Night Heat

Season 4 Episode 20

The Professional

Aired Thursday Nov 17, 1988 on CTV



  • Trivia

  • Quotes

    • (opening commentary)
      Tom: A criminal prosecution is much like a scientific experiment. We have a disease like the mafia. In theory, we know it exists but we need evidence beyond the theory and it must be examined under a microscope. We sometimes forget there are men like Varga behind these microscopes, who in daring to find the disease expose themselves to it and we are left with the question: is there a cure?

    • Tom: As Chief prosecutor of the recent mafia trials in Palermo, you succeeded in getting an unprecedented number of convictions. Has this affected significantly the operations of the mafia in any way?
      Antonio Varga: I'm only a prosecutor Mr. Kirkwood. Time is the ultimate judge of that.
      James Kliegsteel: Mr. Varga's testimony will identify some of the most powerful heads of organized crime here, and guarantee us solid convictions.
      Tom: What I'm getting at is key figures have been convicted before and still the mafia manages to survive.
      Kliegsteel: Selling papers is also important in this country.
      Varga: No. Mr. Kirkwood has a good point. My experience in Italy has shown that with each conviction we obtain, the criminal syndicates splinter into further conspiracies with new people we know nothing about.
      Tom: For every head you sever, another seems to grow in its place?
      Varga: The myth of the hydra is a reality in my country Mr. Kirkwood.
      Kliegsteel: With the help of Mr. Varga's expert testimony, our prosecution plans on severing a few heads permanently.

    • Bodyguard Larry Smith: (referring to Varga's vest) Is that bulletproof?
      Varga: Yes, unfortunately. It had it custom made. It's quite comfortable. Makes me look a little heavier than usual, but I'd rather sacrifice my vanity that my life.
      Bodyguard Larry Smith: It's nice.
      Varga: Thank you.
      Bodyguard Larry Smith: Remind me to get the name of your tailor before you leave.

    • (discussing James Kliegsteel)
      Lt. Hogan: Listen. Listen. I realize you can't love everybody.
      Frank: Not even his own mother would love this guy.
      Lt. Hogan: But I want all of you to cooperate with him - OK? Now, he wants to bring in some special investigators for this shooting.
      Kevin: Wait a minute Jim, are telling us to back off?
      Lt. Hogan: No, what I'm saying is I don't want him to show us up. This sort of thing is supposed to be team effort.

    • (closing commentary)
      Tom: Omertà: an unspoken contract that bonds men together in a powerful force that feeds in our society: invisible, malevolent. But there are other powerful forces at large, men like Varga who risk their lives to uphold the laws that protect democracy. One man speaks and Omertà crumbles. Kliegsteel may get the headlines but in the end we all profit.

  • Notes

    • This is the only Night Heat episode that star Scott Hylands directed.

    • Michelyn Emelle, a frequent guest star on the show, appears in this episode as a Desk Clerk. It is one of her only appearances in the series in which she does not play a prostitute.

  • Allusions

    • Lt. Hogan: I don't want to sound like Ted Koppel
      Refers to Edward James "Ted" Koppel (b.1940), an American journalist who is best known for his 25 year stint (1980-2005) as the anchorman for the American Broadcasting Company's (ABC) Nightline new program. Koppel's last Nightline broadcast was on November 22, 2005, at which time he also left ABC after 42 years of service.
      Koppel was born in Lancashire, England and came to the U.S. in 1953 and became a citizen in 1963. He he holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Syracuse University and a Master of Arts degree in mass communications research and political science from Stanford University.

    • Nicole: J. Edgar Hoover refused to recognize the mafia existed until Velace testified.
      John Edgar Hoover (1895-1972) was the Director of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for 48 years, from 1924 until his death in 1972. Joseph Velace was a jailed mafia member who broke the code of silence (omertà) by testifying to the structure of the mafia and the men who ran it.

    • The myth of the hydra
      Refers to the Lernaean Hydra, an ancient serpent-like water beast that possessed numerous heads. Hercules killed the beast in the second of his twelve labors. In his initial attempt, he found that as he cut off each of its heads, two grew back, showing the hopelessness of such a struggle for anyone but the hero Hercules.

    • Lt. Hogan: Well, here's the Fourth Estate.
      Tom: Fifth Estate Jim.

      Lt. Hogan is correct in the traditional uses of the Estates, which are the clergy (First Estate), the nobility (Second Estate), the middle class (Third Estate), and the press (Fourth Estate).
      The term Fifth Estate has been used to describe any class or group in society other than the above four, including trade unions, the poor and organized crime. It is also used to describe media that sees itself in opposition to mainstream (Fourth Estate) media, which is likely the context in which Tom is using it.
      Night Heat was filmed in Canada (Toronto, Ontario), so Tom could also be referring to the famous Canadian television newsmagazine, which airs on the English language network of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). The name is a play on the media being referred to as the Fourth Estate and was chosen to highlight the program's determination to go beyond everyday news into original journalism. It has been on the air since September 16, 1975, and focuses primarily on investigative journalism. Its stories routinely make headlines in Canada and have been regularly exported worldwide.

    • Omertà
      Omertà is commonly known as the mafia code of silence where no one, under any circumstances, cooperates with law enforcement. It is basically an extreme form of loyalty and solidarity within a group (like the mafia) in the face of authority.