Hill Street Blues (1984) – Grace Under Pressure, and The Other Side of Oneness

Furillo (Daniel J. Travanti) has the sad duty to reveal the death, via heart attack, of Phil Esterhaus (Michael Conrad, who had passed a few weeks before) in Grace Under Pressure. Written by Jeffrey Lewis, Michael Wagner, Karen Hall and Mark Frost from a story by Steven Bochco, David Milch, and Lewis. It debuted on 2 February, 1984.

As the precinct reels from the reveal, a number of story threads continue, Coffey’s (Ed Marinaro) new girlfriend, Sandy (Linda Hamilton) is assaulted at her place of work and raped. While she deals with identifying her attacker, Coffey has problems reconciling what happened to her.

Belker (Brice Weitz) is undercover as a truck driver, to flush out truck hijackers with Renko (Charles Haid) and Hill (Michael Warren) as his backup, but that doesn’t all go to plan and Fay (Barbara Bosson) has a run-in with a new cop on the beat.

Furillo has to deal with the loss of Esterhaus and the demand of being his executor, and working to find a replacement in roll call. His choice is Lucy (Betty Thomas), but she must consider it.

And as the episode closes, a legend is born amongst the precinct when Furillo confirms the manner of Esterhaus’ death.

I love how the series deals with Conrad/Esterhaus’s death, and I think both would have been happy with how it played out. It’s a terrible thing that Conrad passed, and the series had to adapt for it, but this is the way to do it if it has to be done.

The Other Side of Oneness was written by Milch, Wagner, Frost and Roger Director from a story by Bocho, Lewis and Milch. It had an original airdate of 9 February, 1984.

Belker is having a real tough time dealing with Esterhaus’ death, and he takes that out on some of his fellow cops.

Goldblume, meanwhile, begins an investigation that could mean trouble for a number of political bigwigs. A high-priced callgirl has kept the receipts in form of videotapes, and he finds himself intrigued by the things she talks about, and, of course, that may cause some friction between he and Fay.

It never really gets explored because by the episode’s end, someone has arranged for a professional hit on her, and she’s dead. Will the storyline continue to be explored? I guess we’ll find out.

Sandy wants to go to court to make sure her assailant goes away for a long time, but the justice system isn’t going to play ball the way she wants, and it’s a crushing blow to learn that her rapist may not serve any time at all.

And poor Leo (Robert Hirshfeld) reveals that his wife is cheating on him, and it gets worse for him when he gets blamed for a theft of office supplies from the precinct.

An enjoyable episode and I do like the way they have honoured Esterhaus, wonderfully done at the episode’s opening.

Until next time, let’s be careful out there.

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