Kolchak: The Night Stalker/The Ripper

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The Ripper
Season 1, Episode 1
Airdate September 13, 1974
Written by Rudolph Borchert
Directed by Allen Baron
Produced by Paul Playdon
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Kolchak: The Night StalkerSeason One
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The Ripper is the first episode of the first season of Kolchak: The Night Stalker.

Starring: Darren McGavin (Carl Kolchak)

Also Starring: Simon Oakland (Tony Vincenzo)

Guest Star: Beatrice Colen (Jane Plumm)

Co-Starring: Ruth McDevitt (Elderly Woman), Jack Grinnage (Ron Updyke), Ken Lynch (Capt. Warren), Marya Small (Masseuse)

with Donald Mantooth (Policeman), Robert Bryan Berger (Mail Boy), Roberta Collins (Det. Cortazzo), Clint Young (Driver)

and Mickey Gilbert (The Ripper)


Plot Overview

After getting in trouble for impersonating a police commissioner, Kolchak is assigned to handle the advice column for a week while Miss Emily (see note below) is on vacation. He must individually answer the letters in her advice column.

In a showdown with Chicago police, even though a flamboyantly-dressed serial killer who killed three women in the city is shot dozens of times and then jumps off the roof of a four-story building, he is not even slowed down. When the officers try en masse to wrestle him to the ground, he simply throws all of them off like rag dolls. As the killer is fleeing the scene, he is struck by a car, severely damaging it, but he still keeps going.

Later, due to a little misunderstanding at a massage parlor, Kolchak is in the back of a police car. Before they get to the station, they respond to a call to pursue the killer, who had earlier claimed a fourth victim and nearly took a fifth at the parlor before fleeing. Kolchak is able to get out of the police car with his camera, and get pictures of the killer in action. Despite being shot dozens of times by a Chicago police SWAT team, the seemingly invulnerable killer fights all of the policemen off and keeps going unfazed. Only an electric fence stops him (and even then, he still attempts to climb up the fence even as he is being electrocuted).

Kolchak believes that the killer is the same Jack the Ripper that terrorized London in 1888, and that electricity could be his only weakness. The police won't believe him, because they already have him locked in a maximum-security jail cell upstairs. But even as they speak with Kolchak, the Ripper escapes from his cell by knocking the steel door off its hinges, then flees into the night in search of more victims.

On a hunch Kolchak visits a woman he believes has been watching the Ripper. She is a veritable Peeping Tom. She watches people through her window with a telescope, and even keeps logs with times and dates. After talking to her, he is even more certain.

A quick trip to an electrical supply store provides him with everything he needs to set a trap. Quickly he sets the trap, and then breaks into the Ripper's house, waiting there for him to return.

When the Ripper does return, Kolchak is trapped in his wardrobe closet. He panics (or feigns panic) and runs, tripping over and running into things as he goes. He really knows he's in trouble when he runs into a sofa and trips over Jane's dead body! Jane (the fifth victim of the Ripper) was a fellow reporter.

The Ripper follows him outside. Kolchak is slowed slogging through a small pond. With the Ripper right behind him in the pond, Kolchak electrifies his trap (the pond), destroying the Ripper, who vanishes in a wisp of smoke. Unfortunately, Kolchak's less-than-professional wiring job sets the house on fire, and it burns to the ground, destroying all evidence.


  • Miss Eggenweiler, the nosey neighbor who saw the man with "x-ray eyes", was played by Ruth McDevitt, who would go on to take a regular role on the show as Miss Emily, the INS advice colmnist.

Arc Advancement





The Show

  • The name of the massage parlor was the Sultan's Palace
  • The letter from the nosey neighbor was blue.

Behind the Scenes

Allusions and References

Memorable Moments

  • Carl visits the massage parlor where the fourth victim was murdered. He talks with the masseuse, telling her that he only wants to talk to her and ask her questions; that he is a reporter who only wants to watch. He is promptly arrested for soliciting a lewd act. The woman was a detective.