Rerun Junkie Guest Stars–Michael Constantine

Michael Constantine is one of those guest stars that I never expect to see as often as I do. I can remember the first time I watched the Perry Mason episode “The Case of the Runaway Racer” and when he appeared onscreen, I literally pointed at the TV as said, “That’s Michael Constantine!” (This was repeated when I saw Gavin MacLeod and Paul Winfield.)

Despite many of his 182 credits going back to 1959 on IMDB being TV credits, I still think of Mr. Constantine as more of a movie actor. Maybe it’s because of Thinner and My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Maybe he just has a presence that says “Big Screen”. Either way, he’s done plenty on the small screen.

In addition to reprising his role as Gus on My Big Fat Greek Life (which only ran for seven episodes), he was also Jack Ellenhorn on Hey, Landlord, The Sorcerer on Electra Woman and Dyna Girl, Judge Matthew Sirota on Sirota’s Court, and Principal Seymour Kaufman on Room 222, which was his longest regular TV stint.

Perhaps one of his most memorable guest spots was in an episode of The Twilight Zone called “I Am the Night–Color Me Black”, in which a condemned man is set to hang and the local newspaper editor questions his guilt, implying that the Deputy lied and the Sheriff is too lazy/apathetic to do anything about it. When the sun doesn’t rise on the day of the hanging, the townspeople start to realize why. It’s a fantastic episode made all the more better by Michael Constantine’s sheriff and George Lindsey’s deputy. If you only know George Lindsey as Goober Pyle, you’re in for a shock. Mr. Constantine doesn’t shy away from the character that he’s playing either.

My favorite guest appearance of his is on Murder, She Wrote in the episode “Murder Takes the Bus”. First of all, it’s a fabulous guest cast that includes Mills Watson, Linda Blair, Rue McClanahan, Larry Linville, Albert Salmi, Don Stroud, and David Wayne. Secondly, it’s a whodunit on a bus stranded at a cafe in a storm. The killer is most definitely among them and the victim is a recently released prisoner who’d been involved in a bank robbery in which someone was killed. When Michael Constantine confesses to killing the man in retaliation for his daughter dying during the robbery, your heart breaks for him. He’s a grieving father who’s held onto this bitterness for years and the lack of remorse from the man responsible for his daughter’s death drives him over the edge. You feel for him. And then you get the twist of the victim already being dead when he stabbed him. It’s just a fantastic episode with every player hitting the high notes, particularly Mr. Constantine.

He turned up on other solve-a-murder shows like Ellery Queen, Quincy ME, and McMillan and Wife; joined in on family friendly fare like The Flying Nun, Benson, Mama’s Family, Highway to Heaven, The Odd Couple, and Hogan’s Heroes; went West on The Virginian, Gunsmoke, and Iron Horse; tangled with Raymond Burr yet again on Ironside; went to war on Combat! and 12 O’Clock High; checked in on Trapper John MD, Ben Casey, Dr. Kildare, and The Bold Ones: The New Doctors; was privately investigated on Remington Steele, 77 Sunset Strip, The New Mike Hammer, Matt Houston, Vega$, and Magnum PI; went to paradise on The Love Boat and Fantasy Island; got legal on Cain’s Hundred, Judging Amy, and The New Breed; got into other people’s business on Blacke’s Magic and Midnight Caller; tangled with the law on Cold Case, Hunter, The Untouchables, Naked City, The Streets of San Francisco, The Detectives, and Homicide: Life on the Street; went sci-fi on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Invaders, and The Outer Limits, and got spooky on Night Gallery and Friday the 13: The Series; evaded the law on The Fugitive; got in on the action on Airwolf, The Fall Guy, Mission: Impossible, and MacGyver; and worked with Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore on The Dick Van Dyke Show; Mary Tyler Moore and Ed Asner on The Mary Tyler Moore Show; and then Ed Asner on Lou Grant.

It’s no surprise that Michael Constantine had the range to tackle multiple genres. Good guys, bad guys, funny guys, sympathetic guys, he had the chops to tackle them all, bringing a certain weight and believability to every single character he played.

Yes, he was absolutely perfect for the big screen, but lucky for us, he graced the small screen often, too.

Make It Fashion

It’s no secret that one of the things that caught my interest when I started watching Hawaii Five-O was the fashion. Sure, our team is typically dressed in conservative suits, but their personal and undercover fits are a sight to behold. Not to mention that you’re dealing with an island vacation spot in the late ’60s and throughout the ’70s. So many bright colors, bold patterns, and a broad assortment of people wearing them.

It’s a glorious time capsule.

In fact, it covers the end of one decade, the entirety of the next decade, and the very beginning of a third decade, which shows off the evolution of fashion during that particular time period. In that time span, dresses are going from short shifts to waist-defined and below the knees; the skirts go from minis to maxis; bell bottoms grow and waist-lines lower; even the suits change, with the widths of lapels and ties changing.

Not only that, this is Hawai’i fashion. In addition to what you might find on TV at the time, the standard styles and the styles indicative of certain groups like hippies, you also got island fashion, both residential and vacation. Yes, there are a lot of Aloha shirts and matching Aloha outfits and other threads common to vacationers and required of those working in the tourist trade. And the colors and patterns are glorious. But there’s also what the average, everyday people wear while working in the markets or on boats or doing their shopping. And there are muumuus. So many glorious muumuus.

That’s what’s so great about Rerun Fashion: it tells us so much.

Iris Apfel once talked about fashion as being a sort of record for history. You can tell what was going on in the world at the time by what people wore.

I feel that way about TV fashion as well (however I’m not nearly as cool or as well-dressed as Iris Apfel). We’re not only getting a glimpse into the fashion and styles of the time, which provides its own little insight into what the world was like, but we’re also getting that all filtered through the characters that are wearing it.

Obviously, Steve McGarrett is my favorite example of this.

While the Five-O team wore their conservative suits at work, they’re off-duty attire was much more relaxed for the most part, polos and Aloha shirts. And then there was Steve. Conservative, by-the-book Steve had an affinity for ascots, whites suits, pops of color, and some pretty fab hats. You never would have thought it from a man like him, but he was a bit of a fashionista. While some hard-nosed cops have a softer side off-duty, Steve McGarrett had a stylish side.

There’s something especially fab about characters you’re used to seeing in uniform in their street clothes. When the guys at Station 51 on Emergency! change into their street gear, you not only get a glimpse into their off-duty personalities, you also get a glimpse into their off-duty personalities as filtered through the ’70s. That’s why Johnny Gage is sporting these patchwork jeans. Of which I had a similar pair in high school in the ’90s when some ’70s styles had a resurgence.

I would wear them again today, no hesitation.

Speaking of out of uniform, given how infrequently everyone on Stargate Atlantis gets to don street clothes, it feels particularly monumental when they show up in those duds of the aughts.

If you want to look for character definition through wardrobe, look no further than The A-Team. Each character is defined by their clothes. Hannibal with his safari jacket, Face with his leather jacket, BA with his gold chains and perpetual lack of sleeves. A ball cap, bomber jacket, and pair of Chuck Taylors is Murdock. You can see that from space.

There was a similar situation on the ’60s Dragnet. Joe Friday and Bill Gannon wore the same suits every episode.

One other thing that I find fun to look out for is how the wardrobe department of shows not only dress characters for their personalities, but also how they coordinate the characters with each other.

One of my favorite things about CSI:Miami is that starting in the second season, wardrobe started doing a little color matchy-matchy between characters. Calleigh’s shirt matching Frank’s tie. Delko and Speed wearing similar colored shirts. By the fourth season, it was full-tilt coordination. It seems like at least one character in each episode is guaranteed to match Frank’s tie. And there are some episodes when there’s obviously a color theme. Everybody sporting a shade of one color. It’s glorious.

On the flip side of that, wardrobe on The Golden Girls did their best to make each woman stand out on their own. Not much in the way of matchy-matchy unless there was a specific reason. There’s one episode that sticks out in my mind in which Dorothy, Rose, and Blanche are sitting on the couch looking like a stoplight -red, yellow, green.

Just like the plots and slang, the fashion of reruns can either be dated or timeless, however it never fails to deliver some sort of statement.

Just pay closer attention to the threads.

Rerun Junkie Show–CSI: Miami

csi miami

WARNING: This post is just full of spoilers. Like I held back not at all. Viewer discretion is advised.

I watched CSI: Miami when it was first run back in the early aughts, jumping into the show in like the third or fourth season and then sort of fading out towards the last few (I was in and out, but I did watch the series finale, of course). When Charge! added the series to the line-up, I wasn’t exactly enthused (it replaced my morning Magnum PI for a time), but ended up putting it on because there was nothing else to watch and quickly found myself reliving the glory that is this show.

Then I realized that the show had been off the air for about 10 years which makes it Rerun Junkie eligible in my book. And that means I justified watching five hours of it every night for months as research.

A spin-off of CSI, the Miami version focuses on crime lab leader Lt. Horatio Caine (David Caruso) and his team which during the course of ten seasons included Calleigh Duquense (Emily Proctor), Eric Delko (Adam Rodriguez), Megan Donner (Kim Delaney), Tim Speedle (Rory Cochrane), Ryan Wolfe (Jonathan Togo), Natalia Boa Vista (Eva LaRue), Jesse Cardoza (Eddie Cibrian), and Walter Simmons (Omar Benson Miller). They worked alongside medical examiners Dr. Alexx Woods (Khandi Alexander), Dr. Tara Price (Megalyn Echikunwoke), and Dr. Tom Loman (Christian Clemenson), and detectives Frank Tripp (Rex Linn), Yelina Salas (Sofia Milos), Adell Sevilla (Wanda DeJesus), John Hagen (Holt McCallany), and Jake Berkeley (Johnny Whitworth). And everybody drove around in Hummers. Your first clue that this show as go big because we’re already home.

The first three seasons were pretty standard police procedural fare, cases mixed with personal lives and tragic backstories. Now, these cases were very Miami, of course. The first episode had a plane crash in the Glades that led to Delko and Speed needing to obtain the plane’s pilfered black boxes from a pit of juvie alligators. That sets a tone. There are also crocodiles, air boats, wild fires, night clubs, sex parties, diplomatic immunity, Cuban refugees, sharks, pirates, a hurricane, a tsunami, and boat drive-bys.

However, there were hints of the show it would become.

In the first three seasons, we got the roller coaster that was Horatio Caine’s dead brother Raymond, an undercover narcotics officer killed in the line of duty during a not-so-on-the-books drug deal, casting a shadow over his legacy. Complicating matters is that Horatio has feelings for his widowed sister-in-law Yelina and they are somewhat reciprocated, but then Horatio finds out that his brother had an affair and a daughter named Madison with meth addict Susie (Azura Skye) while undercover and because Horatio takes on the responsibility of supporting them, Yelina thinks the child is Horatio’s and that pretty much ends things for them and so she starts dating IAB Sgt. Rick Stetler (David Lee Smith), who has it in for Horatio and his team, but it all comes out in the wash when it’s revealed that Raymond was so undercover that he’s not only not dead, but also Dean Winters for that episode, and his apparent murderer, who was Susie’s shitty husband, was also deep undercover, and now-alive Raymond takes Yelina and their son Ray Jr. to be safe in Brazil with Horatio’s help, but we never hear about Susie and Madison again after Ray Jr. gives Madison a bone marrow transplant.

Ah-mazing.

So, when Season 4 rolled around, the lab got a face lift, the show leaned into the orange aura and color coordination, and the show mashed that gas pedal to the floor. I swear the writing room philosophy was “Why the fuck not?” and I am not mad about it. The results are pure entertainment.

In Season 4 alone, Horatio had to contend with both a serial killer from his past (who frames him for murder at one point) and the deadly Mala Noche gang. He ended up falling for and marrying Delko’s sister Marisol (Alana De La Garza), who was fighting cancer, something Delko had been keeping from everyone as he struggled to support her financially and emotionally, including scoring pot for her to help her symptoms, which he got in trouble for, but Horatio bailed him out. Delko also wasn’t thrilled with his boss marrying his sister, but he got over it, blessing the happy marriage that lasted until the next episode when Marisol was gunned down by the Mala Noche (you had to see that coming, right?). Meanwhile, the whole lab is plagued by a mole and the feds eventually come crashing down on them. Also, Ryan got shot in the eye with a nail gun at some point. It was very busy.

In the ensuing seasons: Horatio acquired a teenage son named Kyle Harmon (Evan Ellingson) he didn’t know he had as the result of his own undercover work and whose mother Julia Winston (Elizabeth Berkley) had questionable motives and questionable taste in men (outside of Horatio, of course). One of her husbands, Ron Saris (Kim Coates), proved to be a dangerous, underhanded man, and a real pain in Horatio’s ass. Julia ends up being committed after going off her bipolar meds because she’s falsely accused of stealing drugs (it was really Dr. Price, who had a bit of an addiction) and trying to shoot Horatio in front of their son, who later enlists in the military and is sent to the Middle East as a medic. Horatio also fakes his death once with the help of Ryan and David Keith, then in a later season gets shot for real by Ethan Embry, who also puts Natalia in a car trunk and pushes it into the ocean. Does Horatio recover enough from his gunshot wound to save her AND solve the case? You’re damn right.

Natalia and Ryan were also nearly killed when a booby-trapped meth lab blew up and she ended up with some hearing loss as a result. When her abusive ex-husband Nick (Rob Estes) resurfaces and makes her life a living hell by following the abuser playbook, using his smarmy charm and knowledge of the law against her, which forces a shaky truce so she can keep working, he ends up getting murdered (because the dude is a shitbag), which rudely results in both Natalia and beloved DNA analyst Maxine Valera (Boti Bliss) being accused of the crime. Her sister Anya (Natalie Morales) was kidnapped by a murderous photographer (which was based on a real life close call of Eva LaRue’s sister). And Natalia was also kidnapped by a man who wanted her to prove that he was innocent (and nothing says “innocent” like the desperation of a felony). She was also briefly on everyone’s shitlist because she was the Season 4 lab mole. Just as brief was her relationship with Delko, which resulted in a pregnancy scare.

Delko would end up getting shot in the leg and the head (but we only remember the head shot), and the bit of the bullet left lodged in his temporal lobe would prove to be problematic as he recovered with some memory problems and the healing process resulted in him hallucinating a not-dead Speed, and then later the bullet shifting in his brain landed him in a coma. He took a break from being a CSI for a bit after that and sort of alienated everyone when it was discovered he was doing a low key investigation for State’s Attorney Rebecca Niven (Christina Chang) (who also briefly dated Horatio) regarding missing evidence, which got her blown up, and nearly took out Eric as well. And to add insult to energy, he found out that his dad wasn’t his dad and that his real dad was a Russian mobster and his birth certificate was a fake and he almost got deported back to Cuba, except that it was revealed that his Russian dad was actually an American CIA plant from way back in the day so Eric was still an American at the end of the day. He also ended up having an on-again, off-again relationship with Calleigh.

Calleigh would also have relationships with a couple of other detectives, first Hagan and then Berkeley. It was after Hagan’s suicide in front of her in firearms that Calleigh stepped away from her calling as a bullet girl for a bit. There was also a bit of flirtation with an FBI guy by the name of Peter Elliot (Michael B. Silver), but that tanked when she found out he got engaged to Assistant State’s Attorney Monica West (Bellamy Young), who was so hell bent on bringing down the lab, she stole evidence to do it. She was once put on leave for an off-duty officer involved incident in which it looked like an innocent bystander had been killed by her actions, but she was cleared. Calleigh nearly died of smoke inhalation twice, the second time resulting in a near-death experience that had her investigating the crime with the victim. Like Natalia, Calleigh was also kidnapped, but she was taken by criminals who wanted her to help them cover up a crime (thanks to a disgraced Cooper’s website targeting her because he blamed her for getting fired and not his own dispshit, thievery actions), but she was smart enough to leave a clue for every clue she removed, which led to the cavalry arriving just in time. While Ethan Embry was on the run after trying to take out Horatio and Natalia, Calleigh ended up forming a bond with his two kids, particularly his son Austin, and ended up later adopting him and his sister Patty.

After getting shot in the eye with a nail gun, Ryan sort of careened out of control, leaking information to reporter Erica Sykes (Amy Laughlin), assaulting lab rat Dan Cooper (Brendan Fehr) and a police officer, and then developing a gambling problem, which resulted in his debt being potentially held over an investigation. He paid it off just in time…by gambling on the clock. As a result, he got fired and spent quite a bit of time working his way back to the team. But his gambling past caught up with him through a support group buddy. Because of him he ended up being kidnapped and tortured (including some Marathon Man dentistry) by some Russian mob guys who wanted him to dispose of evidence in a crime. He was also framed for murder once by Stetler and then accused of a murder which was actually committed by late-comer CSI Samantha Owens (Taylor Cole), who left him to take the rap, breaking his heart because Ryan struggled to fall for anyone outside the lab. Oh, and he also got blown away by a tornado once, but despite landing on a car, was right back to work to help solve the case. Horatio was right. It’s in his blood.

Before we even got to the fifth season, Alexx had already survived two wild fires, being taken hostage by an escaped convict, and an explosion. So naturally she survives a rocket launcher attack, a meth lab fire (along with Ryan, who seems to have some questionable luck in the meth lab department), and the bad mojo of a solar eclipse. Prescribing antibiotics for Ryan’s nail gunned eye infection lands her in hot water with her boss, but she chooses loyalty to her friends over career politics. However, the job ends up getting to her and after her son ends up a murder suspect (the team clears him, of course), she decides to choose life over death and leaves the morgue, eventually taking a part time job at the hospital.

Within the span of a couple of episodes, Frank ends up stepping on a landmine (he’s okay!) and then a house explosion lands a water heater directly onto his new car. He ends up getting promoted to sergeant and during his time in uniform, he’s on a prison bus that crashes. The resulting head injury from the crash and an assault by one of the prisoners combined with the mob rush around the bus, disorients Frank to the point that he shoots at a man pointing a gun at him. In reality, it’s an unarmed deaf woman. Frank is distraught, but ballistics quickly reveals he didn’t shoot her. He eventually returns to plain clothes work, for which we are grateful because Frank has the best ties.

Jesse was only with us for a single season, but we find out this wife was murdered by a porn producer who also murdered his own wife and a big part of the reason Jesse’s in Florida is because he’s stalking the killer’s new unsuspecting woman in an attempt to keep her safe. Horatio and Delko end up going out to LA to clear Jesse’s reputation which as been besmirched by the killer and his attorney, Malcolm McDowell. Only Horatio Caine can best Malcolm McDowell. That’s like a law. And they eventually get said killer. Sadly, Jesse’s time in Miami ends with his unfortunate death after the entire lab is gassed by a serial killer high on his own genius and Jesse hits his head when he collapses.

Walter was lucky. He was mostly drama-free and with the exception of being put on the hot seat during an investigation into some missing diamonds (thanks to Delko’s big mouth) and feeling really guilty about Ryan’s tornado experience since he felt it was his fault, he was mostly left to deal with other people’s drama. Which is fine. Walter is precious and should be protected at all costs. Same for Dr. Loman. I love them and I will fight you if you say otherwise.

Now take all of this and weave in cases that feature politicians (including Ed Beagley Jr.), judges, spring breakers, weapons that can vaporize people, Russian mobsters (including Andrew Divoff), reality stars, guns that can shoot around corners, dirty bombs, repeat offenders (like Clavo Cruz, played by Gonzalo Menendez), Santeria, serial killers, cougars, con artists, identity theft, boa constrictors, then-current pop culture trends, sex workers, models, cartels, wannabes, and baby, you got yourself a good time.

Some familiar faces that popped up during the series run include: soap vets Wes Ramsey (who first played a baddie before coming back much later in a recurring role as video guy Dave Benton), Rena Sofer, Jennifer Sky, James Patrick Stewart, Amber Tamblyn, Jamie Luner, and Kirsten Storms; Lauren Holly, Natasha Henstridge, Judy Greer, Tia Carrere, Maria Conchita Alonso; future Lost alums Ian Sommerholder, Maggie Grace, Emilie de Ravin, and Mark Pelligrino; future Arrow stars Stephen Amell, Rick Gonzalez, Paul Blackthorne, and David Ramsey; Castle stars Stana Katic, Tamala Jones, and Seamus Deaver; John Schneider, Patrick Cassidy, Greg Evigan, Anthony Michael Hall, Alan Ruck; Candyman himself, Tony Todd, and his lady love Virginia Madsen; Stargate-ers Ben Browder, Michael Shanks, Corin Nemic, David DeLuise, Louis Ferreira, Alaina Huffman, and Willie Garson; Star Trek-ers Chris Pine (who will never be as cool as his dad), Robert Beltran, Anson Mount, and Tim Russ; BSG stars Callum Keith Rennie, Michael Trucco, and Jamie Bamber; Aisha Tyler, Missy Crider, Debi Mazar, Brooke Burns; Alien franchise victims Mark Rolston (as pain in the ass fed Glen Cole) and Raymond Cruz; in addition to Dean Winters, other Oz alums included Dean’s brother Scott William Winters, Lance Reddick (as yet another recurring fed), and Brian Bloom; Sean “Diddy” combs, Rich Eisen, Sticky Fingaz, Zac Effron; Hawaii Five-0/Magnum PI reboot contributors Ian Anthony Dale, Katrina Law, William Forsythe, Sung Kang, Taryn Manning, and James Remar (who was also a Warrior); Lucy Lawless, Terry Crews, Joe Manganiello, Timothy Omundson, Jon Hamm; fellow Miami show Burn Notice stars Jeffrey Donovan and Coby Bell; future Breaking Bad stars Aaron Paul and Giancarlo Esposito; NCIS: New Orleans folks Rob Kerkovich and Necar Zadegan; Firefly‘s Adam Baldwin and Sean Maher; Christopher Titus, Elaine Hendrix, Jake Busey, Jsu Garcia, Beth Brodrick, Orlando Jones, Alica Witt; Walking Dead zombie dodgers Michael Cudlitz, Michael Rooker, and John Bernthal; legends in my mind Daniel Roebuck, Ned Bellamy, Wings Hauser, Don Swayze, and Jeff Fahey; and legit goddesses Bo Derrick, Cheryl Ladd, and Raquel Welch.

I couldn’t include all of the guest stars I wanted to because I could go on forever. A lot of fabulous people strolled through this part of Miami.

Also, special shout out to our recurring lab folks that I haven’t mentioned yet because this evidence isn’t going to analyze itself: Brian Poth (Tyler Jenson), Christopher Redman (Michael Travers), Brooke Bloom (Cynthia Wells), Cristián de la Fuente (Sam Belmontes), Armando Valdes-Kennedy (Aaron Peters), Leslie Odom Jr. (Joseph Kayle), and Salli Richardson-Whitfield (Laura); a nod to a few of our other officers and detectives: Shelli Burgh (Officer Paula Muro), Joel West (Officer Jessop…blown up by the Mala Noche, RIP), and Michael Whaley (Detective Bernstein); and special consideration to Stephen Tobolowsky whose State’s Attorney Don Haffman seemed to be the only one who didn’t end up dead or in jail.

Though the show was known for its tendency to be soapy, over the top, maybe even a bit camp (all of these are good points as far as I’m concerned), it still managed to have some interesting storytelling and emotional weight.

Speed’s death in a shootout at the beginning of Season 3 mirroring his involvement in a shootout in the first season, not just his gun failing to fire because he didn’t clean it (dammit, Speed), but also him getting hit in the same spot on his chest, the lack of a bullet proof vest dooming him the second time is a beautiful piece of symmetry and Speed’s final moments are terribly upsetting, especially given how senseless it was in the context of the case. But his death was allowed to resonate, not just for that season, but later seasons as well. Delko was deeply impacted by Speed’s death, which led to him engaging in some really risky behaviors. When Delko hallucinates Speed in Season 6 because of the way his brain is healing after being shot, he ends up having to grieve him all over again.

Speed’s name comes up later in Season 8 when Delko is in a coma and Horatio pleads with him to stay around because after losing Marisol and Raymond and Speed, he can’t bear to lose him, too. It’s such a beautiful scene in the middle of a nostalgic episode that gives us the story of how the band got together. A tricky thing to execute in such a late season, it does a great job of showing how everyone connected as Horatio and his partner John “Sully” Sullivan (Brad Leland), who would be pretty relevant in Season 8, investigate a murder, with Horatio encouraging a very not-CSI Delko to pursue the career, Calleigh just transferring to the lab, Cardoza fixing to leave the lab in Miami to go to LA and recommending a guy named Speed on the way out the door, Frank in uniform, Alexx back in the morgue, and Natalia still with the FBI. Ryan and Walter aren’t around in the flashbacks, of course, but they’re in the present and that’s good, too.

Delko and Calleigh weren’t the only ones with near-death experiences and hallucinations. After Horatio was shot by Ethan Embry, he found himself back with Marisol again. I so love when shows don’t shy away from things outside the realm of known reality, particularly when they’re shows like this that are so science, fact, and evidence driven.

One other storyline that I particularly love that played out over the first few seasons was that of Calleigh and her dad, lawyer Kenwall Duquense (John Heard). It was obvious that she was daddy’s girl and loved the man very much, but his alcoholism and inability to stay on the wagon created such a sad strain on their relationship. When his drinking inevitably leads to an incident in which it looks like he may have killed someone (but of course didn’t), Calleigh puts her foot down. If she can’t stop him from drinking, she’ll stop him from driving and takes his keys. In his last appearance, he seems to be doing better.

The fact that the show wasn’t above having some intentional fun is great, too. The episode titles themselves got punny, like “Bang Bang Your Debt” (a shady credit card company preying on college kids leads to murder), “Smoke Gets in Your CSIs” (the first time Calleigh suffers smoke inhalation), “Chip/Tuck” (a plastic surgeon gets put into a wood chipper), “Grizzly Murder” (a bear attack on some hunters), “Won’t Get Fueled Again” (a guy involved in a fuel smuggling ring is set on fire), and “Look Who’s Taunting” (the first episode featuring the Miami Taunter serial killer suspected to be Esteban Navarro, played by Kuno Becker). Seriously. Just inject that sort of thing straight into my veins.

There’s a Rashomon-style episode that has Ryan, Calleigh, and Delko coming to very different conclusions on who killed their victim before Horatio steps in to help them tie it all together. There’s also an episode in which Ryan starts to believe that he’s been cursed by a little coffin that Eric won’t touch due to his respect for the Santeria alter in the victim’s room. In the end, Ryan’s not cursed…but someone else might be.

There’s also an episode in which Ryan is certain he sees a floating hat at a crime scene and even though everyone else gives him shit about it, the mystery of the floating hat is actually relevant to the crime. Doesn’t stop Walter from messing with him later, though.

I really do love the relationships between the characters on the show, particularly the Delko/Speed friendship (I love those two on cases together), the Walter/Ryan friendship (the two of them being confronted with a bear is legit one of my favorite laugh out loud moments), and the Natalia/Ryan friendship (I love how they support each other). None of them are above getting pissy with each other (Delko and Ryan could get particularly bitchy, especially with each other, and Frank was never above busting Ryan’s balls), but there’s something subtly refreshing about how that almost never happens between Calleigh and Natalia, and something gently reassuring about how Horatio always has everyone’s back, whether they want it or not.

At the end of the day, they’re all family.

And the show is a bonkers good time.

Yeeeeeahhhhh!

horatio caine

Rerun Junkie Guest Stars–Richard Jaeckel

Do you need a good looking man of a questionable character? Allow me to introduce you to Richard Jaeckel.

Okay, he more than likely wasn’t of questionable character outside of the roles he played and not all of the roles he did play were of questionable character, but he did play the mime rapist on that one episode of Little House on the Prairie, so yeah, I’m going to side-eye him forever for that.

He was Tony Gentry on Frontier Circus, Lt. Pete McNeil on Banyon, Hank Meyers on Firehouse, Jack Klinger on Salvage 1, Maj. Hawkins on At Ease, Lt. Martin Quirk on Spenser: For Hire, and Ben Edwards on Baywatch, and with 187 credits on IMDB going back to 1943, many of them for TV shows, you’ve probably seen him in something, most likely a Western.

He did multiple stints on Gunsmoke, but the episode I remember best is a final season entry called “Larkin”, in which he plays an outlaw pursued by bounty hunters who happens to run into Newly and is taken into custody. Newly is hurt during the course of the action and he struggles to make it back to Dodge City with Larkin in tow and bounty hunters right behind them. Larkin is a killer and he’s stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to the bounty hunters and the law, but better the devil that would rather take you in alive. It’s a tightrope of nuance and tension that Richard Jaeckel walks brilliantly.

He also put in appearances on other Westerns such as Bonanza, The Virginian, The Wild Wild West, Wagon Train, Have Gun-Will Travel, The Rebel, and The Oregon Trail.

Mr. Jaeckel made a brief, but memorable appearance in an episode of Emergency! called “Kids”, in which he successful defends a man of abusing his stepson. His unapologetic demeanor endears him to no one, particularly Dr. Brackett, and definitely not the audience, especially at the end of the episode when the actually guilty stepfather sends the stepson to Rampart General once again.

Frequently cast in roles as a member of the military, he turned up in episodes of Black Sheep Squadron, Combat!, and China Beach. His penchant for playing police officers and criminals alike landed him on shows like Ironside, Perry Mason, McCloud, Baretta, and The Naked City. He also dealt with his share of private detectives in episodes of Charlie’s Angels, Cannon, and 77 Sunset Strip.

He tangled with the feds on The FBI, The Untouchables, and O’Hara, US Treasury; showed up on both The Alfred Hitchcock Hour and Alfred Hitchcock Presents; went to paradise on The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, and Big Hawaii; got sci-fi on The Time Tunnel and The Outer Limits; found himself in the presence of criminally brilliant minds on Murder, She Wrote and Ellery Queen; made news on Lou Grant, spied on Mission: Impossible, and went big on Dallas.

No matter what show he turned up on and no matter what state his character’s character might have been, Richard Jaeckle is always an impressive presence.

Nothing questionable about that.

Book ’em, Danno–Episode 37

A man seeking revenge meets his match in an old lady when he takes hostages in the Five-O offices in “The Bomber and Mrs. Maroney”. And the games continue in the Season 3 2010 Hawaii Five-0 episode “Pa’ani”.

I admit that it took a while this season to get to a reboot episode. That’s just the way the schedule played out. But it is a fun episode, so I think it’s worth the wait. Larry Manetti is an absolute gem.

“The Bomber and Mrs. Maroney” was in the running for favorite episode of the season. The blend of humor and tension is fantastic.

Be warned. I do drop a couple of f-bombs in this episode, if your sensibilities be that sort of delicate.

Listen on Soundcloud, iTunes, Spotify, and Stitcher.

Behold the physical manifestation of no fucks left to give. She’s not in the mood for your shit and she never will be, son.

Here, Watch This

Yes, there’s a new podcast.

This one has been in the works for literally years because I think Shann first proposed this idea back in 2020, and it’s taken a while to get it going. The biggest hang-up has been my schedule. I know it sounds glamorous to say that I was busy, but in reality I tend to be a shitty juggler.

But! I finally figured that out. Meanwhile, the original idea evolved. It started out as the two of us discussing episodes of TV shows based on a theme and we kept the core of that idea. But scheduling chat times and the inherent hang-ups that came along with that became a real obstacle. It seemed like this idea was never going to get off the ground.

Then Shann made a brilliant suggestion.

We exchange episodes of shows to watch (preferably shows we haven’t seen or aren’t that familiar with) based on a theme, and record our thoughts separately.

Bingo! That solved the issue of scheduling and took the idea in what I think is a fun direction.

The final show: Shann and I force each other to watch episodes of TV shows based on a theme.

We explain why we picked the choices we picked, but whatever the other person thinks is out of our hands. No rebuttals.

So far we’ve only got two episodes out and one more in the wings, but we’ve got plenty of themes to keep us busy and a monthly release schedule to fill. Mark the second Tuesday of the month on your calendars.

Check the Hey, Watch This tab for a list of the episodes and more information (like where to listen!).

It could be fun. Or it could be torture.

Stay tuned.

Rerun Junkie Confession–I Love a Series Finale

Warning! I will be spoiling the hell out of how several reruns ended. Proceed with caution.

The only episode of The Big Bang Theory I’ve ever seen in its entirety was the series finale. Never really cared for the series, but I had to see how it ended.

I’ve got a thing for a series finale.

Many series don’t get a formal ending. They get cancelled. Which is a shame, especially when they end on a cliffhanger because they fully expected to get another season, but had the rug pulled out from under them. An official series finale wasn’t a common place thing with older series. Most of them just ended without any grand exit even if they weren’t cancelled.

But whether the episode was intended to be the end of a series or not, whether it’s a big send-off or a quiet goodbye, I’m fascinated by how shows end.

The Fugitive was the first series that had a real finale: the one-armed man was caught and Richard Kimble was finally proven to be innocent. It set the template for other shows to follow. Wrap up all of the plot lines and say goodbye.

Obviously, the biggest series finale was M*A*S*H. Though alive when it went off the air in 1983, I can’t say for certain that toddler me actually experienced the end of the show’s 11 year run. I didn’t get to watch it until about twelve or thirteen years later when I was in high school. I’d been watching the reruns since junior high (not counting falling asleep to the episodes they showed after the local news when I was a kid spending the night at my grandparents’ house), but the finale was never shown. And now I can’t remember if some station did a one-time replay or if someone loaned me a copy of it. Either way, I finally managed to see it.

Talk about a grand finale. I can see why so many people tuned in. It was more than just bringing a popular series to a close. It was an event.

Safe to say most shows don’t get that kind of treatment.

Barney Miller got a three-part finale that saw the 12th Precinct building sold, everyone getting split up, Barney and Levitt getting their long-sought after promotions, and Barney turning off the lights and closing the door as he left the squad room. A fitting, bittersweet end.

One of the most brutal series finales is courtesy of Quantum Leap. Dr. Sam Beckett is leaping from person to person in his timeline, trying to right the wrongs of the past while searching for a way home. Spoiler alert! The last episode features a title card announcing that Sam Beckett never made it home. How do you like your feelings? Crushed over ice? Because that’s the only way you were getting them with the way this show ended. It still makes my chest ache to think of it. And I didn’t even watch the show religiously.

Sometimes a show gets cancelled with enough warning that it’s able to tie up enough loose ends that the final episode feels like a satisfying enough conclusion. Stargate: Atlantis comes to mind. Atlantis ends up on Earth and our cast is hanging out on the balcony, taking in the Golden Gate Bridge sunset. It promises more adventure is possible, but it’s not a cliffhanger. Stargate: Universe wasn’t so lucky. The show ended with everyone but Eli in stasis pods, and Eli had only a couple of weeks to fix the broken one or he’d die when the life support ran out. Yeesh.

The A-Team ended up with a shortened final season when their retooling didn’t boost ratings like they’d hoped. What should have been the final episode perhaps wasn’t the strongest, but the final scene was a perfect sum up of the show. They’d get their freedom and keep working to get justice for the underdogs. However, months after that “final” episode aired, the network aired a partially finished episode (they used scenes from another episode to “finish” it) and that became the series finale. “Without Reservations” is good, but the ending doesn’t hit that finale feel like “The Grey Team”.

Steve McGarrett finally caught Wo Fat in the last episode of Hawaii Five-O, but the Marshall family never made it back from The Land of the Lost. Dorothy finally found the love of her life and got married in the last episode of The Golden Girls, but as far as we know Mork and Mindy are still stuck in the stone age.

Planned or not, happy or sad, I love to see how a show ends.

Rerun Junkie Character–Dr. Miguelito Loveless

A great hero needs a great nemesis. In the case of The Wild Wild West and its two heroes Jim West and Artemus Gordon, only a true diabolical genius could do.

Enter Dr. Miguelito Loveless.

Played by Mr. Michael Dunn, Dr. Loveless is quite the foe. His evil schemes are so clever that West and Gordon only narrowly avoid utter doom time and time again. Choosing a little person to play the main characters’ biggest arch rival might seem like an odd choice. When one thinks of an evil villain, they think of someone imposing, particularly in the physical sense. However, Mr. Michael Dunn has enough presence that his personality looms threateningly even though he physically can’t.

The result is a truly unique adversary.

Like any good villain, Dr. Loveless typically had a right hand woman and sometimes a left hand man. For six for the ten episodes he appeared in, his lethal lady was Antoinette, played by Phoebe Dorin, who worked with Mr. Dunn as a singing act. In three episodes, he had a towering assistant named Voltaire, played by Richard Kiel. One additional task that Voltaire had that other henchman might not, would be to help elevate Dr. Loveless when necessary.

Dr. Loveless’s height wasn’t ignored. It sometimes even factored into his plans, and his treatment by the rest of the world due to his height did factor into his hatred of humanity. But everything Dr. Loveless did, a six foot tall man with a hatred of humanity would be just as likely to do. He was a diabolical genius who wanted to take over the world. It’s good to have goals.

Likewise, Jim West and Artemus Gordon took Dr. Loveless seriously. They treated Dr. Loveless like the brilliant and dangerous man that he was.

His first appearance in “The Night the Wizard Shook the Earth”, the third episode of the series, established Dr. Loveless as a cultured, brilliant man who treats his underlings with an odd sort of courtesy and respect even when he loses his temper, and who loves his saintly mother for many reasons, but mostly for instilling in him a love of music. A nice juxtaposition, given that he’s lying in wait to kill a man. Which he does, of course, right under Jim West’s nose. When Jim finally meets Dr. Loveless in person, he finds the genius inventor in his game room besting three big men in physical combat with the help of his walking stick. A marvelous first impression. He doesn’t greet West as an adversary, but as a guest, serving him tea and chatting about the man he murdered and the explosives he invented before rescuing a fly from his tea. He even sings a song, accompanied by Antoinette. It’s all very gentlemanly. Jim poses as a turncoat and Dr. Loveless tests him by having him deliver a message to the governor of California. You see, the state has taken his family’s land and he wants it back. It’s not much. Just half the state. And he’ll periodically blow up 5,000 people with his powerful explosives until he gets it. A very reasonable request, especially since he does make a few good points about politicians. Anyway, even though Jim West bests him in the end, Dr. Loveless proves himself to be a formidable adversary, a role he takes quite seriously throughout the run of the series.

In his quest to gain control of California and the world, Dr. Loveless employs murderous toys, hallucinogens, Jim West dopplegangers, shrinking powder, starvation powder, practice robberies, and even fakes his own death.

In his last appearance, the Season 4 episode “The Night of Miguelito’s Revenge”, Jim West is lured to a barber shop under the pretense of meeting Artemus Gordon, but his shave turns out to be a close one. The other customer is none other than Dr. Loveless, his face concealed by a towel and using fake legs to give the impression he’s much taller. With West under a towel of his own, Dr. Loveless proceeds to drug him and then deposit him in a funhouse that’s not so fun. At least for Jim. When he comes to after being beaten by the thugs hiding there, he finds himself back in the barber shop and chasing Dr. Loveless as he executes his latest plan: a kidnapping scheme according to an old nursery rhyme. While Dr. Loveless seems to be living his best life in his circus with his captives, Jeremy Pike (this was one of the episodes Charles Aidman stepped in as sidekick while Ross Martin recovered from his heart attack) manages to figure out who the next victim is and takes his place. Dr. Loveless taunting West on stage as the “dummy” in a ventriloquist act leads to Jim being buried at sea, which fails of course, but we all had fun trying. As it turns out, Dr. Loveless is seeking vengeance on those who’d wronged him and his friends and holds a mock trial at his circus with a clowns for his jury and Jim West being the final defendant. West and Pike spoil his plans, but Dr. Loveless naturally escapes.

Such was the legacy of Dr. Loveless that his son Dr. Miguelito Loveless Jr, played by Paul Williams, plagued Jim and Artie in the 1979 TV movie The Wild Wild West Revisited. Sadly, this legacy was in part because Mr. Michael Dunn had passed away in 1973.

As villains go, Dr. Miguelito Loveless was perhaps one of the most eloquent and clever, his malice carried out by brilliance and even though you never want to see him win, you’re always glad to see his charming face.

Book ’em, Danno–Episode 36

Book 'em Danno Podcast

Season 3 still has a few swerves to it as it heads towards the finale.

In “The Gunrunner” we get a suspicious kidnapping and the 1971 version of a burner phone. In “Dear Enemy” Vera Miles insists that Steve re-open the case that sent her husband to jail for murdering his mistress.

The ultimate swerve is that George Murdock isn’t the asshole. Even when he’s a good guy, he still manages to be a dick. Not so in “The Gunrunner”. Yes, I say many words about that, the burner phone, and Vera Mile’s decided to wear a pink nightie (?) to talk to Steve about re-opening her husband’s case while Gary Collins looks on. Also, I probably spend more minutes talking about the greatness that is Dub Taylor than he is actually in the episode.

Listen to all of the words and minutes on Souncloud, iTunes, Spotify, and Stitcher.

Behold the photographic evidence of the ultimate payphone set-up and the nightie in question. Two bits of greatness I will never get over.

1971 burner phone

vera miles and gary collins

Battle of the Sexes

When I watched the first season of Baa Baa Black Sheep, I dreaded getting to the episode titled “W*A*S*P*s”. Right there in the episode description it said that “a battle of the sexes lands on the frontline”.

I loathe a battle of the sexes.

I make no secret of the fact that much of the rerun content I watch (and some of the current content) is “male-oriented”. It’s action stuff. It’s police stuff. Classic cis het guy fare. So there isn’t a lot of quality women content or input. And yes, some of it can be eye rollingly bad. But nothing quite irritates me like the battle of the sexes.

The context is typically of women doing man’s work, whatever the hell that is. I wasn’t raised with gendered work. I was raised with work and somebody better do it and don’t make me tell you twice.

Think of “St. Gilligan and the Dragon”, which I talked about in this post. The women go off on their own because the men are being pricks The women are able to hack it and the men are useless. The implication, of course, is that the men don’t know how to do things like cook and do laundry because it’s something women do and is therefore beneath them. Starving and stinking for their mancards.

Naturally, it’s played for laughs because the battle of the sexes is a frequently used theme in sitcoms.

One such episode that has always stuck with me is The Brady Bunch episode “The Liberation of Marcia Brady”. Basically, Marcia goes on the record that she thinks women can do anything men do and then Greg ends up goading her until she decides to prove herself by joining The Frontier Scouts. For the final initiation, Marcia has to use her Frontier Scout skills to navigate through the woods following a trail that Greg has left.

The twist? Greg has purposely made the trail as hard as possible to follow without breaking the rules. And to everyone’s surprise, Marcia succeeds.

Marcia’s initiation is a perfect example of how the patriarchy works. In order to prove that women can do anything men can do, Marcia actually had to do better than what the guys had to do because the boys were so threatened by the idea of a girl joining their little scouting group they had to actively sabotage her.

Something similar happens in many episodes of Barney Miller whenever there’s a female detective. I can remember it happening with Wentworth, Batista, and with the two officers in “Hot Dogs”. All of the women were seen as overly enthusiastic and aggressive in doing their jobs because it went right over the heads of their male counterparts that they had to be. They had to do everything the men did, but they had to do it more and they had to do it better -and in heels!- lest they be considered failures and ruin it for every other woman on the force.

There’s a similar vibe in the Emergency! episode “The Indirect Method”. Roy and Johnny are charged with training a female paramedic who is described as hard-nosed. Is it any wonder? The pressure is intense. She’s doing man’s work, after all.

As for the Baa Baa Black Sheep episode, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I didn’t hate it. The women were not only good at their job, but also serious about it in a way that was less about being as good as the men, and more about showing their passion for flying. Yeah, the guys tried to treat the ladies like they would any pretty face in the vicinity, but it turns out the women were more like them than they realized. Translation: our fellas got hoodwinked by them.

This battle of the sexes was a little more evenly matched. And while it did have it’s hang-ups and of course, the guys had to save the ladies (though, they didn’t really do anything that fighter escorts wouldn’t do for transport planes other than be a little mushy), at least the respect cultivated between the two groups was genuine and not based on arbitrary standards of excellence.

As a result, the episode got my respect, too.