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Ironside: An Inside Job

Our look back on the debut season of Ironside continues.

*

Episode 7: An Inside Job

Airdate: 19 October 1967

Plot: Using a concealed knife, two convicts jump their jailers and spring free from a holding cell in police headquarters. Trapped in a building of wall-to-wall cops, the "birds" sneak into Ironside's quarters looking for a way out. It's their lucky day when they realize they've got the former Chief of Detectives as their hostage. When Eve joins the hostage pool, the stakes are raised and Ironside is compelled to use his master criminal mind to devise a foolproof escape plan - proof that Ironside will do anything to get out of writing a speech.

Guest stars: John Saxon and Don Stroud star as homicidal jewelry store thieves named Carter and Baines. Norman Fell (sourpuss Mr. Roper from Three's Company) stars as a sourpuss police captain.

Music by: Benny Carter

Next thing you know, he'll have to make his own coffee too: This episode opens with Chief Ironside grouchier than usual. He's hammering away on his manual typewriter with two fingers, pecking out a speech one . . . letter . . . at . . . a . . . time, griping that his "pretty policewoman assistant" is late for work.

The world's slowest civic improvement: It's very obvious they're re-using the same establishing shots of the police headquarters where Ironside lives and works. In most of these overhead exterior shots, the same orange dump truck is parked on the corner. "Weeks" if not "months" have gone by in seven episodes and all the while this one truck is slowly pouring dirt, filling the mother of all potholes.

Planting the seed: "Even unplugged (a television picture tube) has enough stored voltage to knock you flat." Remember this. It will come in handy later.

Lobby fashion parade: The young blond working the concession stand dons a turban and Eve enters the building wearing taupe shoes, matching handbag, and white gloves.

No laughing matter: Norman Fell plays Captain Lauren, the officer who takes control of the "bust out." This consists of him pushing pins in maps, spending a lot of time on the phone, and looking very serious about ever-y-thing.

Surefire clue that one of the convicts is a psychopath: When Baines isn't acting jumpy and neurotically yelling, he's laughing like a hyena, usually at his own smart-ass remarks.

Get a new attitude: "Come on Chief, don't think like a square. Think con."

Working on her M.R.S. degree: When Eve and the Chief are taken hostage, Ed is over on campus hitting on a lab tech in the chemistry department. Here's their flirtatious banter -

Ed: Listen, all I asked for is a date, not a wedding.

Lab Chick: Sometimes dates can lead to weddings. I'm just trying to be very careful that I don't end up with a man who has to work 24 hours a day and hasn't got any time for me and the children.

Ed: You and the children???

Lab Chick: Well, it could happen, couldn't it? You know, I'll bet we'd have beautiful kids.

Back in the day: Photocopies cost 25 cents each. This new-fangled technology actually cost more in 1967 than it does today.

Caffeine anyone? Ironside's request for coffee ends in physical violence. Eve lunges for a gun but misses by a mile and she's thrown to the ground. Baines makes as if he's going to hit Eve, when Ironside rolls up behind him ("Don't touch that girl!") and grabs him in a wristlock that drops the convict to his knees. Carter karate-chops Ironside with his gun and we're back to square one.

What we need is a good disguise: The convicts' entire escape plan rests on the fact that TV repairmen in the '60s wear coveralls.

Office lobby as giant ashtray: Ed drops his cigarette butt on the lobby floor and crushes it out with his foot. Nice.

Don't mess with the master: This episode serves to illustrate Ironside's brilliant mind as he orchestrates the entire situation to his advantage, even with a handgun perpetually leveled at his temple. Quick thinking and continually adjusting to each roadblock, Ironside's greatest weapon is his cantankerous demeanor, which he fires on everyone, from the hostage takers to the kindly building janitor, to get what he wants.

MacGyver moment: The lobby is crawling with cops, and "mobile units" surround the getaway vehicle, yet Ironside manages to take out both convicts single-handedly. In a quick one-two punch, Chief Ironside uses the removable metal arm from his wheelchair to zap the criminal holding a "live" TV set and sprays the other in the face with aerosol cleaner. Brilliant.

-

Previously:
* A Cop and His Chair
* Message From Beyond
* The Leaf in the Forest
* Dead Man's Tale
* Eat, Drink and Be Buried
* The Taker



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Posted on September 19, 2008


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