Shout! Factory // 1977 // 1050 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge P.S. Colbert // September 2nd, 2012
Doctor: "A lot of men are talking early retirement; going onto something
else. How about you?"
Kojak: "What, and give up show business?!"
It's the final go 'round for the legendary lineup of Manhattan South's detective squad, but Lieutenant Theo's men are hardly wheezing in the home stretch. On the contrary, Kojak: Season Five pours on the steam, finishing with twenty two episodes (on six discs) of primetime Telly vision:
* "The Queen Of Hearts Is Wild"
* "A Strange Kind Of Love"
* "Laid Off"
* "Cry For The Kids"
* "Once More From Birdland"
* "Caper On A Quiet Street"
* "Letters Of Death"
* "Tears For All Who Love Her"
* "Summer Of '69: Parts 1 & 2"
* "Case Without A File"
* "I Could Kill My Wife's Lawyer"
* "Justice For All"
* "Chain Of Custody"
* "The Captain's Brother's Wife"
* "No License To Kill"
* "The Halls Of Terror"
* "May The Horse Be With You"
* "Photo Must Credit Joe Paxton"
* "60 Miles To Hell"
* "In Full Command"
Full disclosure: These episodes aren't all winners. A lightweight (as in feather-brained) "comedic" caper about horse thieves proved as fun and easy to sit through as a whoopee cushion loaded with thumb tacks. Furthermore, whoever's bright idea it was to have Detective Rizzo (Vince Conti) parade through an episode in drag (as a decoy) ought to have been forever banished to the set of Holmes & Yoyo.
Otherwise, Season Five delivers in spades, featuring some of the series' strongest installments, including the season-ending "In Full Command," which boasts an amazing dramatic turn from comedian Danny Thomas (Make Room For Daddy), and the stunning two-part "Summer Of '69," which opens with the nastiest father and son reunion this side of Shel Silverstein's "A Boy Named Sue."
Plenty of Oscar-caliber guest talent is also on hand, including Shelley Winters (The Poseidon Adventure), but more interesting (at least to incurable pop culture addicts like me) are appearances by actors whose names you probably wouldn't know, but faces you'll forever recognize, including Lee Bryant (the hysterical woman who gets slapped in Airplane!), Lenny Montana, (Luca Brasi of The Godfather), Tony Sirico (Paulie 'Walnuts' Gualtieri of The Sopranos), and former Hee Haw honey Misty Rowe.
Ms. Rowe's beautiful blond locks and irresistible baby-doll voice are wonderfully preserved in this stellar set of standard def 1.33:1 full frame transfers with Dolby 2.0 Digital Mono audio. There are no subtitles or bonus features included, but that shouldn't prevent the quality control department at Shout! Factory from taking a bow for another job well done.
I hate goodbyes, and since the lieutenant and company would reunite seven years later for Kojak: The Belarus File -- which kicked off a series of TV movies stretching into the early '90 -- I'll leave things with "auf Wiedersehen."
Nice work, fellas.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Shout! Factory
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 1050 Minutes
Release Year: 1977
MPAA Rating: Not Rated