ABC MYSTERY MOVIE, THE: B.L. STRYKER: THE DANCER'S TOUCH (TV)
The premiere in this series, presented under the umbrella of "The ABC Mystery Movie," about a former policeman turned private detective and living on a houseboat in the Palm Beach area of Florida. In this episode, a mysterious dancer dressed in a head-to-toe black leotard enacts a strange ritual in the dark. Returning home from a fancy ball, Hillary Hodding is bound and gagged by the mystery man, who then covers her in oil as he continues his bizarre ritual. By the next morning, Stryker gets a call from young pal Lynn Ellingsworth, wondering why he is running so late for their meeting. An offer of Bloody Marys finally catches his attention and gets him out of bed. Stryker finally goes to Lynn's parent's boat, which he has been slow in repairing. Lynn warns Stryker that he is also behind in paying rent to Oliver Wardell, the owner of the dock where Stryker's boat is moored. Lynn soon discusses Stryker's high school days when he was dating a cheerleader named Kimberly, who later became his wife. Lynn wants some guidance on when she should lose her virginity, a subject she's also been broaching with Kimberly, who now lives in a nearby mansion. Then, Stryker gets approached by tabloid journalist Len Stalhut, who wants to discuss the area's recent problem with the brutalizing of young women from "high society"-- similar to cases Stryker handled when he was a detective in New Orleans. He shows Stryker some articles detailing his headline-making history in New Orleans. After dismissing Len, Stryker heads into Palm Beach to meet with Kimberly, who recently married her fifth husband, Clayton Baskin. Stryker speaks with Kimberly about Lynn, telling her to no longer counsel the girl. Stryker also wonders if Kimberly was the one who tipped off Len, which she denies.
Stryker is then met by policeman Tommy Cartrude Jr., who asks that he follow him to the station. Stryker meets with Chief McGee, who ask Stryker's help in investigating the case of the molested teens, with Hillary now the fourth victim. Given Stryker's record of handling a similar case in New Orleans, the chief thinks it will be right up his alley. The chief also points out some newspaper clippings addressing Stryker's suspension from the New Orleans' force. Nevertheless, Stryker turns the chief down. Returning to his car, Stryker finds a mysterious envelope with "pas de deux" written on it. Later, Stryker heads to the boxing gym to catch up with trainer friend Oz Jackson. Over beers, Stryker tells Oz that trouble is following him. Later, the mystery man breaks a piece from the taillight of Stryker's classic car. That night, Stryker calls Detective Maxwell, a friend on the force in New Orleans, and leaves a message that he needs his help. Meanwhile, a young couple sneaks onto the boy's father's yacht -- moored near Stryker's houseboat -- for some champagne and romance. Stryker watches Florida State football as he thinks about his past. At the same time, the boy is conked out by the mystery man, who then assaults the girl. As a number is carved in her back with a knife, the girl's screams are muffled for Stryker by his TV's blaring volume. The next day, Stryker is asked again by Lynn for guidance on her romantic future. Then, Oliver arrives, wanting Stryker to fix him up. Stryker notices the police on-site and goes to investigate. At police headquarters, Stryker speaks with McGee, who explains the sick ritual that the mystery man continues to perform on the girls. Then, Stryker meets Dr. Diane Decker, a psychiatrist who explains why she believes the crimes are being committed. Afterward, Len intercepts Stryker outside the police station, saying that he's going to be on the cover of the tabloid for consulting on the case. Then, Stryker gets a ticket for his broken taillight. Later, Stryker goes to see Oz, who advises his friend that a man can't run away from his past. Stryker heads over to Kimberly's place, where he finally meets the mild-mannered Clayton. That night, Stryker invites Lynn for dinner, but she declines. Afterward, Stryker calls Diane to apologize for his dismissive treatment of her at the police station and ends up on a dinner date with her. At the restaurant, Diane details why she believes a psychological profile is required for the mystery dancer. Later, Diane goes with Stryker to watch the sunset and they kiss, not realizing they've been followed and observed by their quarry.
Later, Lynn calls Stryker to speak about her boyfriend Douglas, who she goes to meet. Meanwhile, the dancer gets into Lynn's car and rapes her just outside her home. The media goes wild with reports that a minor has been raped. Stryker is furious, going after Len for perpetuating the story. Meanwhile, Diane goes to meet with Oz to talk about Stryker's background. Oz explains how his boxing career ended in New Orleans but Stryker rescued him as the two moved to Florida. Oz suspects that Diane is attracted to Stryker. Stryker goes to visit Lynn in the hospital, where she explains how she was assaulted en route to seeing Douglas. Lynn reveals that the dancer carved a figure in her back. That night, the dancer sneaks into Lynn's guarded hospital room before pulling a knife. When she screams, he jumps through the window and flees, with Oz pursuing him. However, the dancer escapes, making Stryker more determined to capture him. Diane briefs the police force on the details and profile of the suspect. Stryker is confused how the dancer was able to get into Lynn's yard. Stryker asks Decker to let him look at the files of patients that match the profile, but she refuses. Stryker begins to do his own profiling of the suspect. Later, Stryker is called by the dancer, wanting to know if he has finally gotten Stryker's attention in their "pas de deux." Stryker agrees to meet the dancer at the train station. However, the dancer never shows and Stryker instead finds another victim, this one murdered. Stryker and the police rush to his houseboat, where Diane was to meet him. Diane is fine, and finally agrees to give Stryker the files he wanted, minus the names. Afterward, Stryker finally gets around to discussing his past, leading to the two spending the night together.
By morning, Stryker and Diane look over the files of suspects that could fit the dancer's profile. Stryker finds an intriguing suspect, Darren Bailey, though Diane insists that he remains hospitalized. However, Diane later finds that the man has been released. Immediately, the police are sent to apprehend Darren. Inside Darren's house, Stryker and Diane find sick "tributes" to all of the victims, with a special space for Stryker. However, Stryker remains confused about how the dancer got into his victim's residences. Stryker finally gets a call from Detective Maxwell, who agrees to his ex-partner's latest favor. Then, Stryker goes to visit Lynn again, there receiving a call from the dancer, who taunts him. Stryker agrees to meet with the dancer at his houseboat. Once arriving on his darkened boat, he takes Detective Maxwell's call, learning that Dennis Stanton, a New Orleans reporter that covered Stryker's travails in the Big Easy, left town shortly after Stryker did. Just then Dennis arrives on Stryker's yacht, minus the disguise he wore to appear to be Len Stalhut. Instead, he appears in the head-to-toe leotard he has used as the mysterious dancer. Stryker and Dennis square off, with Dennis explaining his anger at how Stryker didn't succeed at stopping his wave of crime in New Orleans. Dennis says he now wants to "end" things between them. Then, Dennis reveals Diane's corpse behind a door. The two men fight and Stryker prevails, eventually forced to shoot Dennis through the head. A grief-stricken Stryker goes to the beach to observe the sunset, hearing Diane's words as he remembers watching one with her before they first kissed. As Stryker then jogs up the beach, he's joined by Oz and Lynn.Also includes an "ABC News Brief" with Tim O'Brien. Includes commercials.
- NETWORK: ABC
- DATE: February 13, 1989 Monday 9:00 PM
- RUNNING TIME: 1:52:23
- COLOR/B&W: Color
- CATALOG ID: T:16848
- GENRE: Drama, police/private detective
- SUBJECT HEADING: Drama, police/private detective
- SERIES RUN: ABC - TV series, 1989
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- Tom Selleck … Executive Producer
- Burt Reynolds … Co-Executive Producer
- Chas. Floyd Johnson … Co-Executive Producer
- Chris Abbott … Co-Executive Producer, Writer
- Rick Weaver … Producer
- Alan Barnette … Producer
- Lamar Jackson … Associate Producer
- William Link … Supervising Executive Producer
- William A. Fraker … Director
- Christopher Crowe … Created by
- Leon Piedmont … Writer
- Walter Klenhard … Writer
- Mike Post … Music by
- Burt Reynolds … Cast, B.L. Stryker
- Ossie Davis … Cast, Oz Jackson
- Helen Shaver … Cast, Diane Decker
- David Hunt … Cast, Len Stalhut/Dennis Stanton
- Kristy Swanson … Cast, Lynn Ellingsworth
- Abe Vigoda … Cast, Clayton Baskin
- Michael O. Smith … Cast, Chief McGee
- Alfie Wise … Cast, Oliver Wardell
- Rita Moreno … Cast, Kimberly Baskin
- Avery Sommers … Cast, Evelyn
- C. James Lewis … Cast, Officer Tommy Cartrude Jr.
- Celia Lipton … Cast, Jessica Hodding
- Phil Philbin … Cast, Detective Daniels
- Cynthia Caquelin … Cast, Mrs. Ellingsworth
- Marc Macaulay … Cast, Detective
- Kimberly-Anne Sullivan … Cast, Hillary Hodding
- Philip Michael Hall … Cast, Everette Pierce III
- Marietta Haley … Cast, Reporter
- Rhonda R. Ritchie … Cast, Metermaid
- Barrie Mizerski … Cast, Waiter
- Bunny Yeager … Cast, Masseuse
- for "ABC News Brief"
- Tim O'Brien … Anchor