Lou Grant

Season 2 Episode 13


Aired Monday 10:00 PM Jan 08, 1979 on CBS

Episode Recap

Aniumal's first date with a nice young woman takes aunexpected turn when he hears about a fire and drives there to take some photographs. Nobody dies in the fire, butAnimal's date is impressed by his bravery.

Mrs. Pynchon is interested in the fire because the apartment building was oonstructed by her father. She wonders whether it can be saved and asks Lou to put someone on the story. Billie does some research and finds that arson is difficult to prove.Yet, there have been 12 similar fires in 19 months in that area, and an inhabitant of the building claims she was warned to leave just before the fire was discovered.

Lou happens to know someone at the Fire Department, as he plays racket ball with Frank Durning, a captain in the department. He tells Frank about what Billie found, and Frank does not seem surprised. He cannot say much though, but he urges Lou to have the owners of the buildings checked.The reporters discover that several buildingare owned by Ella Smidt. When Billie visits the woman, it's clear she has no clue about her business dealings, which are handled by Mason Cunningham, herlawyer. Cunningham is too busy to talk to Billie, however.

Frank advises Lou to keep on looking, and so Lou orders Rossi to have a fresh look at it. Another owner of several building turns out to be a stable hand whose lawyer is ... Mason Cunningham. A third owner is Arlo Karp, a fast food oook. It's Rossi who eventually finds someone who links these three, apart from the lawyer. Business tycoon Howard Davis knows the three owners, and probably paid for the transactions. Is this some insurance scam? When Billie interviews the Fire Marshall, he claims that Howard Davisis an unlikely suspect as he complains a lot about dangerous situations.

Frank invites Lou for a racket game during lunch. He doesn't want to play, however; he gives Lou an internal report from the Fire Department that might explain everything. Lou has 40 minutes to look at the report, and so he runs to the Trib and uses everyxerox machineto make a new copy.Unfortunately, they lose the original back cover and replace it with a page of a similar color.

The reporters read the report and learn that the Fire Department is aware of the scam. People buy and resell properties which then go up in value. At one point the buildingsget destroyed in a fire and the insurance companies need to pay up within 90 days. Two officials of the Fie Department were involved, and they have been dismissed. It's clear that the Fire Department is trying to cover up the scandal. Mrs. Pynchon decides to publish the story.

At the Fire Department Frank is immediately seen as the suspected leak. His boss notices how five pages in the report Frank handled are xeroxed copies rather than the originals, and how the back cover isn't the original either. When Frank and Lou have a drink, Lou fels sorry for the position he's put Frank in. Frank has lost most of his friends.

Billie finds another building Howard Davis owns, and Lou recognises the address, but he doesn't know why. Rossi tries to find the arsonist and uses his connections to contact him, posing as someone who needs a building destroyed. The arsonist seems interested, but he first has to do another job that very night. Animal invites his date back to his apartment to look at his photographs. He gets a phone call telling him to leave the building. Shortly afterwards the building's on fire. Animal and his friend try to warn the neighbors, but one man dies before he can be alerted. Lou and Frank show up at the fire. A fireman thanks Frank for the work he's done for the regular people of the department.

At the end of the episode the Los Angeles Fire Department has created an arson task force. Frank Durning still finds no love at his ofice and Howard Davis hasn't been caught doing anything illegal yet.