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!

Monday, 30 August 2010

Steel s2ep10

co-starring: Mary-Margaret Humes as Randy Stern, Ray Girardin as Carl Denham, Tim Rossovich as Boyle, Michael Baseleon as Tommy T, Norman Alden as Mickey Stern, Carol Baxter as Nurse Billings
Written by Frank Lupo
Directed by Gilbert Shilton

The team are hired by a construction company being threatened by a local rival.

One of the many high points of season two, this episode is enjoyably lightweight in its early stages due to the meet-the-client scene taking place on the Universal Studios tour (with Hannibal in full aquamaniac costume). This excellent opening is also the source of the classic moment featured in the later opening credits in which Dirk Benedict reacts to a Cylon from “Battlestar Galactica” walking past him (Benedict played Starbuck in that series). This initially high level of comedy is maintained throughout, mainly through Murdock's antics as he pretends to be a dog.

The episode is well-directed by Shilton whose three A-Team episodes were among the best ever made (the other two being “The Taxicab Wars” and “The Battle of Bel Air”). The action highlights include a chase sequence in which even the standard car flip seems more spectacular than usual and a fist fight during which Murdock looks up to see one of the bad guys flying over him (presumably BA's doing).

Baseleon as gangster Tommy T is a much stronger character than the usual rent-a-villain and the scene in which he threatens Face in the restaurant has a real sense of menace. As the owner of construction company, Alden becomes the first actor to hire the A-Team for the second time. He previously hired them to root out crooked cops in season one’s “A Small and Deadly War”. Note that Melinda Culea does not appear in this episode and Amy is not even mentioned in the script. 10/10.

Incidentally, writer Lupo is clearly a fan of the Bond movie, “Diamonds are Forever”. The sherry dialogue spoken by Face in the limousine is a direct lift from the film. Another Lupo-penned episode, “The Battle of Bel Air”, also includes a homage to "Diamonds are Forever".


  1. The highlight of this episode for me is the sequence when Face is captured by Crazy Tommy T. In a nice bit of continuity, one of Face's business cards has the name "Arturo Wainright, tractor salesman." In "Labor Pains" Face posed as Arturo Wainright of the Greater Valley Farm Truck Maintenance Bureau in order to scam a tractor. I guess now he's using that alias to try to sell that tractor? Funny.

    Face took the alias "J. Pierrepont Finch" from the musical "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying."

    Jilly's back! Jilly (Luke Andreas) was the enforcer of mobster Gianni Christian in the Season One episode "The Rabbit Who Ate Las Vegas," also written by Frank Lupo. He's back in this episode as the driver and enforcer of Crazy Tommy T, and Jilly is again played by Luke Andreas. Internet Movie Database erroneously credits Luke Andreas as playing "Jules," but Jules is the name of Crazy Tommy T's deceased business partner. Andreas plays Jilly and is referred to by name several times. However, even though it's the same actor and same character name, I don't believe it's supposed to be the same guy from Season One. I'm guessing there are a lot of gangsters named Jilly in Lupo's world, and they all look like Luke Andreas.

    Yet another connection: a mobster named "Crazy Tommy T" is referenced in the episode "Rabbit Who Ate Las Vegas," but since that Tommy T is deceased, it can't be the same guy.

  2. I just noticed that one of Face's business cards has the name "Rob Bowman," who is one of "The A-Team's" associate producers.

    I guess someone else thought Tillis' girlfriend had terrific bone structure, as she was later cast in "Days of Our Lives" and "General Hospital."

    That redheaded nurse was in "A Small and Deadly War" when Face used the tuberculosis routine to scam Murdock out of the hospital. In "Steel," she's giving him a really skeptical look throughout the hospital scene.