Original Air date: May 17, 1989
Story by : Donald P. Bellisario & Scott Shepard & Tom Blomquist
Teleplay by : Donald P. Bellisario & Scott Shepard
Directed by: Aaron Lipstadt
Leap Date: April 14, 1953
This time: Sam leaps into a detective with a gun over a dead body. As Detective Nick Allen, he is soon taken into custody where Al shows up. The body is Nick’s ex-partner Phil and Al is fairly certain that Sam needs to find out whodunit. Sam has this odd sense of déjà vu about the situation.
Being freed as the bullet didn’t match the gun, Sam heads to his office, where he recognizes some of the people in the lobby; Lionel the building supervisor, Chuck the elevator operator and Seymour the nerdy news stand seller, the three of whom suspect The Clapper of being Phil’s killer. He also meets Allison, Phil’s widow. She is very into Nick, them having had an affair and all. After she leaves, Sam looks through Nick’s desk and finds a manuscript based on the events. He realizes it is not déjà vu; he read the published book.
After surviving an attempt on his life, Sam and Allison follow a lead to the Blue Island Nightclub with Seymour tagging along. Al shows up with the book. Unfortunately, the book has no ending and is part of a contest to figure out whodunnit. Also, according to the book, Nick gets shot in the back by The Clapper at LaGuardia Airport that night. Al suspects Allison, but Sam shoos him off.
They are attacked on their way out and in the cab ride back, Sam lays into Seymour for being such a nerd. Stopping to get his things, he grabs Phil’s as well. Going back out, he runs into Seymour and apologizes. The Clapper takes Allison to LaGuardia, so Sam and Seymour follow. They split up and Seymour runs into Lionel, revealed to be The Clapper. Seymour is taken hostage and Sam follows. Lionel had a thing for Allison and plans to take her away. As Lionel tries to shoot him, Al guides Sam to get the drop.
Allison takes the tickets Lionel bought and the plans to go off together with Nick. As they head to the plane, Sam helps Seymour become a writer. Sam leaps …
… into a bubble bath of a female executive.
Stop talking to yourself: Sam reflects that leap ins can be very good and very bad.
Only Sam can see and hear: When in jail, a drunkard wakes up, sees Sam talking to himself and thinks nothing of it. Al is also instrumental in assisting Sam at the end of the episode, as it helps to have a hologram in a shootout.
Mirror images that were not his own: While in holding, Sam gets a look at himself.
Brush with history: Sam runs into a young Woody Allen. He also possibly introduces the term ‘nerd’ and the phrase ‘main squeeze’ into the vernacular.
Let’s up the rating: Allison is all over Nick.
One more time: “Sam, this is dangerous.” “Allison’s in there.” “That’s why it’s dangerous.”
Sam and Al arguing about what could happen at LaGuardia.
The Rainbow Treknection: Willie Garson played Seymour here and would go on to play Riga, one of the Moenan scientists in Voyager’s Thirty Days.
Trivial Matters: Most episodes lead into the next one. The end of this one would not be seen until the fourth episode of the second season for reasons that will become obvious in the premiere of season two.
Claudia Christian is recognizable in looks alone as Allison. She played Commander Susan Ivonava on Babylon 5 and plays an entirely different character here.
Put right what once went wrong: “This isn’t what it looks like. He was already dead when I got here.” “Anyone besides you and him to corroborate that?” The ‘find your killer’ genre has taken root in the past few years. Mainly with the video game genre, this was a little ahead of its time. All in all, it is a fun noir detective romp with all the trimmings. You have the femme fatal, the nerdy follower, the close calls, the nicknamed killer and a lot of jargon.
By no means is it perfect. There are a few too many characters and set pieces. Part of the mystery should be who does the killing, but we only know two characters, Seymour and Allison. Allison is way too obvious and Seymour … I just cannot see him doing it. That regulates the role of killer to some guy we have seen little of with few clues leading us to that conclusion.
The plot is a little breakneck. Not for the first time, Al does not have all the answers, though that would lead us to short-episode-syndrome. He is as in the dark as Sam but the two work well in the climactic fight. Claudia Christian is great as Allison and Willie Garson puts on a fantastic performance as Seymour.
We have Sam and Al getting into a bit of a fight. After seeing the two work together throughout the season, it is good to see that they do not always click. These two are the only two characters we see every week and though they have a preexisting relationship, having them disagree and needing time to cool off is a fun beat to have.
As a weekly episode, this would work.
As a season finale, it is a bit of a diminishing farewell. It does not really cap things off and it does not make me wonder what can happen over the summer. It also does not take me to a place where I would want to park myself in front of the TV come Fall. This is just an odd note to end off on.
That will do it for the first season. Next week we will have an overview of season one as a whole and jump on the Honeymoon Express thereafter.