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Thread: A Nightmare for 50 years

  1. #1
    Tonight 50 years ago, CBS aired S06E21, "Nightmare in Blue".

    This is one of the standout episodes of the series, even if not everyone agrees.

    Walter Stark (John Beck) was washed out of the HPD Academy, but he kept his uniform. He's using that to his advantage to rape and murder several victims. Some occurred before we see any action on the screen.

    Five-O is determined to find the guy and even go as far as setting a trap for him. Laura (Elissa Dulce) is an HPD officer pretending her car is broken down. She encounters Stark but because he's in uniform, it doesn't click that he's the guy they're looking for. However, I really like the debrief she has with McGarrett. She tells him what she can remember and her mindset at the time. It's an excellent scene.

    Stark does make a mistake in attacking Andrea Burdick (Katherine Justice). For whatever reason, Burdick survives her attack. Again, the scenes in the hospital are amazing. Her husband Joe (Alan Fudge) is having a tough time coping with what happened to her. Also, Andrea is pretty beat up and the show doesn't shy from that aspect.

    Once Duke (Herman Wedemeyer) recognizes that it's Stark who is the monster that needs to be stopped, McGarrett and Danno zero in on him. He's in the process of trying to rape his new neighbor. A shootout ensues and Danno shoots Stark who falls over a balcony.

    Mr. Mike has an excellent review here:

    Also in this review is mention of Caryl Rivers opinion piece from October 6, 1974. She targets Five-O specifically with this episode. As a woman, I completely disagree with her assessment. Now, that could be for several reasons. 1. Rivers' reaction was in 1974, mine in 2017 when I first watched the episode. The 1970s had the ERA Amendment that wasn't ratified in time before it died out. Also, by 2017, a lot of women were in the workplace and breaking glass ceilings all over the place. This isn't to say that more needs to be done for equality but that's for another discussion. 2. The way she talks about the camera angles and such. I have to ask – "What are you watching!?" I got none of what she was talking about. If anything, Stark comes across as he should: creepy and a predator.

    Not one of my favorite episodes but it's extremely well done. McGarrett is racing the clock and public opinion in trying to find the guy. Especially when they realize he could part of the rank and file. McGarrett is also sympathetic toward Andrea but she won't budge on telling them who attacked her. He becomes frustrated pretty fast.

    One of the things that gets me when the show broaches the subject of rape – where are your female officers? Did it occur to any of the writers that a female officer might get the information they need more easily rather than a bunch a men huddled around a rape victim? That's got to be scary for the victim – it would for me. But again, this is the difference between the 1970s and today, there are a lot more female cops serving now than then. They were still there, just smaller numbers. The same goes for the military.

    One last note, this episode is more timely and relevant than ever. With police shootings happening (it seems with more frequency, but again, that's another discussion), we see some bad apples in the mix. Stark is an example of this. While he isn't a cop per se, with the uniform, public opinion could be easily swayed to be anti-police. This is one of the reasons McGarrett wants to take him down right now. Again, a discussion for another thread/time.

    Happy 50th, "Nightmare in Blue"!!

  2. #2
    Absolutely correct about this being a “standout” episode of the series and I don’t know how anyone could disagree. I would also vote it as the single most disturbing episode of the series. I know most mention “One Big Happy Family” but I would argue that this one is even more disturbing. At least it is for me. John Beck’s Stark character is creepy as all get out and a real monster. And his police car prowling the neighborhoods is a menacing sight unlike any I’ve ever seen on television. It’s like a “Jaws on wheels” looking for its next victim. The POV of the police light at the top of the car and the accompanying shrieking violins by Don Ray (this score was Emmy nominated!) definitely give it a very eerie feel.

    This one’s gotta be in my top 5 all-time favorites and my second favorite of the season just behind “Hookman”. I used to have “Draw Me a Killer” at #2 for the season but over the years I’ve realized that “Nightmare” is just an all-around stronger and more intense episode with tour de force acting from everyone involved. Jack Lord, John Beck, Katherine Justice, Alan Fudge. Everyone brought their “A” game here.

  3. #3
    NIGHTMARE IN BLUE ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Out Of ⭐⭐⭐⭐.
    An outstanding episode as McG and the HFO team have to apprehend a rapist murderer. I think it was intelligent writing to have the perpetrator a good-looking cop washout. HFO 🌊 has to investigate the possibility a cop was the murderer. Stark was a handsome and strong-looking man in contrast with some of the unattractive and loner types usually played in these roles. I would have liked Andrea pointing to Stark as the attacker in the book to McGarrett. Think that would have been more powerful and she would have the knowledge she put a stop to the rape killings. I think it was a little clumsily handled the stakeout. The female cop was not shown in a positive light and HFO was watching and close by. They easily could have apprehended Stark at that point. Even with a few small nicks, I believe Nightmare In Blue would rank somewhere between 10-20 in the greatest HFO episode. High praise indeed! JC

  4. #4
    It is a very disturbing episode. So much so that I can never adjust to seeing John Beck in any other project of his from that era I've seen because I can't shake the image of him as a horrible rapist of the first order.

  5. #5
    Five-O Home Page Author Mr. Mike's Avatar
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    McGarrett has kind of a weird attitude at the end of the show.

    When he is notified via a radio message from Jenny at the office that Joe Burdick just called saying that his wife wanted to talk to him to ID Stark, McGarrett says, "Call her back and tell her there's nothing more to talk about." This seems kind of crass, as if his sympathy towards Andrea was just a ruse to help him catch the criminal.

    But maybe not, because both McGarrett and Joe Burdick show major signs of frustration, McGarrett so much so that he violently kicks the door of his office leading out to the balcony. Joe, on the other hand, trots out the usual clichés based on typical police response and courtroom prosecution behavior of the time like "a woman gets raped ... she's asking for it!" In other words, people involved in this case have flaws.

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