The TV police drama genre saw a major overhaul in 1970's, taking on a darker, grittier tone that reflected urban realities of the time. Spurred by the success of programs like "Torino Squad" (starring Lash La Douche of the hit western "Johnny Nuance") and the campus drama "Chutch," NBC debuted the hard-hitting undercover cop series "Makaniak" in October 1975. The short-lived program starred Tony Arizona as maverick police detective Leo Makaniak, a tough-as-nails, disillusioned Vietnam vet who gains access to the city's seamy drug and prostitution underworld through tough street talk, a burly fu manchu, and skilled car hood-sliding.
"Makaniak" earned critical praise for its portrayal of a conflicted, tough-but-sensitive undercover cop who played both sides of the law, but it struggled in the ratings and was cancelled midway through its second season.
"I'm not sure what what went wrong," says former star Arizona.
"Maybe it would have been more popular if Makaniak actually arrested a
EPISODE 1-07: "THE FIRST ONE'S FREE"
Split screen montage: Makaniak running down sidewalks, combing mustache, sliding across car hoods
Theme: "Remember Which Side You're On" (performed by Luther Van Peoples)
Whickachicka Whickachicka Chow-wow-wown
When you're out on the street and patrolling your beat
Don't forget you're the heat in this town now!
In the simmering city where the action is gritty
You can't show your pity when you're getting down now!
Keep your eyyyyyyes on the prize now!
Like the hawwwwwwk in the skies now!
He's a maniac!
And when you swoop in for the kill just remember which side you're on!
ACT I: Downtown Police HQ
I don't care how bad you want Makaniak for this case, Granger. I don't like it -- I don't like it one bit! After that Gang of 14 corruption fiasco, do you really expect me to trust him again?
Dammit, Captain, you know he was cleared by Internal Affairs! Leo Makaniak is the best undercover cop we've got. He's gotten so far inside the underworld he's on a first-name basis with every two-bit junky, pusher, and media slimeball in this whole stinking city! They know him. They trust him. He has broad cross-over appeal!
You wanted to see me, Lieutenant?
Yeah, Makaniak. Have a seat.
Make it quick, man. My connections are gonna get suspicious if they see me talking to a couple of filthy partisan cops.
Well, well, well. If it isn't the famous Detective Makaniak. Ruin any good hood paint jobs lately?
Maybe I oughta slide across your car hood, turkey!
Why, I oughta...
Easy, O'Malley! Makaniak has to keep in character at all times! That way the scum won't realize he's really one of us! Isn't that right Makaniak?
Sure Lieutenant. Whatever you say. You got a case for me?
Maybe. What do you know about a new shipload of crazy powder just arrived from France yesterday?
Maybe a little, maybe a lot. My connections down at the waterfront might have been talking about it.
Stop being coy, Makaniak! We recovered a dime bag off a dead hooker yesterday and it tested 98% pure Parisian Clown Dust! If that stuff hits the street every hospital, morgue and college in this city is gonna be filled up with helpless junkies -- and with the taxpayers holding the bag!
Dammit O'Malley, don't you think I know that? While you've been in your cushy air conditioned office, I've spent the last five years out there on the streets hanging out with these punk dope pushers -- learning their methods, helping them unload trucks, fetching their dry cleaning, organizing their testimonial dinners. I've seen what their rotten junk can do, and I want that garbage off the streets even more than you! But we're gonna do it my way, see?
What exactly do you mean?
I mean if we're ever gonna win this war against the pushers, we've got to beat those scuzzballs at their own game! We have to flood the streets with our own cheap dope, from the precinct evidence cage. That way we get the junkies on our side, and dry up all the demand for those punk dealers!
You know... it's so crazy it just might work. Once the mob sees Makaniak muscling in on their territory, they'll come out of the woodwork where we can bust 'em!
All right, Makaniak, but I want you wired. And for once, I wanna see you do this case by the book.
Makaniak don't do nothin' by the book... and you can take that to the bank, turkey!
Commercial Break 1
Tony Arizona for the DMC Caballero Striper GS/SSt.
Tony drives the wet deserted nighttime streets of city
When I'm out driving alone on these mean streets, I need a car that offers performance, value, and looks to match.The kind of looks like I get with my new '76 DMC Caballero Striper GS/SSt Rallye Edition. The Striper GS/SSt gives me race-inspired square quad headlamps, slotted zinc rallye wheel covers, and six bold action stripes -- that's 50% more stripes than any other '76 in the personal luxo-muscle class.
Camera follows stripes across hood while engine revs
And it doesn't stop there. Inside you'll get bucket seats covered in rich Barcelona bumble bee velour, and 103 growling horses of DMC V-7 power mated to DMC's Super Duty Duo-Speed gearbox - a potent combo capable of delivering you from 0-60*.
*Closed course with professional driver. DMC reminds you that Federal laws limit highway speed to 55 mph.
Best of all, my Striper GS/SSt meets all 1976 Federal pollution standards, which means I'm doing my part to ease the global cooling that scientists warn will result in a new ice age by the year 1987.
Tony pulls up to stoplight alongside woefully understriped car; inside are two punks. Tony points to stripes. Punks slink down in embarrassment.
So visit you DMC dealer today -- and find out why you can tell a man by his stripes.
ACT II: Gritty street corner in the tenements
Lt. Granger (in surveillance van)
Come in, Makaniak... do you read? We have you on visual and audio. Repeat, Makaniak, do you copy?
Makaniak (on street corner; talks into sleeve microphone)
Yeah, I copy. Now pipe down, somebody's coming.
Hey, that looks like Carlos from the 117th Street Cobras.
Makaniak (soul shakes Carlos)
What's happening, Carlos my man? You need some Clown Dust?
No way Makaniak! I got enough troubles with the Immigration cops as it is. One more bust and I'm on the next boat back to Costa San Puerto!
Sounds like what you need a path to citizenship. Here, take one of these Social Security cards, no charge.
Right on, ese! You got one one for my sister and my abuela?
No problem my man, take all you need. Take this too.
Wow mang, free tuition waivers for Metro State U! You're a pretty cool dude for gringo dope pusher, Makaniak.
You want us to bust him Makaniak?
Makaniak (into sleeve microphone)
Negatory, Granger. I'll check in with him after fall semester. Wait! quiet! Junkie at 5 O'Clock!
Gather 'round kiddies, the man with the goodies is here!
Junkie (itching forearms, looking around furtively)
Hey man, you holding? I'm hurtin' man, I...I need a fix!
What you need, man? I got uppers, downers, sidewaysers. Doctor Feelgood has everything you want.
You got any targeted crystal stimulus packages?
Yo, bro, I got this free bag earmarked just for you. Here, take some more and hand out to you friends at the clinic, tell 'em to come see me if they want more.
Good going, Makaniak! That ought to get the attention of the mob.
Woman on the Street
Pardon me, do you know the time?
Oh yeah, baby, I know the time -- it's time for you to treat yourself to Doctor Feelgood's Clown Dust.
Woman on the Street
Clown dust...? Do you think I'm some sort of drug addict? Help, police!
Makaniak (flashing badge)
Don't worry ma'am, This isn't what it seems. I'm a policeman on assignment, and this is, um... wheat germ.
Woman on the Street
Whew! That's a relief, officer. You really had me scared there for a moment. Wheat germ, you say?
Oh, yeah, the finest 98% pure French wheat germ you can buy. Here, take a few grams, with the compliments of the Metro police. It'll have you feeling great in no time.
Woman on the Street
Why thank you, officer! I'll be sure to contribute a few more dollars to the policeman's benevolent association this year.
Be careful, Makaniak! That was too close for comfort.
DISSOLVE: TWO HOURS LATER
Dammit, Makaniak, this harebrained sting of yours isn't getting us anywhere! You've given out three kilos of Clown Dust, and we haven't seen a single sign of the mob.
Just be patient, Granger.
Wait - we've got a visual coming your way -- late model Oldsmobile -- Bingo! It's Fat Teddy from the Kennebunkport gang!
Sorry, Granger, I just canceled your illegal warrantless wiretap. (rips microphone from leather disco coat)
Makaniak! Come in! Do you copy?
Fat Teddy (pulling up in Oldsmobile)
I hear you moved three kilos of clown dust today, Makaniak. Nice job, I can use somebody like you in my organization. Hop in, let's talk business.
You know me, Teddy. Compromise is my middle name. You mind if I slide across you hood?
Commercial Break 2A
Meadow under a tree, by rugged mountain range
Do you ever have that not-so-fresh feeling?
I know what you mean! I went without freshness yesterday and today.. and I may go without freshness tomorrow.
Me too! That's why I always use Irish Fancy. It leaves me feeling as fresh as the first day of Winter on a misty Irish bog.
And it's 38% less sticky than the leading brand. But will it chafe?
Not with the scented applicator paddle, now with patented charcoal ridges.
And I like that!
Typical man -- always hogging the Irish Fancy!
Irish Fancy -- for the manly feminine freshness.
Commercial Break 2B
Kid #1 (tasting white powder)
Yeah, baby that's pure Peruvian pink.
Kid #2 (shaking into baggie)
Yeah man, hardly stepped on.
What is going on here?
It's okay, Dad! We're just playing undercover narc with the Makaniak Mean Streets action playset!
The new Makaniak Mean Streets action play set! With posable Makaniak action figure! DMC Striper with real hood slide action! Play powder and three-beam scale! Plus official mirror sunglasses and non-flammable fu manchu!
Dad (now playing along)
I need a fix man! I'm jonesin'!
Drop the stash! You're busted, turkey!
Yeah! You're going downtown for a plea bargain!
The Makaniak Mean Streets Action Play Set from Plastico. Baggies not included.
At Fat Teddy's waterfront warehouse hideout
I gotta tell you Makaniak, I always had a sneaking suspicion you were some sort of rat fink cop. But after today, I can tell you're a real dealer, just like us.
Me? A filthy narc partisan pig? If I didn't respect you Teddy, I'd punch you right in the mouth.
In my line, I gotta be careful. Before I let you in on the big score, I've got one more bipartisanship loyalty test for you.
Henchmen pull back curtain, revealing policeman bound and gagged in chair. Fat Teddy hands Makaniak a revolver.
Hilly (Fat Teddy's gun moll)
Do it for me, Makaniak.I'll compromise with you all night long.
Makaniak's eyes narrow and he empties 6 shots at the back of the policeman's head. When the smoke clears, he is still alive.
You passed, Makaniak. The gun was filled with blanks.
Really? I've got an extra box of ammo back at my apartment, I can go get....
Everybody freeze! Metropolitan police!
Wild scene as gang scrambles for exits
What the... how the hell did you find me Granger? .
We put an extra homing device on you, Makaniak. Wherever you go, the scum sure seem to congregate.
Well, you blew my entire investigation. I was this close to finding out where they keep the Clown Dust! Good thing you didn't blow my cover.
Lieutenant! They're getting away!
Squad cars peel out from warehouse; Makaniak slides over trunk, roof, and hood of Striper. Chase scene with cops tailing Fat Teddy's Oldsmobile through city. At retractable bridge, Oldsmobile flies into the river. Fat Teddy escapes, leaving Hilly to sink. Cops chase Teddy down blind alley, where he exhaustedly tries to scale cyclone fence. Out of nowhere, Makaniak's Striper barrels down alley, knocking down fence, allowing Fat Teddy to escape.
What the hell was that about, Makaniak?
According to my copy of the Constitution, that fence was illegal and immoral. Don't worry, Granger. We'll eventually bring in Fat Teddy and the rest of his turkeys and clean this stinking city up for good. MY WAY.
Maybe you're right, Makaniak. All I know is my job would be a lot simpler if you just joined the other side.
FREEZE FRAME CLOSE CREDITS