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Iron Mike

One of the great banter episodes, enhanced all the more by a couple of fine guest performances.




As they're heading for the Chinese restaurant, Hutch asks, "Where did you ever meet a gourmet?"  Starsky replies, "At the bowling league.  Remember that fat guy with the silver shirt?"  So, Hutch was there with Starsky.  They must be in a league together.  (Because, you know, they don't spend enough time with each other during the day.)

There's all the screaming and yelling in the kitchen, but when Hutch yells, Starsky hears his voice above all others.  Then, oh my God, the manhandling.  Starsky marches right over to Hutch to look out the kitchen door window and asks, "Is she pretty?", and Hutch grabs him aggressively by the jacket and hauls him back against the wall.  Starsky doesn't complain, lol.  

Then they're squished together behind the door, with Hutch muttering, "Will you get off me" and Starsky saying helplessly, "I can't."  The waiter has the door pressed against Starsky's rear.  Yet, mysteriously, when they part, Starsky's holding his ribs, like it was his ribs that pressed hardest against Hutch.  I'm not sure it was their ribs that was the biggest point of contact....

It does add a nice concern to the episode that Starsky and Hutch don't know if Mike Ferguson saw them in the doorway.  

The following scene in Dobey's office with Starsky and Hutch talking at the same time is hilarious, and especially that Hutch keeps trying to steal part of Starsky's lunch.  Now, you darn well know that whenever Starsky got lunch, he generously offered to get lunch for Hutch, too.  But Hutch surely passed (or had such a small amount that he ate it quickly), probably complaining about how unhealthy it was -- you know, being contrary.  Which he can get away with, because he knows he can eat off Starsky's plate.  Only, this time, Starsky is trying harder than usual to protect what's his.  

After Ferguson arrives and gives them the outlay of the stakeout at Darcy's department store, he says, "You may remember my methods."  Hutch replies, "Vividly."  Yet, at the Chinese restaurant, Starsky was babbling about, "Let's congratulate him on his promotion to Captain."  So, I'm not sure how Ferguson could have been allowed certain "methods", unique to himself, before he was captain.  And most particularly that Starsky and Hutch would know about them.  I mean, sure, they all could have been on stakeout together in the past, but why would Ferguson have been running the show, rather than a superior?  

The scene in the hall is terrific.  First, Starsky cheats a candy machine out of a candy bar.  Second, Hutch takes his opportunity and finally grabs Starsky's lunch.  And then, as they're contemplating if Ferguson might have seen them at the Chinese place, and therefore is setting them up, Hutch soothes, "Don't worry, it won't happen to us."  Starsky asks, "How can you be so sure?"  Hutch replies, "Because we've got something that Ferguson hasn't got -- each other.  You lucky devil."  Ahhh.  

Then they're staking out the department store, and Starsky's fitting a black negligee to himself, and when Hutch comments, Starsky says, "It's not for me.  See, I got this weird partner."  LOL!   Hutch then wants to know what Starsky thinks of the man's shirt he's holding.  Starsky says he doesn't like plaid and Hutch says, "It's not for you."  Starsky places it against Hutch -- checking it out -- and Hutch says, "It's not for me, either."  That's just too funny.  Typically, the guys are using humor to offset their nervousness, especially since they're still suspicious that Ferguson might be setting them up.  

I don't think it ever is explained why two extra bad guys showed up at the department store.  But it does serve to keep Starsky and Hutch suspicious that Ferguson isn't being straight with them.  

There's the alley scene where Huggy directs them to where Ferguson is meeting with Matt Coyle.  Hutch literally climbs on top of Starsky, so he can see over the tall fence.  That is really his foot on Starsky's head, because the camera continues uninterrupted when he jumps down from being on top of Starsky.

Oh, those guys.  

I love when Ferguson confronts them in the squad room, after they pulled his files.  It's not often that Starsky and Hutch are on the wrong end of an aggressive dressing down.  I think the show would have benefited if they'd had to confront more strong characters, rather than so many "stupid criminal" stereotypes and easily intimidated weasels.  

When they go to the house to catch the bad guys, it's a great scene on the side of the house, when Hutch ducks out to where Starsky is ready with his gun, and then quickly ducks back, and then the bad guy comes out of the house, so Starsky can grab him.  That's some really lovely I-know-exactly-what-he's-thinking choreography between them.  


Of course, all their fears of being set up disintegrate when it's Ferguson who gets shot and killed.

In their meeting at Coyle's office, I love how Coyle goes on about how he was a starving child in Ireland, and Starsky asserts, "You were born in Jersey City and you never had a hungry day in your life."   Ooh!

When Starsky and Hutch come clean with Dobey -- and why they've had such successful recent arrests -- Dobey doesn't want to hear it.  For starters, he calls Ferguson, "my best friend".  They didn't act like best friends in their prior scene together, and I think the "Dobey's best friend" thing got over-used during the series.  

I can understand Dobey's outrage, however, and wanting Ferguson's name left out of whatever Starsky and Hutch are able to do concerning Coyle.  I've been in this situation in business before.  You try to do what you feel is the right thing, and your superiors are telling you not to worry about it, or strongly hinting that "everybody does it", in terms of something shady.  As such, Starsky and Hutch do come off as a bit naive in this situation.  It's great they want to keep their own consciences clean, but after all their hard street-nosedness, they ought to know that cops themselves don't always walk the straight-and-narrow.  

For that matter, it would have been interesting to see them in a scene, perhaps at home, where they discussed what they wanted to do about Ferguson's book, and how quickly -- or not -- they decided they weren't going to keep playing Coyle's game.  

As they leave the office, Starsky holds the door open for Hutch, as he always does.  Gee, it's like he thinks Hutch is his lady or something.  

When they see Coyle at his apartment, I love how Starsky walks on his coffee table as they're leaving, and Hutch says with complete insincerity, "Sorry about that."  

I'm not sure that I buy that Coyle would give in so easily during the climax, and not even try to get away.  But it is ominous how the scene ends with Coyle saying that, when he gets out of prison, Starsky and Hutch will be "older and more weary", and therefore open to his type of bribe.  Starsky and Hutch each look like they're concerned that it might actually become true.  

Then there's the beloved tag, where Hutch has taught Starsky how to play chess, and Starsky uses the strategy, "talk a little, win a lot" to irritate Hutch into making a game-losing move.  Of course, the more profound point is the discussion about the morality of how Ferguson operated with Coyle.  Hutch is the one defending him.  Some have postulated that this leads into the later fourth season episodes where, to many, Hutch seems more burned out, and climaxes with him being the one to throw his badge into the sea in "Targets".  (Starsky joined him, of course, but probably wouldn't have done so if Hutch hadn't.)

Anyway, this is a really great episode and not as dumb, plot-wise, as a lot of them.