Based on the autobiographical book "The Untouchables" by Eliot Ness
and Oscar Fraley
, the series dealt with the experiences of Eliot Ness
, a United States Federal agent, as he fought crime in Chicago during the 1930s with the help of a special team of agents handpicked for their incorruptibility. This special squad was nicknamed the Untouchables. The stories often revolved around his enmity with the criminal empire of Chicago mob boss Al Capone and Capone's successor, Frank "the Enforcer" Nitti, and many focused on crimes related to Prohibition. The show starred Robert Stack
as Eliot Ness, and was narrated by Walter Winchell
. The show drew harsh criticism from some Italian-Americans, who felt it promoted negative stereotypes of them as mobsters and gangsters. Others criticized the show for its high violence content which they felt was having a negative influence on younger viewers.
The series had 118 episodes which ran 50 minutes each. Though the book it was based on chronicled the experiences of Ness and his cohorts over a span of time ranging from 1929 to 1933, some episodes stretched into 1934 and 1935 but the overwhelming majority of episodes were set in the early 1930s (for example, one episode, You Can't Pick the Number
, begins with Winchell's words, "October 1932 ... the depths of the Depression"). A few episodes were set primarily in a locale other than Chicago as every now and then Ness and his men would travel to sites such as New York, New Orleans, or Los Angeles to do battle with the underworld.
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Recaps4x30: A Taste for Pineapple recap
: May 14, 1931. The top underworld bosses of Chicago are leaving town. This tells Eliot Ness and the Untouchables one thing: there's going to be a hit of some prominence. That they know. What they don't know is that Ness himself is the target of the hit. Racketeer Danny Mundt has imported Elroy Dahlgren, a World War I vet who was an expert at lobbing hand grenades, to do the job. Mundt is paying Dahlgren ten grand to do the job as soon as he leaves town too... read more.4x29: Line of Fire recap
: Chicago. 1933. Danceland has a sign that says "30 girls, open until 2 a.m." Hoofer Ellie Haskell says goodbye to her boss, Marty Pulaski, and walks outside the joint only to be gunned down by a rooftop sniper. The sniper happens to be Herbie Pulaski, Marty's mentally disturbed younger brother. Lt. Roy Gunther of the Chicago PD is immediately on the case. Marty says Ellie was a nice girl and says he has no idea who would want to kill her. But that's only what he tells the police. In reality, Marty thinks that competitor Vince Bogan is responsible for the killing. He calls up his rival on the phone and threatens to bump him off... read more.4x28: The Torpedo recap
: April 3, 1931. Vic's Diner near the Chicago railroad yards is the front for Victor Kurtz, bootleg czar for Chicago's South Side. Kurtz and his enforcer, Holly Kester, are having a meeting with Monk Lyselle, bootleg czar of the North Side, and his enforcer, Carl Danzig. Kurtz uses a knife to draw a line bisecting a map of Chicago. "Cross that line," he says to Lyselle, "and you get cut down." Kurtz then jams the knife through the map and into the table. He's made his point. For now, peace reigns in Chicago... read more.4x27: The Jazz Man recap
: In the summer of 1931, Eliot Ness and the Untouchables were putting in seemlngly endless days and nights against both the illicit whiskey and narotics that were flooding Chicago. One night they are paid a visit by a despondent Captain Johnson of the Chicago PD. It seems as though Johnson just conducted a raid which netted 50 narcotics addicts and one of them happened to be his son Buzz. He asks Ness to talk to Buzz behind bars for him. Ness does so and is informed by Buzz that he got the drugs from a pusher named Peepers. Buzz is released and sent to a treatment center by his father. Meanwhile, Peepers is castigated by his supplier, Sal Rudin, for getting a cop's kid hooked on dope... read more.4x26: The Charlie Argos Story recap
: On June 25, 1933, Eliot Ness and Lee Hobson arrive in the Castle, a baronial estate in the Chicago suburbs which serves as the headquarters for underworld boss Frank "the King" Argos. Argos' attorney, one Eli Halstead, explains that his boss is dying from a terminal illness and wants to leave $5 million in bearer bonds to his long lost son, Charlie. Argos also wants Ness to serve as the executor of his estate because he knows that he's honest. Argos offers to pay Ness $100K as an executor's fee. Ness politely but firmly declines the offer. Halstead then makes the bank executor of the Argos estate instead of Ness. As Hobson and Ness depart, Argos henchman Arno Beale tells them that Charlie Argos was went missing during World War I and is now presumed to be dead... read more.