A view of politics swamping a police incident in Spanish Harlem. Two undercover officers arrest two gang kids with a stolen battery. One thug grabs an officer’s sidearm, there is a showdown.
Family and neighbors fly to the scene, panicked and with varying command of English. The aftermath of the incident is misconstrued, gang threats proliferate, a Mayor’s Office liaison (Jaime Sanchez) springs into action to mobilize the forces of community and press in a war, as he calmly describes it, to win a park and some streetlights.
A Puerto Rican in the DA’s office sees no case, but reluctantly calls for a grand jury inquiry. The wife of the subject (David Selby) has a miscarriage, no indictment is returned, he faces down the liaison in the street and walks away.
This is another of Sanchez’s great characterizations, with Selby a match in keenness and perception. All the playing is very fine, the direction is swift to catch the facets of the writing for an all-around picture.
Once More from Birdland
A jazz clarinetist (William Windom) is framed for murder and serves time because a witness is coerced with threats against his young son.
Kearney’s teleplay is matched with Sgarro’s direction for the straightforward account that yields unexpected highlights. Julius Harris as the mobster behind the crime suddenly stands in full relief to be faced down by Kojak and lose his tenure as gang boss. The body is dumped, the threat subsides.
A street auctioneer in actuality footage turns out to be Joshua Shelley as the jazzman’s guitarist and co-writer.
Andrea Marcovicci as the daughter opens with “You Don’t Know Me” at a nightclub, sung horribly in raging O’s, she blames the prosecution. Afterward, the band is essentially reunited (Teddy Wilson on piano), she gives a professional rendition of “For All We Know”.