The Killing

Production Code: (3808)
Airdate: CBS as “The New Tuesday Night Movie”; Tuesday 30 October, 1973; 9:30-11:00PM ET
Writer: Ellis Marcus
Director: Nicholas Colasanto

Cast: Richard Roundtree (John Shaft), Ed Barth (Lt Al Rossi), Ja’Net DuBois (Diana Richie), Leonard Frey (Kyle Bruckner), Michael Ansara (Sgt Duff), Michael Pataki (Sonny Bruckner), Ron Soble (Archie McGill), Henry Beckman (Stanley Hollister), Jared Martin (Victor Perrine), Val Avery (Captain Rigano), Jack Bernardi (Judge Weinberg), Vito Scotti (Charley), Louis Guss (Jack Benjamin), Royce Wallace (Mrs Richie), Albert Popwell (Logan), Jacque Lynne Colton (Selma Thomas), Michael Fox (Judge Graves), Lou Kane (Iggie).

Shaft is antagonised by Sonny Bruckner whilst Diana Richie and Sonny's brother Kyle watch on.
Shaft (Roundtree) is antagonised by Sonny Bruckner (Pataki) whilst Diana Richie (DuBois) and Sonny’s men watch on. (MGM/CBS)

SYNOPSIS
An ex-girlfriend of Shaft’s, Diana Richie, is badly beaten and ends up in hospital. Shaft goes up against the pimp who delivered the beating, but when the pimp later turns up dead Shaft is the chief suspect.

NOTES

  • The episode retained its working title of Murder One in some areas.
  • Viewers had to wait three weeks for the second episode, with the series revolving with James Stewart’s courtroom drama Hawkins and The Tuesday Night Movie.
  • The episode, which had elements of racial tension and a much tougher portrayal of John Shaft in the script, may have been moved up the broadcast order as a reaction to the criticisms levelled at the premiere.
Shaft studies the results of a shootout. (MGM/CBS)

BOTTOM LINE
This is a big improvement on The Executioners, primarily because writer Marcus seems to have a better understanding of the Shaft character than the producers. Roundtree has much more to get his teeth into here and there are a number of times when the Shaft of the movies cuts through – notably in the exchanges with pimps Sonny Bruckman (Pataki) and his brother Kyle (Frey).

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