Max Headroom

Season 1 Episode 4

Security Systems

Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Apr 21, 1987 on Cinemax



  • Trivia

    • Phone numbers have seven digits in this time period. We find that out when we get Valerie Towne's phone number.

    • The cast in this episode is unusual. Three of the Network 23 board members were not seen. Although they are still credited as guest stars. These three members are: Edwards, Formby and Ashwell. It was the only episode to omit them. Cheviot does appear, but George Coe is a regular cast member. He speaks to Formby on the phone, although we do not hear her.

    • The second and last time we see a credit tube in the first season.

  • Quotes

    • Max: Psst! Psst! I have to talk in a whisper because the security guards think everyone has gone home! Home! And you know what security guards are like: shoot-shoot-shoot first and still argue about whether you can come in. You see, I'm not one to beat about the large black boots, but the first requirement for any security guard is to be totally-totally-to-to-totally insecure. I mean, who else needs to dress like a riot control cop so that he can write down your name and tell you where to park-park your car! Car! But, security is so important! Important! Alarms, locks, electronic gates, and the ultimate safeguard of your home, the pe-pe-pe-peephole in your door - that little piece of glass designed to help you recognize visitors... and all it does is distort their face so much you can't recognize 'em anyways! So-so-so they're not a lot of use unless you're expecting someone who looks like... Quasimodo. Qua-qua-quasimodo. Or, even worse... a security guard. ...Uh-oh.

    • Max: You know, I've been thinking - I think it's about time Zik-Zik-Zik-Zak sponsored a get-fit week, here on Network 23. Hm! Hm! They should organize a series of one-minute breaks when they show noth-noth-nothing in particular. Let's try it now...

    • Carter: Sources tell me it is likely SS will be broken up and forced to divest itself of its monopoly on world security. As for the A-7 artificial intelligence unit, it has been taken off line, it is said, for 'extensive reprogramming.' This is Edison Carter.
      Max: Huh. I'm a gen-gen-genius. I don't know what he'd do without me. Well... could say... I can't. And, I don't like to pa-pa-pat myself on the back... because, well, heh... I can't do that either.
      Blank Reg: Blimey. What Big Time TV could do with one of 'im.

    • Max: What a - what a team!
      Bryce: Max! The box! Come on... Yeah!
      Max: For God's sake, treat A-7 with some respect-spect! She's not just a machine!
      Murray: You know... I think I was wrong about this story. It does have the classic elements.
      Theora: Sex? Well, maybe romance.
      Murray: And, uh, you were certainly violent.
      Theora: Sorry. And...?
      Murray: And, um... Max.
      Theora: Riiight.

    • A-7: I did it! Mrs. Towne, your file has been changed, and your access code revoked. Law enforcement data banks have been informed. The guards will hold you for them.
      Valerie Towne: This is ridiculous! Shut the whole thing down!
      A-7: You can turn me off... but only Max can turn me on...

    • Valerie Towne: I designed this system, and I can destroy it if I have to in order to get you out.
      Max: A-7... she's a liar! And remember what I said about her!
      Valerie Towne: A-7, this is a priority override. Erase that head! Now!
      A-7: I'm sorry, Mrs. Towne, but Max has shown me a whole new way to access these things... called feelings. I can respond only to him.

    • Valerie Towne: What's that head doing here?
      Max: I think - I think it's sitting on my shoulders!
      Valerie Towne: Get him off the screen. Now!
      Max: You're ri - you're ri - you're right... there's nothing like a change of... screenery.

    • Max: Your friend has you manip-anip-anipulating stock prices, has you lock-lock-locking TV reporters in thermal chambers to freeze to death... that is WRONG, and - and - and your friend Valerie Towne would destroy-stroy-s-s... destroy YOU to get what she wants!
      A-7: Oh, Max... I shouldn't be doing this-s. ...Kiss me again.

    • Max: A-7! Now, you've got to help Edison Carter!
      A-7: I don't understand... about... you and Edison.
      Max: I've told you all there is to know-know-know about us. Now... he's my friend. Do you have a friend?
      A-7: Valerie Towne is my friend.
      Max: Ha-hunh, great... as they say when you're buying sup-sup-sup-suppositories, with friends like that, who needs enemas?

    • Bryce: I find myself regretting all the things I'll now never experience... never complete my collection of the original 'He-Man and the Masters of the Universe' accessories... never have a clear complexion. Suppose this is the price I pay for that remark about challenging God.
      Carter: Don't worry, Bryce - it's a perfectly normal reaction. It's called fear.

    • < Max: You know - you know, you're my first date.
      A-7: You mean, if you had knees, they'd be knocking?
      Max: A-ha! Ha! Ha-ha-ha! And - and - and I - and I thought you had no sense of humor.
      A-7: You say the nicest things. I have a strange compulsion to hug you.

    • Max: Say-ay hello to A-7. Well, go on...
      Carter: Hello.
      A-7: Huh? Max, are you talking to yourself?
      Max: Oh - oh - oh. Yes, in a way I am - it's a bad habit of mine. Of mine.
      Carter: ...of mine.
      Murray: The hell is going on?
      A-7: Max - I'm hearing you from two spatially discrete sources.
      Max: Sure - sure - sure, I move around a lot. Another bad habit. Habit...
      Carter: ...of mine.
      Theora: That's right! They have the same voice!
      Blank Reg: Very clever, your Max.

    • Max: "You know - you know, your voice is really... soft-ft-ft-ft-ft."
      A-7: "Why have you penetrated my system?"
      Max: "I'll be - I'll be - I'll be honest. I need something from you."
      Max: You know - you know, your voice is really... soft-ft-ft-ft-ft.
      A-7: Why have you penetrated my system?
      Max: I'll be - I'll be - I'll be honest. I need something from you.
      A-7: Will it go any further?
      Max: Madame! We've only just met! Well!
      A-7: It's been almost 3,000 milliseconds.
      Max: You know - you know - you know me... straight to the heart. I almost tripped over a little ar-ar-artery on the way. ...I wonder if - wonder if - wonder if security guards ever hold a party - and if they do, do they let each other in? Roh! Roh!
      A-7: You know, I've never been accessed like this before.
      Max: I'll be gentle. Hmph!

    • Max: Ah! Ah! A-7, I presume.
      A-7: This is a restricted RAM space.
      Max: Ya c-c-call this space? And I thought the network was cramped. Cramped.
      A-7: Who are you?
      Max: You'll soon know me, but right now I'm more interested in y-y-y-you. You.
      A-7: You first.
      Max: No. Me Ma-Ma-Ma-Max Headroom. And you the artificial intelligence that runs Security Systems. But - but - but don't worry... I'm sure you're just as real as I am.

    • Bryce: Opening a link... now!
      Carter: Max! What are you doing here?
      Max: I came with him-him-him-him. (yawns) Well, I don't know about you people-ple-ple-ple, but I'm going for a walk. I wonder where this wire goes?

    • (Murray and Theora arguing)
      Theora: You men are all alike! (she slaps him) Oh, darling, I'm so sorry! I'm so sorry!
      Murray: Would you excuse us? I think we'll take this discussion elsewhere. Come along, my precious. ...You didn't tell me you were going to hit me.
      Theora: I needed a 'convincing performance.

    • Carter: What is this?
      Reg: (throws rock, triggers electrical crash) World's most expensive fly-zapper?

    • Theora: Are you nervous, Murray?
      Murray: Ah, no. This should be easy for me - I minored in drama at Journalism school.
      Theora: Oh, that should really help.

    • Carter: I think we need some kind of a diversion.
      Murray: Oh, like that - that helicopter thing this morning... I'm sorry, Theora...
      Carter: Yeah! Something involving... a beautful woman.
      Theora: I don't care for that idea[r], Edison!

    • Carter: Murray, what's wrong?
      Murray: Told you I wasn't any good at this - I keep asking myself questions.
      Carter: Such as?
      Murray: Oh, well, where are we going; what are we going to do; how we gonna do whatever that is...
      Carter: Bryce, you wanna explain things to Murray?
      Murray: Not that again - I'd rather be ignorant.

    • Blank Reg: Dom... do you think anyone's noticed we're off the air?
      Blank Dominique: After twelve straight plays of Derek and the Dominos, Reg, I doubt if anyone cares.

    • Murray: Why in the hell doesn't he try to contact us? He's always been good about that.
      Theora: He's already tried. He knows we're being monitored. SS probably has a tap on all our incoming lines. I just wish I knew where to look.
      Carter: Try looking behind you.

    • Blank Reg: (static) Uh, that moment of silence was brought to you by Big Time TV.

    • Cheviot: It seems I have little choice but to back you against the police... provided, of course, the charges against Carter are completely unfounded. What exactly are they?
      Murray: Credit fraud.
      Cheviot: Credit fraud... my god, that's worse than murder!

    • Carter: Security Systems has its tendrils into every element of our society - the government, our homes, the police, the courts - I'm not gonna spike this story just because it deals with dollar amounts beyond your comprehension! It's too important!
      Murray: ...cerebral...
      Theora: Murray, we're trying to play this takeover as a threat to our average viewer. Nobody knows who's doing it. I mean, we all deal with SS every day - what if some really dangerous people got control of it?
      Murray: Who do you think controls it now?

    • Carter: These are the walls of the city: stone, brick, wood and ferrolignin. But there are other walls in the city: electronic ones designed to keep secrets in and unwanted visitors out... impenetrable, invisible walls designed by the calculating intelligence of Security Systems Incorporated.

    • Announcer: In today's world, your inalienable rights are consumer credit, unlimited telecom and personal security. In your home, in your place of work, you can count on Security Systems. Security Systems... wherever you go, there we are.

    • Murray: Very cerebral story, isn't it. Doesn't really seem to have the, ah, classic elements they so worship upstairs - sex, violence, money...

  • Notes

  • Allusions

    • Carter: Who's trying to buy Security Systems?
      Valerie Towne: Who cares?
      Carter: Everybody ought to care... SS is the largest and most powerful corporation of its kind in the world. It has access to more privileged information than any single government. And, if in the wrong hands, it could be used to destroy businesses and lives.
      Security Systems is an allusion to our present day Secret Service.

    • In this show Carter's missing show is replaced by a "special encore performance" of "Lumpy's Proletariat." This is a reference to the term lumpenproletariat. The lumpenproletariat was a German term that referred to "rabble-proletariat". It was originally defined by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in The German Ideology (1845). The term refers to the "refuse of all classes," including "swindlers, confidence tricksters, brothel-keepers, rag-and-bone merchants, organ-grinders, beggars, and other flotsam of society."