Original Air Dates: September 12th and 19th, 1974
Following on the coattails of the occult and possession films of the early 1970s, the popular series Ironside mixed their somewhat formulaic procedural drama with pagan witches, exorcisms (well, kinda) and of course, murder. Raise the Devil is a two part episode that features a top notch cast in an eerie and fairly effective wanna-be supernatural story that might have made for a better fit with the scary small screen offerings of the October/Halloween season.
Raise the Devil is half amazing, and half missed potential. Ironside, which was in its eighth and final season, is crisp and gorgeous. The plush modern 70s interiors are simply exquisite. If this episode had just been shots of the set decorations, I still would have been pleased. And, like earlier episodes, the lead cast is thoroughly engaging, even if we only get work-speak and crime busting.
Unfortunately, the story of a maybe-possessed young woman is mostly unfulfilled, bowing down to a safe formula and a few head shaking moments. This is par for the course for 70s TV, so it’s only a mild complaint. I remember the Charlie’s Angels episode The Séance was marginally similar, if a lot more jiggly, and the Kojak episode I Want to Report a Dream also features a psychic connection to a murderer. Personally, I love small screen supernatural mumbo jumbo, but for whatever reason, this one didn’t completely satisfy. It does have Ironside leading a pseudo-exorcism (!), so, it’s not like all is lost (OK, it was more like deprogramming, but work with me). Also, Ironside courts the lovely Justine, and I’ll be honest, I was digging it!