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Three, the Hard Way

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ACT 1

Midnight. As we establish the exterior of the Precinct Station, it is suitably devoid of activity, connoting the lateness of the hour.

In the Squad Room, two detectives lethargically perform the activities required, hoping this eight hours of night duty will pass as quickly and uneventfully as possible. BART CRANDALL, the 50ish, grizzled janitor, finishes the uninspiring task of ‘cleaning’ the area; drags his cart to the connecting door to Captain Dobey’s office and knocks perfunctorily. Surprisingly, he receives an answer.

Opening the door slightly, and sticking his head around, he finds CAPTAIN DOBEY still at work at his desk, looking more than a little disheveled and weary. Bart points out how late it is but that he’ll come back if Dobey doesn’t want to be disturbed. Dobey looks momentarily peeved, but then mumbles a “Nevermind, it’s okay,” shuffles a few papers and folders into some semblance of order; stands stiffly and moves to get his coat off the rack. While putting it on, he thanks the janitor for the interruption, saying that Edith would have his hide if he didn’t get home soon anyway. Exchanging pleasantries, Dobey leaves Bart to his duties.

But Crandall gives us the distinct impression that he does not have cleaning on his mind: he stands in the middle of the room, his eyes studying every item and piece of furniture with intense interest. His face shows no emotion, only concentration, maybe commitment, infinite patience and confidence. We watch his eyes pan the entire room, then begin again, with no loss of intensity.

DISSOLVE to the following morning.

9:00 AM. STARSKY, HUTCH, Captain Dobey and several other detectives are in the Squad Room, cups of coffee in hand, seated and standing around the partners’ end of the tables. They are discussing the strange events of the morning: it seems that some psycho, or more likely, some very clever extortionist, has placed four bombs in widely scattered parts of the city. Nobody knows if that’s all yet, but everybody sure hopes so, because every member of the Bomb Squad is already busy trying to deactivate these four. Of course, nobody really knows what’s happening, the only information available here, in Homicide, is hearsay and speculation.

Then Hutch remembers something. “Captain, you were with the Bomb Detail when you first joined the department, weren’t you?”

Dobey's expression turns enigmatic but one of the other detectives pipes up: “Yeah, Cap’n, why don’t you try and find out what’s goin’ on?”

Dobey waves the suggestion off. “That was a very long time ago. And, right now, Captain Donaldson has more important things to do than field questions from me! We’ll find out soon enough what’s going on. Now, why don’t all of you get back to work?” With that, the group dissipates, like fog in the desert, and Dobey goes into his office.

9:35 AM. Inside Dobey’s office. Starsky knocks on the door, opens it in response to Dobey’s “Come in,” sticks his head around the door and tells him that Bart, the janitor, is there and would like to talk to him. Dobey hasn’t really got time but he tells Starsky to have the man come in. No longer dressed in his uniform, Crandall is now in jeans, loafers, long-sleeved shirt and light-weight jacket. He looks like an every-day citizen turning to his police department for help of some kind. But there’s a sly quality to his posture and attitude as he tells Starsky that he and Hutch might as well join him in the office; they’ll no doubt be involved so they should probably be in on it from the beginning. The boys exchange puzzled looks with an equally puzzled Dobey and, at his nod, come into the office behind Bart, close the door, and wait.

Crandall looks at Dobey as if he truly expects him to have an instant flash of knowledge and is disappointed when it doesn’t happen. After a few moments of silence, Dobey patiently asks him “What can I do for you?”

Bart straightens, his voice accusatory: “You really don’t remember me, do you?”

Dobey is determined not to over-react; after twenty-eight years on the force, few things can really surprise him anymore. “I remember you’ve been working here for about six weeks. Do we know each other from before that?”

Bart tries another tack: “Maybe the last name will help. It’s Crandall. Barton Crandall.” Still nothing registers with Dobey; twenty-eight years is also a long time to try and remember every name. Exasperated now, Bart throws another clue at him: "Twenty-one years next April.”

Slowly, Dobey puts it together but his mind doesn’t want to accept it and his thought comes out as a question: “The Williamson Factory bombings?”

Crandall doesn’t answer, but his expression is now one of satisfaction. Starsky and Hutch exchange a look and suddenly the events of the morning are beginning to make ugly sense. Dobey is a few seconds behind them but he too recognizes the connection. “You’re responsible for those four bombs this morning.”

Crandall’s smile is quite restrained, considering, as he moves to a chair in front of Dobey’s desk and nonchalantly sits down. “Congratulations. I knew you’d get it eventually, if I gave you enough hints.”

The guys don’t know whether this person is a certifiable crazy, or a terrifyingly sane tactician, but, either way, they want some answers. Starsky’s bid for the floor is cut off by Dobey’s quiet statement to Crandall: “So, now you’re going to tell us what it’s all about. Right?”

Crandall’s reply is very off-hand and casual: “Oh, it’s just something that’s been bothering me all these years.... I have to know if you’re that much smarter than me.”

Several moments pass. Starsky and Hutch are pissed; hating the way Bart is playing with all of them, but realizing they can’t interfere until they’ve heard what he has to say.

Dobey is confused: “I don’t know what you’re talking about, Crandall. How could I be smarter than you?”

Bart settles himself more comfortably in the chair and laces his fingers reflectively. “I honestly didn’t think anybody could disarm that bomb. But you figured out all my little tricks and booby traps. You out-guessed me every step of the way. So that meant that you were smarter than me." He slouches casually in the chair. "I thought about that every day I was in prison, and I got to hate the idea. So, I just decided I’d have to find out for sure.”

The boys look at Dobey, needing some help deciphering this last part and he obliges, having figured out the probable bottom line; explains to his detectives: “Twenty-one years ago, he planted a bomb in a factory and demanded fifty thousand dollars before he'd give details on how to disarm it. The bomb squad found it but wasn’t able to deactivate it in time; one man was killed. Three days later, he planted another one, and raised the demand to one hundred thousand. That time my team and I got the assignment. It was the most complicated thing I’d ever seen but, thank God, we had enough time, so nobody was hurt.” Getting caught up in the memories, it takes a few moments for him to continue. “We were able to trace several parts of the bomb to a specific supply house, and identify the purchaser.” Here, he looks back at Crandall. “You got twenty years to life.” Bart nods, and looks like he expects Dobey to continue, so, after a few beats, he does, looking back at Starsky and Hutch. “I left last night when he came in to clean. So all of this probably means he’s planted a bomb somewhere in this office.”

Crandall almost applauds. Starsky looses his cool and lunges for him but Hutch had felt it coming and holds him back. Starsky glares at Crandall for a moment, over Hutch’s restraining shoulder, in total contempt for people who play such devastating games with other peoples’ lives. Hutch finally lets him go and turns to Dobey. “You sure, Captain?”

Dobey doesn’t bother to answer, just throws a tight order at Starsky. “Get everybody out of the building. Now!” Starsky bolts out the door after only one short, intense look at his partner. “Hutchinson..." Dobey gestures toward Crandall. "Get him outta here.”

Before Hutch can move, Crandall slides down in the chair and crosses his knees comfortably. “I’d really like to stay, Captain. I do have a stake in this, you know.” Hutch looks at Dobey for a sign but Dobey’s already beginning the search, so Hutch handcuffs the janitor to the chair, possibly a little pleased by the thought that, if anything happens to them, it’ll happen to him, too.

 

ACT 2

9:45 AM. Starsky hurries back into the office to find Crandall contentedly watching Hutch and Dobey, crouched near the left side of the credenza. Starsky moves over to them and peers over their shoulders. The innocent-looking package is sitting on the bottom shelf, but by the way Dobey stares at it, there can be no doubt as to what it is. As Dobey reaches into the space and begins to explore the placement and nature of possible external booby traps he tells Starsky to get on the phone and see if he can raise somebody in the Bomb Squad downtown.

But Starsky’s call reaches only a kid named JENKINS, who happens to be spending his first day with the detail; Captain Donaldson left him at headquarters to handle the phones. Dobey gets up slowly, having removed the box from the credenza and placing it gently on the floor directly in front; takes the phone. Does Jenkins know how it’s coming with the other bombs? No, not really. He’s monitoring the four teams, who are in constant contact with each other, and things seem to be going well, but very slowly. That’s about all he can say. Dobey asks if there’s any way he can talk to Captain Donaldson and Jenkins assures him it won’t take a minute. But that ‘minute’ is practically an eternity for three of the four people waiting.

When DONALDSON comes on the line, Dobey takes the phone and speaker with him as he moves back beside Hutch and kneels down in front of the bomb, hitting the button on the speaker. Donaldson grasps the situation immediately and is furious at the way they’ve all been manipulated but that useless emotion is quickly put aside. Dobey describes the appearance of his device and it’s identical to all the others which Donaldson tells him are full of nitroglycerine, sophisticatedly and complicatedly set to go off at noon. But, even with the extremely complex set-ups, Donaldson feels that they’ll be able to disarm all four before twelve o’clock. That is, if the guy isn’t suckering them, and they don’t start going off before then. Dobey realizes that might just be a trick Crandall would try but what choice did they have?

Donaldson doesn’t know quite how to tackle the subject of the fifth bomb in Dobey’s office. “Harold, I know you used to be with the Detail, but don’t feel you have to try to disarm that thing yourself. Evacuate the building and I’ll send somebody over just as soon as I can.”

Dobey tells him the evac has already been done and thanks him for the thought but, if it’s only going to be a matter of patience and logic, careful handling and more patience, he thinks he can give it a try.

Donaldson doesn’t attempt to talk him out of it, but tells him to stay in touch, he’ll arrange for an open line. “And, Harold, you’ll need someone to assist. Get Jenkins up there to help, unless you already have somebody you have confidence in.”

Dobey thanks him again and Donaldson disconnects, in order to arrange for a direct line to Dobey’s office. With Jenkins still on the phone, Dobey asks him to bring his equipment and get up there as fast as he can.

Dobey hangs up the phone, leaving it right where it is; looks at Hutch, then Starsky. “I’d rather have one of you help me. Decide which one and, when Jenkins gets here, get into his flak vest and start familiarizing yourself with the tools.”

Hutch is the first to voice the oversight: “Uh, Captain… what about your vest?”

Dobey enjoys a few seconds of a sardonic look at Hutch, then glances down at his expanded middle. “Hutchinson, they don’t make ‘em this big.”

The guys exchange a look; they know it may be true and, at any other time it might have been funny, but they don’t like it.

10:12 AM. Jenkins has arrived. Hutch is donning the flak vest; Starsky has put the ‘kit’ down next to Dobey, who has succeeded in removing the lid of the box without untoward results. Continuing to concentrate on the workings inside, he thanks Jenkins and tells him to beat it. In the same breath, he tells Starsky to take Crandall and get out, too. Starsky takes a second to flash a disbelieving look at Hutch, so Jenkins beats him to a reply. “If it’s all the same to you, sir, I’d like to stay.”

Dobey had expected an argument from Starsky but not from this young man. He looks up at Jenkins, who really is just a peach-fuzz-faced kid, but one who looks pretty determined.

Hutch, ever the mediator, says, “Captain, it looks like we’d have to throw both of them out bodily and I don’t think we have that kind of time. Do you?” Dobey is deeply appreciative of what Hutch, and a silent Starsky, are ‘telling’ him and, turning back to the bomb, increases his determination not to let them down.

10:33 AM. In telephone-patch with Donaldson, all the wires, connectors and switches have been identified, as to purpose and place in the order of final cutting, except one. There is a tiny wire, taped securely to the wire which will be the final one severed. A wire for which no one can determine a purpose. It disappears into the cushioning material under the nitro and cannot be accessed without disturbing the highly sensitive explosive. None of the other bombs has a similar wire. At last, Donaldson voices the obvious conclusion: since there’s no way to separate it from the wire it’s attached to, without almost certainly setting off the bomb, it will just have to be cut with the final wire, and everybody will have to pray. With only a slight edge to his sense of humor, Dobey immediately responds with, “You mean pray harder, don’t you, Joe?”

With the battle plan mapped out, Dobey and Hutch get to work, ever so carefully and patiently. The tension is almost tangible, but there’s no time to notice. Jenkins is probably very scared, but also fascinated, and he will therefore make a damn fine member of the Detail soon. Starsky’s been through this kind of waiting before and knows how to handle it, but it never gets any easier. Crandall just sits and watches.

11:02 AM. On the other end of the open phone line, Donaldson has cut his final wire and nothing has happened. So he gives the okay for each of the other teams to do the same, except Dobey. They’ve still got more than fifty-five minutes until the indicated time of detonation; if Dobey wants to wait, Donaldson will come down and see if they can figure out anything else about that unknown wire. But Dobey knows Donaldson doesn’t have any other ideas, he’s just offering to take the responsibility himself. Dobey respectfully declines; he and his men have come this far. With a quick glance at each of the others in the room, except Crandall, he carefully snips the taped wires.

SMASH CUT TO the interior of the device where, deep within the cushioning material, a very small metal canister shows a tiny, blinking red light.

After about five seemingly interminable seconds, everyone slowly lets out the breath they’ve been holding forever. Starsky comments wryly, “Aw, gee, Cap’n, you didn’t even pull a James Bond.”

Dobey mumbles distractedly, “What?”

“You know..." Starsky shrugs. "In the movies, the hero always runs it right down to the last possible second.”

Hutch looks at his partner, smiles through his exhaustion and says, with love, “Starsky… Shut up.”

Starsky helps Hutch stand up. He’s a bit unsteady, leans against the desk and begins to unbuckle the suddenly-much-too-hot flak vest. Dobey sits flat down on the floor with his back against the credenza, completely drained. Jenkins remains almost mesmerized. Starsky breaks his freeze and moves over to Dobey, gently picks up the box and carries it to Jenkins. Dobey doesn’t even bother to caution Starsky about the care and handling of nitro; he knows Starsky’s familiar with its properties. Jenkins, looking like he’s been entrusted with the Crown Jewels, glances at the others, then leaves.

Dobey comes out of his daze, takes several deep breaths but meets nobody’s eyes. His words come out as an order: “Get Crandall outta here. Tell everybody the building’s safe. Then get him booked.”

A look between the two detectives decides that one of them should stay and, out loud, Hutch avows a need to sit down for a minute or two. Starsky catches the keys Hutch tosses to him and unlocks Crandall’s cuffs, re-locks the wrists behind his back; leads him, surprisingly docile, toward the hallway door. Hutch, having moved across to open the door for them, exchanges a longer look with his partner as he passes, then closes the door and leans his right shoulder against the jamb; he was only half-kidding about feeling shaky.

Out in the corridor, Starsky can’t pin down what’s wrong about Crandall’s attitude, but he seems too casual, not at all upset that his scheme’s been foiled. Suddenly, as they’re almost to the end of the corridor, it hits him like the proverbial express train. He spins, grabbing the janitor by the shirt collar, almost dragging him off his feet, and sprints back toward Dobey’s office, his voice one long scream: “HHUUUTTTTCCCCHHHHHHH.” But he’s only covered half the distance when the world seems to erupt and the door of Dobey’s office is blown completely off it’s hinges, into the corridor. FREEZE FRAME.

 

ACT 3

Starsky drags Crandall into the smoke and debris, looks around desperately. Dobey, farther away from the blast, and shielded partially behind the heavy desk, is relatively uninjured; he’ll have a severe headache for a while, and it will be a few days before his full hearing returns, but right now, he’s mostly dazed. Hutch, however, standing near the corridor door, took nearly the full force of the bomb, which was in the bookcase, and now lies crumpled on his right side in the corner, against the remains of what used to be the water cooler. Starsky shoves Crandall roughly to the far side of the room, checks to see that Dobey doesn’t appear to be hurt too badly, and falls to his knees beside Hutch, terrified, almost afraid to touch him. Whether the explosion shattered the water bottle or Hutch did when he crashed into it, is immaterial: the pieces of heavy glass have done their damage; there seems to be blood everywhere. In addition, a piece of the bookcase is embedded in Hutch’s neck, just above the clavicle.

Before Starsky can conquer his fear, and even just assure himself that Hutch is alive, he sees Crandall, out of the corner of his eye, trying to get to the door, past a still-groggy Dobey. Starsky launches himself and brings Crandall down hard. But, instead of the expected craftiness and success in his eyes, Starsky sees blind terror. Crandall starts babbling about how they’ve got to get out! The third one could go off anytime; he doesn’t know why it didn’t; it was supposed to explode when the other one did. Whatever happened to that sensitive detonator, it could decide to go any second. They had to get out. Now!

Stunned, Starsky looks over at Dobey, who has heard and understood everything, only too well. Then he looks back at Hutch, who is just beginning to regain consciousness, and, suddenly, it’s all almost too much. There’s no way they can take the chance of moving his partner right now, it could kill him. But what the hell could he and Dobey do? Nothing. Nothing except try and find that maniac’s third toy and deactivate it as quickly as possible, then get the medics for Hutch.

As Starsky hauls Crandall to his feet, Dobey staggers over and rights a chair; Starsky throws Crandall into it, unlocks one of the cuffs, pulls his wrists to the front and re-cuffs them to the chair. But the guy’s so scared now, he’s hardly intelligible. Starsky leaves Dobey to question Bart about the particulars of the third bomb and kneels back beside Hutch, who’s starting to come to, and trying to move. Starsky puts his hand gently on Hutch’s left shoulder, crooning to him, and the sound of his voice, and his touch bring Hutch back to basic awareness. But he’s in shock, and pain, and the natural impulse is to move; to try and get away from the crushing pressure on his ribs and the agony at the base of his neck. Starsky catches his partner’s hand, preventing it from reaching the splinter of wood, talking to him softly, reassuringly; trying to ease Hutch’s pain, which he feels as his own.

If we have heard any of Dobey’s and Crandall’s talk in the background, it should have been garbled and almost meaningless. Now, having gotten as much information as he thinks he’s going to get from the madman, Dobey stumbles over to Starsky and tells him the worst news so far: the third bomb is in the base of the water cooler and, according to Crandall, the bookcase blast was supposed to have set it off. He doesn’t understand why it didn’t. Starsky stares at the crushed shape behind Hutch’s bleeding back for a moment, seemingly almost ready to give up. But any such thought is immediately thrown off by his determination to keep Hutch alive.

Not leaving Hutch’s side, Starsky quietly screams his questions at Crandall: “Is it nitro, like the others?”

“No, six sticks of dynamite.”

“What kind of timer?”

No timer, don’t you understand? It just had a very sensitive detonator that was supposed to set it off when the plastique went.”

“Terrific. So, what happened to this wonderful invention?”

"I don’t know! It could go off any second, or never. We gotta get outta here!"

Ignoring Crandall almost completely from this point on, Starsky and Dobey set about this last, most nerve-wracking task. But Dobey is not Hutch, and Starsky finds it takes a great deal more time when everything has to be put into words; he has never felt the lack of his and Hutch’s ‘communication’ quite as keenly.

Hutch will have to be moved so that Dobey can get to the base of the cooler, but only as far as absolutely necessary for work space, hopefully to keep from worsening any internal injuries. Starsky croons to him constantly as he takes firm hold of a handful of Hutch’s flak jacket at the right shoulder with his right hand, his left hand gets a grip on Hutch’s belt. As gently as possible, he pulls Hutch toward him, away from the wreckage, reminding him to try not to turn his head. At last, Hutch is lying flat on his back about two feet from where he was. Despite what must have been intense pain, he managed not to cry out but it cost him: his face is the color of chalk and he’s perspiring heavily, his breathing rapid and very shallow. His grip on Starsky’s left arm will leave bruises.

Dobey now has the room to kneel between Hutch’s feet and the crushed base of the water cooler. Starsky stays where he is, on his knees at Hutch’s head. The bomb is easily found and how Dobey manages to keep his hands so steady as he removes it and places it on the floor in front of him, is anybody’s guess.

Just as Dobey is about to begin opening the package, there is the sound of feet pounding down the corridor and Jenkins shouting Dobey’s name. He appears in the doorway, completely out of breath and scared to death of what he’ll find.

Without removing his concentration from the device in front of him, Dobey snaps, “Where did you leave that bomb?”

“It’s locked in the trunk of my car, sir.”

Dobey nods. “Good man. Now listen, Jenkins, I appreciate your coming back here but, this time, I want you to leave.” A head gesture toward Crandall: “Take him and get out.” Starsky throws him the handcuff keys as Dobey continues: “Keep everybody out of this building ‘til one of us tells you it’s safe. Get the paramedics and have them stand by… but not too close.” Jenkins has moved to release Crandall, who is reduced to a state of near-catatonia. As he takes him by the arm and starts to leave, Dobey, still without looking up, adds, “Thanks again, Jenkins. Keep a good eye on that guy for us, will you?” From the look on Jenkins’ face, we know that Captain Donaldson is going to have a difficult time living up to this kid’s image of ‘cool under pressure.’ With a stiff nod, he takes Crandall out.

Dobey leans back on his haunches and wipes his hands on his thighs, rolls his head to break the tension. “You oughta leave, too, Starsky. I can handle this one by myself.”

Starsky looks at him a moment. “Captain, I appreciate the thought but, to use one of Hutch’s favorite phrases, ‘You’ve gotta be kidding.’" He tries a smile but it doesn't work, for either of them. "Just tell me what to do.”

ACT 4

The lid is off the box and the misshapen contents exposed. The dynamite is unaltered and still lethal-looking but the detonator is a mashed hunk of wires and thin sheets of metal. Dobey has become more cautious, recognizing their truly imminent danger. This was Crandall’s mistake: the detonator was too delicate. The explosion jarred it too much and the crucial sliver of metal was bent. Now, though, any slight movement could cause it to detonate instantly. He forces himself to take his time, figuring out exactly how it must be disconnected, but afraid that Hutch is running out of that commodity.

Starsky has unearthed his and Hutch’s jackets from the debris and covered his partner as well as possible with them. Hutch has begun to shake, whether from shock, or the wind gusting through the shattered windows, or the cold water from the cooler which has soaked his clothes, or a combination of all three, it doesn’t matter. And he has also drifted into restless semi-consciousness. Starsky is doing his best to hide his consummate worry, to keep from bothering Dobey, but until he’s needed to help with the bomb, he has nothing to do except worry. His biggest problem has been keeping Hutch’s hands from reaching toward the pain in his neck, and trying to keep him from turning his head, possibly causing the splinter to move and do more damage.

Suddenly, Dobey’s voice interrupts Starsky’s soft near-crooning, and it has taken on a heavy quality of quilt. “I should have known. It was too easy, and I should have seen it.” Starsky is shocked that Dobey’s starting to blame himself, searches for an argument, but Dobey continues, his voice seemingly detached from his hands which continue to work: “After all the booby traps I saw in Korea; all the things we devised ourselves, and then eight years of second-guessing psychos and their kinky tricks, I should have guessed.... It just never occurred to me that he’d rig more than one; that that lousy wire would trigger a transmitter when it was cut, and activate another timer.... I guess he really is smarter than I am.”

After a moment, Starsky replies, quietly. “Yeah, he sure is.” Subconsciously, Dobey had expected Starsky to argue with him; this agreement surprises him and he looks up. Using all his persuasive common sense, Starsky looks directly into Dobey’s eyes and explains: “He’s so smart, he’s out-smarted himself; used the wrong detonator on this one and it didn’t go off. You’re okay. Hutch is gonna be fine. And Crandall is going to spend the rest of his life in prison, just thinking about how smart he is.”

Dobey digests this logic, accepts with a nod, and bends back over the bomb.

A few seconds later Dobey needs Starsky’s help, so he scoots a foot or so closer to the bomb, kneeling beside Hutch’s right arm. Dobey shows him what wires to hold away from the one he’s about to cut. Focused as we are on them, it takes us a few seconds to realize that Hutch is fully conscious again, and fighting terrible pain. He knows if he should move it couldn’t help but jar one or both of the men who are trying to save his life, so he concentrates his entire being on remaining rigid and tense. But, as is generally accepted, pain is easier to bear if one can relax and roll with it; tension prolongs and intensifies agony. Hutch’s pain would probably register off the scale on a dolorimeter, but who’s got one?

Starsky, even without being able to take his eyes off the device, knows what Hutch is going through and the instant his left hand is freed from it’s task, he places it lightly on Hutch’s chest, fingers spread; the contact, as well as the unspoken words telling him to ‘hang on.’ And Hutch, knowing now that Starsky is aware of his consciousness, and won’t be startled by any move he should make, unclenches his knotted right hand, digs his fingers around Starsky’s belt and does just that: hangs on.

With Starsky’s right hand steadying the detonator itself, Dobey clips the last three wires carefully but quickly and it’s done. For seconds, neither one can move. Then Dobey leans back, and gets tiredly to his feet, taking the detonator with him; the dynamite is harmless without it. “Stay with him. I’ll have the paramedics up here in two minutes.”

As Dobey starts unsteadily toward the doorway, Starsky stops him, “Captain…”

Dobey looks back and they exchange an almost-partnership-like look. “Later, Starsky.” And he’s gone.

Starsky gently pries Hutch’s hand from his belt, shifts from his knees to the more comfortable cross-legged Indian position, holding Hutch’s hand in both of his. Words might be needed on any other show; not here.

TAG

Morning, two weeks later. Starsky, Hutch and Jenkins walk down the corridor outside the Squad Room, Jenkins with a package under this arm. Hutch’s left arm is in a body-sling, which keeps it tightly against his chest, and still has a bandage on the side of his neck, but he looks pretty darn good. They move to the open door of Dobey’s office and look in.

Inside, most of the items are new: desk, credenza, bookcase, but some are familiar. We recognize a few pictures and plaques, the map, one chair and the desk articles. The paint is fresh and new, as are the draperies and blinds. In fact, a painter is still finishing up the trim on the Squad Room door.

Dobey is sitting at his new desk, trying to ignore the paint smell, and the newness of everything, and get some work done for the first time in what seems like a very long time. But, when the three men appear in his doorway, he looks distinctly pleased to have been interrupted. He motions them in, comments on Hutch’s speedy recovery and then looks definitely embarrassed when Jenkins hands him the package he’s been carrying. Warily, at their urging, he unwraps the casual covering to find a carefully constructed small wooden box, which bears a striking resemblance to the almost deadly ones of two weeks earlier. The engraved plaque on the lid, though, takes all the uneasiness from his reaction. As Jenkins tells him it’s from all the guys downtown, Dobey reads: “To Captain Harold Dobey, with appreciation, from Captain Joseph Donaldson and the Bomb Squad.”

Dobey stares at it for several moments, his fingers absently tracing the grain of the wood. He looks up; asks Jenkins to convey his thanks back to Donaldson and the others, and to tell them that, hopefully, it will never happen again! As everyone shares a grin, Starsky and Hutch tell Dobey that what’s inside is from them.

Ordinarily, knowing the boys and their pranks, Dobey would have suspicions about a gift from them but, in this case, it never crosses his mind. Gently lifting the perfectly fitted lid, he takes out a burnished metal cube, about four inches on a side. On the top are three small, round indentations, in a diagonal line, top left to bottom right, as would be found on the “3” side of a die. On the side of the cube facing him, Dobey can read the inscription: “THREE, THE HARD WAY.”

On the various reactions, FADE OUT.

END