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Pilot (Broadcast Version)

Night StalkerInvestigative reporter Carl Kolchak signs up with a Los Angeles newspaper to cover crime, and when his paper’s senior crime reporter, Perri Reed, arrives at the scene of a grisly murder after he does, his dismissive attitude automatically gets things off to a bad start. But even when the paper’s editor hands the story over to Perri, Kolchak refuses to end his own investigation. Perri is intrigued and more than a little disturbed when Kolchak seems to have solid information on the murder that comes from sources he can’t identify. Another attack leaves a woman near death and her young daughter goes missing, and again, Kolchak seems to know more than he’s letting on and won’t let go of the story.

Curious about her new colleague/competitor, Perri launches an investigation of her own, trying to found out more about Kolchak. The trail leads to Kolchak’s previous job as a crime reporter for a Las Vegas paper – and the still-unsolved murder of his wife in which he himself is still a suspect. A call to FBI Agent Fain has unexpected results – Fain arrives in L.A. to arrest Kolchak in connection with the very same murders he’s investigating. Even after Kolchak is set free again, Perri remains suspicious, especially when she learns that pursuing the grisliest, most bizarre crimes is a mission that Kolchak takes on even outside of work. He’s still trying to figure out who killed his wife, and why a red mark was left on her hand. The same mark has turned up on some, but not all, of the victims whose deaths Kolchak has investigated. Perri is sympathetic, but ultimately spooked, and tries to put as much distance as she can between herself and Kolchak – and when she’s about to become the next potential victim, that’s a decision she may not live to regret.

Season 1 Regular Cast: Stuart Townsend (Carl Kolchak), Gabrielle Union (Perri Reed), Eric Jungmann (Jain McManus), Cotter Smith (Tony Vincenzo)

written by Frank Spotnitz
directed by Dan Sackheim
music by Michael Wandmacher
series theme music by Philip Glass

Guest Cast: David Denman (Henry Gale), Ele Keats (Emily Gale), J. Marvin Campbell (Deputy), Timothy McNeil (Coroner), Clay Wilcox (Ed Medlock), Sarah LaFleur (Trish Medlock), Madeline Carroll (Julie Madlock), John Pyper-Ferguson (Agent Bernard Fain), Susan Misner (Irene)

The two KolchaksNotes: Roughly 20 minutes into the pilot episode, as an in-joke, Darren McGavin appears as another reporter in Kolchak’s office; McGavin appeared as the original Kolchak in two 1973 TV movies and all 20 episodes of the subsequent cult classic TV series. His image, isolated from the original negatives and digitally inserted into the scene, was taken from the first of those movies, The Night Stalker. Producer Frank Spotnitz was one of the guiding lights of The X-Files, a show whose creator, Chris Carter, readily admitted that the original Kolchak: The Night Stalker had been a key inspiration for his series.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Five People You Meet In Hell

Night StalkerPerri is mildly annoyed when Kolchak again barges into a police press conference she’s already covering, involving the inexplicable and brutal murder of a woman by her husband – who happened to be a prosecuting attorney. Kolchak is there to ask a question about supernatural involvement in the case, but his query goes unanswered. When another murder occurs – this time at the hands of a judge with no prior record – Kolchak and Perri begin to see a connection. Both the judge and prosecutor were involved in the trial of would-be serial killer Damon Caylor, who persuaded others to commit murders in his name. There’s another connection as well – in some capacity, the phrase “you know what you have to do” was heard or seen by the killers. Kolchak now focuses his attention on a detective also involved in Caylor’s trial and conviction, and sure enough, the detective tries to kill his wife, and is stopped only by Kolchak’s quick action. Now Kolchak’s concern turns to one other person instrumental in taking Caylor down – the reporter who covered his crimes: Perri Reed.

Order the DVDswritten by Thomas Schnauz
directed by Rob Bowman
music by Michael Wandmacher

Guest Cast: Tony Curran (Damon Caylor), Alex Carter (Detective Granoff), Robert Curtis Brown (Doug Linman), Colby Paul (Jeffrey Linman), Jessica Whitney Gould (Jane Linman), Art La Fleur (Detective Mitchell), Wylie Small (Amanda Daniels), David Dunard (Doug’s Dad), Tara Ciabattoni (Mary Granoff), John Wesley (Warden Blume), Darin Rossi (Umpire), Stephen W. Alvarez (Reporter), Susan Misner (Irene), Heather Kafka (Katrina Ortega)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Three

Night StalkerKolchak, Perri and McManus investigate the scene of a strange death – a college honor student drowned in an abandoned house with very little water nearby. Kolchak notices something that he thinks is an occult symbol on a window nearby, though Perri later cryptically identifies it as the symbol of a secret campus society. A reporter from the school’s paper, trying to ingratiate himself to Kolchak, drops a tip that the student’s ex-boyfriend, Jack Mercer, may be worth talking to. After he’s seen talking to Kolchak and Perri, Jack is confronted by one of his friends and a tenured professor, both members of the society of which he is a recent inductee. Jack’s professor threatens him, and then, mere moments later, that professor is found dead on campus of massive injuries consistent with a fall from a 50-story building – something that the campus rather conspicuously lacks. Kolchak’s leads turn up nothing as he tries to find the threads that tie the growing number of victims together, but when he looks into the history of the house where the first death occurred, he finds a terrifying secret that points to Jack Mercer as either the killer…or the next victim.

Order the DVDswritten by Adam Sussman
directed by Dan Sackheim
music by Michael Wandmacher

Guest Cast: Eugene Byrd (Alex Nyby), Gil McKinney (Jack), Lane Garrison (Craig), Yancey Arias (Carr), Travis Wester (Devan Harvey), Eamon Hunt (Charles Dunmore), Creed Castleton (Gun Dunmore), Colton Parsons (John Dunmore), Austin Highsmith (Liza)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Burning Man

Night StalkerThe investigation of a bizarre death – a man who seemed to spontaneously combust at a gas station, causing a huge explosion – brings Kolchak and Perri into contact with Howard Gorn, a senior reporter at the Beacon’s national desk whose own investigation into a string of murders with similarly incendiary results formed the basis for a book. In fact, Gorn’s case files on the book are kept in a locked drawer, and not in the paper’s research library, which prevents Kolchak from comparing the evidence. In the string of “Terrormaker” murders, a wax figurine – rumored to be covered with a biological agent causing the spontaneous combustion effect – was sent to each of the Terrormaker’s targets, usually people involved with bioweapons research. Kolchak and Perri try to enlist the help of Doug Panero, the FBI agent who brought the Terrormaker down, and Panero reluctantly tells them later that this new victim did indeed fit the profile of the killer’s previous targets. But the Terrormaker was executed a year ago, and as more wax figurines are delivered to people who then die in a burst of flame, Panero wonders if he helped arrest the right man – and insists that Kolchak keep Gorn in the dark.

Order the DVDswritten by Noah Baylin
directed by Tony Wharmby
music by Michael Wandmacher

Guest Cast: William Lucking (Howard Gorn), Michael O’Keefe (Doug Panero), Clare Carey (Lisa Panero), Madison Mason (Houck), Price Carson (Mystery man), Brandon Fobbs (Delivery boy), Kevin Brief (Fogel), Eugene Collier (Customer), Shane Johnson (Susan Reynolds), Alex Fernandez (Gary Reynolds)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Malum

Night StalkerAfter confiscating a knife from a shy, troubled new student, a school principal is threatened by the boy’s father, and later dies under mysterious circumstances, found impaled on the school’s flagpole. The police dismiss it as a freak accident caused by lightning, despite no record of a storm anywhere nearby. Kolchak takes a persistent interest in the case, and his suspicions continue to bring him back to the boy’s father, who is rumored to have a violent history. When more concrete examples of the boy’s abuse surfaces, the school counselor confronts the boy’s father about it – and she dies later that night, decapitated when a ceiling fan falls on her in her home. Kolchak is now convinced that the father is serving as the earthly vessel of a demonic power, and even shares his suspicions with a police detective whose son is the reclusive child’s best friend. But when Kolchak discovers that he was wrong – there is a demon, but it’s not inhabiting the child’s father – he’s too late to stop a chain of events that will leave the true evil free to cause more death and destruction.

Order the DVDswritten by Adam Armus & Kay Foster
directed by Deran Sarafian
music by Michael Wandmacher

Guest Cast: Tony Todd (Detective), Eugene Byrd (Alex Nyby), Zachary Winard (Justin), Cayden Boyd (Ryan), Peter Greene (Ezekiel), Frederic Lane (Mr. Carver), Ted Rooney (Jeffries), Drew Osborne (Jake), Paula Newsome (Dr. Lawrence), Mary-Pat Greene (Mrs. Sampson)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Source

Night StalkerPerri is mystified when Kolchak’s latest crime beat assignment takes him to the scene of a drug lord’s murder and the disappearance of a DEA agent – with no hints at all of anything unexplained or supernatural. But when Kolchak’s nemesis, FBI Agent Fain, arrives at the Beacon’s offices demanding that Kolchak reveal his sources on the story (and insisting that Vincenzo put pressure on Kolchak to do the same), she tries to find out why Fain is involved. Fain claims that Kolchak had inside information on the crime – and also reveals that the missing DEA man lost his wife in an incident very similar to the death of Kolchak’s wife. Kolchak is indeed receiving inside information, but he can’t reveal his source because he doesn’t know who it is apart from an unidentified voice on a cell phone. Kolchak tracks down a possible lead, but when Fain arrives at the paper’s offices to arrest him, it’s up to McManus to track this story down, and doing so puts him in the path of the same gang of murderous bikers who gunned down the drug lord.

Order the DVDswritten by Frank Spotnitz
directed by Steve Shill
music by Michael Wandmacher

Guest Cast: John Pyper-Ferguson (Agent Fain), Manny Perez (Caleca), Peter Mark Vasquez (Grim-Faced Man), Esther K. Chae (Dae), Charles Chun (Seung), Pat Skipper (Agent Richard Walton), Loreni Delgado (Edhead), Kevin Thomas (Biker #1), Brett Wagner (Biker #2), Tony Swift (Biker #3), Steven Saucedo (Biker #4)

Notes: This was the last episode aired on ABC, which pulled the plug on the show in mid-cliffhanger. The second part, and other unaired episodes, were released on DVD in 2006, and aired later on the Sci-Fi Channel with little fanfare.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Timeless

Night StalkerA woman’s body is found in a public park, covered with bite marks that don’t match any kind of wildlife known in the area. When the coroner seems uninterested in the bite marks, Kolchak and Perri pester him until he takes a closer look, and finds a needle mark hidden within a freckle on the victim’s body. When Jain looks into the newspaper’s archives, he discovers that there was a trio of similar deaths dating back at least to 1970. When Kolchak tracks down a retired police detective who worked the 1970 case, he’s told that the killer committed suicide. Research turns up another series of three deaths of women, all from horrific bite marks, in 1935 as well. But even further examination of that death turns up more questions, until it becomes clear to Kolchak that someone involved with investigating the crimes is helping to cover the killer’s tracks – and the killer may be older than anyone realizes.

Order the DVDswritten by William Schmidt
directed by Jim Hayman
music by Michael Wandmacher

Guest Cast: Mira Furlan (Marlene Harmon), Kevin Rahm (Dr. Aaron Shields), Eugene Byrd (Alex Nyby), Alex Datcher (Mrs. Reed), Robin Pearson Rose (Mr. Reed), Michael Fairman (Detective Collins), Michael Potter (Detective), Stephen Tobolowsky (Titus), Michael Warren (Marlene’s date), Helen Costa (Marlene body double), Dennis Howard (Observing detective), Alex Ruiz (College kid), Kasey Wilson (Jennifer Owens)

Notes: Mira Furlan is best known to genre fans for playing the part of Minbari Ambassador Delenn from Babylon 5‘s pilot movie through its final episode (during which she was well acquainted with wearing a bald cap). Alex Datcher sparred with a fellow officer on the bridge of the Enterprise in the final Star Trek: The Next Generation season finale cliffhanger, Descent Part II. This episode was not aired during the show’s original run on ABC, though it appeared later on DVD and the Sci-Fi Channel; the airdate listed here is from its first Sci-Fi broadcast.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Sea

Night StalkerMcManus narrowly escapes a gang-style shooting that leads to the death of the missing DEA agent and the man who was hiding him. Given that Kolchak was behind bars during this latest incident, Fain has no choice but to let him go – but does follow him as he keeps trying to find Linda Caleca before she becomes the next victim. When Agent Fain trails Kolchak until he finds her, the mysterious bikers who nearly killed McManus appear again, gunning down an FBI SWAT team calmly while appearing to take no damage themselves; McManus captures their faces with his camera, and matches those faces up to two bank robbers. In the confusion, Kolchak and Perri escape with Caleca and go into hiding. But they can’t even hide at a secluded hotel without Fain and the bikers appearing – at roughly the same time.

Order the DVDswritten by Frank Spotnitz
directed by Elodie Keene
music by Michael Wandmacher

Guest Cast: Stacy Edwards (Linda Caleca), Esther K. Chae (Dae), Charles Chun (Seung), Loreni Delgado (Edhead), strong>Alexis Rhee (Soo), John Pyper-Ferguson (Agent Fain), Van Epperson (Hotel Manager), Jim Gleason (Reporter #1), Kathy McGraw (Reporter #2), Manny Perez (Caleca), Kevin Thomas (Biker #1), Brett Wagner (Biker #2), Tony Swift (Biker #3), Steven Saucedo (Biker #4)

Notes: This was the second part of the two-part cliffhanger which was interrupted by ABC’s cancellation of the series; it aired on the Sci-Fi Channel over a year after ABC showed the first part.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

What’s The Frequency, Kolchak?

Night StalkerKolchak tries to follow a lead related to several missing persons cases, only to find himself in a trap laid by a man named Paul Krieger, who claims he was institutionalized with Kolchak over a year earlier. Kolchak remembers being institutionalized after the death of his wife, but doesn’t remember Krieger – and doesn’t know how to respond to Krieger’s insistent ravings that Kolchak’s articles contain coded messages meant for him and him alone. Kolchak is cuffed and chained to a wheelchair, powerless to do anything but listen to Krieger tell him about “the old man” who lives at the end of the hallway in Krieger’s house – and in Krieger’s head. When Krieger’s mental health caseworker arrives, Kolchak asks him to call for help, but the caseworker is captured too – and before Krieger murders him, the caseworker warns Kolchak that Krieger was on day release from the institution when Kolchak’s wife was killed.

Order the DVDswritten by Vince Gilligan
directed by Colin Buckley
music by Michael Wandmacher

Guest Cast: Pat Healy (Paul Krieger), Reggie Lee (Stanley Kim)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

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