Season 2 Episode 9

Atlas Belched

Aired Tuesday 9:00 PM Dec 10, 1985 on ABC
out of 10
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Episode Summary

Atlas Belched
Dave busies himself finding an important phone index for a hapless young executive while Maddie mulls over an offer to sell the agency to a competitor.

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  • Maddie sells the BlueMoon. David establishes his own company: Addison Investigations. Meanwhile, Maddie is already bored being an investor and not investigator,hence her plea to David for a job with his agency.moreless

    This was a great, well-written episode because it grounded the audience to remember: Maddie is all about business and David’s the one full of high jinx with a dash of sexual innuendo. The opening scene has Maddie preparing an old fashioned morning business meeting with the coffee and crepes and we falsely get this feeling that they are this perfect couple. Instead Maddie’s just trying to soften the blow – she wants Blue Moon to be run by a real detective agency, LaSalle Investigations. Dave is livid and runs to the closest bar to drink his troubles away. Here’s where he meets another disgruntled employee who agrees to team with David to prove they are worth more then their employers treat them as. It was fun to see David celebrate his success with chocolate milk and prank calling dignitaries. And it was equally heartening to see David and Maddie come full circle once again and admit they need the Blue Moon (aka each other).moreless
  • David struggles to prove himself as a detective before Maddie can close on a corporate takeover.

    Maddie gets an offer from rival agency Lou Lasalle Investigations to buy the struggling Blue Moon. A terrified David rebels at the notion Maddie didn’t even ask what he wanted. He also sees her move as callousness toward the other workers, who not only need to make a living, but need to do something at which they are talented and which they enjoy.

    “Forget that neither of us is a great detective,” Maddie begins.

    “Speak for yourself!” David retorts. He’s beginning to sense she has little appreciation or respect for him. Also, he thinks she underestimates her ability to recover from a crisis, as in the robbery that precipitated her coming to work at Blue Moon; she turned that around, why can’t she do it again? "You're Maddie Hayes," he says, "a far bigger fish than Lou Lasalle will ever be!”

    The boss, however, doesn’t buy it. Feeling low confidence because she is no longer dealing with the familiar world of modeling, Maddie stands firm in her resolve. David leaves in disgust.

    While at a bar, David overhears the lament of recently fired executive Phil West. The other man says he left the office safe open just once, and that would be the time someone stole the file of key client names in there. Both men have been shown the door, in a way they believe was unfair. Both are determined to prove their naysayers wrong. Dave talks Phil into going to the garbage yard to search for the box.

    Meanwhile, Maddie has dinner with her corporate suitor. Lasalle promises her that his buyout will solve all the problems at Blue Moon and preserve everything that was good about the business.

    Why would any businessman put himself at a disadvantage in a deal? Is there more behind the scenes than Lou is willing to admit?

    Dave and his newfound friend would care less even if they knew. They go back to the office to toast their victory and call some numbers just for fun. David wonders, just a little, why Phil didn’t think to use the list for himself before.

    Something’s fishy at this end too.

    The day winds down, and David pops over to Maddie’s house to enjoy sharing his own news. Hayes lets him in on the fact she “got a good deal”—she is no longer the owner of the detective office. Crushed, a bitter Dave stalks out.

    Next day he comes back to Blue Moon to square up affairs. Maddie asks why he intends to fly the coop, as he was offered a place with the new firm. Addison, however, now has better prospects thanks to the mine of information in West’s files, and strikes out to begin his own agency.

    David rushes to tell West’s boss, Thornton Wellman, the card file was found. Wellman already knows this—thanks to a blackmail note from Phil.


    Dave runs for it, causing chaos on his way out of the building.

    Maddie, back at the old haunt, isn’t so enamored of the new team now that reality has set in. Agnes was kicked off the front desk and supplanted with a dull person who just stares you down with soulless eyes. Dipesto is still somewhere in another department, but without that cheerful poetry reading each time the phone rings, life just won’t be the same.

    This is the first sign of trouble. Everyone else runs to and fro with no sign of the camaraderie that graced the early days. An anonymous big lug and another manager usher Maddie out of her own office. This is not right!

    Lasalle asks Maddie if she misses the old life, meaning the high times of modeling. This time, the answer is not so easy.

    Arriving home, Maddie finds she has a new guest: David. He confesses he might have gotten himself in too deep with his attempt at a new enterprise. Maddie in turn claims everything in her day went fine. Neither of them is telling the whole truth. Maybe they should start.

    Each of them winds up admitting they might have to rely on each other again. Maddie asks if David’s ‘company’ is looking for any good detectives. He laughs and says they’re hiring. David then has to thank her—Blue Moon was, after all, hers to give away.

    It’s off to the warehouse, where they meet Phil West. He pleads that he’s come to feel like the oppressed little guy, whose efforts were used by the boss without reward or gratitude. "I felt like a jackass, such a twit, shoveling through garbage, and what's he trying to do—find my replacement!" The detectives realize West had indeed been planning to take advantage of the secrets in the records.

    Addison tips him off that the gig is already up with Wellman. They are fast losing options for a way out. Maddie offers West a job with the agency. Whether this is real or just bluster to calm him down, it works. They go back to Blue Moon headquarters.

    There, they are met by none other than Lasalle. He is surprised by his new partner's tenacity and graciously offers to share control of the firm with his ‘subordinate.’ Hayes declines, eager to see the last of her competitor.

    Dave steps up to put a new spin on that—he’s still in charge of Addison Investigations, thank you very much, and Ms. Hayes isn’t answering any questions right now. He tells West to give back the card file, but be sure to shoehorn a double raise out of his boss.

    Everything is back to normal—as normal as they’ll ever get at Blue Moon, that is.

    Maddie rifles through the discarded names of the list. There is one worth keeping, from the town where David said he and his family used to vacation. “A lady gets in trouble,” Hayes says with a smile, “she needs to know someone to call."

Mark Linn-Baker

Mark Linn-Baker

Phil West

Guest Star

Gene Ross

Gene Ross


Guest Star

J.D. Hall

J.D. Hall

Pawn Shop Owner

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (6)

  • NOTES (1)


    • The title of the episode is a reference to the novel Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. The book displayed Rand's philosophy of Objectivism, based on principles of rugged individualism and the belief that work is the chief way to make oneself valuable to society. Its hero, John Galt, grew tired of the pressure to be like everyone else and vowed to 'stop the engines of the world.' One can see the connection between him and the episode's character Phil West, a worker who became fed up with his anonymous and mediocre routine, thought his company didn't value him, and struck out on his own.