image1 image2 image3 image4 image5
logo

Screencaps for Ep 3.16 added

I have just added the screencaps for Letters From The Grave to the episodes' page. When the skeletal remains of a human body are found during construction works below the former cell building of former federal prison Alcatraz, police crime lab investigation soon identifies the dead body to be former inmate Lew Kovic. Mike immediately recalls that Kovic was supposed to have escaped 'The Rock' some 20 years ago, so the unsolved escape case turns into a homicide matter. Stone also recalls that Kovic's now grown son, Lew Kovic Jr., is a Deputy D. A. and a conscientious lawyer. Interestingly, when talking to Lew Kovic, Mike is told that Kovic's mother frequently receives letters from South America, doubtlessly in his father's handwriting and with his signature. We are also introduced to Lew Kovic's uncle - his father's brother - Jon Kovic, who immediately comes to see his nephew and mother. After Mike has left the house, we also learn that Lew Kovic in fact took the rap for mobster Nick Lugo in a murder several years before. While investigating on Alcatraz Island and checking the interview protocols following the alleged escape, Mike and Steve discover certain discrepancies, so that their focus is set on former prison guard, Herb Stebbins. Meanwhile, Kovic Jr. is also trying to find out the truth but Stebbins – or the person he is running across at Stebbins' shabby apartment – would not talk to him. Soon after Lew Kovic Jr. has left the house, the man is is hit by a car and dies; it turns out that he was mistaken for Stebbins but actually is a fellow bummer of his, Homer Wilcox. When Kovic confronts mobster Lugo, and the actual Stebbins is found dead in the Bay, things are pushing on – and with Kovic asking for a valid motive to someone, and interviewing an inmate who was involved in Lugo's former business, it becomes evident that an unexpected third party gets involved: Lew Kovic's uncle, Jon, who raised him as he was his own son. But with his nephew being very close to his uncle's secret – who still has his contacts to Nick Lugo, and whose life now depends on his nephew's search – Jon Kovic does not seem to have a choice – or does he? The final fate is being decided on a location where it started: Alcatraz.

A good portion of this episode illustrates Alcatraz Island at that time the federal penitentiary had been closed for some 20 years, and the area was designated a national recreation area just three years before this episode was filmed. I will try and include this episode on the locations page soon, so you can compare the look of Alcatraz now and then. We are also taken to Dolores Heights where the Kovic house is located, and down to the Embarcadero and Nick Lugo's office building at Lombard and Battery Streets. Former guard Stebbins is living on a shabby apartment at the western border of South of Market, and a couple of scenes were filmed inside the actual SFPD headquaters building on Bryant Street. I am still trying to identify the location of Phyllis Stebbins' apartment building; please check out the Unidentified Locations Quiz page. Last but not least, Lugo picks up Jon Kovic in his classic Mercedes 600 Pullman at 111 Sutter Street and takes him for a short ride around the Financial District and Uion Square, before this episode's climax takes us to Alcatraz Island again.

© 2017 ⁄  The Streets of San Francisco - fansite/resource for the 70's cop show starring Karl Malden and Michael Douglas
Some design elements taken from the official CBS/Paramount DVD release - with thanks! :)