Production Code: (3809)
Airdate: CBS as “The New Tuesday Night Movie”; Tuesday 20 November, 1973; 9:30-11:00PM ET
Writer: Ken Kolb
Director: Harry Harris
Cast: Richard Roundtree (John Shaft), Ed Barth (Lt Al Rossi), Tony Curtis (Clifford Grayson), Howard Duff (Tom Oliver), Percy Rodrigues (Marcus Lowell), Judy Pace (Ann Lowell), Anthony Geary (David Oliver), Don Matheson (Paul Hanson), Nicky Blair (Harris), Jason Wingreen (Jacquard), Pat Delaney (Mona), Paula Shaw (Secretary), Ted Jordan (Pit Boss), Philip Chapin (Blair).
Shaft is hired to help David Oliver, who is accused of killing Eddie Simmons in a hit-run with a stolen car. The investigation leads Shaft to come up against Clifford Grayson (Curtis) who is running an illegal gambling joint and for whom Simmons was a collector.
- Judy Pace, who had appeared in 1970s Cotton Goes to Harlem, was a brief love interest for Shaft in this episode. She went on to form the Kwanzaa Foundation with Star Trek actress Nichelle Nichols.
The third episode broadcast falls somewhere between the first two in terms of approach and quality. The plot is nothing special and there are some twists that are not hard to predict. Roundtree has some good moments here that capture the essence of his non-nonsense characterisation on the big screen. Notable amongst these are his verbal jousts with Curtis’ Cliff Grayson. Curtis is an actor who likes to hog the screen, but Roundtree sparks off this and there is genuine tension in their scenes together.