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‘Chicago Hope’ Revives Alfred Hitchcock

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 21, 1998

CBS’ “Chicago Hope,” which earlier this season pulled off a musical episode inspired by Bob Fosse’s “All That Jazz” and Dennis Potter’s “The Singing Detective,” takes on Alfred Hitchcock tonight at 10.

The episode, titled “Psycodrama” and shown in black and white, honors the master of suspense with parodies of such films as “The Birds” (Tippi Hedren guest-stars), “Marnie,” “Vertigo,” “Rear Window” and, of course, “Psycho.”

As Watters (Hector Elizondo) is laid up in his apartment by a basketball injury, he uses his telescope to track the comings and goings of neighbors in an adjacent building. While passing the time, he thinks he witnesses a murder.

Elsewhere, the bird that Dr. Austin (Christine Lahti) receives as a gift begins acting strangely and soon is terrorizing the emergency room. Dr. Grad’s (Jayne Brook) newly discovered birth mother (Hedren) turns out to more than a little “psycho.”

And Catera (Stacy Edwards) finds a perfect subject for her study of the psychology of violent offenders. But it turns out to be McNeil’s (Mark Harmon) brother (Todd Allen).

Keep an ear out for many references to Hitchcock films. I see in the cast list a character named Al Hitch. Hedren plays Alfreda Perkins.

The episode was unavailable for review. Darn it. I’ll have to watch it with everyone else.


“Scientific American Frontiers,” KSPS at 7: Alan Alda’s “Nordic Sagas” takes him, among other places, to the site of a sunken Viking ship and to a volcanic island off the coast of Iceland.

“The Nanny,” CBS at 8: Fran Drescher makes her directorial debut in this episode in which Fran, with the help of Dr. Miller’s (Spalding Gray) support, confronts her growing concern that her relationship with Maxwell (Charles Shaughnessy) is on the same unhealthy track as her relationship with her father.

“Spin City,” ABC at 8: The mayor (Barry Bostwick) has writer’s block, and Mike’s (Michael J. Fox) doctor suspects he has prostate cancer. Guest-star Donald Trump rides to the rescue in what sounds like very strange circumstances for laughs.

“Beverly Hills, 90210,” FOX at 8: The fallout from Brandon’s betrayal continues as he goes to great lengths to win Kelly (Jennie Garth) back. Meanwhile, Kelly gets the last laugh when Val (Tiffani-Amber Thiessen) is ordered to perform community service at the center where she works.

Cable Calls

“Babylon 5,” TNT at 7: The science-fiction series begins a fifth season, jumping from syndication to TNT. Tracy Scoggins joins the cast as Capt. Elizabeth Lochley, new commander of B-5, as Sheridan (Bruce Boxleitner) is set to be inaugurated as president of the Alliance. An assassin from Earth is determined he will die first.

Talk Time

“Tonight,” NBC at 11:35: Actor Samuel L. Jackson, comedian Harland Williams, and musical group Oasis.

“Late Show With David Letterman,” CBS at 11:35: Actress Nicole Kidman, Gregory Hines (“The Gregory Hines Show”), and music group God’s Property, featuring Kirk Franklin. Repeat.

“Politically Incorrect With Bill Maher,” ABC at 12:05 a.m.: Jay Thomas, author Faith Popcorn and Rep. Joe Scarborough (R-Fla.).

“The Late Late Show With Tom Snyder,” CBS at 12:35 a.m.: To be announced.

“Late Night With Conan O’Brien,” NBC at 12:35 a.m.: Director Martin Scorsese, CNBC reporter Maria Bartiromo and musical guest Martina McBride.


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