Monday, May 04, 2009

Through The Past, Darkly

Through the Past, Darkly
January 26, 1980
Music: Stu Phillips
Teleplay: Frank Lupo & Robert L. McCullough
Story: Chris Lucky & Stephen C. Kurzfeld and Glen A. Larson & Frank Lupo
Director: Charles Rondeau

Seems like it shouldn't take five writers to construct a BJ AND THE BEAR episode, especially one as uncomplicated and clich├ęd as this one. A young woman named Pamela Gerard (Judith Chapman) escapes from a mental hospital, where she was sentenced after being accused of stabbing her husband to death in his sleep. She hitches a ride with BJ (Greg Evigan), who eventually recognizes her from a photo in the newspaper. Despite her suspicious behavior, he buys her story after a pair of thugs attempts to kidnap her. She claims Althea Reeves (Lee Menning) was her late husband's mistress and may have been the real killer, but that theory is shot to hell when Mrs. Reeves, the wife of important businessman Preston Reeves (Philip Halverson), is murdered at her home.

Evigan looks confused occasionally, and not because the plot is convoluted. BJ is always helping out pretty girls in distress, but he really has no reason Pamela isn't what she is accused of. She's twitchy and moody, and he even wakes up to find her standing over his bed with a steak knife in the middle of the night. I'd believe she was nuts. BJ gamely plays sleuth, however, to help her nail the real killer with resistance from police lieutenant Landau (Drew Snyder). Director Charles Rondeau keeps the trains running on time, but offers little style or substance.

You can see where the writers may have had construction difficulties. Bear is a lazy deux es machine to get BJ and Pamela out of a sticky situation, and some lines are looped in post-production that must have made sense to somebody at the time, but not to me today. Co-writer Stephen Kurzfeld was later nominated for two Emmys as a producer of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, but this was his only BJ script. Chris Lucky previously co-wrote with Frank Lupo the first-season episode "Shine On."

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