The Streets of San Francisco (1972)

Season 1 Episode 21

Trail of the Serpent

Aired Saturday 9:00 PM Feb 22, 1973 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

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out of 10
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  • Karl Malden showcase

    Mike Stone(Karl Malden) is kidnapped by a gang, responsible for killing a police officer after they terrorized a couple who owned a store. Karl Malden is terrific in the following scenes. The kidnapper taunts Stone, with the gun pointed at him, and Karl Malden shows the fear in his characters eyes, while at the same time displaying poise. His scenes with the little brother of the kidnapper also stand out. Stone tries to get through to the kidnapper. The scene where Stone dares the kidnapper to shoot him, as he tries to escape, provides great drama. I thought this was an excellent episode, as Karl Malden gave a memorable performance.
  • Real-time feel

    Has a great gritty real-time feel to it the whole way, with nary a lick of sappiness to be found. In addition, O'Connor (FKA Eliot Carson on Peyton Place) is wonderful as the desk cop who eventually caves in to Keller's demands. Malden's exhortations re "book learnin'" are a bit much to take at first, even if he is desperately looking for a topic of discussion (not sure schools are the places to tell you what "good books" are, considering that textbooks are generally the worst books ever made), but his final scene with the kidnapper, where he looks white as a zombie and sounds as parched as Jimmy Stewart did in Congress for Mr Smith, is one of the high points of the whole series. Even Douglas' qualms after he bags his prey is great, lower-key but reminiscent of Almangual's remorse over his TV dinner in that great episode of Barney Miller. One more thing: the jackets the Cobras are wearing look more than slightly symbionese, do they not?