Hill Street Blues (1983) – Spotlight on Rico, and Buddy, Can You Spare a Heart?

Benedetto (Dennis Franz) is back on the Hill with Spotlight on Rico. Written by Jeffrey Lewis, Michael Wagner, David Milch and Karen Hall from a story by Wagner, Lewis and Steven Bochco, this episode debuted on 28 April, 1983.

While Hill (Micheal Warren) attempts to get his car out of a tow lot, something that is proving tough to do, because there’s a problem with the precinct and the city’s pay, Benedetto gets a temporary reassignment to the Hill as he has a plan to bring down a crime figure. While he makes inroads to reparations with a number of the officers he’s gotten on the bad side of, including Hill and Renko (Charles Haid), and saves Washington’s (Taurean Blacque) life, he’s not a by-the-book kind of officer and maybe just bad all around.

The desk sergeant, Leo (Robert Hirschfield) helps a drug addict named Rico (Marco Rodriguez) get clean, and Goldblume (Joe Spano) and Davenport (Veronica Hamel) deal with a possible schizophrenic in the form of guest star Jonathan Banks’ portrayal of Reggie.

And Howard (James Sikking) discovers the relationship with the nurse is over and has a tough time realizing how lonely he really is, and how, like so many of us, he just wants to love and be loved. Too bad his political views keep making him look like an ass.

I like all the threads that are woven through this episode, and it’s obvious that Benedetto is going to be a problem for everyone. Hold on folks, it’s going to be wild.

Furillo (Daniel J. Travanti) is starting to have concerns about Washington working with Benedetto, a dangerous narcotics cop, and he’s going to be proven right before the episode is over

Written by Wagner, Milch and Hall from a story by Lewis, Bochco and Anthony Yerkovich, Buddy, Can You Spare a Heart? first aired on 5 May, 1983, the penultimate episode of season three.

While J.D. (Kiel Martin) is less than thrilled to be sidelined while Washington works with Benedetto, he works on trying to run a quick con on the narcotics cop that goes nowhere.

Renko and Hill in the pursuit of a suspect recover a large bag of unmarked bills, and the pair wrestle over whether they keep it or turn it in. Rico, still in recovery, is helping out around the station, and becomes heavily involved in a series of threatening calls that could lead Goldblume to an escaped Reggie, who’s wrestling with schizophrenia may come to an unfortunate end.

Howard begins overtures to his masseuse a young Vietnamese woman, Colette (Marion Yue) which is letting him see his own time incountry in a new way.

The episode closes out with Benedetto calling it a night on a stakeout, and he and Washington get held up, their evidence boosted, Washington gets shot, and gee, did one of the masked thugs call Benedetto by name when Washington gets wounded?

How dirty is this cop? Guess we’ll have to wait until next week before we start discovering how bad is bad. Until then let’s be careful out there huh?

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