Season 3 Episode 1


Aired Saturday 8:00 PM Sep 22, 1973 on NBC

Episode Recap

At Station 51, Johnny and Roy are working on the squad; Roy is working under the hood, and Johnny is underneath the truck. Boot, the station dog, is watching them, and seeking some attention. He sneaks up and steals a screwdriver from the toolbox. Johnny and Roy both reach for it, each assuming the other has taken it. Finally, Johnny rolls out from underneath the squad and sees it in Boot's mouth. Boot takes off, and the guys chase him. The alarm rings, and Johnny hurriedly moves the toolbox out of the way while Roy takes down the information for the call. The squad races off.

In the squad, the paramedics hear another squad get sent off on a call and Roy makes the comment, "Sounds like everybody's working today." At the accident scene, Drew, a policeman friend of Johnny's, has been hit by a car. The old man who hit Drew is very upset that he has hit someone. Johnny and Roy are very concerned about Drew's injuries, and Roy calls in to Rampart.

At Rampart, Dr. Brackett and Nurse McCall are dealing with a number of squads that are all calling in at the same time. Roy gives the hospital Drew's vitals, and tells them he has "pain in the left shoulder, tenderness in the left lateral rib cage, and tenderness in the upper left quadrant of the abdomen. The patient probably has some type of internal injuries." Dr. Brackett tells them to start an IV, then to stand by: Squad 59 has a heart case, and is given priority over 51's case. Drew asks Johnny to call his wife, Pam, and tell her she's the greatest thing that ever happened to him. Drew loses consciousness, and Roy calls in again, but can't get an answer from the busy hospital. Johnny is very frustrated by the lack of response from Rampart, and starts another IV.

Finally, Roy is able to tell Rampart about Drew's decline, and the hospital tells them to draw blood for testing and transport him. Dr. Brackett tells Nurse McCall to have an OR ready for Drew. The woman who Drew was pursuing complains to Roy and Vince that this wouldn't have happened if he hadn't followed her onto the freeway.

At the hospital, Dr. Brackett and Dr. Morton examine Drew as Johnny and Roy watch. Dr. Brackett takes Drew to the operating room, and Johnny leaves to call Drew's wife. The paramedics wait outside the operating room for some word, but when Dr. Brackett finally emerges, it is bad news. He couldn't stop the bleeding from Drew's internal injuries, and he has died. Johnny is devastated, but insists on telling Drew's wife himself. "What do I tell her," he asks, "that Drew died because the radio was tied up on another case?" Dr. Brackett assures Roy that the few seconds that were lost on the radio would not have mattered in this case. Roy understands, but with 3 other paramedic units working out of the same hospital, and the overlapping calls, he's worried that sometime those seconds might matter.

In the waiting room, Pam, Drew's wife, can tell the news is bad by looking at Johnny's face. Johnny assures her that Drew didn't suffer at the end. Pam remembers Drew and Johnny teasing each other about who had the most dangerous job before she collapses in tears.

On the way back to the station, Roy tells Johnny what Dr. Brackett said. Johnny wonders who's going to take care of Pam and the baby now that Drew has died, and shares some memories of him with Roy.

A few days later, Roy and Johnny are arriving and are changing in the locker room. Johnny tells Roy he spent the past few days helping Pam with Drew's funeral arrangements. He also says he's glad he isn't married, because it is the families of firefighters and police who are left behind that have it rough. Roy explains that he and Joanne have talked about the possibility, but he doesn't like to dwell on it because there's nothing they can do about it. The paramedics are supposed to have a meeting at Rampart about the communication situation that morning.

At the meeting, Johnny asks if they will always have to work multiple squads out of the same base station. Dr. Brackett knows there are limitations to the system, but insists that, based on the information the paramedics give the hospital, the hospital will be able to prioritize their victims properly. One other option is for a squad to use a land line, or, if that isn't available, to call in to the fire dispatcher and have him relay information by telephone. All agree that it isn't a foolproof system, but it is better than anything they had before the paramedic program began.

Dr. Morton is examining a young boy, Kevin, who had collapsed. He seems drowsy, confused, and answers Dr. Morton's questions very slowly. When Dr. Early comes in to consult, he tries to get the boy to count backwards with him, but the boy is very slow to respond. The nurse explains that Kevin's friend is in the lobby, and the doctors decide to speak with him. His friend tells Dr. Early that the boys found a sack with a bottle in it. It looked like water and Kevin drank it all. The letters on the bottle spell "VODKA". Dr. Early explains to the surprised mother that Kevin is drunk, and she can take him home to sleep it off.

Dr. Brackett is dealing with Squad 36 who is bringing in a burn victim when the paramedics come by. Nurse McCall is just getting ready to have coffee with them when she gets a call telling her there has been a biker gang fight and many victims are being sent to the hospital. She asks Roy and Johnny to hang around and help out. Dr. Brackett starts giving orders to ready treatment rooms and operating rooms, and to get extra security staff and orderlies in case of trouble. The hospital readies the emergency area for the gang victims.

Patients are brought in on gurneys, in wheelchairs and handcuffed between policemen. In the hospital hallway, a tall, scary man is being treated by an intern. Sitting on a gurney nearby, another large man is in handcuffs. Dr. Morton tells the policeman watching that he needs to remove the man's handcuffs so he can be treated properly. A severely injured man lies unconscious in a treatment room where Dr. Brackett is working on him. The door is propped open, and the tall biker can be seen across the hallway. When the tall man spots him, he throws interns, doctors and nurses out of his way, and puts his hands around the unconscious man's throat. This leads to a general riot in the emergency area, and police are finally able to pull the tall man off and subdue him. He fights them all the way. Nurse McCall, Roy and Johnny look on in shock, and Johnny remarks, "Remind me to turn in my motorcycle." The paramedics receive a call with Engine 51, and leave the hospital to respond.

The squad arrives at a farmhouse, and Chet tells them to forget their gear, just go in and have a look. Zack, a sculptor, is trapped in the middle of his new kinetic work entitled "The Terrible Decade." He's welded himself inside his huge creation, and he refuses to let them cut it to get him out. Johnny likes it – "Far out! Do you have any smaller versions of this?" Using a pulley above the sculpture, the firefighters lift it, allowing the artist to crawl out underneath. Roy thinks he must be getting old. "I don't like Pop Art, rock music, I don't smoke pot, I keep my hair cut too short, I take a shower every day…"

Back at the station, Johnny gets a call from Pam – she just needed to talk to someone. Johnny was just starting to get Drew's death off his mind when she called. Multiple alarms ring out, and the station is called to a construction site accident.

The top floor of a new building is just being framed in, and due to some high winds the night before, some of the framing has collapsed onto a man and his son. The staircase is filled with fallen timbers that must be cleared out before they can approach the accident scene. Even as Johnny and Roy walk through it, more of the timbers collapse behind them to completely block the stairway. Cries for help lead them to a man who is sitting by his unconscious son – the teen-ager has taken the full force of the falling timbers on his chest. As Johnny gets ready to call in to Rampart he says, "We're not going to lose this one." A ladder truck arrives to help get the men off the building.

Johnny tells Rampart that the boy is bleeding from his nose, mouth and ears and probably has a concussion. The father has chest pains and possible fractured ribs. Rampart is also dealing with Squad 36, and Squad 18 on the land-line. Johnny tells Dr. Brackett that the boy's respiration is now "shallow and gurgly" and there is possible damage to the upper chest and throat. The rest of the firefighters arrive to help transport the boy out on a stretcher, and, as Johnny helps the father out, the rest of the structure falls. The father collapses.

At Rampart, Dr. Early and Dr. Brackett are busily helping all the squads. By the time they get back to 51, Johnny tells them they've defibbed the father three times and request an IV. As soon as the lines clear, 51 sends an EKG strip to the hospital, and are told he is stable enough to transport. Johnny is still worried about both victims.

Later, back at the station, Johnny gives Roy the news – the two victims from the construction site are getting better. "Four saves out of five victims is pretty good," says Roy, "especially when they were all handled from the same base station." The rest of the firefighters are looking at a small sculpture that the modern artist has left for the guys. Johnny's words as they look at the whirling, musical sculpture say it all: "Well, far out!"