Stingray season 1 episode 5: Sometimes You Gotta Sing the Blues

episode number: season 1, episode 5 (1986)
viewing setting: home DVD, 7/3/11

episode synopsis: Ray helps a police chief who's somehow been framed for the murder of his wife.

impressions: Excellent episode, both in terms of plot and action. Ray pulls off a number of cool tricks, and we learn some things about him. Early on, he accesses his client list (which has some impressive entries) with a monochrome computer. He gives someone a speech about the givers and takers in the world, and how he sees himself as a sort of referee. His license plate traces back to the California governor's mansion. He uses psychological warfare on the bad guys to get them riled up and turned against each other, and he makes threats to people holding guns aimed at him. There's also a black knight reference, slipped into the episode in the form of a fence post (this would recur in later episodes.) The writer of this one - series creator Stephen Cannell - was a genius.

notable guest stars: Noted TV actor and Robocop bad guy Kurtwood Smith is a corrupt police sergeant. Veteran actor Tom Atkins is a corrupt politician.

cool actions and tactics: Ray wakes up when intruders sneak around his house, gets out of handcuffs while talking to someone with his hands behind his back, breaks down a complicated situation with analytical/lateral thinking, disguises himself as a taco truck vendor to fool the police and get information, disguises himself as a European hairdresser to get more information, disguises himself as a bartender to infiltrate a party, plants a pistol in a bush for later emergency use, takes out four cops in about ten seconds, disguises himself as an ad agent to fool a politician and then switches to an enforcer to intimidate the guy, disarms someone who's pointing a gun at him, picks a lock, taunts the bad guys when they're all together with guns pointed at him, later turns the tables on five armed goons, and shoots out a fleeing car's tire at night.

Candice: "I don't think I like you."
Ray: "That's okay. It's not necessary."

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