Sweet Scenes from
Starsky & Hutch
For fans of the genre, Starsky & Hutch has, since Day 1, been considered THE Slashiest Television show that has ever been on the air. Created for television by Mr. William Blinn, produced by Spelling - Goldberg Productions, and given an imaginative and appealing breath of life by the combined acting talents of Mssrs. David Soul and Paul Michael Glaser, Starsky & Hutch was an immediate international fan favorite, originally broadcasted during the four years between 1975 and 1979, and gaining even more popularity due to several seasons of television reruns around the world and being made available in video format by Columbia Video of the United States.
What was so special about the show? Well, firstly, here was a police drama with a heart: a show about 2 cops who did not seem to forget that they were dealing with human beings and made a sincere effort to treat everyone as such. Secondly, it demonstrated something that few other commercially produced television shows had ever done before this time: depict two ordinary fellows (who were best friends on camera and off ) and not make them conform to popular notions of what "real men" should do, say or feel. Thirdly, and most importantly, these were two men who seemed to know what real love was all about and had no hesitation in saying it or showing it , especially to each other. This was a show about 2 guys who were truly a real team, devoted to their jobs, their country and one another. They gave new meaning to the word Partners.
The Characters in Question
Detective Sgt. David Michael Starsky, the powerfully built, \East -coast born, Army-veteraned, Indigo-eyed Brunet in times of anguish, crises or need, would only really ever respond to or could be handled by one person: his tall, Midwestern-bred, college educated, once-divorced, Sky-blue eyed Blond work partner and soulmate, Detective Sgt. Kenneth Richard Hutchinson.
Why is this show still so popular, with membership in active fan clubs around the world growing larger everyday and new ones springing up every week, even though it is over 25 years old and has been off the air for over 20 years? One point of view has it that the most loyal fans of S & H watch the show because of the 2 lead character's relationship. Over the course of the show, there have been many instances where the audience is given a glimpse into what has been described as the ongoing love affair these two men were having with each other. This is a subplot not ascribed to by many nor probably should it be. But for those of us that do hold with this intriguing premise, it is this particular element that makes the show so much fun to watch, and has sparked thousands of hours of verbal speculation and consumed many more hundreds of thousands of bytes in computer discussion on whether or not this relationship was ever consumated in a physical way. Or to restate it more accurately: whether it was ever consumated in a sexually physical way.
Because, truthfully speaking, this is what really set this show apart from other cop shows before it: the sheer physical closeness in the two characters interaction. The concept of the term "personal space" was one that would have been lost on them (had the term been in more common use during that time) because proximity-wise sometimes, to misquote a critic of the time, it was often hard to tell where Starsky ended and Hutch began. There seem to have been no conscious thought or hesitation exercised in their touching of each other's bodies. Hands were often laid anywhere and everywhere they felt necessary. Such proprietary and intimate contact seemed to be used interchageably as a form of communication, protection., restraint, or comfort, depending upon the circumstances.
They certainly made no secret about the way they felt about each other: the love between them was obvious in every look, word, gesture, and thought. Indeed, many of these actions speak volumes about the very mindset of the pair. Notice how often it is that either will say "we" ,"us" or "our" even if only one of them is being addressed; observe the frequency of which whenever a dangerous situation is about to occur or immeditely after it, the first thing that either will do is to check on his partner and anyone else second; the point is really driven home in several episodes where actual tears are shed at the very idea of either losing the other in some way. Even times when they appeared to be annoyed with each other, it seems that the underlying reasons for the anger was due to the possible disturbance of their basic love relationship. Neither seemed to able to even think rationally let alone feel complete without the other. Whenever the question was raised in regard to the world around them and their places in it, their motto was ever always "Me and Thee".
This site will attempt to throw some more light on the nature of the relationship between these two intriguing lawmen. Episode quotes and scene descriptions will be given along with some of the many possible interpetations of them. It should be understood that the views expressed here are from the standpoint of personal opinion and creative thinking only and do not even pretend to be authorized or sanctioned by Columbia Television, Spelling-Goldberg Productions, Mr. David Soul, Mr. Paul Michael Glaser, nor any of the aforementioned persons friends or families. No money is being made from this site.
Sweet Scenes from Season One
The opening scene from this first regular season episode has our boys going down the street in The Torino, Hutch is reading the funny papers and pointing out to his partner that he needs to lighten up, with Starsky complaining about the fact that they are working on a Sunday. Hutch then asks him would he rather be sitting poolside "with some blonde lovely?" Starsky's classic reply is "Something like that." You could spend some really productive minutes (hours?) wondering whether Starsky's equivocation is in reference to the location ...or the gender of the blonde.
|In a few scenes later, they are interviewing the older couple whose stolen bomb-laden car has been used in a liquor store hold up. Even with the presence another completely available empty chair for Hutch to sit in, he chooses to sit on the arm of the one his partner is occupying which leaves Starsky practically leaning upon Hutch's knee during the rest of the scene.||
|This is the first in the many hundreds of "2-shots" that are shown throughout the 92 hours of broadcasted episodes. It seemed like the rule of thumb for these shots was to never have them sit more than 2 inches apart if they were sitting (and sometimes standing) together in any scene.|
Among those who write S/H fanfic, there are many elements that are used in almost every story you read. Some of these little factoids have their basis in "canon" which means their veracity is supported by actual events observed in the series. In this episode several parts of the S & H canon are established.
|Starsky & Hutch have been assigned the task of escorting a mobster's daughter back to their city and they must be especially wary because it has been discovered that some of the persons that want to hurt the girl are among the police staff and no one is sure of who they are at this point. Hutch inquires of his partner that given the unsureness of the situation who can they trust? Starsky here supports the common canonical motto when he says "Like always, Me and Thee".|
The part of the canon which maintains that they communicate almost by telepathy is demonstrated several times during this episode wherein they often convey an entire sentence with the use of single words or a nod. Another traditionally accepted belief is that they freely eat from each others plates. This is evidenced in a scene at a diner where Hutch, seemingly overcome with curiosity and without warning, takes a spoon and cuts off a piece of an unprotesting Starsky's meatloaf. (He deems it awful.)
Special note: There are little moments in quite a few episodes that show give insight into how the boys think. During a later hospital scene the boys and the undercover police woman are walking down the coridor when Starsky makes an off the wall comment regarding the fact that the trio may be on the way to the maternity ward to see if its a boy, or a girl "or something in between". A very forward thinking notion on the curly headed cop's part.
In this episode, 2 criminal types stop an unsuspecting man and woman driving along the road and before long knock the man out and rob him then rape and kill the woman. Starsky & Hutch have been assigned to the catch these evil doers. This show, when looked at in a certain light, is all about couples: the 2 bad guys, the man and woman, and our heroes.
The bad guys have committed a string of robberies to feed their heroin habit ("They're both hypes. They travel in pairs." Starsky says) and have a left a pretty obvious trail to be followed. One of them has lost a silver toepiece from his boots at the crime scene and the other has been reported as having distinctive body markings the style of which are exclusive to a certain city in China. They have even fenced the some of the property stolen from the couple with a well known underworld fence. It is just a matter of time before Starsky & Hutch catch up to them.
Midway through the episode the widowed man, who happens to be a long, tall Texan famous for owning a local used car lot, comes to the station to ask if our boys have found the killers yet. He forlornly tells them that, as he would be too unhappy to try and carry on without his spouse, he is going to sell his business and his house and leave town when this chapter of his life has been resolved. He had stated in an earleir scene that it sometimes seems to him she is still alive and it breaks his heart that the ones who have done this evil deed are walking around free.
|After taking every assurance that the 2 cops will catch the criminals the man leaves the office. Starky and Hutch then look at each rather longingly, and it seems with certain degree of understanding, as if to say that they know just how the man feels--that neither one of them would want to go on without the other if sometning like that had happened to them.||
|Another insightful moment in this episode takes place in Captain Dobey's office where the boys have just come after arresting a wrestler who had been wreaking havoc at the underworld fence's office and roughing up Starksy and Hutch in the process. Hutch, still feeling the results of his being thown around by the man, takes some aspirin from Dobey's spare bottle and makes only the barest eye contact with his partner who knows without a word what he needs. Starsky immediately says to the Captain, "May we be excused?" once again proving that the two really feel for each other at times.|
This particular episode is probably the one most speculated upon and written about during the entire history of Starsky & Hutch. In this episode Hutch is taken prisoner by a mobster and his minions who want to get from the blond detective information about where he is keeping the mobster's runaway girlfriend, a former Pits waitress and possible ex-prostitute. Because the detective has adamantly refused to reveal the lady's location, the mobster decides to hook him on heroin in order to persuade him to talk. He is missing 4 days before anyone figures out he is not missing for any good reason (his original plan was to spend some "quality time" with the previously mentioned lady).
Starsky, after making a seach of his partner's home and finding the gun that he is almost never seen without, realizes that something really bad has happened to him and starts a desperate search for him. He becomes more frantic as time passes. Back at the mobster's hideout Hutch, who is starting to feel the painful effects of withdrawal after being suddenly denied the drug, reveals the girl's whereabouts. He is about to be disposed of by his captors when he manages to escape. Hutch is found initially by a cruising APB-responding policeman but is quietly though firmly taken in hand by an extremely relieved Starsky. Starsky takes a horribly suffering Hutch to an apartment over Huggy Bear's restaurant where he helps his partner to kick the drug cold turkey.
This episode, like no other before it, establishes very definitely that the boys are on very familiar terms with each other physically. Starsky knowingly uses his own body as a way to help ease his partners pain and Hutch seems almost as addicted to that touch as he is the drug itself. It can be noticed particularly in the scenes where the two are clinging to each other very tightly on the apartments double bed.
|Throughout this withdrawal process, Hutch is by turns scornful and needy of his partner's loving care, fully prepared to bash Starsky's face in one minute then meekly presenting his shamed head for petting the next. Starsky seems ready to give him any and all he needs to help him through, braving it all like a trooper. The unabashed love underneath all of it has been the basis for countless paragraphs devoted to this episode.|
When Hutch is past the critical 48 hour mark, Starsky, acting on a new information provided by Huggy, decides to personally go out and get the guys that have done this thing to his partner. Captain Dobey has offered the use of the rest of the force to help him but Starsky says that he requires no assistance. Evidently Starsky's protectiveness (or maybe a better word is possessiveness?) concerning his partner is legendary as one criminal confidently says that where his partner was concerned Starsky would never let anyone know about something as embarrassing as his being strung out and it is with equal assuredness that Mickey, a snitch of Starsky's, says "He'll be here. You can believe it!" when asked if the possibility of gaining information was enough to induce him to come out of hiding.
|In the climactic ending scenes a barely coherent Hutch tries to help Starsky capture the criminals and is taken once again by one of two bad guys, attempting to kill Hutch by giving him one last lethal injection. Starsky rides to the rescue in time to run this perp over with his car and shoot the other guy dead. In his efforts to get away, Hutch wound up astride a fence instead.|
|The duo fall into a grateful hug (and it seems almost kiss?) when Hutch literally gets off the fence. (Is there some underlying symbolism to be inferred from this?) In the episode tag, Hutch wisely ends his relationship with the troubled girl and returns to Starsky, who no doubt feels that this is the way it should be.I think part of what inspires the many pages that have been written about this episode is based on the naturalness with which they continuously fall into each others arms; the way they seem to act as if it was the most usual thing in the world and begs the legitimate question: just under what circumstances was this closeness established?|
The episode opens with our boys and 3 other detectives awaiting the arrival of a gang of drug runners, one of whom is an informant known to Starksy & Hutch and who has made a deal with them: in exchange for giving the details of the illegal transaction, he will be pardoned for another crime he could face time for. After a lot of shooting and running around, the bust is successful with the cocaine being confiscated and at least 2 of the perps jailed.
The episode is full of all sorts of bends and twists as it turns out that the captured cocaine has been shorted a couple of packages and the drug czar, a man by the name of Stryker, is of the belief that they have been lifted by Starsky & Hutch with the help of their informant Crandall. They are given 48 hours to return the "merchandise" by the gangster with a promise of a finder's fee of $100,000. The lads figure that Crandall must have somehow pulled a swindle on them and they report the incident to Captain Dobey who tells them to find the man. Also, upon Starsky's asking him about it, he tells the story of his first beat partner, Elmo Jackson and how Stryker had him hung on a meathook at the slaughterhouse. As the episode progresses, Crandall winds up being shot to death with the gun of one of the earlier killed drug runners and it becomes clear that the drugs have to have been taken by the other cops involved in the bust. In the end, our boys finally put two and two together and apprehend the real criminals. This all takes place with Hutch being followed around by a mysterious Dalmation that Starsky doesn't see.
The only truly slashy thing that happens takes place in an early part of the episode during the scene where all 5 men are being debriefed in Capt. Dobey's office. The other three hardboiled detectives are spaced rather territorially around the office but our boys are being true to form in that they are shown (for all practical purposes) occupying the same chair, with Starsky in the seat and Hutch on the arm (that two "2-inch rule" again).
But the two really distinguish themselves this time from a slasher's point of view when they do this little thing (that I still wonder whether it was actually ever scripted that way or not) wherein Starsky, after having prepared a cup of coffee and is about to take a sip from it, finds that Hutch has suddenly taken the cup from his hand and takes a few sips then just as casually hands it back to an ever hungry Starsky who is eating a donut.
|Editor's Note: This is not the picture I wanted but it will have to do for now. If anyone can send me a scan of the scene in question or, even better, an mpeg, I would very much appreciate it.|
What is remarkable about this action is not just the fact that Starsky did not seem the least bit surprised by Hutch's action but that this little piece of business took place right in the middle of Dobey's office in front of the other detectives (who if they noticed at all seemed to act as if this was completely natural behavior for these two "young punks".) In fact, when one observes closely, it can be noticed that not only does Strarsky drink from the cup after Hutch he does not even bother turn the cup around before doing so. One might say that he has full cognizance of exactly where Hutch's lips have been. A truncated version of this same piece of business can be noticed (although it's a blink or you'll miss it type thing) in Deathride during a similar briefing in the Captain's office.
The word pa·ri·ah is defined by Webster's Dictionary as a noun taken from the Tamil word paraiyan (drummer) that is used to describe a member of a low caste of southern India. It can be used interchangeably with the word OUTCAST or one that is cast out or refused acceptance (as by society). Many types of people have traditionally worn this title: criminals, sexual suspects, drug addicts, and in this episode, a small faction now want to hang it on a cop. Almost everyone in this episode had some sort of agenda they felt had to be addressed and the name of Detective David Starsky was in all of them. In hindsight, it is almost a monumental understatement that the cop makes when he says in this episode "You get the feeling it's gonna be one of those days?"
It all starts for Starsky the moment he shows up at Hutch's house to pick him for work. The tall blond has just stepped out of his shower when there is a knock on his bathroom door. He tells the knocker to come in without a second thought. It turns out that it is last night's BOTM (Babe of the Moment). It is an assumption to say that he knew it was the girl, when in simple fact there is no way for him to have actually known who it was. That in itself says a lot about his possible relation with his curly headed partner that both would feel completely at ease with entering and being entered upon in as intimate an act as showering.
There are some small exchanges of conversation between Hutch and the babe, and Starsky and the babe, a stewardess with whom they both seem to be on ..ahem...intimate terms with. In fact, Hutch uses this knowledge in order to get his way with his Puckish partner: He has been trying to persuade him to start eating healthier and join him in drinking these health-rich concoctions he puts together. So, he has the flight attendant to extoll the sexual prowess of the dark maned cops partner "Starsky" and attribute it to the fact that he does not eat things like root beer and cold pizza for breakfast.
|Our hero informs the girl of her identification error, but he is now unequivocably inspired to drink the potion that Hutch cheerfully gives him. Starsky is let in on the gag only after he has emptied the glass and it seems much to His Blondness' keen interest and delight. It can only be surmised as to just how much detailed knowledge he has of his workpartner's sexual stamina and performances, and more importantly, exactly how he has come to know of it.|
The next scene shows our two cops responding to a call reporting shots fired at a liquor store holdup in progress. One of two masked criminals have, by this time, shot a uniformed cop and both are in the process of trying to make a getaway. Starsky, after waving away the screaming bystanders and identifying himself as a cop, faces down one of the fleeing perps in an alleyway. The hooded robber turns and levels his gun to shoot Starsky, but the cop is faster and more accurate and shoots the guy dead on the spot. The other criminal, feeling no sympathy for his compatriot, takes it to heel and runs away down the alley. Starsky makes an effort at chasing him but realizes that he will not catch him. But he has seen enough to at least make a partial identification and gives that to one of the many uniformed cops that have arrived on the crime scene. It is at this time revealed that the perp Starsky has shot is nothing more than a 16 year old black boy. Starsky is horrified by what has happened and he feels even worse when the boys mother shows up and is pleading to the Heavens to spare her child. One man in the midst of the stunned and angry crowd, starts shouting that Starsky has done this awful thing deliberately and that the boy had no intentions of shooting him.
This starts a whole downward spiraling chain of events that are enough to try the patience of the strongest of men. A publicized coroner's inquest hearing is called to look into the facts of this shooting and to determine whether the dark detective is to be suspended for his actions in the incident. Evidence is uncovered that reveals that the boy's runaway partner in crime was a 22 year old white male named Joseph Tremayne. It is also during this time that we are introduced to one of the most hated characters in the S & H fandom, one George W. Prudhomme, a hardened criminal who is recently back in town after having spent the last 15 years in prison.
Prudhomme has been viewing this trial on TV which is being given live coverage due to the nature of the shooting: a possibly racially motivated shooting of an underaged black kid by white cop (remember this was 1975--7 years after the shooting of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy and right at the height of the Black Power movement in America--a highly sensitive issue during this time period.). Prudhomme is upset by the fact that it appears to him that everything is being done to let the detective off unpenalized. In his mind, that would be a miscarriage of justice, particularly because it is Starsky they are trying to let loose. He decides to take the meting out of justice into his own hands and informs the police via an anonymous phone call that he is planning to murder all the cops he can one by one as payback if they let Starsky go free. The cops have recorded this call in hopes of identfying him should he call again.
At the inquest, several eyewitnesses testify that Detective Starsky did the right thing under the circumstances and even the most vehement of his accusers was forced to recant his testimony when he realized that the young man had every intention of shooting whoever got in his way, cop or no cop. With all the new information the judge rules in favor of the curly tressed policeman and even gives him a verbal commendation for his efforts. Prudhomme is true to his word and within hours of verdicts' being read, he takes out one of 2 shotguns he owns, and goes and shoots his first cop; and just to add a vicious irony to it all, he leaves the gun and a note that reads "Starsky #1" as in first kill.
|While this was going on, Starsky and Hutch go the house of the dead boy's mother so that Starsky may offer his condolences and to ask for her help in obtaining more information on the young man who is partly responsible for her son's death.|
Now, if one watches this scene with a mind set in terms of the theme of this site, the entire conversation that Starsky has with the teen's mother becomes an interesting one to observe. Starsky says that he has a picture of the young man Tremayne and tells her that he had been in lots of trouble all on his own and that he knew her son had not been in any kind of trouble until he got together with the young man. He then makes a specific point to say that he is aware that Tremayne had become "good friends" with Lonny Craig, the dead teen. Craig's mother looks at the detective with a type of deep awareness that seems to say that she knows the underlying meaning of his statement. She says "I know what my boy had become. A mother loves her child and cares for her child and mourns for her child. But a mother knows what her son is, at least this mother does." Not overlooking the fact that her dead son was still ostracized because he was revealed as a criminal but it could be interpreted the other reason for the mother's grief was the fact that she realizes her son may also have been gay. If that were the case, she feels she now has a double shame to bear. Starsky looks at her with a mixture of understanding and sorrow.
After a conversation of an unknown length, he
starts back to his car and
To be continued....