The Untouchables

Season 1 Episode 21

The Unhired Assassin (Pt 2)

Aired Thursday 9:30 PM Mar 03, 1960 on ABC
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Episode Summary

The Unhired Assassin (Pt 2)

With Mayor Cermak's increased crack down on Nitti's operations, the mobster decides it's time to stop it and put's a contract out on the official.

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  • Bad history but a good episode nonetheless.

    Some revisionists claim that Giuseppe Zangara was actually a mob assassin who mortally wounded Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak in Miami on February 15, 1933 instead of the mentally unstable immigrant portrayed in the media as trying to assassinate President-elect Roosevelt and hitting Cermak by mistake. The script writer appears to have split the difference here. Yes, the Chicago Mob (who referred to themselves as the Outfit) was trying to kill Cermak but Zangara was only the lone nut assassin as portrayed by most history books.

    Another historical event portrayed here in this episode is the shooting of Frank Nitti which took place on December 19, 1932. A member of Mayor Cermak's special police squad entered Nitti's downtown office and pumped five slugs into "the Enforcer." Amazingly, Nitti was charged with the attempted murder of the police officer when the officer wounded himself with a throwaway gun to make it appear as though he fired at Nitti in self-defense. Nitti was acquitted of all charges in a February 1933 trial in which two uniformed officers and several of Nitti's associates testified truthfully that Nitti had been unarmed at the time he was shot. Two Chicago police officers were later fired from the police force and convicted of simple assault upon Nitti.

    Another historical inaccuracy in this episode is the portrait of Mayor Cermak as a reformer when in reality his administration was riddled with corruption. Many believe that mobster Ted Newberry, a gangland ally of Cermak, put up a bounty of $15,000.00 at the bequest of the Mayor on Frank Nitti and the cops involved in the shooting did so to collect that bounty.moreless
Robert Middleton

Robert Middleton

Mayor Anton Cermak

Guest Star

Lee Van Cleef

Lee Van Cleef

Frank Diamond

Guest Star

Frank DeKova

Frank DeKova

Louis Campagna

Guest Star

Bruce Gordon

Bruce Gordon

Frank Nitti

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • The character of Fred "Caddy" Croner is loosely based on Sam "Golf Bag" Hunt, a real-life mob hitman who carried his tools of the trade in a golf bag.

    • Mayor Cermak's wounds from Giuseppe Zangara's gun were originally thought to be non-life threatening but he developed peritonitis in the hospital and passed away on March 6, 1933. Zangara after a speedy trial was executed a few weeks later. Some believe to this day that Cermak and not Roosevelt was the intended target and that Zangara was himself a mob assassin.

    • In real life, Frank Nitti was shot five times by a plainclothes Chicago police detective on December 19, 1932. The detective reportedly went to collect a bounty of $15,000.00 that had been placed on Nitti. Some say the bounty was placed by North Side gambling boss Ted Newberry while others believe it was the Mayor of Chicago himself, Anton Cermak, who wanted Nitti out of the way. Whatever the reason Nitti survived but was charged with attempted murder of a police officer when the detective who shot Nitti wounded himself to make it appear as though Nitti had fired first. Fortunately for Nitti, at his trial in late February of 1933 a couple of uniformed patrolmen who had been present at the scene testified truthfully that Nitti had been unarmed and had his hands raised when he got shot. Nitti was found not guilty of attempted murder and two Chicago detectives, Harry Lang (the triggerman) and Harry Miller were dismissed from the police force for their roles in the incident.

  • QUOTES (12)

  • NOTES (3)

    • Nitti for once seems to be a bit wary of one of his associates in this episode as witnessed by how quickly he moves to smooth things over with Frank Diamond after their disagreement.

    • Robert Gist, who plays the hired assassion, Fred "Caddy" Croner, in this episode would later direct the Season Four episode, Come and Kill Me which ironically also dealt with mob assassins.

    • The immediate aftermath of when Frank Nitti gets shot is a bit ridiculous. Ness tells his fellow Untouchables to get the wounded Nitti a doctor. Then the other hoods are herded out of the conference room while Ness and Allison examine the note that Nitti tried to swallow. They discover that the note was written to Al Capone himself and that it details the planned assassination of Mayor Cermak. WHERE'S NITTI WHEN ALL THIS IS GOING ON? He has to be lying in the corner wounded and groaning in pain yet it's as if they've forgotten about him. What should have been done was to cut to the street outside the Montmarte Cafe and have a shot of Ness and Allison examining the letter written to Capone by Frank Diamond. You could have had an ambulance pulling away in the background of the shot which the viewer could assume was the wounded Nitti being taken to a hospital.


    • The events of this episode are re-told in Max Allen Collins' novel True Detective in which Eliot Ness and Frank Nitti appear. Nitti is also featured prominently in two sequels--True Crime and The Million Dollar Wound. The latter novel deals with Nitti's later years as head of the Chicago Mob and his Hollywood extortion scheme which would lead to his downfall.