TV… Hart to Hart (1979), Cop Out, Se1 Ep7

#1970s #1980s

 

Markie Post’s Sandy has a dramatic heart to heart as a prostitute in peril…

 

After a prostitute is found murdered, Sandy asks the Harts for help, so Jonathan consults with a cop keen to get prostitutes off the streets.

 

HART TO HART – Season 1 Opening credits in 4K, Classic TV Zone

 

In this detective crime series in Hart to Hart Se1, Ep 7, Cop Out,  the late Markie Post  – from The Fall Guy (1981-86) and Visitors of the Night (1995) – was just one of the familiar guest stars. Here she had a role as a prostitute named Sandy and the other prolific guest star was Richard Herd. Herd played the often always beleaguered looking, Head honcho cop, Lt Fredericks. This actor my Darlin Husband identified immediately as the man who played the leader in V (1983) and not Karl Malden in a toupee as I had thought.

Hart to Hart as a series was reviewed in a wee review HERE. But in a nutshell, Jonathan Hart is an enigmatic self-made millionaire who is played by Robert Wagner. He is happily married to a journalist,  Jennifer (Stefanie Powers), who practically stalked him until they met in the pilot episode. This episode starred David Warner, and that’s all I will say about him just in case I return to review his role more fully. Jonathan and Jennifer have a nauseatingly happy marriage but no kids and instead share a house with his butler and dog.

This pilot episode was set in Laandan. It told how Jennifer stalked Jonathan until he fell for her after they paired up to solve a crime. At the end of the show, he proposed marriage by writing it in individual words on placards festooning London Bridge. Then we all went aw… or felt queasy. Then he took Jennifer back to his place, Manderley where he has a butler named Danvers Max.

Max has a dog and it is enigmatically called Freeway. Why? Haven’t a clue, answers below please if you are in the know (possibly). Anyway, the two Harts then turn detective solving murders in between their more soppy and “amusing” scenes with Max. Max provides “comic relief” almost as much as the Harts have loved up scenes and both are equally painful to watch even now. Somehow this was much-loved telly in the 70s for yours truly, who had a crush on Wagner for… oh, a while.

This episode starts after you hear a natty saxophone intro tune. Because this is nearly the 80s – and with no spoilers here as the opening scene shows a man picking up a redheaded prostitute. He then shows her his cop badge drives her to an isolated spot and kills her. Then he pushes this dead body out of his car and she rolls down a hill.

Soon after this, a prostitute Sandy (Markie Post) phones Jennifer Hart (Stefanie Powers). Sandy asks her and her millionaire husband Jonathan (Robert Wagner) to visit her. She asks for their help to investigate this woman’s murder. Sandy feels can’t rely on the cops as she like the murder victim is a prostitute and she trusts Jennifer.

Back in the 1980s TV – for another inexplicable reason – the TV and film prostitute was almost always seen as an unreliable source for solving murders. She was often seen as a stereotype instead, usually as a fur-coated, gum chewing, mini-skirted sassy lady in fishnet tights and high heels. Anyway, Sandy tells all to the Harts. This is as she thinks the cops will respect their input as she believes they are more respected members of the community.

The Harts go to the police station, where they are told they should not get involved by the head honcho Fredericks (Herd)… but interfere they do. And then you watch them in horror, as they visit the crime scene and touch the evidence and move items at the murder scene. Put it this way, if it was Jonathan or Jennifer as the murderer, they could give themselves an alibi.

Fredericks tells the Harts to talk to his colleague Teggart who works in protecting these prostitutes. Two minutes later – or a commercial break – we meet the prostitute’s killer again, as it’s Taggert (Burr DeBenning). Teggart tells Jonathan – as he gives himself a full shave and plies his face with aftershave – how he likes to get to know the prostitutes. He says that he’s keen on getting them off the street.

He’s kind of not lying, as he later goes to visit Sandy at her home. Sandy is wearing a red-haired wig. Teggart immediately murders her and then takes her wig. After hearing of Sandy’s death, the Harts go to Sandy’s place. At the crime scene, they promise Fredericks again that they won’t touch anything, but of course, they do again.

Jonathan (Robert Wagner) notices an overpowering smell that he can’t put his finger on – some detective he is, but this is only series 1 – and that she doesn’t have a redhead wig in her wig collection. The Harts ask their butler, Max (Lionel Stander) to go undercover to “befriend” the prostitutes. These women now understandably won’t talk to the Harts to help solve this crime. So Max puts on a jacket – a bingo caller or Daniel Craig would be proud of – and goes to chat up to the girls.

The Harts were super annoyingly loved up as ever in those pointless extra scenes with more “comic” than “sleuth inspired” moments. This time they are deciding where to hang a picture with Max “helping”. I kid you not, Hart to Hart was this exciting. Unless this was a double entendre that went over my head again… Next week they’ll be deciding on what colour of toilet paper goes best with their terracotta and avocado themed bathroom… probably.

I remembered watching this series in the day, just watching and hoping they’d have a serious argument or misunderstanding during an episode. But sadly Jennifer didn’t even question Jonathan after he said he couldn’t find a red-haired wing in Sandy’s collection. I’m sure most wives would have.

This had a small but pivotal role for Markie Post, as her character is seen as she sets the storyline then is killed in the first ten minutes. Despite this wee role, she was able to convey this frightened character convincingly, and she showed her character a gutsy one in asking the Harts for help.

This episode showing the Harts acceptance of Sandy’s and her friends’ job as a prostitute was apparently quite unique and innovative in 1979. The episode has been praised for putting the views of real-life prostitutes across in this storyline. A reviewer on IMDb, HilaryElizabeth9 describes this commended scene when Jennifer talks to the prostitutes wonderfully ;

Let’s remember, it’s 1979, she’s that day’s 1%, and she is sitting in a booth at a coffee shop in broad daylight with three known street-walkers, two of whom looking every bit the street they’re walking, and kibitzing with them. She does not care one iota what other people may think. Even when a guy tries to pick her up, she’s not offended or embarrassed – she’s amused. And it’s played with authenticity that makes you love her.

Post’s character perceived that the cops wouldn’t listen to her concerns despite the murder. However, despite her character being so vulnerable, I felt that Markie could and should have had much more of a dramatic storyline. Perhaps as her character could have then tried to convince the cops their colleague Teggart was the bad guy, had she escaped his clutches.

I also found this episode frustrating as it told you who the murderer was in the initial scenes Columbo style. Then you had the “fun” in watching the Harts try and guess who was the killer… Even though the whole world was a suspect, only one possible contender was seen and seen to wear aftershave, the Harts did seem pretty clueless.

This meant with Max – wearing his Liberace inspired jacket – got to go undercover to find the murderer. Needless to say, it looks like Max enjoyed this work, judging from the morning after scenes.. as it’s implied by a more bedraggled looking Max the following day. But at least we didn’t have to watch Max in some sexy moments…

Anyway, this episode could only have been really really improved if they followed The Love Boat example and made this episode musical. I can now imagine Hasselhoff in the bad guy role… singing his hit Jump in my car in a duet with a prostitute. With lyrics such as;

Jump in my car, I wanna take you home
Mmm, jump in my car, it’s too far to walk on your own
No thank you, sir
Ah, c’mon, I’m a trustworthy guy
No thank you, sir.

Anyway, that literally would be a Cop Out to remember and watching this episode really is a matter of principle. The cast also reminds me I’ve still to review Markie and tell how she left her markie in a TV Movie post on 1982’s Not Just Another Affair with Dallas’  Pamela Barnes Ewing, Victoria.

Weeper Rating  0/10

Handsqueeze Rating🙂 🙂/10

Hulk Rating: ‎ mrgreen‎ ‎ mrgreen ‎ mrgreen ‎ mrgreen ‎ mrgreen ‎ mrgreen ‎ mrgreen /10

 


Girl Week 2021 No 36

This review was added to Dell on Movies Girls Week. Other reviews with this cast include this review of Hart to Hart I did earlier. Robert Wagner stars in The Towering Inferno, Madame Sin, the Austin Powers movies and The Fall Guy. And expect a review of him soon in The Concorde … Airport ’79. Stefanie Powers starred in McMillan, The Streets of San Francisco and The Bionic Woman. Lionel Stander starred in The Cassandra Crossing. Burr DeBenning in Hotel, The Fall Guy, Magnum PI and Man from Atlantis. Richard Herd starred in Dynasty, Knight Rider, Dallas, Knots Landing and Murder She Wrote. Markie Post starred inThe Fall Guy and Visitors of the Night.


 

 

16 thoughts on “TV… Hart to Hart (1979), Cop Out, Se1 Ep7

  1. This one was just an occasional watch, and over 30 years ago, for me, so you educated me on some things. One thing I didn’t know was that Markie Post did guest spot. I know her best as Christine on Night Court. Thanks so much for doing this!

    • I do love discovering those surprising guest star roles in 70s and 80s TV. Back then I wouldn’t have recognised her as it was one of her earliest roles. If you want to see another familiar face in a series, check out my post on (the) Richard Burton in The Fall Guy!

  2. Oh my I almost chose this series for tomorrow’s post at Wandering Through The Shelves. I used to watch this show all the time and love Stephanie Powers’ hair. I also remember wanting them to argue just once because, that’s reality. They don’t ever argue about the toilet seat, the Tv remote( they would have had one since they were rich and they didn’t need the tin foil on the antenna) or the cap off the toothpaste. Did you know that each of the actors’ respective spouses died within a week of one another? Powers was with William Holden for years and they may have been separated at the time but I always found it strange that Natalie Wood died and then, Holden. I thought that maybe these 2 hearts were killers.

    • Good to see not the only one who hated the Hart’s perfect relationship. I do remember them fighting once, but it was for a bet or some silly reason. My fave couple at the time were Dallas JR and Sue Ellen ..much more normal!

  3. Yeah, I don’t mind cozy mysteries (I love McMillan and Wife) but Hart To Hart took the coziness a bit too far. It gets by on the sheer likeability of Wagner and Powers.

    • I adore McMillan and Wife, and as you say the cast is likeable but the on screen couple just a bit too sugary. One wee genuine fight would have been wonderful and even a good cliffhanger in a two parter episode..

  4. This one was an occasional watch for me when it was on. The plots were often wafer thin and it completely relied on the (somewhat tarnished) star power and chemistry of the leads and their camaraderie with Max. Their relentless compatibility was nerve wracking and unbelievable at times I will admit.

    So glad you made special mention of Markie Post! I was always a fan (especially her appearances on game shows, she was a good comedic actress but on the various shows like 25,000 Pyramid or Password she came across as both funny and extremely sharp) and shocked and extremely saddened when I read of her passing recently. It seemed so out of the blue, she always looked so great whenever I saw her.

    By the way I LOVE McMillan & Wife! Rock Hudson and Susan St. James had fantastic chemistry and Mac and Sally were much more like a real couple with squabbles, frustrations and little jealousies.

    • I reviewed Markie in Visitors of the Night (1995) after she passed away. It’s a shame she didn’t do more leading roles. And so glad to find another McMillan and Wife fan .. reviewed a few episodes and love your insights into these! Thanks for popping by!

Love your thoughts... but only if they are spoiler free!

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