The Checklist: Cobra (S1 Ep11) “Playing with Fire”
When you hear the name Michael Dudikoff you immediately think of his work in American Ninja or Avenging Force, but you probably don’t think of him as a TV crime fighter. But in 1993, Stephen J. Cannell, the man behind such shows as The A-Team, 21 Jump Street and Renegade, developed a television series for Michael Dudikoff named Cobra.
I had never seen Cobra during its short run on television. Years later when I learned that Michael Dudikoff had starred in it, I thought it was another example of Canada taking a successful movie from the 80’s (in this case Sylvester Stallone’s Cobra) and turning it into a television show like they did with F/X: The Series and RoboCop with Michael Dudikoff playing the television version of Marion Cobretti.
But the television series and the movie of the same name have nothing to do with one another. On the show, Michael Dudikoff plays Robert “Scandal” Jackson. Scandal is recruited by a secret organization known as Cobra (not the one led by Cobra Commander). Cobra steps in when the wheels of justice fail. Scandal is partnered with a female agent named Danielle LaPointe (played by Allison Hossack) and the two work together to bring bad guys down each week.
In this edition of The Checklist, we will examine the 11th episode in the first and only season of Cobra…
- Synopsis: Scandal and the Cobra team are hired to look into a series of warehouse fires that city officials are blaming on the homeless community, but the homeless are blaming on The Phoenix, the ghost of a man who died in a fire five years earlier.
1. Did Michael Dudikoff’s hair look amazing?
Action stars often times have a physical characteristic that becomes synonymous with them. Chuck Norris had his beard. Charles Bronson had his mustache. Jean-Claude Van Damme had his ass. When these characteristics are missing from that action stars presention, it becomes quite noticeable and makes whatever project they are working on seem a little off. In the case of Michael Dudikoff he always had an amazing head of hair. But fear not Dudi fans, Michael Dudikoff’s locks are in full effect in Cobra making the series feel like a true blue Dudikoff project. 1/1
2. Was Dallas Cassell wearing a loud tie with matching suspenders?
Dallas Cassell (played by James Tolkan of Masters of the Universe fame) is the administrator of Cobra and while he does get involved in the field work from time to time, he mostly spends his time back at the office doing the background work and digging up intel for Scandal and Danielle. Dallas loves to wear loud ties with matching suspenders and he does not disappoint in “Playing with Fire”. Dallas is sportingh an electric blue tie that took me back to my first office job back in 1993. 2/2
3. Were there any notable guest stars?
Probably the most important question on any Checklist is did the show have any notable guest stars. When you have a show about fighting crime it is essential that you have a steady flow of guest characters to play both the victims and the criminals, because if they were the same people every week being victimized or committing the crimes it would make it look like the heroes of the show weren’t getting the job done.
As I mentioned in the synopsis, Scandal and Danielle are investigating a series of warehouse fires, so who better to question than one of the most notorious pyromaniacs in the world and who better to play this pyromaniac than the one and the only Richard Lynch. Lynch is at his creepy best playing Dr. Mortimer T. Anton. The former physician turned fire bug is locked up in a psychiatric hospital and the scenes between Anton and Scandal have a real Silence of the Lambs vibe. The almost orgasmic face that Dr. Anton makes when he’s looking at pictures of a fire is something that may haunt me for the rest of my life. 3/3
4. Was there any sexual tension teased between Scandal and Danielle?
A common TV trope when you have a male character and female character working so closely together day in and day out is that eventually some romantic sparks will start flying. In this particular episode of Cobra it was all business between Scandal and Danielle and the possibility of a more personal relationship forming was not teased in anyway. 3/4
5. Was there episode specific music?
One of the most surprising elements of “Playing with Fire” was some of the original music used during two of the scenes. Unfortunately I was unable to track down any sort of information about the song titles or who performed them, but the songs fit perfectly with their references to “fire” and “ashes to ashes” in this arson themed episode of Cobra. I’ll be interested to see as I watch more episodes if this is a common occurrence on the series or if this was a one off. 4/5
- Final Score = 4/5 (80%) “Playing with Fire” was a solid episode of Cobra with the interaction between Michael Dudikoff and Richard Lynch being the highlight!