Judge P.S. Colbert would love to see a cage match pitting detectives Saperstein and Rizzo against Cagney and Lacey.
Our reviews of Kojak: Season One (published April 6th, 2005), Kojak: Season Two (published September 27th, 2011), Kojak: Season Three (published March 8th, 2012), Kojak: Season Five (published September 2nd, 2012), and Kojak: The Complete Movie Collection (published January 15th, 2012) are also available.
"You are going to Hell, Mr. Harmon, and I shall take you there by the hand, if that's the only way to accomplish it. Hand in hand, we'll burn together."—Sister Maria
How do you solve a problem like Maria; a vengeful, bloodthirsty Nun from Dayton, Ohio?
But that ain't half of it. There's a shooting in the station. A woman detective (Joan Van Ark, Knots Landing) joins the squad. Two-time Oscar nominee Lynn Redgrave (Georgy Girl, Gods And Monsters) plays a junkie. Oscar winner Irene Cara (Flashdance) plays a hooker. Richard Gere, William Hurt, Christopher Walken, and F. Murray Abraham all stop by on their way to big screen stardom.
Uptown. Downtown. From the Brooklyn Bridge to Bedford Hills. Into the Barrio and out on the docks. Lieutenant Theo Kojak (Telly Savalas, Kelly's Heroes) and the hard-working detectives of New York's Manhattan South precinct are making their presence known all over the big rotten Apple during this, their busiest season so far.
Here's the duty roster, in twenty five episodes: •: "Birthday
Between deft drama and scene-chewing histrionics, Kojak: Season Four swings like a pendulum do.
Opinions will vary; mine is that the season premiere—which involves the kidnapping of Kojak's niece—is an overblown, hyper-emoted dud. Ditto for "Kojak's Days," a sprawling, multi-storied essay on the paces our Lieutenant gets put through on a daily basis. Then again, isn't that the basis of every episode?
On the other hand, there's the complex, multi-layered and thoroughly absorbing (Emmy-nominated) two-parter "A Shield For Murder," easily one of the series' very best. Following close behind are "A Need To Know," featuring Hector Elizondo (Pretty Woman) as a child molester protected by diplomatic immunity, and "An Unfair Trade," where a (white) cop's (justified) shooting of a minority teen becomes a toxic political football, in a game of political expediency versus justice.
Ying and yang, baby. That's what this season's all about.
Fortunately, Shout! Factory remains consistent in presenting these remarkably well-restored episodes. One complaint: The absence of English SDH subtitles. As good as the Dolby 2.0 mono restoration is, we're talking about a television show from 1976 that features quite a bit of heavy NYC dialect.
As I said, opinions will vary about the quality of individual episodes, and those that misfired for me were graded on a curve. In other words, middling Kojak beats the hell out of most cop shows at their most magnificent.
Coochy coo, baby…You gotta ask?!
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Shout! Factory
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