The New Mexican Connection
A TV commentator’s critique of police shootings tarnishes the department’s stakeout squad, “a throwback to the days of vigilantes”, and Chris Coughlin is threatened to force the release of a murder suspect extradited to Taos by McCloud.
The action is divided between New York and New Mexico, the connection between the two is a wanted man last seen by McCloud in Taos and just arrested by him after a shootout outside a Manhattan delicatessen.
The crime was bank robbery using explosives, which killed three people. A peace demonstration innocently served as the cover with shouting and bonfires. Back in Taos with his prisoner, McCloud gets a call from a man in Chris Coughlin’s apartment saying she’s been kidnapped, free the prisoner or else.
McCloud immediately flies to New York, a tail is put closely on the nominally freed suspect. The police search every inch of the apartment for clues, someone turns the doorknob, all draw pistols, in walks Chris, accompanied by the pop singer Jimmy Roy Taylor and his manager, Winn Hollis, who has commissioned her to write a book about his client. They’ve been in Connecticut all weekend.
At first, Chief Clifford is more than inclined to drop the whole matter, but McCloud takes the inference that the threat may be realized at any moment, and the Chief concurs.
Meanwhile, a TV journalist is raking the department over the coals because of shootings by Clifford’s own stakeout squad designed to protect small businesses. These men are Detectives Grover and Simms, and Marshal McCloud. A remarkable training film (POV handheld camera) tests the officers’ discernment of the right time to fire at a menacing suspect, but the adverse publicity is affecting Grover and Simms. McCloud, on the other hand, comes in for a particular tonguelashing when the would-be kidnapper takes some potshots at him in the park at night and the Marshal returns fire, only to perforate some trash cans (“Were they acting in a threatening manner?”).
In Albuquerque, the bank robber and his partner meet at the Lost Dutchman Motel (the former hitches a ride in a gaudily-painted VW van), or rather the partner arrives first and leaves a bomb in a briefcase. The New Mexican connection is blown to smithereens.
It gradually dawns on McCloud that it’s not a case of blackmail and payoff between partners, but of a professional killing arranged by the actual partner in the bank robbery, to silence a witness.
The recording studio where Jimmy Roy Taylor is wrapping up a session provides a pivotal clue. Chris Coughlin is there, McCloud arrives to ride shotgun. He marvels at the sound editor deftly splicing tape, remembers hearing Chris’s voice on the phone (“I’m all right”) that first night in Taos when the hit man called. One of her taped interviews must have been the source.
Sure enough, it was Winn Hollis. The poor devil never made a dime until Taylor came along, and then the kid tells him about “a cheap robbery” he had committed. Such golden eggs, such a cooked goose.
Hollis and Chris and McCloud are riding through Manhattan at night in a stagecoach (an alternative to the hackney) when this all comes out, Hollis and McCloud scramble over a gun, their fisticuffs carry them to the roof of the stagecoach dragged headlong by the startled horses past theaters, shops, restaurants, etc.
Murray Hamilton’s TV scribe is a minutely accurate study in manner (if not in matter) from models of the national news. Rick Nelson (as Jimmy Roy) sings “I’m Talkin’ ‘Bout You” and “Garden Party”.
Chief Clifford explicitly states the theme of Coogan’s Bluff: “If McCloud would only learn to work through channels!”
Jackie Cooper Winn Hollis
Written by Glen A. Larson
Directed by Hy Averback and Russ Mayberry
Advertisement on the tourist stagecoach: The Cattleman West.
Theater Marquees: John Sturges’ Joe Kidd (Trans Lux Theater), Richard A. Colla’s Fuzz (?).
The Chief is now and for the duration recognized as Peter B. Clifford.
Glen A. Larson won the Edgar Allan Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America for this episode.
(The stakeout squad is playing poker in front of a TV
monitor; Chief Clifford is being interviewed on Adrian Becker’s program, On the Line.)
DET. GROVER: Give ‘em both barrels, Chief, we’re behind you all the way.
ADRIAN BECKER: (On monitor.) ...And just what does this squad do?
DET. GROVER: We play poker. Three kings. (To McCloud.) Beat that, country boy.
DET. SIMMS: The way you play cards, McCloud, you
must own every building in Taos.
DET. GROVER: Yeah, both of ‘em.
(The squad’s work is arduous and time-consuming.)
CHIEF CLIFFORD: (On monitor.) It sometimes takes weeks.
DET. GROVER: Or until we run out of money. Last hand, McCloud. You better lose, or I’m gonna send you back to yokel land with a .30-.30 up your saddlebag.
CHIEF CLIFFORD: (To Det. Grover.) I don’t much appreciate my officers shooting up the island of Manhattan while I’m on television expounding on the judicious use of police firearms.
(Riding in a Manhattan tourist stagecoach.)
CHRIS COUGHLIN: Have you ever ridden in a finer stagecoach?
McCLOUD: I’ve never ridden in a stagecoach before. We don’t have stagecoaches in Taos.
CHRIS COUGHLIN: It just goes to prove that even when it comes to being backward, New York is more advanced than New Mexico.
McCLOUD: What would you do with a lawman on twenty-four hour call?
CHRIS COUGHLIN: I’m very inventive... I’d think of all sorts of things.
MARSHAL BEN MELENDEZ: There must be something about New
York that you like.
McCLOUD: There is, (Pause.) ‘n I can send for her.
McCLOUD: Ben, you’re as nervous as a duck in a desert.
YOUNG DEMONSTRATOR: (Addressing crowd in flashback sequence.) And if they don’t, we’ll have to bring down the Establishment!
(A telephone call in the middle of the night.)
CHIEF CLIFFORD: Yes?
McCLOUD: Chief Clifford?
CHIEF CLIFFORD: Who’s this?
McCLOUD: This is McCloud. I’m callin’ from Taos.
MRS. CLIFFORD: What is it, dear?
CHIEF CLIFFORD: I think I’m having a nightmare.
CHIEF CLIFFORD: (On the telephone to McCloud.) It’s one o’clock in the morning. If you and some of your Sons of the Mesa’ve been smokin’ locoweed...
MARSHAL BEN MELENDEZ: (Of Wilks.) If he’s
really the man you’re looking for, how can I turn him loose?
McCLOUD: We’re gonna turn him loose without settin’ him free.
CHRIS COUGHLIN: Jimmy Roy Taylor is one of this
country’s top ten pastimes, Peter.
CHIEF CLIFFORD: Sorry. I spend most of my time chasing people in pursuit of the other nine.
McCLOUD: Now, I don’t know what this is all about, but I didn’t
come all this way to be the butt end of a joke!
CHIEF CLIFFORD: That’s your opinion!
CHIEF CLIFFORD: You’re gonna get warrants to tap
every phone in New Mexico?
McCLOUD: Just the ones that count.
DEPUTY DELGADO: (On the radio to headquarters, while
tailing Wilks’ bus.) The schedule says Greenburg. You really think this is
gonna get us anyplace?
MARSHAL BEN MELENDEZ: It’s gonna get you to Greenburg!
(In Chris Coughlin’s apartment, after the threat against her
CHRIS COUGHLIN: Don’t you think I need police protection? I mean, my greatest exposure will be at night.
McCLOUD: That’s when I’d make my move.
(A policewoman is sent to guard Chris Coughlin.)
SGT. MAGGIE CLINGER: Well, looks like everything’s secure.
McCLOUD: Yeah, everythin’s all zipped up here, too, Sergeant, so—see y’all in the mornin’. (Exits.)
ADRIAN BECKER: (Broadcast.) Ladies and gentlemen, last year there were more homicides in the City of New York than in all of the British Isles, where, incidentally, the police do not carry firearms.
CHIEF CLIFFORD: (To McCloud.) You have any idea how much paperwork I’d have if somebody were to kill a visiting marshal in the City of New York? Tons!
(McCloud wants the tail on Wilks continued.)
MARSHAL BEN MELENDEZ: It’s starting to run into an awful lot of overtime, and I would have to answer to the City Council for it.
(Is Adrian Becker unnerving the police on the firing range?)
DET. SIMMS: He does get under your skin after a while.
CHIEF CLIFFORD: (Referring to a target missed by Det. Grover.) Just like that guy with the knife.
CHIEF CLIFFORD: McCloud—are you looking for a war?
McCLOUD: No, but like it or not, I’m mixed up in one.
CHIEF CLIFFORD: All right, McCloud, seeing you’re
our only vaguely tangible link to this phantom, you’re back on the case. But if
you so much as take that big .45 outta your pants just to check the load, I’ll
put a bounty on you your mother couldn’t refuse.
McCLOUD: There ya go.
CHRIS COUGHLIN: (In Jimmy Roy Taylor’s recording studio.) I think Marshal McCloud has come to cart me back to my tepee.
(Admiring the work of Jimmy Roy Taylor’s editor in the
McCLOUD: I tell ya, that boy could trim the whiskers off an angry tomcat.
McCLOUD: (Of Stokes’ m.o.) About as cautious as a blind man milkin’ a rattlesnake.
DETECTIVE: (On the telephone at headquarters.) Not Mexico, New Mexico! It’s in this country! How should I know? It’s out there after Chicago someplace!
McCLOUD: (To Marshal Ben Melendez.) It ain’t human nature to think kindly toward somebody who might be blackmailin’ ya!
DET. GROVER: Pair o’ queens.
DET. SIMMS: You gotta be kidding. Two queens? You stayed with a pair o’ queens?
DET. GROVER: My money.
DET. SIMMS: Not any more.
DET. GROVER: How do you know what McCloud has? Whaddya have, McCloud?
McCLOUD: Three tens.
DET. GROVER: Tell me the truth, why did they run you out of New Mexico?
DET. SIMMS: Grover, he opened with three cards.
DET. GROVER: (To Det. Simms.) Teach me.
(The stakeout squad almost catches Stokes, who wounds Det.
DET. SIMMS: What were you waiting for?
DET. GROVER: Teach me.
CHRIS COUGHLIN: What is it, Sam?
McCLOUD: Things kinda blew up on me today.
CHRIS COUGHLIN: Blew up?
McCLOUD: Wilks is dead.
JIMMY ROY TAYLOR: (Coming offstage.) I know, I
know. Blew some lyrics.
WINN HOLLIS: Never mind the lyrics, we have some talking to do.
JIMMY ROY TAYLOR: (To Winn Hollis.) Those kids were out there demonstrating for something they believed in, and we used them to cover a cheap robbery.
JIMMY ROY TAYLOR: What about Wilks?
WINN HOLLIS: I didn’t want that to happen. But he wouldn’t let go.
McCLOUD: (Exiting.) I got a little checkin’ up to do!
CHRIS COUGHLIN: On who?
SGT. MAGGIE CLINGER: (Correcting her.) On whom.
McCLOUD: (Out the door.) Hollis!
McCLOUD: This is important. I’m on to somethin’!
SGT. BROADHURST: So am I, and I don’t intend to keep her waiting.
McCLOUD: I’m tellin’ ya, we can have
this case wrapped up by mornin’!
SGT. BROADHUST: Ah, that time is already spoken for.
SGT. BROADHURST: McCloud, as a native New Yorker, I gotta ask one question. What’s the catch?
(McCloud appreciates it.)
SGT. BROADHURST: If it’s all the same to you, I’d just as soon you give me all the credit on some other case, huh? This one could be a careerbuster.
McCLOUD: (In a phone booth at the Convention Center, to headquarters, of Stokes.) I’m gon’ try ‘n take him alive, but I might need some help. This ol’ boy ain’t got much to lose.
CHIEF CLIFFORD: (To McCloud.) You ever try to run down a hit man’s connections?
McCLOUD: (To Winn Hollis.) I spent so much time lookin’ for Wilks’ partner underneath the rocks, I forgot to look for him on top o’ the rocks.
JIMMY ROY TAYLOR: It’s all over. We’ve been wiped out!
WINN HOLLIS: Stop talking in slogans, what happened?
WINN HOLLIS: (He doesn’t buy the trap.) It isn’t the New York City police department. That is not the way they do business. No, this sounds like the Lone Ranger to me.
WINN HOLLIS: (To McCloud.) Oh, if you just could have been a little less New Mexico and a little more New York.
CHIEF CLIFFORD: (To Sgt. Broadhurst, of McCloud.) I spend half my week turning his pidgin English back into English.
(The theme of Coogan’s Bluff.)
CHIEF CLIFFORD: If McCloud would only learn to work through channels!
(The fight atop an out-of-control tourist stagecoach going
past the Astor Theater.)
SGT. BROADHURST: Chief! (Long view of the spectacle.) I don’t really see that, do I?
CHIEF CLIFFORD: (To Sgt. Broadhust.) Didn’t McCloud ever hear of a low-profile arrest?
(McCloud and Winn Hollis are duking
it out on the stagecoach.)
CHIEF CLIFFORD: At times like these, one can only hope McCloud informed him of his rights.
CHIEF CLIFFORD: So, I guess till further notice, I’m
stuck with you, until you finish learning all about Manhattan police
McCLOUD: I reckon that’s right, too.
CHIEF CLIFFORD: Your first order back under my command is to get that rig out of here! And then get the commissioner’s cousin off the street, snug and safe into bed. You read me, McCloud?
McCLOUD: There ya go.