Hill Street Blues (1983) – Death by Kiki, and Doris in Wonderland

As usual, lots of things seem to be happening at the precinct this week. Death by Kiki was written by David Milch and Mark Frost and had an original airdate of 3 November, 1983.

Davenport’s (Veronica Hamel) client, Kiki (Clinton Derricks-Carroll) is doing way too much to help prove his innocence, mishandling evidence, and bringing things into the precinct, all in a hope that he’ll be able to show he’s not guilty, and that he knows who the guilty party is, he just needs to get him to admit it. Kiki doesn’t understand the American judicial system.

Hill (Michael Warren) is still having gambling problems with all of his winnings and it’s ruining his relationships and goodwill around the precinct as he acts more and more of a jerk, until he hits rock bottom finding a scary corollary between himself and his father.

Fay (Barbara Bosson) is about to give birth, and Goldblume (Joe Spano) is going to be there for her. Which is probably a good thing after the things he’s dealing with. He’s still reeling from the death of the hostage taker in the previous episode, and that ends up being compounded by Fisk (George Coe) having a tragic experience on a slum he’s using for political points.

And Chief Daniels (Jon Cypher) gets put in his place, temporarily, in his treatment of Belker (Bruce Weitz), J.D. (Kiel Martin), Washington (Taurean Blacque) and Furillo (Daniel J. Travanti). Though he warns Furillo that should he move up the ladder, things are going to get rougher for Furillo and the Hill Street precinct. Ladies and gentlemen, I think we have a nemesis.

Doris in Wonderland was penned by Peter Silverman from a story by Steven Bochco, Jeffrey Lewis and David Milch. It was first aired on 10 November, 1983.

A lot of threads in this episode as well. The political campaign is still ongoing, and in a move to embarrass one of the candidates the Hill Street precinct is ordered to go undercover at a porn shop in one of the candidate’s areas. Belker is less than pleased with the clientele, and Washington pops a drug addict (Olivia Brown!) in an effort to catch her dealer.

The most captivating, and heart-rending story in the lot focuses on Doris Robson (Alfre Woodard!) and Officer Perez (Tony Perez). Doris is a single mother, and her son consequently is a latchkey kid. But when units are called to their building due to reports of a burglary in progress, Perez in a shadowed room can’t distinguish between a toy pistol and a real weapon and shoots the young boy.

The politicians work to make Doris the villain, arresting her on the day her son died, for child endangerment by leaving him at home alone, unsupervised while she was out. While she deals with politics, and judicial machinations moving against her with Joyce Davenport at her side, Perez confronts what he is done, worrying about his own son, and attempts to take his own life.

A solid episode, Doris doesn’t get as much screen time and story as she should, and it would have been better if the cop who killed the boy was a series regular making it more impactful, but it’s a great story, and well-explored.

The arcs continue next week, but until then, let’s be careful out there.


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