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!

Friday, 15 October 2010

Deadly Maneuvers s2ep20

co-starring: Ed Lauter as Douglas Kyle, Barbara Stock as Girl in Ferrari, Tricia O'Neil as Dr Maggie Sullivan, Richard Kuss as Harper, Michael Cavanaugh as Joseph King, John G Scanlon as Jackie Hoffer
Written by Richard Christian Matheson, Thomas Szollosi
Directed by Mike Vejar

A group of criminals whose plans have been ruined by the A-Team hire a gang to capture and kill them.

The best A-Team episodes (of which this is one) fall into two categories. There are those which are the best examples of the standard A-Team plot (The Taxicab Wars, Chopping Spree) and then there are those which are something very different (A Nice Place to Visit, The Court Martial Trilogy). This one falls into the latter category, having the team seemingly meet their match in terms of an equally sharp and well-organised outfit.

It is very much a plot-driven episode as the team are caught one by one and have to rely on Tawnia and Dr Sullivan (O'Neil reprising her role from “Black Day at Bad Rock”). The real threat to the team means there's a tough edge to the episode, reflected in dialogue such as Hannibal interrogating the woman who helped the gang capture Face (“You seem like a semi-nice girl under all that greed and make-up. Let me give you some advice. Don't lie to me. It's not nice to lie to me”).

Lauter (who coincidentally played the sheriff in “Bad Day at Bad Rock”) makes a strong adversary as the mercenary hired to bring together the gang, from which Cavanaugh stands out as their master of disguise. Although this is one of the more serious episodes, there is some humour along the way to lighten the mood, particularly when Murdock and Face discuss their respective captures and then as they and BA try to untie themselves.

The strong pace glosses over a few plot holes (How did Hannibal know the gang were at the dairy? They could have just stolen the milk van) and the cast are all on excellent form. Peppard, in particular, makes the most of the opportunities the script presents. There isn’t a great deal of action until the final third but it’s not noticeable as the level of tension remains high throughout. At its core, this is basically a great story well-told and this is what makes it one of the highlights of the season. 10/10.

NB. Bear in mind that this is your fourth and final opportunity this season to see that jeep jump & flip that was previously used during “In Plane Sight”, “Say It with Bullets” and “Harder Than It Looks”!

1 comment:

  1. I agree with the breakdown of two categories of the show. This is one of my favorites. I enjoy the ones where one or more of the Team are in jeopardy, and this is a great example.

    Love the exchange with Face and Murdock about how they were trapped. Classic stuff.

    Great to see Tricia O'Neal reprising her role from Black Day at Bad Rock.