Plot: Officer Charles Tyler (James A. Watson, Jr.) was on his beat when someone rushed over to him, telling him about a woman was beaten nearby. Of course, Tyler quickly went to the site of the attack, but after he arrived, he was accused of the crime himself, complete with witnesses. He swears his innocence, but things don’t look good for him, given the evidence against him. Shaft (Richard Roundtree) looks into the case and learns that a while back, Tyler was involved in exposing some police corruption, which could have led to this frame up. But Shaft can’t get inside the police force himself, so he reaches out to his old friend Lt. Rossi (Eddie Barth). Rossi discovers some obvious crooked cops and plans to help expose the truth, but he is gunned down the street before he can even get started. Now Shaft has to find a way to uncover the truth from the outside, which is no simple task, even for him.
Entertainment Value: Cop Killer is the fifth of the Shaft telefilms, this time letting Shaft go undercover and battle corrupt police officials. The premise is a solid one, as an honest cop has been set up as retaliation over his involvement in exposing corruption, leading to Shaft lending his expertise. The friendship between Shaft and Lt. Rossi continues in this volume, which makes a nice bit of continuity between the telefilms, which are otherwise mostly self contained. Richard Roundtree is back of course and since he gets to go undercover, he drops the suit and dons some bad ass threads, while getting to play more of a street thug, as opposed to a street detective. That shift makes for some fun moments, as he interacts with the various criminals and brings his signature cool to the crook side of the coin. Eddie Barth is also back as Lt. Rossi, while Darren McGavin is present as a colorful villain. McGavin and Roundtree have some memorable face offs as well, adding to the entertainment. As with the other telefilms in this series, Cop Killer has more of a cop show feel than the original theatrical movies, but it is still solid fun if you’re a fan of 70s cop shows or Shaft.
No nakedness. Shaft is too deep undercover to get involved in romance, plus you know, this is a 70s network telefilm and all. No blood. A little action here and there, as well as a drive-by shooting, but no bloodshed involved. But on the topic of blood, a bartender hauls ass when he learns Lt. Rossi needs blood for a transfusion, being the upright chap he is. The dialogue has some fun moments, especially when Shaft and Rossi banter with each other. As the series rolls on, the two really develop bond more than expected, which gives us some cool moments. When Shaft pressures Rossi to look into the crooked cops, he is hesitant, but finally agrees, though not before making a colorful remark to bust Shaft’s chops a little. McGavin also has some fun spots, with good back and forth with Shaft on several instances. Aside from that humorous banter, Cop Killer keeps the tone serious and as such, isn’t all that wild.
Overall Insanity: 0/10