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Ironside: Girl In The Night

Our look back on the debut season of Ironside continues.

*
Episode: Girl in the Night

Airdate: 21 December 1967

Plot: It's Vegas baby! Detective Ed Brown is on a routine extradition job in Sin City when he meets Elaine, a mysterious chanteuse with a haunted past. Following their five-hour date, a nightcap, and a hot-and-heavy clinch, Ed wakes up in the hospital with a concussion and Elaine is nowhere to be found. Local cops peg Ed for a John but he refuses to believe Elaine is that kind of girl. His conviction is enough to get a visiting Ironside and company on the job investigating the mysterious disappearance of Ed's one-night stand.

Guest stars: Four years before she'd marry "Mac" McMillan, Susan Saint James portrays doomed lounge singer Elaine Moreau.

I guess Twiggy wasn't available: Susan Saint James is sporting a Liza Minnelli-wannabe look complete with pixie haircut and big black false eyelashes. She's dressed all in white - a sheer poncho with a rhinestone collar over her mini-dress. She looks like she's draped in a wispy tablecloth.

A quaint little town in the desert: Under the opening credits, a bird's-eye view of the Vegas Strip shows it to be surrounded by huge tracts of undeveloped land.

"I want some answers and fast!" Ironside rolls into the hospital with Mark and Eve in tow, immediately annoyed that his Vegas counterpart is more worried about solving the murder of a prominent businessman than the bump on Ed's head. The nerve! So much for professional courtesy.

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas: With Ed's wallet and gun stolen, the Vegas cop is fairly certain he's got this case figured out. "Brown was seen with a girl last night . . . a pretty girl. Two confederates. A couple of drinks. A promise. And then a hit on the head." Wait, a promise? I'm shocked. Is he suggesting what I think he's suggesting? Ed? Ed Brown?

There's always a girl: Ironside surprises Ed by asking straight off about "the girl." The Chief says with a smirk, "Why don't we start at the beginning."

Cue Ed's romantic flashback: A guy walks into a bar . . .

Classic meet cute #201: Elaine is sitting at a white baby grand piano (it's Vegas, after all.) She's lost in a reverie, and from the look on Ed's face, he's never seen anything so enchanting. Seriously, she looks about 12.

Mystery woman vs. Debbie Downer: Ed's intuition is severely impaired by the pretty young thing in front of his eyes. Warning bells go off but he hears nothing but sweet music -

* Warning Bell #1: Elaine tells Ed - a complete stranger whom she's just met thirty seconds earlier - that she's been waiting for him all her life. After a gloomy pause, she adds, "or maybe it just seems that way." Run, Ed.

* Warning Bell #2: At dinner, a sullen Elaine stares at her wine glass while a violinist serenades their table and Ed slumps over his plate. Fun date.

* Warning Bell #3: When the owner of the restaurant (an old friend of Elaine's) asks her if she's happy, she wistfully replies in French, "One should live each hour as if it was his last." Seriously, Ed, run.

* Warning Bell #4: She shares her personal theory with Ed; "No more doors to run through, no more locks to lock. Put on your prettiest dress and wait." Ed?

* Warning Bell #5: When Ed asks Elaine who she was waiting for when they met in the bar, she speaks like a sleepwalker, "For you." Playing as if she's about to drink poison, she raises her wine glass and says, "To us and to this night and to no more questions please." She could not look or sound more morose. Earth to Ed . . .

Gee Ed, ya think? "I don't know how I could have been such a fool not to have realized then that there was something very wrong. Something troubling her."

Eve's ever-expanding resume: "Eve, get on the phone. Make four reservations for the first plane back to San Francisco." And get me some coffee while you're at it.

Not so fast: Ed refuses to leave town until he finds out what happened to Elaine.

Elaine? Elaine who? A quick trip back to Elaine's house is enough to get everyone suspicious, as the woman at home claims no knowledge of anyone named Elaine.

Here pink, there pink, everywhere pink pink: This woman sure loves the color pink. Her mini-dress is pink paisley. Her tights are pink. Her patent leather flats are pink. The chair in the hallway is upholstered in pink. The flower arrangement in the entry hall is pink. The couch is pale pink velvet. The glass bottles on the liquor cart are rosy pink. The wallpaper is dusty rose damask. The curtains are a deep rose. Even her phone is pink. I think I'm going to be sick. Maybe my vomit will be pink.

Reduce, re-use, recycle #1: Next stop is a visit to the nightclub where Elaine worked. The boss's office is the same set as we've seen umpteen times before. I'm going to christen it the Big Cheese Set, because invariably it serves as the office of some rich, powerful, big cheese - lawyer, record producer, CEO, crime syndicate honcho - who has something to hide.

Cue maraca music: You can always tell when Quincy Jones has scored the music for an episode by the atmospheric, jazzy maraca theme they use during key transitions.

Reduce, re-use, recycle #2: The swimming pool at Ed's hotel is also a retread set we've seen twice before - in episodes four and eight.

Incoming! As Ed walks the length of the hotel swimming pool, three people jump in the water; each corresponding splash is overdubbed and overdone. It sounds like cannonballs are literally dropping into the pool.

Elegant poolside dining: Ironside and Ed's lunch consists of whole tomatoes stuffed with cottage cheese on a bed of iceberg lettuce.

Hey, Kool-Aid! A large, round glass pitcher of what looks to be bright red Kool-Aid sits prominently on the lunch table. When Ironside offers to pour a "cool drink," I half expect the Kool-Aid guy to come busting through a fence. Oh, yeah!

I'm guessing you're going to wish you hadn't said that: "Oh thank you mister. I'll love you to the day I die."

My, how time flies when the mob is putting the screws to you: With each interview, a new piece of Elaine's sad life falls into place. Near the end, she passes from one man to another and to another, and I'm figuring weeks, maybe months, have passed during this flashback. Nope, three days. Count them, three. Just two days ago, Elaine rolled off the turnip truck from Indiana (or wherever she naively sprang from) and now she's a moll to the underworld king of Las Vegas.

Famous last words: Speaking of Elaine, Ed wraps up the episode by saying, "She knew. She knew he had to come for her. She just waited . . . You should have known her."

Woulda, coulda, shoulda: And apparently you should have told her you were a cop, Ed. Perhaps then things might have turned out a little differently.

-

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
* An Inside Job
* Tagged For Murder
* Let My Brother Go
* Light at the End of the Journey
* The Monster of Comus Towers.
* The Man Who Believed
* A Very Cool Hot Car
* The Past Is Prologue



Permalink

Posted on February 19, 2009


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