Peter Gunn

Season 1 Episode 1

The Kill

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Sep 22, 1958 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

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  • A Change at the Top with Happy, Murray or Capt. Steubing?

    Prologue is two cops stopping the big car of a scoundrel mobster, the undisputed vice lord, where the front seat gangsters and the boss are murdered in the vehicle by the same police pulling them over.

    Film Noir second scene is at the kingpin's burial where we witness among others, the three guys planning a takeover of the entire operation. Next the new boss Fallon introduces himself with the other two men, and threats are made in the form of a terse warning that changes are coming to the organization. The voice we hear is Pete summarizing the ruthless lifestyle lead by the deceased, but now dead, as we witness Pete and Jacobi speak briefly as the lieutenant drives off.

    Our introduction to Mother's is next with Pete appearing outside the establishment, the proverbial cigarette in hand, rain-soaked sidewalks, he enters, it is still the same September night after the funeral burial. We get to see the general layout, the floor size and the owner of Mother's as she greets Pete and sits at his table. Jazz band playing, the owner tells Pete the new mob boss, George Fallon sent his henchmen to extort a cut of the action, a 50% cut, or else.

    Pete asks that they back off their bribery proposal of Mother, but a sarcastic rebuttal is given by the new leader. Open to the dark wet street, car approaching past the police station, it's Jacobi, he tells Pete to get in the car. Jacobi informs Pete a certain tailor reported missing by his wife had $10,000 deposited in his bank account recently. Now both men make it that fake cops killed the former kingpin Fusary the other night in a bogus cop car. Edie, Pete and Jacobi in the hospital waiting to hear about Mother's condition; Jacobi says she's got a 50/50 chance, he also says Barney suffered shock, but he's going to be all right. Jacobi says bomb squad reported it was three sticks of dynamite underneath the floorboard; words are exchanged between Pete and the lieutenant, each exits the hospital as Edie sits.

    Green is leaving the health club, getting in his car alone, with Pete in back seat, gun pointed to the head directing him where the destination is to be. They arrive at Mother's, Pete ordering the man to sit on the floor, gets a call from Edie saying Mother is going to be all right. Pete hangs up the phone and tells the henchman nothing about Mother, but extracts the detailed confession from the squirming Green with his gun cocked. The gist of the confession was that hired guns dressed as police in a police car perform all the killings.

    Return to the dark wet street again, a police car approaches Mother's, conveniently near the police station, but the cops are the same hired gunmen like before. Pete shuts the lights off, Green strikes Pete's arm with a bottle as Edie calls out Pete's name, Green runs out of the club, hired guns shoot Green multiple times in the street. Jacobi approaches as the shooting ends, hired guns get into their fake police car, try to make a getaway, another real cop blocks their escape with Jacobi following, gunfire a blazing. Jacobi got the bad guys that weren't already dead, as Pete narrated during the closing scene at Mother's, with the owner counting the till, Barney's behind the bar bandaged and serving, Edie singing, and fade out.

    A twenty-seven-year-old, thin, bald Gavin MacLeod played Fallon. Gavin didn't look 27 because of his bald head, but would not have been my first choice for the part. This is the new mob boss? I don't think so! It wasn't the bald head that made him wrong for the part, but Gavin lacks the voice and physical presence compared to others in similar roles.

    A thirty-four-year-old Jack Weston played Green. Jack played the role correctly as he did many of his parts throughout the years.

  • A gangster is murdered by torpedoes disguised as cops.

    This opening episode of the famous series now seems more interesting than it did at the time. Nearly ten years after it was aired, Blake Edwards co-wrote and directed a movie inspired by the series (oddly, the title was shortened to just "Gunn") and it's quite clear that this segment was its inspiration. One hood murders another, takes over the mob and jacks up protection demands on Mother's jazz club. That's the basic set-up in both plots. The 1967 movie is four times the length of this TV show and there are several kinky elements added (transvestism, a floating bordello) which would have been impossible on 50s TV. In this version, the villain merely plays squash - in the film, Gunn is tortured by having squash balls batted at him. The film's greater running time is an advantage - it's fun, whereas this segment merely passable. But the similarities are fascinating.