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Season 1 Episode 4

Hatchet Job

Aired Tuesday 9:00 PM Jan 31, 1984 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
11 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Hatchet Job
Things aren't going too well for the detectives when the thief on Pier 56 that they're trying to catch makes off with all their surveillance equipment!

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  • A young woman hires the Riptide Detective Agency to find her boyfriend's murderer – of which she has been charged and, unbeknown to them, has just escaped from an institution for the criminally insane. A much better ep, really enjoyable...moreless

    The Pilot to 'Riptide' was great, but the first two regular episodes afterwards were a bit shaky and lacklustre ('Somebody's Killing the Great Geeks of America' had its moments, but 'Conflict of Interest' was pretty bad). So it is very pleasing to see that with this third regular episode, 'Hatchet Job', that things really start to pick up, and capture some of the enjoyment seen in the Pilot.

    As with many shows of this type, and 'Riptide' in particular, it's not simply the case that engages the viewer (although this is a pretty good one), but more the little quirks and touches hung on it. And this episode has plenty of them. Aside from the main plot, we also get side plots of the thief who keeps striking on Pier 56 and steals all of Murray's surveillance equipment set up to trap him; and Murray deciding that he needs to get fit.

    It is indeed the little touches that really makes 'Riptide', and this episode has so much to like – Murray working out in the gym; thanking the guys for letting him dress up as Alison and put his life in danger... so many wonderful touches and moments, and – as often is the case – Murray had me laughing out loud at some points.

    As Alison, guest star Maylo McCaslin puts in a good performance, making you wonder if she really did commit the murder, or what really is the deal with her. The plot keeps you guessing throughout, and ties up really well at the end.

    Quinlan was terribly mishandled character-wise in 'Conflict of Interest', but, after starting to be toned down in 'Somebody's Killing...', here he has evolved to be pretty much what he will be for the rest of his time on the show – tough-talking and hard-nosed, but not quite the extreme, unlikable jerk we saw in 'Conflict...'.

    Also of note is Cody's wooden station wagon, making it's final of only two appearances in the series. In this story, it rolls down the side of a bank after being run off the road. It's never made clear if it was wrecked or not, but at the very beginning of the second season episode 'The Orange Grove', Dooley is seen with an identical vehicle, so maybe we are to assume that Cody sold it to him?

    I really enjoyed this episode. When Channel 5 ran the series here in the U.K. in 1998 (in the middle of the night at weekends), the first two episodes (they didn't show the Pilot) were heavily cut-for-time, but they showed 'Hatchet Job' in it's complete, uncut form, which immediately enabled me to enjoy it more (after this point, they showed all but a couple of episodes complete; often playing episodes through even without an ad break thanks to the 3:50am timeslot!!).

    But even beyond that, 'Hatchet Job' is a really pleasing instalment. The plot is interesting and engaging, and, as mentioned above, there are so many great little touches and moments thrown in; a nice sign that, after finding it's footing, many great episodes lay ahead.

    I like this episode enough to rank it a very decent 9.5/10.moreless
Anne Francis

Anne Francis

Mama Jo

Joe Penny

Joe Penny

Nicholas 'Nick' Ryder

Perry King

Perry King

Cody Allen

Thom Bray

Thom Bray

Dr. Murray 'The Boz' Bozinsky, PhD

Jack Ging

Jack Ging

Lieutenant Ted Quinlin

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (0)

  • NOTES (3)

    • German Title: Unter Mordverdacht

    • Cody's old Ford makes its final appearance in this episode. The last we see of it is as takes the detectives and Alison tumbling down the side of an embankment. It's never made clear if it survived the tumble or what became of it, but we do see Dooley driving an identical vehicle in the 2nd season episode 'The Orange Grove' (it could be assumed that Cody sold it to him).
      After this, the producers decided on the Jimmy truck as regular transport for the trio.

    • The trio's private investigation business is referred to as 'The Riptide Detective Agency' for the first time in this episode. Previously, it had been referred to as 'The Pier 56 Detective Agency'.