Ironside: Due Process of Law (1968)
Season 1, Episode 27
The Evolution of Mark
18 December 2015
Quite possibly, no character in the history of television evolved as much as Chief Ironside's assistant, Mark Sanger. While he did grow considerably as a person under Ironside's tutelage, Mark certainly still had a lot to learn about himself and the law. As episodes like this and the earlier Memory of an Ice Cream Stick demonstrate, Mark was somewhat of a heedless and headstrong young man whose refusal to listen to the voice of reason (Ironside) got him into serious trouble.

In this episode, Mark takes a date to a party thrown by Dwayne 'Dobie Gillis' Hickman. Ironside needs him back at the office, but Mark's friend says she'll be OK there by herself...which isn't the case, as the next morning, she's found dead in the bathroom in a city park, a heroin needle in her arm. The girl's father appears at the scene, and his words echo in Mark's head: "Is THIS how you bring your dates home, Mark?"

Mark immediately suspects another party guest, Joe Fenway (played by Burr DeBenning, a frequent-flier in many cop shows from the '60s to the early '90s), whom he knows to be an addict. He physically attacks Fenway outside the police station, then breaks into his apartment where he finds a drawer full of syringes. Ed catches Mark in the act and angrily informs him that the syringes can't be used for evidence. Finally, Mark pays Fenway yet another visit...this time, he's found standing over the addict's corpse, holding a bloody barbell, after he ignored Ironside's warnings.

Naturally, Mark is arrested for the murder. Ironside visits him, but all Mark can say is, "What about MY rights? Where's MY lawyer?", and the Chief angrily lets him have it but good!

Eventually, Mark is released and is with Ed when they go to bust the real killer. Ed gives Mark his gun just in case. When the real killer is led past Mark, the camera cuts to the gun in his hand, then back to Mark...he allows Ed to lead the prisoner away, finally understanding what Ironside was trying to tell him.

Mark grew considerably each season, becoming a law student in the second season, participating in undercover missions in the third, becoming a cop in the fifth season and earning his law degree in the sixth season...but he wasn't done. Years later, in the Ironside reunion movie, he had become 'Judge Sanger'...which Ironside sarcastically called him in this episode!
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