Love Hurts

HOUSTON KNIGHTS (March 1987 - June 1988) -- season 2, episode 19 -- "Love Hurts" James Morrison guest-starred as Steve Kayden in this hour-long police drama.

Following the murder of his partner in an organized crime hit, high-strung, aggressive Chicago cop Joey La Fiamma (Michael Pare) transferred to the Houston Police Department to get away from the hoods who were still after him. La Fiamma’s partner on the Houston Force, and the person assigned to help the short-tempered Chicagoan adjust to Houston, was also his opposite in temperament, laid-back Levon Lundy (Michael Beck). Although neither of these young men was particularly fond of the other’s methods, they were intensely loyal to each other.

La Fiamma and Lundy investigate the mysterious execution-style killing of a suburban family. All perished except one son who was sleeping at girlfriend’s house that night across town. Aaron Frost, on break from Harvard, cannot explain why any member of his family would be targeted for such a vicious crime. Cops find one blood trail that doesn’t match any member of the family. They realize one of the assailants was badly injured.

Benny Figueroa (Branscombe Richmond, RENEGADE) accidentally shot himself in the leg while struggling with one of the victims. Realizing that going to the hospital would be too dangerous, he returns to the mansion of his employer. Steve Kayden is unsympathetic to Fig’s cries. "It’s supposed to hurt. If you had put the bullet where you were told to, it’d be hurting someone else."

La Fiamma and Lundy walk the neighborhood asking questions and looking for any clues to the killing. A kid on a skateboard approaches them and offers them a deal. For five bucks he takes the duo to an abandoned car, the inside seats smeared with blood. Forensics finds a partial fingerprint.

They trace the fingerprint to Benny Fig. But just as they are about to intercept him, Fig pulls a gun and the cops are compelled to subdue him. He dies, but his record links to the Kayden crime family.

La Fiamma and Lundy visit the Kayden mansion. In a sincere attempt to provoke Kayden, La Fiamma tosses Kayden into his own pool. As La Fiamma holds his head under the water with only brief gulps of air, Lundy calmly ensures Kayden they will find out how and why Kayden was involved with the Frost family slaying. Kayden responds, "Go to hell." When the senior Kayden shows up with his shotgun leveled, the two cops exit.

All inquiries into the Frost family history show no signs of any criminal involvement, however, Aaron has gone missing. La Fiamma has a nagging bad feeling about the boy, but no evidence seems to support his suspicions. Lundy argues the kid is simply grieving. La Fiamma and Lundy continue their search for other possible leads.

They start to suspect that perhaps the Frosts they were not the intended quarries. They suspect the hitmen may have visited the wrong house. Only one other house in that neighborhood comes up as a possible target. It is a drug house, a possible competitor to Kayden’s empire.

La Fiamma and Lundy visit this house to question its occupant. The owner denies any involvement in the killing and has no idea why Kayden might be involved with it either. He relates that Kayden was having problems, but from the inside -- not from the outside, like with his small-time business. Kayden was said to have had a greedy bookkeeper gone rogue.

In a brief, tender moment, Steve Kayden speaks with his father in the kitchen. "Is it good, Pop, living here?" he asks. "Never better. I wish I could see more of you." "I do, too, Pop. I’ll call you later." The younger Kayden goes to work, but he will never speak to his father again. Two men are waiting in the shadows nearby, and one strikes a fatal blow. The other, walking out of the darkness, turns out to be Aaron Frost.

Kayden rushes to the scene where his father’s body is discovered. La Fiamma and Lundy ask him to accept his father’s death and not seek retribution. Kayden answers, "We take care of our own."

La Fiamma questions Aaron’s girlfriend, Mickey. She tells La Fiamma about one incident she heard Aaron’s mother mention. Aaron had gotten into trouble one time as a boy, but otherwise he was a perfect son. She admits Aaron had come out of his hiding once to ask her for money, but she had none to give. Mickey tells La Fiamma that Aaron was planning to visit the local newspaper office to collect a college fund started by the community to help him finish school. La Fiamma calls Lundy.

Lundy visits the newspaper office to pick up Aaron for additional questioning. Aaron shows up and so does an armed assailant. Lundy drops the hitman, but Aaron escapes in the chaos. The hitman is linked to Kayden. La Fiamma and Lundy now know for certain that Aaron is the person being targeted.

They begin to research the old case Mickey mentioned. Unfortunately, Aaron’s juvenile records have been sealed. They visit the original arresting officer who relates a horrible tale. Aaron killed another kid in cold blood. He did it on orders from Kayden himself. And the officer says Aaron seemed to have enjoyed doing the deed.

La Fiamma and Lundy visit Mickey, again. They try to convince her to let them take Aaron in for questioning -- they are certain she is hiding him -- but she refuses to believe Aaron is guilty. The cops leave to obtain a warrant, and Mickey confronts Aaron. He convinces her that it was his brother who was in with Kayden. She believes him until she overhears a phone conversation.

Pretending to be asleep, Mickey overhears Aaron arranging to meet Kayden to face off once and for all. Aaron leaves, and La Fiamma and Lundy return with the warrant. Mickey tells them everything.

La Fiamma and Lundy go to intercept Aaron and Kayden. They arrive, but the two criminals are already at ten paces. Aaron argues to Kayden that the organization needs new blood. He is overconfident because one of Kayden’s top men has turned traitor. But Kayden holds all the cards, "Turn the page, kid. See Superman bleed."

First, Kayden throws Aaron’s accomplice, now dead, at Aaron’s feet. Then, Kayden’s men bring forth a bound and gagged Mickey. "I’m not going to shoot you, kid," Kayden says. "It don’t hurt enough!" He demands Aaron drop his weapon for Mickey’s life. But Aaron is not willing to endure torture for her and bolts.

Kayden shoots Aaron. Lundy shoots the man holding Mickey, and La Fiamma shoots Kayden. Lundy frees Mickey and she walks to Aaron, alive but badly wounded. Now disenchanted, Mickey realizes Aaron never cared about her welfare. "Thanks for the education." Love hurts.

Other members of their precinct included their boss, Lt. Joanne Beaumont (Robyn Douglass) and Sgt. Estaban Gutierrez (Efrain Figueroa). Annie Hartung (Madlyn Rhue who, in real life, had multiple sclerosis) was confined to a wheelchair since being shot while on duty several years earlier. Clarence "Chicken" ran the rib joint where La Fiamma and Lundy hung out on their off hours and was their most reliable tipster.

Additional material from THE COMPLETE DIRECTORY TO PRIME TIME NETWORK AND CABLE TV SHOWS by Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh and TOTAL TELEVISION by Alex McNeil.

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