The Dark Side of Pete Malloy
AS REGULAR READERS of this blog know, I’ve been watching late 60s-early 70s Los Angeles-based dramas on Netflix during dinner for the last couple weeks. Dragnet is my appetizer, Emergency! is the entree, Adam-12 is dessert.
I call it the Jack Webb Diet, mister. And if you can think of a better way to spend 102 minutes every night while cramming items from Del Taco’s Buck & Under menu down your throat, well sir, I’d sure like to hear it.
A recent dessert course was Adam-12, Season One, Episode 24. That the ending was so unexpected made an already unusual outing with Reed & Malloy that much more enjoyable. But you’re going to need some set-up. Like the entire episode in screen caps.
On with the show!
Meet speeding socialite Penny Lang, pulled over for blowing through a boulevard stop.
She can’t believe that Officer Pete Malloy is intent on giving her a ticket. After all, she’s Penny Lang of number 5 Winston Lane (emphasis hers). Heiress to the Lang fortune (“Daddy’s in oil. Just dripping with it,” she laughs.)
Besides, she was just taking her poodle “Mistinguette” to her stylist and she’s late! [Hats off to the transcribing savant who figured out how to spell the dog’s name for the closed captioning.]
Malloy doesn’t budge on the ticket even after she gets out of the car, turns on the charm, shows off the full package and offers him a date. He’s not interested.
Ouch! Miss Lang has apparently never been turned down before.
* * * * * * * * * *
The guys in the locker room give Pete the business the second he walks in after a few days off. Some gal’s been dropping by the front desk and asking for him. ‘Where’s Pete? When is he coming back to work? Where does he live?’ This woman – whoever she is! – is really hung up on him!
Officer Jim Reed walks in and hands his partner a package someone sent to him at the station.
Malloy opens it and…
The rest of the guys have a good laugh, but Officer Malloy wants to put a stop to this whole business. “It’s going back the same way it came – U.S. Mail,” Malloy tells Reed outside as he re-addresses the package.
“Deliver it yourself,” Jim suggests as Miss Lang drives up behind the station.
So Malloy attacks the problem head on.
“You’ve caused enough trouble already,” Malloy tells her, “so why don’t you just be a good little girl and go on home?”
Not insulted in the least, Miss Lang continues making a play for him and Malloy gets just this side of nasty. “You’re out of your league,” he growls at her, walking away.
* * * * * * * * * *
It’s a fairly uneventful day for the two cops in the black & white patrol car designated 1-Adam-12. Not so much for Officer Ed Wells. He’s had to answer three separate complaints at 5 Winston Lane, and he’s not happy about it.
Seems Miss Lang is sick and tired of the whole police department and only has confidence in Pete Malloy. She doesn’t understand why he can’t be sent out to personally handle her calls. Wells now has two hours’ worth of reports to fill out because of all this.
Penny doesn’t stop at calling in frivolous non-emergencies, though. That night she stakes out the station and tries following Pete home. It takes him a half-hour and some fancy driving to lose her, he tells Reed the next day.
“Police experience sure comes in handy, huh?” his partner quips, and is met with the classic Malloy slow-burn/glare.
That night, the pair are sent to answer a 507 at a high-end apartment house. The fussy resident manager demands they go up to unit 1902 and get his new tenant to turn down the “steereo.” But be tactful! Be discreet! “We cater to nothing but top drawer here!”
Goodness, who could this new tenant be?!
Penny, however, is a bit more enthused to see him.
Sure, she had to move into Malloy’s reporting district to get him to respond to her calls, but it was worth it, right?
…he tells her for a third time.
But Malloy’s only getting started.
He continues with a withering condemnation of her whole approach, her motives and her values before telling Reed “Let’s go back to work” and filing out.
Surely, she’s gotten the message by now.
Well, maybe not.
* * * * * * * * * *
Next day, Sergeant McDonald calls Malloy on the carpet about the situation with this girlfriend of his.
Regardless, it’s becoming an embarrassment to the Department – the captain’s already brought it up at a supervisors meeting.
Pete details the history of a problem that began a few days before with that simple traffic citation and ultimately reassures Sergeant Mac that last night “I laid it right on the line to her, and there’ll be no more problems, I guarantee it!”
That’s when he’s called outside…
…to take delivery of his brand new Porsche 912.
Malloy refuses it (to the chagrin of a commission-hungry salesman).
He goes back inside, and accompanied by some dramatic music, contemplates his situation, and finally comes to a decision.
“I’m desperate,” he concedes to his partner as he dials the phone.
“Boy, the things you do for the job,” Jim Reed taunts him.
* * * * * * * * * *
The next day, Reed of course wants details.
Malloy plays dumb.
Oh, oh, yes, the date with Penny Lang, he remembers after being pressed.
“There’s not much to tell. We had dinner. Caught a show. Went dancing. Oh, she’s a good dancer. (sigh) It was a date, you know. You must remember what they were like.”
“And that’s it?”
“What?” Reed asks.
And with a look of mutual understanding, the episode ends!
Now, Adam-12 episodes often end abruptly like this. Occasionally, the viewer is left hanging with an unanswered question or two. Did they ever recover that guy’s stolen unicycle? Did the old lady survive the earwig attack? Like that. We’re usually wondering which one of just two likely outcomes occurred.
As for Pete’s date with Penny Lang – especially after his ominous remarks – the mind reels with possibilities.
…Oh, hell, I think we all know what happened.
But as with Reed, we’re probably better off not knowing the specifics.