next week, but until then, let’s be careful out there!


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