Lou Grant

Season 4 Episode 11


Aired Monday 10:00 PM Jan 26, 1981 on CBS

Episode Recap

Rupert Hume, Charlie's 76-year old father, gets arrested for shoplifting. He explains to Charlie that he does it out of boredom. Charlie believes it's time for his father to move in with him and Marion so that Rupert can get enough care and attention.

Billie comes across a strange piece of news. The subject of one of her stories has been sent a check for 100 dollars by the Leona Jenkins Foundation. Apparently the man was to be rewarded for making a contribution to society. Billie looks into the foundation and discovers that it is just one man. Fred Jenkins, a bus driver, sends people who deserve it, small checks in honor of his late wife. His own daughter worries that he is giving his money away.

Rossi does a story about small businesses and is especially charmed by Victor Torrez and his Mamacita Tortilla Chips Company. Lou witnesses some neighborhood kids harassing Harvey Shelton, an elderly neighbor. They ride their bikes across his lawn as he is tending to his roses and make a lot of noise. Some time later, when Lou asks the kids why they do these things, they accuse Shelton of making their lives difficult.

Mrs. Pynchon has a request. She wants The Tribune to print a story about her latest project: planting trees to combat smog. Billie is disgusted to learn that her recent article about Fred Jenkins has led to people sending him begging letters and even hate mail.

Taking Rupert Hume into Charlie's home was perhaps not a good idea. Marion complains that he embarrasses her friends, that he starts alterations on the house which he doesn't finish, etc. Charlie himself gets annoyed by the constant calls he receives from his father. When Rupert fires the gardener, the stress becomes too much for Charlie.

Harvey Shelton and his elderly friends moan about the kids in the neighborhood. Shelton decides to be prepared for the next attack. When the kids pester him once more, he takes Polaroid photographs. Lou talks to one of the kids' father. Mr Nelson believes the youngsters are only pulling innocent pranks. He also mentions that Harvey Shelton has sabotaged some of kids' bikes in the past.

Rupert shows up at the city room of The Tribune. He bumps into Mrs. Pynchon, whom he doesn't recognize as the paper's owner. To get him out of the way, Charlie orders Rossi to give Rupert a tour of the plant. During the tour Rupert remarks that Rossi's story about small businesses contained mistakes.

Mrs. Pynchon is the city room to talk about a strange check she received: 100 dollars from the Leona Jenkins Foundation as a reward for the tree planting initiative. She wants to meet Fred Jenkins.

That night Marion tells Charlie that she doesn't believe she can cope much longer with her father-in-law. Harvey Shelton arrives home from the hospital, where his wife has slipped into a coma. Suddenly the kids come by again, making a racket. (They take revenge for Shelton (accidentally) soaking them earlier that day with his sprinkler system.) A panicky Shelton takes out a gun and shoots through the window. The bullet kills young Mike Nelson.

Victor Torrez, owner of Mamacita and recent subject of Rossi's piece on small businesses, calls Rossi to tell him the company is going bankrupt. Its sudden growth has taken them by surprise and caused all kinds of problems. Charlie remarks that Mamacita needs a good troubleshooter who can point out the challenges and the correct solutions. His father used to do that for large companies.

Mrs. Pynchon meets Fred Jenkins, asking him to take back his check. Jenkins will not hear of it: it is an award and in this world money is considered to be the highest good. He does, however, ask her not to cash the check before Tuesday, as he struggles with some cash flow problems.

Harvey Shelton, out on bail, has to leave the house he lived in half his life. Neighbors made it clear that he is no longer welcome. Rupert shows the staff at the paper the different kinds of tortilla chips Mamacita will produce. He warns Charlie that, what with his new responsibilities, he won't be home as much as he used to. Charlie doesn't mind.