I decided to focus on moments that aren’t between the guys for this post. Some of these feature the guys, but the focus is not on their relationship. That’s a whole other future post! In fact, in some of these, neither Starsky nor Hutch is even present.
5. His son’s shoes–Terror on the Docks. For some people watching this scene, Earl Banks seems heartless and mercenary with his fixation on his now dead son’s shoes and his wanting them. However I can only see a man so devastated by his son’s murder, that he has grabbed on to one thing that connects him to his son. The actor, Garry Walberg, captures every nuance of shock and grief and raw emotion. It is an amazing scene and one can’t help but shed a tear for the father for whom the magnitude of loss is yet to come. I think one of the things that Starsky and Hutch reminds us of often is that everyone has someone who once loved them and this scene shows it to perfection.
4. Guy in the Garbage Can-The Crying Child. Once again, this episode packs a real punch in the gut. Child abuse has always been with us but it was only in the 70s that it became truly talked about. My career made me a mandated reporter, but yet, even a decade before, teachers could lose their jobs for reporting/making an accusation about suspected abuse. The scene where Hutch opens that lid, finds a huddled Guy in the garbage can, makes me cry every single time. Especially when you realize that Guy doesn’t really think it’s anything out of the ordinary. It’s just another fact of his life. It’s a hard episode to watch but it’s also an important one.
3. Eddy and Nobody-Gillian. Once again, we get to see the people Starsky and Hutch interact with on their beat. Eddy has already appeared in The Bounty Hunter and you know that he’s the kind of guy that Starsky and Hutch keep an eye on to make sure he’s safe, he’s fed, and he has somewhere to sleep. But in this scene, we get to see Starsky’s gentleness and care for him. Eddy can’t understand his friend is dead. Or rather like Earl Banks, he isn’t quite ready to accept it. Once again we see the focus on something seemingly minor–this time creamed tuna–as a way to cope with the unimaginable. It’s that little moment between Starsky and Eddy where Starsky is so gently questioning him, understanding the loss that Eddy has suffered. And then his quiet “It’s okay,” and his making sure Eddy will safely get to the mission. My heart breaks for Eddy no matter how many times I watch.
2. Elijiah in the Alley-The Pilot. This is one of my favorite Hutch scenes of all time and it’s so brief. Elijiah is another one of the down-trodden that Starsky and Hutch always treat with care and dignity. I love Hutch’s way of giving Elijiah money–it’s as if Elijiah is doing him a favor by taking it. He’s giving it with no strings which is also a beautiful gesture and we get one of those very lovely Hutch smiles. But that’s not even the part that makes me cry. No, it’s the moment after Elijiah gets the money–the moment he is going down the alley yelling that he can treat his friend Charlie to a cup of coffee. It’s beautiful and sweet and treats Elijiah with the same dignity that Hutch has afforded him.
1. I Love You-Shootout. Norman Fell is fantastic in this episode but this scene is particularly poignant. Sammy Grovner is one of those people that I want to see finally have some success in life. I get the feeling he’s been working at trying to break into the big time his whole life and has never made it. Maybe he’s not good at it, or maybe he just hasn’t had the luck that some others have. Whatever the reason, Sammy is the underdog I want to see make it. You can tell he loves Robin in every interaction between them, and I’m never quite sure if Robin has ever recognized it or not. Does she want someone who is more successful than Sammy? Does she not love him back? When Robin asks Sammy to tell her something funny, and he says, I love you. Isn’t that a scream?, I always cry. Every single time. Even writing about it makes me tear up. We never get an answer to it–does Robin admit her love also? I like to think that finally Sammy is successful–if not in his choice of career, then at least in love. At least that’s my way of giving Sammy and Robin a happy ending.