Or: The Big Escape.
After a robbery two criminals are apprehended. One escapes, but one gets away. To top it off, one is a friend of Joe Friday and he has to send him to prison. In the scuffle, Ben Romero has been shot, but it isn’t a serious wound. Joe tells about his old Army buddy that was caught, and his fall onto bad luck. They talk, but will Joe be enticed to help get his buddy off the hook? Not likely.
As Max is taken before the judge, informants hit the street for word on the escaped crook. Personal drama unfolds as the upset wife seeks comfort from Joe at the loss of her husband. Months go by while the escapee is searched for, and Max stays in touch with Joe. Finally, a hot tip comes in about the whereabouts of their missing man. The missing man is picked up just as Max is coming up for parole.
Joe has been sticking up for his friend, doing all he can to provide help for his fallen buddy. Supporting the wife and family, writing letters to the parole board, then bad news comes in.
The wife, Mrs Tyler, is staked out when Max is reported as escaped from prison. Ben and Joe put out the dragnet and manage to capture Mrs Tyler and her kids, but where is Max? Joe is disgusted with the behavior of his former friend and his wife, but probably just as disgusted with himself for trusting them. Max is easily found, and Joe has to do his duty.
PS: An interesting insight to Joe’s personal side. A caring individual, but one who draws the line when a breach of the law is concerned. Is he being overly legalistic? Should he have been more tolerant of the plight of the family, or more attentive to the wife? Maybe he could have averted her part in the escape. I think he could have been just a little less judgemental in the parenting ethics of his friends. It’s not like Joe has any background in that arena. Joe does have a point though. His friendship has been taken advantage of, and any past loyalties can’t extend forever, or entitle his old friend a lifetime pass out of legal trouble. Entitlements have to be dropped, and a new responsibility needs to begin.
Note: Up until this time, show titles mostly had to do with the person in the crime. A trademark of the show titles was to name it, The Big… fill in the blank. Today is the first time that naming convention would be used. The blank is usually a key piece of evidence, or the mothe motivating factor in the crime. Usually something very petty, but to the criminal, it made sense at the moment. It seems to always beg the question… Was it worth it? As if to say, that little thing that seemed so big, has been your downfall.