Return to the Alamo

On the graveyard shift one lengthy night, Chief Clifford and much of the staff are out with the flu, the American Brotherhood Movement is blowing up buildings, Chris Coughlin is writing a story with a feminist angle on the NYPD, a robbery suspect’s brother (an addict) tries to break him out (and both are sons of an Albany bigwig) by kidnapping the Acting Watch Commander (Sgt. Broadhurst), McCloud pulls in New York’s top drug dealers in a citywide search for a junkie whose addicted newborn infant needs urgent treatment, and Sgt. Phyllis Norton is the Acting Deputy Watch Commander in charge.

Big Move on Albany

The tour de force script is a spécialité de la maison. As Foreman, Brad Dexter’s resemblance to Edward Arnold advances with great rapidity the allusion to Meet John Doe. An unspecified “move on Albany” is menaced by his sons’ peccadillo, and his payoffs from the New York dealers for advance knowledge of raids are revealed, at least to the audience.

In all fairness to Sgt. Broadhurst, it must be said that Chief Clifford himself was kidnapped once (in “Who Says You Can’t Make Friends in New York City?”). This is Sgt. Broadhurst’s second stint in command. The earlier fiasco (“This Must Be the Alamo”) is briefly discussed in terms of “a shambles”, but McCloud defends him, and Chief Clifford allows later on that “Joe Broadhurst is a good man.”

Sgt. Phyllis Norton’s commonsensicality, and a word of wisdom from Chief Clifford’s secretary Gladys (Jeanne Cooper), come to her rescue in the crisis, even though Sgt. Norton’s regular duties consist of filework (she confuses IBM and ABM) and supplying coffee and donuts. It’s at Chris Coughlin’s insistence that she’s made Acting Deputy Watch Commander, and Coughlin is still disappointed.

The American Brotherhood Movement is said to have “an unstated cause,” but the bomber who strikes headquarters (in the uniform of a Hudson Power Company employee) is merely vexed over traffic tickets.

As in the previous Broadhurst epic, headquarters is invaded, but not this time by an armed band. Foreman’s aide-de-camp Parkes (Larry Storch) and son Marty (Robert Weaver), a heroin addict whose habit led his brother Hoyt (Mark Wheeler) to join him in an armed robbery of a liquor store ironically owned by one of their father’s holding companies—Parkes and Marty bring handcuffed Sgt, Broadhurst back to headquarters to secure Hoyt’s release, but find the building empty because of the bomber’s note eked out by further information from his girlfriend, Samantha Johnson.

The actress playing this part is presumably Marjorie Battles (billed as “Lady”), certainly not Stefanie Powers, who played a weathergirl of the same name in “Butch Cassidy Rides Again”.

Doniger’s direction is rigorous, skillful and faultless.


Larry Storch Parkes
Robert Weaver
Marty Foreman
Brad Dexter
Mr. Foreman
Jeanne Cooper
Charles Tyner
William Lang
Regis Cordic
Dr. Hunt
Lawrence Montaigne
Willie Dee
Roger E. Mosley
Mark Wheeler
Hoyt Foreman
John Finnegan
1st Desk Sergeant
Don Siegel
2nd Sergeant
Lew Brown
Bob Basso
Patrolman (unbilled)
Marjorie Battles

Written by Glen A. Larson

Directed by Walter Doniger

40519, 3.30.75

The actress playing the junkie mother is unbilled.


(Chris Coughlin is at police headquarters to see the Chief.)
I thought you played for the other side.
GLADYS: Yeah, well, there are two teams around here, Clifford and McCloud.

(Chris Coughlin sits in on the staff meeting.)
There don’t seem to be any women in places of responsibility.
CHRIS COUGHLIN: Women. You have heard of women.

(McCloud finds Chris Coughlin in Chief Clifford’s office.)
Hey, Chris! I haven’t seen you since last night. (They kiss. Noises off.)
McCLOUD: (To Det. Grover and Sgt. Broadhurst, standing in the back of the room.) I’m not disturbin’ you, am I?
DET. GROVER: I don’t feel a thing. How about you, Joe?
SGT. BROADHURST: Not a tingle.

(Sgt. Broadhurst is the Acting Watch Commander.)
I’m in charge? How did that happen?

(Two patrolmen come in with the bombers’ latest note. Chief Clifford is out with the flu, Sgt. Broadhust is “all tied up”, who’s the Acting Deputy Watch Commander?)
Sergeant Norton.
PATROLMAN: Where is he? (Gladys points in her direction.)
GLADYS: Don’t look at me, I’m a born follower.
PATROLMAN: (Sgt. Norton is immersed in paperwork.) Sergeant? Sergeant? Sergeant?
SGT. PHYLLIS NORTON: (Not looking up.) We’re out of donuts.

GLADYS: Why does everyone forget how to function the minute they’re made an executive?

DET. POLK: (The bombers’ note.) It doesn’t take a student of Kipling to know what they mean by “the dawn comes up like thunder.”

SGT. PHYLLIS NORTON: (To Dets. Grover and Polk.) You guys think Joe was taken hostage right here out of police headquarters?

MR. FOREMAN: (On the telephone to Marty Foreman.) If one of you clowns gets in trouble while we’re trying to move on Albany, they’ll spread it all over the papers.

MARTY FOREMAN: (On the telephone to his father.) You always want the bottom line! There’s never anything in between!

(Pressuring the pushers.)
You’re kidding. You’re gonna make a fuss over a coupla joints? Oh, c’mon, fella. What is it? You want me to cooperate? I’ll cooperate! But don’t try to embarrass me.

WILLIE DEE: (At police headquarters, on the telephone to one of his pushers.) You do like I tell you or you’re gonna find yourself back in the ballpark hustling fudge bars!

MR. FOREMAN: (He has received a call from Dolan, who is at police headquarters.) You called me at home about some trick?
DOLAN: You stop right there, big stuff. Now, you are supposed to tell us when somethinbig’s about to go down. That’s why we give you the big bucks, to spread around your friends in Albany.

(The bomber isn’t with the American Brotherhood Movement, he’s incensed over parking violations.)
SGT. PHYLLIS NORTON: (On the telephone.)
Parking violations aren’t exactly the kind of thing you go on a crusade over, Miss...
SAMANTHA JOHNSON: Johnson. Samantha Johnson. But you gotta know what kinda guy John is. He’s very—well, explosive. He does pretty wild things. It took me a really long time to get him—calmed down.

(The infant “born addict” is brought to Bellevue in time.)
Your job can be very rewarding, Sam. I can see why you’re so dedicated.
McCLOUD: Yeah, it’s, uh (Laughs.), kind o’ nice when ya win one.

(Chief Clifford, sick with flu, half-awakens agitatedly during this eventful night.)
Unnnnh... I’ll fix your wagon, McCl
MRS. CLIFFORD: Are you all right? You’re feverish. You’ve just had a bad dream.
CHIEF CLIFFORD: (Groggily.) Nightmare... delirious...

(Because of the bomb threat, HQ is evacuated.)
Well, it was nice being in command of headquarters while it lasted. Headquarters, I mean.

(Marty Foreman and Parkes bring Sgt. Broadhurst back to HQ in order to force Hoyt’s release, but the building has now been evacuated.)
Hey man, what’s goin’ on here? It’s like a plague wiped everybody out!

(McCloud, looking for stragglers, stumbles on Parkes, Marty and Sgt. Broadhurst.)
Joe, we gotta get outta here! There’s a bomb in the building! It could be on this floor!
SGT. BROADHURST: I’m tryin’!

(Mrs. Clifford has screened calls all night.)
Pete, you really should stay in bed. You’re a sick man. You’ll have a relapse.
CHIEF CLIFFORD: Don’t worry. Not gonna put in a full day. Just gonna go by and see how—see how Joe is doing. Let him know I’m available in an emergency. You know, frankly, I’m surprised I haven’t heard from anyone.
MRS. CLIFFORD: (Hoping for the best.) Yes, dear.

(Chief Clifford returns to work.)
You really didn’t have to come downtown with me. I promised I wouldn’t stay.
MRS. CLIFFORD: (As they exit the headquarters elevator.) My place is with you, dear. (Fearing the worst.) Through thick and thin.
CHIEF CLIFFORD: It’s funny, just being here, I feel better already.
(Firemen pass them in the corridor. Chief Clifford enters the bomb-wrecked Squad Room.)