Taking Its Toll

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Taking Its Toll
Episode # 107
Air Date November 3, 1977
Briefing Fire conditions & the theft at the tolls
Title screen

Brief Plot

Crying time: A load of spilled and crushed onions has the responding CHPers in tears. Bandits target drivers at toll booths.

Plot

The episode opens with Jon and Ponch crossing a bridge while on a coast beat. At a toll booth at one end of the bridge, two men in a sports car drive up to a car, steal a briefcase, and toss the car's keys away before speeding off. As they cross the bridge, they're spotted by Jon and Ponch. Jon goes after the sports car while Ponch investigates the toll booth. Unfortunately, the thieves get away from Jon. As Jon returns to meet up with Ponch at the tolls, the LA County Sherrif's Department arrives and Ponch passes the details to the deputy.

When Ponch and Jon arrive at Central, Ponch wants to hurry in so they're not late for the briefing, but Jon's distracted by his notepad. During briefing, Jon continues writing in his notebook and attracts attention from Getraer. Shortly after the briefing ends, dispatch reports an 11-82 and they head out, asking Fritz to let dispatch know they're on their way.

Arriving on scene, they discover a pickup truck that has spilled a large load of onions. The onions soon have everyone tearing up. While Jon directs traffic and Getraer, Baricza, and Fritz look on, Ponch directs the onion truck to try and get it out of the way. In the process, the wheels spin and spray Ponch with onions.

When they return to Central, they find that Mrs. Downey is there complaining to Barkley about a $2 parking ticket she got from the LAPD. Nevertheless, Jon agrees to take care of it. He sends her on her way and she gives him a chocolate chip cookie. "Have a chippie, CHiPpie!"

In the locker room, Ponch has changed into a fresh uniform. While Jon tells Ponch that he's going to pay Mrs. Downey's $2 ticket himself (rather than try to explain it to her), he opens his locker and books fall out. Jon seems to be inspired by them.

Back on patrol, Ponch and Jon chase a chauffeur who's driving like a maniac. The limo ends up causing a major accident southbound on the Hollywood Freeway at Belmont. The chauffeur tells Ponch and Jon that there's a bomb in his limo so they break a window to get him out. Jon gets Baricza and Shain to take care of traffic while he calls for the bomb squad. The situation gets worse when they realize that there's a guy pinned against the guardrail by the limo. Ponch stays by the man's side while the bomb squad defuses the bomb.

That night, Ponch brings his TV to Jon's apartment for him to fix. Ponch soon discovers a bulletin board with "Ponch falls in Glue"[1], "Ponch Loses Motorcycle"[2], "Ponch Burns Hole in Pants"[3], and "Ponch Falls in the Mud"[2] on index cards. Ponch goes nuts when he finds out Jon's writing a book about all his goof-ups. Soon Getraer appears on TV talking about the "Toll Booth Bandits". He explains that the bandits are following people from a bank and stealing the valuables when they stop at the toll booth.

After the commercial break, Ponch starts to like the book idea when Jon refers to "Francis Ponchereblo" as heroic. While Ponch is thinking about fame, Jon notices a man in the diamond lane trying to pass off a dog as a passenger. They pull the car over and talk to the driver. When the trunk accidentally pops open, Jon notices lots of appliances. They arrest the driver and his wife for having stolen items.

Back at Central, Getraer hears about Jon's book, he tells him how everything has to be cleared by all sorts of CHP officials...and filed in triplicate. While discussing the book, a call comes in for the possible toll booth bandits.

At the toll, they can't make their getaway since they flooded their car. They steal a Plymouth but Baricza is on their tail followed by Jon and Ponch. The bandits try to jump an opening drawbridge but don't make it and flip over. Jon arrests them with Baricza, Ponch, and Fritz's help.

Off duty, Jon decides to give up on the book but Ponch doesn't want him to. The last we see, Ponch is trying to stop Jon from throwing everything out.

Great Quote

"You know, Ponch, the best things in life are free."
"Free? It cost 25 cents to cross this bridge! That's highway robbery!"
-Jon and Ponch

Guest Stars

Co-Starring

Featuring

Crew

Fun Facts

  • Mrs. Downey can also be seen in "Baby Food" and "Vintage '54".
  • The bridge seen in the opening is the Vincent Thomas Bridge (State Route 47). Ponch and Jon enter the bridge from the east end. View on Google Maps
  • While in the locker room, some books fall out of Jon's locker. Ponch reads aloud some of the names of the books. One of the books is "The New Centurions" a novel by Joseph Wambaugh. Erik Estrada starred in the film version. Ponch comments that he "will wait until the movie comes out."

Mistakes

  • For what appears to be a parking lot at the harbor, there seems to be an unusually high amount of traffic.
  • When Ponch is sprayed with onions, he seems to have more stuck to him in the close up shots.
  • The bomb squad moves the bomb before defusing it. If they can move it, why did they just move it to the hood of the car rather than moving it someplace safer like away from a potentially explosive vehicle with a trapped victim?
  • The cuts between the stunt driver and the chauffeur are clearly on different stretches of freeway.
  • While chasing the chauffeur, Jon radios that they are southbound on Hollywood (Fwy.) at Belmont. However, the accident (and their pursuit) takes place southbound on the unfinished portion of the Glendale Fwy. just south of Verdugo Blvd. This is the same stretch of road used for numerous chase scenes. The northbound signs tend to give this away and those same signs are giveaways for continuity errors in chase scenes.
  • Except for "Ponch Falls in Glue", everything else Ponch reads off of Jon's bulletin board doesn't happen until an episode or two later. It's possible and seems likely that episode was produced first and they were aired out of order...or Jon is psychic.

References

  1. Episode 101: "Pilot"
  2. 2.0 2.1 Episode 108: "Green Thumb Burglar"
  3. Episode 109: "Hustle"

Buy this episode


Preceded by:
"Baby Food"
Taking Its Toll
107
Followed by:
"Green Thumb Burglar"