Judge P.S. Colbert longs to be where little cable cars climb halfway to the stars.
Our reviews of The Streets Of San Francisco: Season 1, Volume 1 (published April 4th, 2007), The Streets of San Francisco: Season 3, Volume 2 (published July 22nd, 2012), The Streets of San Francisco: Season 4 (published September 12th, 2012), and The Streets of San Francisco: Season 5 (published November 17th, 2012) are also available.
"Exposes the dark underbelly of the City by the Bay"
The Summer of Love was seven years gone by the third season premiere of The Streets Of San Francisco, and the intersection of Haight and Ashbury was likely a spot as any to find Homicide detectives Mike Stone (Karl Malden, A Streetcar Named Desire) and Steve Keller (Michael Douglas, Wall Street) roping off yet another bloody crime scene.
Season Three earned this ace Quinn Martin production its highest ratings and most Emmy nominations (nine) of its five year run. Volume One features thirteen pieces of solid evidence, proof beyond a reasonable doubt that this success was in no way coerced.
• "One Last Shot"—The season opener features a brilliant performance by Leslie Nielsen (The Naked Gun) as an alcoholic patrolman whose disease is taking a deadly toll on the job.
• "The Most Deadly Species"—Oscar nominee Brenda Vaccaro (Once Is Not Enough) guests as a femme fatale who specializes in mob hits. Incidentally, the lady has just moved in next door to Keller.
• "Target: Red"—Between gigs as Eddie's father and the Incredible Hulk's alter-ego, Bill Bixby expertly played a ruthless and deadly assassin hired to take out a visiting Chinese diplomat.
• "Mask Of Death"—This creepy thriller gives John Davidson (That's Incredible!) a welcome chance to shed his male moppet persona by playing a very conflicted and extremely agitated female impersonator.
• "I Ain't Marchin' Anymore"—Keller goes underground to investigate the murder of a draft dodger.
• "One Chance To Live"—An unsettling story that reminds us anyone at any time can become the target of a murderous psychopath.
• "Jacob's Boy"—Blackmail leads to murder and an escaped convict (Brock Peters, To Kill A Mockingbird). Stone and Keller find themselves at the fork in the road separating Justice and the letter of the law.
• "Flags Of Terror"—A group of international terrorists are holed up in a docked boat with a group of hostages, including Keller. This episode marks the television debut of Cher's baby sister Georgeanne LaPiere (General Hospital), in a small but key role.
• "Cry Help!"—This anguishing examination of child abuse—which garnered two Emmy nominations—features a gem of a performance by guest star Mariette Hartley (Peyton Place).
• "For Good Or Evil"—Teenager Paul Hudson witnesses a mob-style execution and figures to parlay with the murderer. Big mistake! Guest stars Mike Evans and Berlinda Tolbert would go onto play husband and wife on The Jeffersons just two months after appearing here as high school sweethearts. These kids, they grow up so fast!
• "Bird Of Prey"—The suspect in a recent series of lady killings appears to be a handsome blond Air Force captain. Coincidentally, the nearby Air Force base (and the guest cast) seems to be crawling with men that fit that description!
• "License To Kill"—Stone's old partner, Barney Lujack (Murray Hamilton, Jaws), is back in town to take deadly aim at the gangster who murdered his son.
Paramount has served up a dazzling set of standard definition 1.33:1 transfers, showing remarkably little age erosion. The Dolby 2.0 Mono audio doesn't quite match the picture's quality, but the difference is almost negligible, and the helpful addition of subtitles ensures that viewers won't miss a beat. There are no extras, but with a set this good, who needs 'em, right?
When a show like The Streets of San Francisco works this well—almost forty years on, no less—you don't take it apart for examination. You just sit back and let it dazzle you. Carry on, officers!
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