DVD Review: Police Woman (The Complete Second Season)

Angie Dickinson made being over 40 look good back in 1975. She’d been a supporting fixture in TV and movies for twenty years, but her ability to sizzle increased when she pinned on the badge as Sgt. Pepper Anderson. Dickinson might have played an undercover cop, but she made sure she wasn’t kept underwraps. Her wardrobe was more dangerous than her service revolver. She was part of the LAPD’s Criminal Conspiracy Unit with Sgt. Bill Cowley (Earl Holliman), Det. Pete Royster (Charles Dierkop) and Det. Joe Styles (Ed Bernard). Because of their nebulous unit title, they were allowed to investigate everything from prostitution to evil schools. Sometimes she would just stumble into trouble. The show was an immediate hit. But the network pinheads moved it from Fridays at 10 p.m. to Tuesday at 9 p.m. for the sophomore outing. This switch meant the producers had do tone down the violence. But they didn’t have to hide Dickinson in a potato sack. Police Woman: The Complete Second Season is 24 episodes that lets Pepper spice up her cases.

“Pawns of Power” arrives in a classy ‘70s crime vehicle, the semi-truck outfitted to be a casino. Gamblers dressed up like they’re in a classy Monte Carlo casino, but are really cruising around the roads of Los Angeles playing Poker, craps and blackjack. What would drive a sane person to think they’re going to do well at a casino on wheels? A guy gets on a hot streak and will end up chowing on asphalt instead of a shrimp cocktail. What would entice them to get on board? How about Robert Goulet? Instead of being the floor show, the legendary songman is a mobster running the operation. What he doesn’t realize is that Pepper is not merely the new cocktail waitress in a skimpy uniform. Roddy McDowall (Planet of the Apes) is part of the police force wanting to bring down Goulet. “The Score” has Pepper posing as a sister of a dead junky. Her job is to bust a major drug lab. But things go wrong when her cover gets blown. “Paradise Mall” has a serial killer going after blondes. Before he kills them, he puts them in wedding dresses.

“The Chasers” involves an insurance fraud scheme. Pepper gets sucked into the scam when a truck hits her before she’s about to leave on vacation. Film Noir bad girl Ida Lupino is a hospital employee always looking for new clients. The most shocking moment of the episode is when the sleazebag lawyer arrives on the scene. It’s Ian McShane (Deadwood). He’s like a baby in a suit. You might not recognize him that quickly since he’s not allowed to cuss like Al Swearengen. “Farewell, Mary Jane” crashes a major drug buy involving Sam Elliot, Geoffery Lewis and a plane named Mary Jane. Wonder where it got that name from? A quick look in the cargo hold will reveal all the answers. Keep you eyes alert for a Loni Anderson appearance.

“Blaze of Glory” switches up cases. Pepper is working a prostitution sting when she hits a bank to get change for a payphone. This is a bad move since the bank is being robbed by a bunch of wild hillbillies. They got so many charges pending against them that they don’t care what happens. They grab Pepper to be their hooker hostage. “Glitter with a Bullet” takes us back to the days of make up loving rock stars. A singer dies and Pepper fears for a rising rock star. John Rubenstein (Family) gets to glam up like T. Rex. Frank Gorshin is the creepy manager that’s a suspect. “Don’t Feed the Pigeons” scams old ladies out of their wealth with the help of Henry Gibson (Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In) and Erik Estrada (CHiPs).

“The Pawn Shop” involves a plot to fence stolen property. The bigger scam is Joan Collins (Dynasty) playing an actress. Robert Loggia legitimizes “Wednesday’s Child.” Pepper won’t tolerate a burglary ring going after wealthy single women. “A Generation of Evil” takes the show to Las Vegas. Pepper must bust a kidnapper that’s holding a rich guy’s grandson. Robert Vaughn (The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) and Barry Williams (The Brady Bunch) glitz it up. “Task Force: Cop Killer” wraps up the season with a two-parter. Pepper gets a boyfriend, but things go bad quickly. Angie gets to ride a motorcycle.

While Police Woman: The Complete Second Season > had to ramp down the violence, the producers didn’t tone down Dickinson’s mature sexual heat. She makes sure that crooks don’t spoil her undercover status by distracting them in various wardrobe adjustments. The numerous guest stars also dazzle the eyes. This is still a fun crime show from the ‘70s since Dickinson has no problem flaunting all her weapons to solve a case and stay alive.

The Episodes
“Pawns of Power,” “The Score,” “Paradise Mall,” “Pattern for Evil,” “The Chasers,” “Cold Wind,” “Above and Beyond,” “Farewell, Mary Jane,” “Blaze of Glory,” “Glitter with a Bullet,” “The Purge,” “Don’t Feed the Pigeons,” “The Hit,” “Silence,” “Incident Near a Black and White,” “The Melting Point of Ice,” “The Pawn Shop,” “Angela,” “Wednesdays Child,” “Generation of Evil,” “Double Image,” “Mother Love” and “Task Force: Cop Killer” (two-parter).

The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The transfers bring out all the details of 1975’s hip fashions. The audio is mono. The mix is fine for a ‘70s cop shows. The bullets ring louder than the funky score.

No bonus features.

Police Woman: The Complete Second Season is a rush with Angie Dickinson in full control of her undercover unit. She’s out to bust anyone that messes in Los Angeles. The thrill of the season is watching Robert Goulet get nasty on the casino truck. This is a must have for any member of the Seventies Preservation Society.

Shout! Factory presents Police Woman: The Complete Second Season. Starring Angie Dickinson, Earl Hollimanm, Charles Dierkop and Ed Bernard. Boxset contents: 24 episodes on 6 DVDs. Released on DVD: February 7, 2012. Available at Amazon.com.

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