Friday, March 21, 2008

The Mod Squad Episode #8: The Price Of Terror

Episode eight from The Mod Squad’s first season, entitled "The Price Of Terror", is a decent one but flawed a bit by some poor plotting in the second half. Guest starring several familiar faces, including James Best and Gail Kobe, The Price Of Terror features competent direction by Earl Bellamy and an intriguing if rather tired script by writer Tony Barrett.

"The Price Of Terror" is mostly notable in that it is the first completely Captain Greer themed episode of the series. There would be quite a few of these throughout the series run and they all give talented Tige Andrews an hour to shine. He doesn’t disappoint here and he gives one of his most compelling turns of the season.

The storyline involves a just released from prison convict named Frank Lynch (the always good James Best) who is obsessed with the idea of terrifying and then killing Greer. The script is fairly pedestrian and has some serious holes in the second half but it does at least allow Greer to show some vulnerable aspects of his character that we haven’t seen up to this point. It also has a few marvelously handled scenes scattered throughout that are well played by our squad and the more than capable guest stars.

James Best was born just down the road from me in Powerdly, Kentucky in the summer of 1926. His face will be recognizable to any number of television and film fans of the sixties and seventies, with his reoccurring role as Rosco P. Coltrane on The Dukes Of Hazard probably being what he is most known for. Best is always good and he delivers a solid turn here as a rather dense man totally bent on revenge no matter how he has to get it.

Pretty much all of the other main guests will be familiar as well as Harry Basch, Joel Fluellen, William Phipps and Herb Vigran were all fairly prolific in this period on the small and big screen. Gail Kobe is especially good here as the Lynch’s ex-wife and she shares a particularly great scene in an art studio with an undercover Julie. I remember Kobe mostly from a couple of very nice Twilight Zone appearances and she is particularly memorable here.

The main flaw of the episode, outside of issues with the script by Barrett (whose work is typically much stronger), is the mostly missing in action Peggy Lipton who just pops up sporadically and some rather sluggish pacing by Bellamy. Still, all in all, the episode is a good one and it does contain a moving moment in the final scene where Greer shows the Squad a photo of his late wife that is probably among the highlights of season one.

An un-credited actress pops up as Greer’s assistant at one point and she was incredibly familiar to me. Anyone recognize this face?

Let me know if you do because it has been bugging me since I watched the episode.

1 comment:

Gary R. Peterson said...

I don't know who that uncredited actress is either, and like you it's been bugging me! She had a couple lines, so I don't know how they got away not listing her.

Anyway, I appreciated your analysis of the episode. In addition to Julie, I thought Richard Bakalyan was under-utilized as well. A better actor than the second banana part he got stuck with. I agree that this was a fine hour for Tige Andrews. The photo of his wife and his saying how she would have adopted Pete, Linc, and Julie, and Julie saying Greer already has, lent the episode some heft in its closing seconds.