Raymond Burr returns in his other traditional role, wheelchair-bound detective chief Robert T. Ironside, retired consultant for the Frisco police (now into vineyards), to help Denver select a new police head after the chief is murdered. It’s a fragmented case that takes lots of gullibility, but it’s extraordinary what Burr brings out of the characterization; Ironside and his team are a welcome relief back on the crime scene.
Standing with Ironside are Denver deputy chief Ed Brown (formerly a sergeant and played again by Don Galloway), former dropout and aide Judge Mark Sanger (Don Mitchell), Fran Belding (Elizabeth Baur) and Eve Whitfield (Barbara Anderson).
Eve’s daughter Suzanne (Perrey Reeves) becomes involved in the murders of fiance Mike (Jeff Kaake) and his mysterious fling Judy (Darlene Vogel).
Brown and fellow deputy chief McManus (Cliff Gorman) are rivals for the dead chief’s post. Mixed in the stew are a missing safe deposit box, toxic chemicals, a proposed textile mill, a cop (Scott Patterson) who knocks people off and, naturally, the mob.
Ironside and Brown go eagerly after Mike’s murderer, and Eve offers her daughter solace. Ironside’s wife, Kate (Dana Wynter), appears occasionally — not enough — to console her husband, and Ironside changes wheelchairs several times.
The gathering of the old and the new Ironside gang — Suzanne’s his latest femme helper, with Jerry Abby (Derek Webster) ably standing in as Ironside’s male secretary — demonstrates the familiar acting style of the original 1967-74 NBC series.
The case itself, as scripted by Rob Hedden and William Read Woodfield, is humdrum, but the writers managed to pick up that spirit of successful ensemble. Director Gene Nelson again demonstrates his know-how as the characters go through their formulaic routines.
It’d be good if Burr could tear himself away from his fictional legal profession every so often to become a continuing consultant for the Denver Police. TV could use more occasional Ironsides.
Tech credit values are good.