Episode 237: Cold Case

“And if that girl turns up dead, I’m going to book you… on suspicion.”

Soap opera cops have a pretty hard life. Somebody gets murdered, and it turns out that over the last couple weeks, eight different people have been walking around saying, “That guy makes me so mad I could kill him!” — often at the top of their lungs, in crowded restaurants. But the soap opera format requires the cops to be slow and methodical, chasing blind leads and arresting at least two innocent people before they find the killer. The night-time cops on CSI can solve a case in one hour; daytime cops have to go the long way around.

By comparison, the Collinsport police have it unbelievably easy. Three new people have shown up in town in the weeks before Maggie’s disappearance, and all three are currently involved in at least one crime. They have nonexistent alibis, and one of them can’t even produce a birth certificate.

And if those aren’t enough people of interest, then there’s also Burke Devlin, who recently came back to town after serving a five-year prison sentence for manslaughter. That’s not a bad place to start; maybe Sheriff Patterson should bring Burke in for questioning.

237 dark shadows patterson burke

So Sheriff Patterson shows up at Collinwood this morning, and who’s helping him with the case? Burke! Of course, why the hell not.

237 dark shadows sheriff couch

Patterson’s been out all night searching for Maggie, with no results, so he’s decided that the best thing to do is to go to Collinwood, sit on the couch and look dejected.

Patterson:  Burke and I ran into each other this morning. We had breakfast together and discussed the case.

Vicki:  Have you any idea where she could be?

Patterson:  No, my men have combed the whole area. We’ve looked everywhere. So far there’s not a single clue.

You searched the whole area? Before breakfast? The sun came up recently; maybe you could double-check some places.

237 dark shadows patterson the whole area

Vicki asks about the open window in Maggie’s hospital room, and Patterson sighs, “That’s one of the most discouraging aspects of the whole case.” Sheriff Patterson doesn’t have a lot of faith in his investigation skills, and I don’t blame him. Who gets discouraged about an open window?

He says they had bloodhounds sniffing around the window, but they ran in circles: “Some of them were even shaking, as if they were afraid of something.” At least, I think he’s referring to the bloodhounds. He might be talking about his deputies.

“Meanwhile,” he says, “I’ve still got to continue investigating the possibility that some person or persons unknown had something to do with her disappearance.”

Which is a pretty startling deduction. You’ve got to give the guy credit.

237 dark shadows sheriff jason

Burke mentions the mysterious phone call that Vicki got last week (from Willie), when somebody who disguised his voice (Willie) told her that she would find Maggie (who Willie was just asking about) at Eagle Hill cemetery. (Look, it’s obviously Willie.)

Patterson asks Vicki if the phone call could have come from Willie. She isn’t sure.

237 dark shadows come on in

But the sheriff follows up on his only lead, and goes to the Old House to talk to Willie. This is exactly the kind of lucky break that he needs — going straight to the house where the abducted girl is being held.

Patterson strolls right in through the front door, which is wide open. He calls out, “Hello? Is anybody here?” and walks straight through the drawing room.

This is shockingly bad security for a house that has a vampire sleeping in the basement and a hypnotized girl upstairs. What are they thinking?

237 dark shadows sheriff willie

Willie finally shows up, and he looks pretty good today, considering he had huge cane marks across his face the last time we saw him. He must have put something on it.

Patterson confronts Willie with his suspicions, basically blurting out everything that he knows about the case. Willie stammers that he doesn’t know anything. Patterson makes some empty threats, and then leaves. He might want to sharpen up those interrogation skills a bit. Maybe he could take night classes.

237 dark shadows bad news

Meanwhile, Vicki and Burke visit Dr. Woodard, who seems to think that he’ll learn something important when he gets the results of Maggie’s blood tests. He has a simple childlike faith in the power of blood tests to reveal anything — including where Maggie is, who took her and whether she’s alive or dead. Blood tests are magic like that.

Then Woodard offers them a cup of coffee, and Burke accepts. It’s that spine-tingling around here.

237 dark shadows jason

To wrap up, Jason pays Willie a visit, and they have another long scene about the same stuff that they talked about the other day. The conversation ends with Jason pushing Willie down, and punching him in the face.

So this is just another in a long series of bad days for Willie. I hope his new job has health insurance.

Tomorrow: Unreal Estate.

Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

When Jason is beating Willie, the sound effects are very muted, so it sounds like a series of light slaps.

Behind the Scenes

A note from Prisoner of the Night, a prop-spotting friend of the blog: “The set for Maggie Evans’ hospital room for episodes 235 and 236 becomes Dr. Woodard’s office in episode 237. Just in back of the head of Maggie’s hospital beg, there’s this strange ‘half wall’ that stops just beyond the bed and turns inward toward the corner of the room. In fact, this funny corner even partially obscures the lamp and table in the angle of some shots. Quite an odd design for a wall, to zig-zag like that, but it’s the same in Dr. Woodard’s office as well. This set is also used for Willie’s hospital room later on.

“I’ve also spotted a new favorite prop. It’s a table lamp with a ribbed, green glass bowl shape on top, and hence I’ve dubbed it the ‘tortoise lamp’. I haven’t noticed it in earlier episodes, but in the Barnabas era, it makes its first appearance on Dr. Woodard’s desk in episode 237. It’s also on Dr. Hoffman’s desk at Windcliff in episode 265, in Jeff Clark’s room at Lang’s house in episode 480, and then again on Lang’s desk in his parlor in episode 482. In episode 513, it can be seen simultaneously in the Evans cottage and in Tony Peterson’s apartment.”

Tomorrow: Unreal Estate.

237 dark shadows willie bad day

Dark Shadows episode guide – 1967

— Danny Horn

6 thoughts on “Episode 237: Cold Case

  1. Bloopers: Sheriff Patterson also fumbles closing the door as he leaves Collinwood earlier in the episode. Seemed to be having exit trouble today. Maybe he had Bloody Mary’s with Burke at breakfast?

    Also, there’s a strange sound at the end when Jason hears the dogs howling in the woods, as if there’s a glitch in the tape or they stopped and started at another point in the tape. Also, when the sound recovers, you can hear recording scratches and hisses (I heard this on a previous episode as well).

    1. Also meant to add that Sheriff Patterson bumps into a candelabra in the Old House as he’s leaving and threatening Willie. That’s what I meant by having exit troubles.

  2. You can hear the needle being dragged on the record they must have been using for dog SFX. It’s awesome!

  3. I too was surprised at the remarking healing abilities of Willie. That’ll probably come in handy now that he’s the official town punching bag. Also, kudos to the sheriff’s rakish hat. Indiana Jones comes to Collinsport.

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