A knockout cops-and-killers yarn that starts fast and gets faster. Janssen, just coming off his "Fugitive" TV series, is a police sergeant searching for a killer. He's lurking on the grounds of an apartment complex when he spies a man racing across the grass. Janssen duly warns the man
to stop, then is forced to shoot the runner when the man draws a gun. The dead body turns out to be that of Curtis, a well-known physician who had spent a great deal of time and effort on behalf of downtrodden Mexicans in the area south of San Diego. Janssen and the other cops hunt in vain for the
gun Janssen swears he saw. The press has a field day and accuses Janssen of being just another trigger-happy cop who prowls the streets of Los Angeles. He is immediately suspended from duty and faces the strong possibility of a manslaughter charge. Janssen knows that he didn't just imagine the
gun, so he begins a campaign to clear his name and become reinstated on on the police force. Now on his own, Janssen returns to the scene of the "crime" and starts his investigation. First, he encounters aged Gish (who was celebrating her 55th year in the movies) and learns that Curtis was her
doctor and often stopped by her efficiency apartment with toys for her late dog. Janssen continues to question the people who inhabit the apartments and meets Grizzard, an airline pilot who offers to help. He also finds the dead corpse of an attractive young woman who perished during an illegal
abortion operation. Janssen continues by quizzing Curtis' nurse, Powers, who informs him that the doctor recently received several checks in large amounts. The sender of the money was Sanders, the stockbroker servicing Curtis. Powers is then found dead, and there is an attempt on Janssen's life.
Digging more deeply, Janssen recalls that Gish mentioned her pet dog was interred with all the trinkets and toys that Curtis had given it. With Grizzard's help, Janssen unearths the pet's coffin and finds the "weapon." It isn't a real gun at all but a kid's pistol with contents even deadlier than
bullets--heroin. Now the pieces all come together. Grizzard, Curtis, and Sanders are all part of a nationwide narcotics organization, with Grizzard being the man who transported the stuff around the country in his capacity as an airline pilot. Grizzard pulls a revolver and wounds Janssen, who
fires back and sends Grizzard reeling into the dog's grave at the close. Solid direction and production and a no-nonsense script all contribute to making this an excellent movie. Joan Collins is seen briefly as Janssen's soon-to-be-ex-wife, Steve Allen scores as a TV broadcaster who is always
seeking to stir up controversy, and Vito Scotti gets his share of chuckles as a dress designer who is light in his moccasins. The all-star cast also includes John Garfield, Jr., in his film debut, as well as Carroll O'Connor, Walter Pidgeon, Sam Wanamaker, Keenan Wynn, Ed Begley, and Eleanor
Parker in small but important roles.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: A knockout cops-and-killers yarn that starts fast and gets faster. Janssen, just coming off his "Fugitive" TV series, is a police sergeant searching for a killer. He's lurking on the grounds of an apartment complex when he spies a man racing across the gra… (more)