The Solid Gold Swingers
While answering a high-rise apartment burglary call, McCloud stumbles on a body, which then disappears. The case leads to a VIP madam under indictment, whose girls are apparently being murdered by a serial killer.
The Uptown Call Girl and the Suburban Hit Man
Michael Gleason’s script is characterized not by independent strands (as often the case with McCloud) but shifting perspectives controlled by the overriding mystery.
McCloud’s lead is a British interior decorator who turns out to be a paid escort from Philadelphia who’s really a hooker from the Bronx. “Maybe next time,” she says, “I’ll try the Virgin Islands.”
Karen Chandler, the madam, expresses the theme: “I spent my life scrambling to get off these streets, and just when I’ve got it made they’re trying to take it away from me.” She’s also blackmailing several notable clients, including a senator, a television star and a football player, for sizeable sums.
The murderer is a traveling salesman who turns out to be a serial killer and drug addict who’s really a hit man. He lives on Long Island in a comfortable suburban home with his wife and two children; “how horrible the city is,” he tells them. His dream is to “get away” to Duchess County. He suffers from chronic headaches, for which he takes a morphine powder obtained in Chinatown. He’s being paid through a detective in the D.A. Squad, who’s on the madam’s pad.
The key is a charming joke on Dante’s famous courtesan Thaïs: “digitalis leaf” is supposed to induce a semblance of death that only a doctor can diagnose correctly.
Antonio’s direction pays significant attention to rhythm and tempo in the editing (two editors worked on The Solid Gold Swingers), and there is a large amount of location footage, culminating in a genuine feeling of New York.
Joanna Pettet Melissa Thompson/Margaret Harker/Charlotte Ockerman
Ross Martin Jerry Davis/Frank Morris/Charles Hollenbeck
Neville Brand Det. Lt. Roy Mackie
Joanna Barnes Karen Chandler
Steve Allen Doug King
Elizabeth Lane Grace Hollenbeck
Simon Scott Senator Arthur Ferris
Denny Miller Murphy Michaels
Don Hanmer Harvey
William Bramley Detective Sgt. Reese
William Gleason Billy
Richard Loo Y.S. Chen (unbilled)
Written by Michael Gleason
Directed by Lou Antonio
CHIEF CLIFFORD: You know, Senator Ferris isn’t a bad sort—when he stops shouting
KAREN CHANDLER: You know, I’m sure my lawyer would frown on this conversation.
CHIEF CLIFFORD: And don’t give me any of your barnyard bromides, a straight yes or no will do.
DETECTIVE MACKIE: I know how to make it look real, right down to the last detail.
KAREN CHANDLER: When I first met Peter, he was the
roughest, straightest, handsomest flatfoot on Forty-Fifth Street.
CHIEF CLIFFORD: And you were the prettiest... pedestrian.
SENATOR FERRIS: We’ll miss you, McCloud.
McCLOUD: There ya go.
McCLOUD: I was standin’ there like a three-legged jackass!
McCLOUD: I didn’t know they had coal mines in the Bronx.
CHARLOTTE OCKERMAN: It’s only geography, Sam.
GRACE HOLLENBECK: Sometimes he’d whimper... like a little lost child.