Hill Street Blues (1984) – Hair Apparent, and Lucky Ducks

Hey look! It’s Andy Garcia in one of his earliest roles. He plays a Diablos gang member in Hair Apparent. Written by Jeffrey Lewis, Michael Wagner, Karen Hall and Roger Director from a story by Steven Bochco, Lewis, David Milch, and Mark Frost. It first aired on 3 May, 1984.

Ernesto (Garcia) is upset that a former member of a rival gang, Marcus Peabody (Randy Brooks), has become the head of a youth summer jobs program, and Ernesto claims Marcus is just giving jobs to his own gang, not those who are looking for actually looking for jobs.

Garibaldi (Ken Olin) is still filling in for J.D. (Kiel Martin) but he’s having some issues. Everyone in the precinct likes him, but he’s also on the edge, he could go either way. He could be a great cop, or a corrupt one, and that choice is looming.

Belker (Bruce Weitz) is working undercover in a bar as part of an attempt to infiltrate an organized crime ring pushing video poker games on a number of locations. Trouble looms not only with the criminals but when the Liquor Board (led by Joanna Kerns) attempts a bust and that puts Belker in a lot of trouble.

Renko’s (Charles Haid) marriage is drawing near, and a number of his groomsmen haven’t picked up their tuxes yet, and Furillo (Daniel J. Travanti) and Joyce (Veronica Hamel) are hitting a rocky patch, and despite both of them loving one another, she wants a couple of weeks to herself.

Lucky Ducks was written by Wagner, Milch, Hall and Frost from a story by Bochco, Lewis, Milch and Hall. It first debuted on 10 May, 1984.

Ray (Rene Enriquez) has been selected to appear on a local game show while Belker’s involvement in the undercover work that has gotten him next to the video poker criminals is getting very risky. Furillo is attempting to deal with the fact that he and Joyce are temporarily separated, and what that may mean for their relationship.

Renko is troubled when he and his groomsmen not only have a problem with their tuxes, but also by the racist undertones of his potential new in-laws.

Howard (James Sikking) has some really nice moments that contrast with his usual appearance on the show. He’s such an angry, gung-ho republican most of the time, that at the end of the episode when he is spending some time with his horse Apollo, it’s a bit of a revelation, and arguably one of the character’s best moments since the series began.

This episode is all about the character moments, and while some of them are still a little goofy, and melodramatic, the show has really defined itself as a solid character piece, and I like spending time with them.

Next week we finish season four, and then dive into season five, so until next time, let’s be careful out there.


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