The White Shadow: Season 03 (1980)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Prime-Time Drama [TV], Sports Drama, Urban Drama  |   Run Time - 60 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Returning from a sentimental journey to his home town, basketball coach Ken Reeves (Ken Howard) arrives at his familiar stamping grounds at the inner-city LA Carver High School, whereupon he quickly learns that there's been some changes made. Season Three of The White Shadow begins with several of the familiar supporting players no longer part of the action. Gone are team members Carter (killed at the end of Season Two), Hayward, Reese, Goldstein and Gomez. New to the basketball squad are Wardell Stone (Larry Flash Jenkins), Jesse B. Mitchell (Stoney Jackson), Teddy Rutherford (Wolfe Perry), Eddie Franklin (Art Holliday), and Paddy Falahey (John Laughlin). Likewise, Reese's old friend Jim Willis has stepped down as principal, replaced by Ken's "friendly enemy" Sybil Buchanan (Joan Pringle)--and as for Ken's sister Kate and brother-in-law Bill, they're also gone, who knows where? Rounding out the newcomers is Carver's freshly hired wrestling coach, Ezra Davis (Rosey Grier). This final season of White Shadow contains a number of standout episodes. In a followup to a story in the previous season, Warren Coolidge (Byron Stewart) considers trying out with the Harlem Globetrotters. Several prominent sports and showbiz celebrities, including Jimmie Walker, Elgin Baylor, Sparky Anderson and Willie Tyler, show up in an episode wherein Reeves get unexpected assistance while captaining a fund drive. "Salami" Pettrino (Timothy Van Patten) ends up in the slammer after a violent confrontation with an opposing player. Stone gets a dose of celebrity after saving an old lady from a burning car. Basketball great Bill Russell guests in a story involving Coolidge's sudden self-consciousness over his height, which is fine for the basketball court but awkward everywhere else. Michael Winslow, who would later rise to fame as the "human sound effects machine" in the Police Academy films, delivers a searing dramatic portrayal as a delusional student who targets an emotionally fragile teacher for persecution. Coolidge and Franklin are subjected to inordinately rough treatment at the hands of the Law when they're suspected of mugging a senior citizen. And in the series finale "A Day In the Life", an alumni exhibition game finds graduates Goldstein (Ken Michelman), Gomez (Ira Angustain), Hayward (Thomas Carter) and Reese (Nathan Cook) returning to Carver with an arsenal of anecdotes--amusing and not-so-amusing--about what they've been doing with themselves since last we saw them.