Hill Street Blues (1983) – Ba-Bing, Ba-Bing, and The Long Law of the Arm

Furillo (Daniel J. Travanti) has a plan backfire on him by episode’s end as he and the precinct attempt to stem the upswing in gang violence by warning all gang members that should violence erupt, the gang leaders will be held responsible arrested and tried with the promise that they’ll make it stick.

But it also involves some manipulation of some gang members and Goldblume (Joe Spano) is less than pleased to learn he was involved in it.

Ba-Bing Ba-Bing was written by Karen Hall and first aired on 20 October, 1983.

Belker (Bruce Weitz) goes undercover in a fish market and upon returning to the precinct with his arrest finds himself in trouble with Deputy Chief Mahoney (Ron Parady), big enough trouble that he may be pulled up in front of Internal Affairs.

On the flip side, Hill (Michael Warren) wins a giant lottery, and everybody, including Renko (Charles Haid), wants in on the winnings, and by the episode’s end, it looks as if Hill may have been happy to get rid of it all on his own.

Coffey (Ed Marinaro) finds himself on a date with two female mud wrestlers after answering a call at their location.

It’s an enjoyable episode, the fun moments perfectly balanced by some of the darker events, like the end of the episode, and we are left to worry about gang violence, Belker and Hill specifically as the story closes out.

Season four, two episodes in, is really turning into a streamlined storytelling machine that has ousted a lot of the earlier melodrama while keeping some of the fun. It continues to tackle serious topics and gives viewers lots to think about.

The Long Arm of the Law was written by Michael Wagner and originally aired on 27 October, 1983.

Things get really tense around the precinct as Furillo, Washington (Taurean Blacque), J.D. (Kiel Martin) and Belker square off against Mahoney, who seems to have it in for the entire Hill Street division.

Hill is having problems with his new cash flow, his attitude, and the way he’s treating his friends, something that even puts Renko on notice.

Fay (Barbara Bosson), Furillo’s ex-wife is close to her due date, and Goldblume has been helping her in her pregnancy classes, leading to a troublesome ending for both characters at the close of the episode.

The main plot thread concerns Benjamin Fisk (George Coe) a political player, and mayor hopeful, being taken hostage by a member of one of the local gangs, and despite Goldblume attempting to talk him down, Furillo and Howard (James Sikking) push for a harder decision, one that is going to mark every single one of them, and something they will carry with them long after the echo fades.

A solid episode, the hostage storyline was the best, but seeing the Mahoney plot develop was nice as well. I feel bad for Hill, and honestly, the Coffey storyline featuring the mud wrestlers could have been one and done.

We’ll see what happens next week, but until then, let’s be careful out there.


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