Hill Street Blues (1983) – Midway to What?, and Honk If You’re a Goose

There are some interesting things going on in Midway to What? written by Jeffrey Lewis, Michael Wagner, Karen Hall and Mark Frost, from a story by Lewis and David Milch. First airing on 1 December, 1983 the episode shows Belker (Bruce Weitz) interacting with a wheelchair-bound man, Gerry (Gary Frank) after Gerry spray paints Belker’s car for parking in a handicap spot.

And while the language of the time hasn’t stood the test of time, the exploration of their friendship is done nicely.

There are a couple fun, blink-and-you-miss-it guest appearances, including the wonderful Michael Ironside, who shows up in court as Joyce (Veronica Hamel) defends a new case that may cause a bit of a stir.

Goldblume (Joe Spano) and Fay (Barbara Bosson) continue to explore the possibility of a romantic connection with one another… who’s going to tell Furillo (Daniel J. Travanti)?

Hill (Micheal Warren) is about to square off in a boxing match as the Hill Street precinct champ, and Renko (Charles Haid) is trying to keep him focused and on point while tons of things begin to occur around him.

The biggest one, and arguably as important a story as Belker’s in this episode, Howard (James Sikking) gets called in to see Furillo in regards to a tape that has surfaced from Howard’s past, when he was just starting out on the force, and was forced by a couple of corrupt cops to pick up bookie payoffs on the regular.

Howard is now wrestling with his place in the world, and his perceived failure, which could lead him to a very drastic decision as the episode closes out with a gunshot.

Honk If You’re a Goose feels like a little bit of a letdown coming right on the tails of the previous episode. Written by Wagner, Milch, Hall and Frost from a story by Lewis and Milch, this episode first debuted on 8 December, 1983.

Belker goes undercover in a wheelchair only to be shadowed throughout by Gerry, who constantly reminds him that he’s doing things wrong. and while Belker makes some headway and also makes a bit of a connection with, you know that the story is going to end badly for both parties, but it also gives us a quick look at Robin (Lisa Sutton). Hey, at least Belker and Lisa still have a relationship going.

Coffey (Ed Marinaro) and Bates (Betty Thomas) find themselves looking for a missing goose, while also being called in to arrest a corrupt judge.

And J.D. (Kiel Martin) is positive Howard attempted to kill himself, but J.D. had swapped out the bullets with blanks, and the lieutenant only has a powder burn on his head, as opposed to an unrecoverable hole.

He informs Furillo and he confronts Howard about it. But they don’t really explore it. That may be done in future episodes, but it’s rather troubling how quickly a lot of it gets glossed over, even as Howard, kind of, confronts his actions. But not completely. It could have been done better, and today, would be done differently.

Crispin Glover makes a quick appearance as a bit of a space cadet, and Fay and Goldblume continue their relationship.

We get one more appearance from Michael Conrad’s Esterhaus next week before his untimely passing, so until then, let’s be careful out there.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s