The Greatest American Hero

Season 2 Episode 12

Just Another Three Ring Circus

Aired Wednesday 8:00 PM Feb 03, 1982 on ABC

Episode Recap

At the International Circus Spectacular, a frightened clown tries to flee, but he is caught by two disguised men who knock him unconscious and drag him off.

At the FBI, Carlisle is not pleased with Bill's track record and tells him that from now on he will be assigned with the most unwanted FBI cases. The one Bill receives now is to find the clown, a Polish nationality named Yuri Yovanovich. He has been reported missing and the police have delegated the case to the FBI because the circus crossed state lines. Bill is not happy with such a job. Nor is he happy with the latest car he has been assigned with - a bright red car that Carlisle considers expendable and will fit right in with the circus.

Meanwhile, Ralph is not happy with his students, who received poor results in their tests because they were not trying. He is on the verge of giving up. When the bell rings, some of the students stay behind, and they seem thoughtful at how much they have disappointed Ralph.

Ralph goes with Bill to the circus. They find Yuri's tent, where Ralph "vibes" the clown's wig and sees a man, Biff Anderson, in an apartment at Central City West Towers. But the vibe soon fades. Bill goes to check the apartment and suggests Ralph try to find a way to join the circus, and the suit should help. After Bill leaves, Ralph finds a matchbox, and it has an address for a match dating service, Two on a Match. He continues testing out various pieces of the clown's gear when Erica, a member of the trapeze act, arrives. Ralph tries a cover story that Yuri was going to get him a job, and Erica assumes that Ralph is the new cannonball act that Yuri mentioned. Ralph also asks about Yuri's whereabouts and Erica says that nobody knows. But she does agree to help Ralph secure an audition for the human cannonball act.

At the apartment, Bill calls in on Anderson. Anderson denies any knowledge of Yuri. Outside, the same two men drop in on hang gliders and break into the building. Just after Bill leaves Anderson's apartment, the men break into it and kidnap Anderson. Bill hears the commotion but cannot break into the apartment. He calls Ralph on the radio. Unfortunately, Erica is in earshot of the transmission. Ralph manages to fly to the building while Bill finally breaks into the apartment by shooting the lock off the door. He makes it to the roof in time to see the men take off on their hang gliders with Anderson. Ralph sees the hang gliders, but one of the men manages to shoot Bill off the roof. Ralph saves Bill, but they lose the kidnappers. Bill has to go to hospital for his bullet wounds.

Outside the hospital, Pamela joins Ralph. Bill comes out with his arm in a sling. After what happened at Anderson's apartment, Bill has realized that his clown case is a major one, and says they are going to see Carlisle. Ralph shows Bill the matchbox from Yuri's tent, which Bill does not take seriously. Bill takes Carlisle (who is not happy at missing the mayor's dinner because of this) to Anderson's apartment, but is surprised to find that the door lock he shot off earlier is intact. He is even more surprised to find a birthday party in full swing in Biff's honor. Bill realizes that the man claiming to be Biff is not the man he saw earlier. Inside the apartment, Bill finds the window the kidnappers smashed through is intact as well. Bill still insists the man is not Anderson, but Carlisle is not impressed and orders Bill to keep away from Anderson.

On a more positive note, Bill finds the same matchbox at the apartment and is now taking the clue seriously. They know there is a connection between Yuri and Anderson, and Bill theorizes that Yuri was murdered for seeing something he was not supposed to. Ralph says that nobody at the circus wants to talk about Yuri and points out that the skills the kidnappers had to pull off the kidnapping were the type of skills someone would acquire at a circus. Bill says that since he has been ordered to keep away from Anderson, Pamela is assigned to check Anderson's connection with Two on a Match. Bill goes undercover at the circus despite his bad arm - cleaning the animals' quarters.

Ralph goes off for his audition. But while he does, someone locks the cage Bill is working in and set a tiger loose in the cage. Bill climbs up the cage out of the tiger's reach and radios Ralph for help. After Ralph makes a soft landing from the cannon, he vibes Bill's peril and flies back to save him. He bends the bars of the cage to get Bill out and then calms the tiger down. However, the man who locked the cage saw this and goes to tell Erica and another man, the third member of the trapeze act. The man who tried to kill Bill was one of the kidnappers and he had recognized Bill from their encounter on the roof. The other man says to go down to Two on a Match as they must do the job today.

Pamela arrives at Two on a Match and uses a pretext of an urgent case to make a speedy passage through the processing. Paul, the man in charge, seems more than professionally interested in her, and Pamela does not like it or him. She also sees Erica, who is at the agency too.

Back at the circus, manager Klaus Vorman tells Ralph that his cannonball act will take place at the end of the show. He also tells Ralph he can have Yuri's tent as Yuri will not be coming back. When Ralph asks Bohrmann how he knows, Bohrmann says it is just a feeling. Both Bill and Ralph continue to make inquiries with the other performers about Yuri, but get nowhere. The only thing Ralph gets is a warning from the circus dwarf to forget Yuri or he will not live long in the circus. Bill theorizes that as the circus is full of international personalities, there could be a Communist/espionage connection. Ralph is not convinced as circus people are not known for being political, and cannot see how the dating service fits in.

Ralph is beginning to think that working in the circus as a cover to solve cases might suit him, particularly as he has lost faith in his class. As they leave the tent, the three villains spot them. They say that if Yuri had not figured them out, they would not have killed him and those two would not be here. They have to be eliminated, and quickly.

Meanwhile, Ralph bumps into his students. Bill has told them that Ralph is thinking of joining the circus and they are horrified that Ralph is going to be a human cannonball. They query as to whether this is because of Ralph's disappointment over the tests. They urge Ralph to give them a second chance and tell him they are studying very hard for it this time as they do not want to lose him. Ralph agrees and invites them to watch his act. But the villains sabotage the cannon to give it more than extra firing power, and the act will not be using a safety net.

The circus gets underway. Pamela and her date from the agency, Charles "Chuck" Fisher, are in the audience, and Pamela is not enjoying his company either. Then Pamela sees Ralph with Erica, recognizes her from the dating service and tells Bill. They have to warn Ralph, and also advises Bill that Anderson was the director of the agency. She also got the impression that the agency is not a professional one, which gives Bill the impression that the agency is a cover for something. She does not think Chuck is a watchdog for anything, but then Chuck arrives. Bill starts to talking to Chuck, and when he catches Chuck in a lie, he knocks Chuck to the ground. After cuffing and disarming him, they find his ID, which reveals he is really Kenny Givers.  Givers refuses to talk, so they leave him cuffed to the stand.

As Ralph is about to be shot out of the cannon, Bill notices the trapeze artists taking off and tries to follow. The sabotaged cannon causes Ralph to fly right through the big top. The students, who are in the audience, are shocked. But of course the suit saves Ralph. Bill radios Ralph, tells him they must have spiked the cannon, and is now chasing the villains, who have left in a van. But Alice, a circus elephant who has been trained to sit on a red pedestal, has now done the same to Bill's red car and squashed it. Ralph's students come up and Bill borrows Tony's car, but he loses the villains. Bill and Ralph decide to head back to Two on a Match.

Meanwhile, the villains arrive at Two on a Match and drag Anderson in. They use his fingerprints to break in and start searching for something in all the tapes stored in his office. Ralph spots the parked van and then vibes what the villains are doing. He smashes in, but their acrobatic skills provide some difficulties for him in apprehending them. Eventually he subdues two and Bill catches the third, who was trying to flee with what they were looking for. Anderson explains the dating agency is a cover for a CIA records center and debriefing drop. Agents come from all over to debrief on tape, and the villains were trying to steal the entire CIA network of CIA agents who had been planted over the past 20 years. As for Yuri, he is dead; they had killed him because he found out what they were up to.

The students retake the test, and Ralph is staggered at how high they scored this time. He is all excited and proud to be a teacher again. Bill comes in, all excited with what he has, but Ralph is more interested in the test results. They try to talk over each other, Ralph over the test results, Bill saying how furious Carlisle is over the clown case he lumbered Bill with turning into the biggest bust of international information thieves, and Pamela getting an unwanted call from Chuck/Kenny (now revealed as a CIA plant), who is still interested in her. Bill also got the cover story for Agent of the Month of Bust 'n' Badge magazine. Bill even gets away with the damage Alice caused to the car. But then Ralph points out that the CIA has Pamela's tapes and now every CIA agent will be calling her. Then Paul drops by and asks for Pamela. Ralph asks Pamela what she put in those tapes in a very demanding tone.