About this blog

In 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire ... The A-Team.

This was the introduction to one of the great TV series of the eighties. The purpose of this blog is to build up the definitive episode guide to the show across its five seasons which ran from 1983 to 1987. So this isn't too much of a burden, I'm intending to watch a couple of episodes a week and given that there were around 100 episodes made during its run, this will turn into a year-long project!

Sunday, 20 June 2010

A Small and Deadly War s1ep4

co-starring: Jack Ging as Captain Stark, Dean Stockwell as Officer Collins, Norman Alden as Inspector Ed Maloney, Al White as Officer Meadows, Fil Formicola as Shaeffer, Carol Baxter as Nurse, Rhonda Shear as Stark's Girlfriend
Written by Frank Lupo
Directed by Ron Satlof

The A-Team are hired to stop a gang of SWAT team cops who are available as assassins for hire.

Another of the early, more serious episodes, this is still an involving tale that perhaps lacks too many of the archetypal A-Team elements to be a fan favourite. In many ways, this episode could have been written for any eighties action series but the quality of the performances makes it worth watching. Alden makes a strong early impression as the good cop wanting to expose the truth, Stockwell (best known to TV viewers as Al from Quantum Leap) does well as the more nervous member of the SWAT team and Ging also makes his mark as its leader. Ging would later return to the series as a border patrol officer in "Bad Time on the Border" and then again in a recurring role as General Fulbright towards the end of season 4.

There's good humour from Amy and Face when they fake a cockroach infestation to place “bugs” on the cops' uniforms (Amy: “Bringing me along to sew, how wonderfully sexist”). Murdock has a great scene in which he’s required to feign tuberculosis to get out of the VA hospital and he also gets to deliver flowers to Ging while the cop is entertaining a lady friend. This certainly isn’t a wall-to-wall action episode. The emphasis is more on the build-up of tension (such as in the night-time stand-off) and the growing paranoia among the SWAT group. The location shooting helps a great deal throughout and the episode builds well to a face-off in a deserted amusement park during which BA jumps onto the hood of a moving car. Overall, not a classic episode but it is nevertheless a strong story very well-told. 8/10

1 comment:

  1. B.A.: "These guys are SWAT-trained in Special Weapons and Tactics. That's our bag. It's gonna be like going up against ourselves."
    Hannibal: "Exciting, isn't it?"

    The first four seasons of the show each featured one episode where the A-Team goes up against an "evil" version of themselves. In this case, it's a crooked 4-man SWAT Team.

    I agree with you that this episode is slower, as the Team resorts to more psychological methods to wear down their opponents. Hannibal was always my favorite character, and he's cocky as hell in this episode, so I really enjoyed it.

    The final showdown was filmed at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California (yes, that's the famous roller coaster Colossus in the background!).