The 22nd outing in season 4, Highway Patrol: The Collector is in my view just an okay half hour of entertainment. Throughout its run, Highway Patrol did do some really good episodes, but sometimes their offerings weren’t all that exciting, which is the case of this TV show that suffered from some poor writing.
Guest star Jewell Lain does a lot of overacting as Marge Singleton, while Charles Maxwell is a bit overdone in his role of Marge’s husband, Jerry Singleton. He’s an ex-con who doesn’t want his past revealed to neighbors and his employer.
Unfortunately, Jerry’s being blackmailed by a nasty man named Nathan Coley (Robert Nash). Part of the problem here is that the roles are very stereotypical with nothing special to set them apart from every other blackmailer and ex-con role out there.
Ultimately, Jerry and Coley get into a fight in the Singleton’s home and Coley dies. Now this whole bit seems weird to be. Marge acts like it is an everyday occurrence, in fact. After her husband leaves, intending on fleeing the area for fear of being accused of murder, she calmly calls the police. The whole thing just didn’t work.
The choreography of the big fight scene was poorly done. The early days of TV just didn’t have the best stunt work in some of these shows. Highway Patrol suffered badly in stunt work and staging. This pertains to the kill scene and the final scene. However, it’s the writing that really did this episode in.
We have a scene with Jerry up in the mountains and the police and his wife not all that far away. All of a sudden, on her own, Marge tells her husband to fire two shots into the air and throw down his gun. Now where would she come up with something like that?
Then when it’s over, the police chief tells the woman that Jerry is going to be all right and that he’s just lost a lot of blood. There’s no ambulance; they are outside of town; and they make the guy walk down the hill to the car. Okay — he’s lost a lot of blood, and all this is happening, but he’ll be fine? It was bad writing.
That’s what ruined this episode even more than the so-so acting: a poor script.