Changing of the Chief

Chapter 1

The Last Straw

Starsky and Hutch agreed to work directly under Chief Dobey when he had been promoted from Captain to Chief. They were his favorite detectives and it was his prerogative to have a team of detectives assigned to work directly under him. They worked on special assignments and were usually given cases that other detectives had a hard time solving or needed extra help with.

For this case, Captain Logan Sterling asked Chief Dobey if he could borrow Starsky and Hutch to work with a couple of his teams on a serial murder case. Chief Dobey talked to Starsky and Hutch about it and they agreed to assist on the case. It was understood that Captain Sterling's men would be the lead investigators and they were there to assist.

Starsky and Hutch had been working with Raul Gomez his partner, Mark Jenkins, and two new detectives, James Reynolds and Ray Johnson for two months on the serial murder case. The killer went after young women between the ages of twenty-one and twenty-five. All the women were single, white, and were brutally raped and shot within two days of visiting one of three local bars. The bodies of the women had been found in five different locations around the city which made finding the murderer even more difficult.

To date there were now five murders that were unsolved. The detectives had been working hard day and night to solve the case. The Police Commissioner wanted answers, the people of the city wanted answers, but most of all the families of the victims wanted and deserved answers. The owners of the clubs were calling Chief Dobey almost daily for updates. They were all angry that the killer had not been caught and their businesses were suffering because of it. The detectives were staking out each of the night clubs every night. The teams were taking turns staking out each of the clubs. They were getting tired and frustrated at the lack of evidence.

Huggy called the station and left a message for Starsky and Hutch to come visit him at 'The Pits' that he had some information for them.

Starsky and Hutch were sitting at a booth at their favorite Mexican restaurant which was owned by Kiko's mother. Starsky was just about to take a bite of the biggest, over-stuffed burrito he had ever eaten when Kiko came to the table, "Uh, Starsky, you have a phone call from Chief Dobey."

"I answered it last time, you go, Hutch."

Hutch shook his head and smirked, "He asked for you not me, buddy. Sorry," as he took a bite of his normal size bean and cheese burrito. "Have a seat, Kiko."

Kiko looked at the rest of his customers and they were all satisfied. He sat in the booth where Starsky had been. "I can't sit too long you know, Hutch."

"How's the new place going?"

"Business is great. I'm glad she opened it up, Mom's always been a great cook."

"How's Molly?" Hutch continued to eat his lunch. He knew if Dobey was on the phone they would have to leave and this would be his only chance. He laughed on the inside knowing that his partner was going to miss another meal.

"She's doing great too. You know she wants to work with troubled kids when she grows up."

"Hey, that's great. I'm sorry I haven't been around much, Kiko. This case is really tough."

"You know I understand, Hutch. I know you can't tell me what you're working on but I'm guessing it's the serial murder case. That's important. Hey, when you crack the case we can hang out then."

Starsky came back to the table looking glum and said, "We gotta go, Hutch. Dobey says Huggy wants to see us. He says it's urgent." He looked at his burrito lying on the plate.

"Forget it, Starsk, we got to meet a bear. He said it's urgent." He got up and left the table. Starsky was behind him. He glanced back at his burrito a couple of times, "Just once I'd like to actually finish a meal."

Hutch patted his back, "Someday, maybe when we retire we might get to."

"I doubt our retirement will be much different than our work is. By the time we retire, all bad guys we put away for life will be getting out, and it will start all over." Starsky mumbled and Hutch laughed.

Starsky parked in the back alley of 'The Pits' and they went inside. Huggy motioned for them to meet him at the end of the bar. After handing each of them a beer, he told them that someone let him know that they overheard two people talking in a bar about the murders. The informant didn't want to be identified but said the men seemed to know details that were not in the paper.

Huggy was known by the people on the streets to let the police know certain information without revealing who gave him that information. When they wanted the police to know something, Huggy was their man. The informant also let Huggy know where the men said they were going to strike next. They were planning on killing a woman by the name of Sally. Huggy didn't know the last name of the woman or which of three bars she had been to but the murder was supposed to take place at a parking lot at a local grocery store where the woman worked at 11 o'clock tonight. Starsky and Hutch thanked Huggy for the information and asked him to put the beers on their tab. Huggy nodded, "Yeah, along with all the rest of them."

Starsky and Hutch met with the rest of the team and Gomez and Jenkins decided the best way to catch the killers was to use Sally as bait if she agreed. It was agreed that Gomez and Jenkins would talk to Sally and that Starsky and Hutch would check out the layout of the store while Reynolds and Johnson looked at the parking lot.

Sally was scared and shocked when Gomez told her that they heard she was supposed to be murdered by the serial killer. They told her their plan to not only keep her safe, but to catch the killer. She was actually eager to help. They promised her they would not let anything happen to her.

At 11 o'clock, everyone was in their positions. Starsky and Hutch had been in the store, watching Sally but staying out of sight during her shift. Gomez and Jenkins were outside the front of the store while Reynolds and Johnson were around the back of the store.

Starsky used the walkie-talkie to let Gomez know that Sally was leaving the store. Johnson said there wasn't anyone in the back of the building. Hutch walked out of the back door of the store and instructed Johnson and Reynolds to stay where they were and keep an eye out while he went around to the front. He said that Starsky was still in the store and he was watching out from the front of the store.

The parking lot only had a couple of lights that were working and the moon was a tiny sliver so it was pretty dark outside. Gomez was hiding behind a bush that was on the far left of the parking lot. Jenkins was ducked down inside the passenger side of Sally's car. His legs were beginning to cramp as he had been in the car since the beginning of Sally's shift. He managed to stretch out a little but it didn't help much.

Sally's heart was beating fast as she walked outside. She knew the danger she had put herself in, but how could she not help the police capture these murders especially since she was next on their list. She knew she was being watched by six detectives who devoted their lives to saving people. She took a lot of comfort in the fact that people she didn't know were willing to risk their lives for her and others like her. She started mumbling to herself as she got closer to her car, "I'm okay, they're watching me." She took a couple of deep breaths.

Just as she put her key in the car door, Jenkins saw a car pull up across the street. He picked up the walkie-talkie and pushed the talk button, "There's a car, dark, can't see tags across the street that just pulled up and turned the lights off."

A shot rang out and Jenkins opened the car door and grabbed Sally inside the car. He told her, "Stay down," as he pushed her onto the floorboard as far as she could get.

Gomez came out from behind the bush and fired a shot as Jenkins got out of the car and started firing at the car.

Starsky opened the front door just enough to get out of the store. He ran to the left side of the building. He bent down as close to the side of the building as he could. He knew Hutch was on the right side of the store so he yelled, "Now, Hutch. I'll cover you."

Hutch yelled back, "Lamp post." He took off toward a lamp post with a broken light while Starsky was firing on the car to cover him. Hutch reached the lamp post safely. "Okay, Starsk, the tree."

Starsky saw a tree on the left side of the parking lot about twenty feet in front of him, "Now!" As he ran for the tree, Hutch started shooting at the men in the car.

As Starsky and Hutch were working together, as they always had, moving up, Jenkins and Gomez were doing the same. All four of the detectives knew where the others were. Reynolds and Johnson, who had been in the back of the building, ran across the street behind the car. They reached the car about the same time as Starsky and Hutch did.

There were two men in the car. One was dead from a gunshot wound to his chest, the other man had been shot twice and was about to die as well. As Hutch tried to control the man's bleeding from his abdominal wound, Starsky asked, "Why?"

"We killed the first one because the other places were taking our business away. Then we discovered we liked it." He spoke in short broken sentences. He knew he was dying and didn't seem to care. The man cringed from the burning pain that was going through his body. Then he took his last breath.

Starsky looked around and noticed that neither Gomez nor Jenkins were with them. He thought maybe they were with Sally. It was Hutch who heard the first groan coming from the parking lot.

Starsky looked at Johnson and said, "Stay here with them." Starsky, Hutch and Reynolds all ran to the parking lot.

Hutch told Reynolds to check on Sally. Reynolds found Sally safe on the on the floorboard of her car. She was terrified but she was safe.

Starsky found Gomez lying in a puddle of blood. He had been shot in the chest. Starsky held his head, "Raul, you're going to be fine. Help is on the way."

Gomez reached for Starsky's hand and Starsky held it, "Starsk, I'm not gonna make it. We both know it. I think Jenkins was shot too, is he okay?"

Hutch found Jenkins lying on his stomach with a lot of blood under him. He carefully rolled him over. Jenkins said, "Gomez. Hutch, I'm not going to make it. How's Gomez?"

Starsky looked at Hutch and shook his head ever so slightly to let Hutch know that he didn't think Gomez was going to make it. Hutch shook his head back letting Starsky know that Jenkins wasn't going to make it either.

Starsky held pressure on Gomez's wound and said, "Hutch said Jenkins is going to be okay. You hear me, Gomez, Jenkins is going to be alright."

Gomez squeezed Starsky's hand tight as he said, "You tell him. Tell him he was a good partner and my best friend. You tell him that, okay."

Starsky let his tears roll down his cheeks as he said, "He knows that, but I'll tell him. Hold on Raul. I hear sirens now." Raul Gomez took his last breath as Starsky held him tight.

Hutch held Jenkins' head in his lap as he said, "Starsky said Gomez is okay. He's shot in the leg, but he's going to be okay." Hutch hated to lie but both of these men were not going to live through their injuries and he saw no point in Jenkins dying knowing that his partner and best friend was going to die too. He knew Starsky was telling Raul Gomez the same thing about Jenkins. If the situation was reversed and Hutch was dying, he wouldn't want to die knowing that Starsky was too. No, it was better if the two men died believing the other was going to be survive.

Chapter 2

Dobey's Decision

Raul Gomez and Mark Jenkins were buried side by side on the same day. They had been partners and best friends for ten years. Neither of them had ever been married. Raul's two brothers and both his parents attended the funerals. Mark's brother, sister and his mother attended the funerals also. Mark's father had died years ago.

Starsky and Hutch noticed a change in Chief Dobey in the weeks following the deaths of Gomez and Jenkins. He was snapping at people at work more than usual. Starsky and Hutch knew that Chief Dobey had known Gomez and Jenkins since they were assigned to the department eight years ago. After one particularly bad day, they walked into his office.

Chief Dobey was pacing in his office and looked startled when Starsky and Hutch barged in without knocking. "Hey, don't you two ever knock?" His voice sounded angry and gruff.

Starsky handed him a cup of coffee and Hutch pulled his chair out for him saying in a soft clam voice, "Please, Harold, have a seat."

Hutch's use of his first name threw the Chief off. In all the years they had known each other; neither Starsky nor Hutch used his first name. He sat down not quite knowing what to expect. He took the cup of coffee Starsky offered him, "Thank you, Starsky." He took a sip of the awfully strong brew. He looked at Hutch then he looked at Starsky. They sat down and looked back at him without saying anything. The look they both gave Chief Dobey was one of pure concern and loyalty and Dobey knew it. "It shows that much, does it?"

"Yeah, it does. Look Cap'n, I mean, Chief, we've been friends for, well I don't even know how many years now, and Hutch and me know when something's bothering you." Starsky said as he looked into his friend's eyes.

"We know losing Gomez and Jenkins was hard on you. Hell, it was hard on all of us. They were our friends too." Hutch said sounding sympathetic. He knew every time Chief Dobey lost an officer he took it personally.

"It's not just that guys. I'm sorry I've been so…"

"Hey, you don't have to apologize to us. We want to help you." Hutch said in the same sympathetic voice.

"Chief, Hutch and me have talked about everything that happened that night until we're all talked out. We know you need to talk about it too. We're the ones that are sorry."

"You're sorry? Sorry for what?"

"We're sorry we haven't come to you sooner." Hutch said sounding almost ashamed that he hadn't thought about coming to Dobey sooner.

Dobey gave the two a rare half grin and then he leaned back in his chair as if he was trying not to remember things, "I've seen so many deaths over the years. I have to tell so many families that their loved one wasn't coming home." He leaned forward and put his elbows on the desk and rested his head in his hands. Starsky and Hutch glanced at each other with a mutual understanding of what the man before them was feeling. Chief Dobey spoke slowly, "You know it started with Elmo. I was the one who told his parents. He was my best friend and I thought losing him would kill me." Starsky and Hutch just sat there and let Dobey talk. "When I heard two officers died the night we lost Gomez and Jenkins, I honestly thought it was the two of you at first. I know one day it could be. Hell, one day it could be me. I know, we all know, what the risks are when put on that badge." He took a sip of his coffee and took a deep breath. "I've talked it over with Edith and well I guess you two were next on my list."

"List?" Starsky said as he took a sip of his coffee.

Hutch leaned forward and asked, "Are you trying to tell us, Chief, that you're retiring?"

Starsky's eyes got big and his mouth gaped opened as he glanced at Hutch then at his chief.

"Close your mouth, Starsky. What did you think I was going to stay on the force holding the two of your hands forever?" Chief Dobey grinned as he leaned back in his chair.

"Well yeah, no, I mean wow." Starsky replied stumbling over his words.

"Who else knows?" Hutch asked as he gave Dobey a friendly smile. He wasn't surprised by the Chief's decision.

"Just the two of you and Edith. We haven't told the kids yet and I'd like to keep it that way for a little while longer, please."

"You got it, Chief." Was the simultaneous reply.

"I know I've been acting out of sorts lately, but I'm… No, dammit. I'm not fine and I would like to talk about it. You're right, we've known each other for years and have been through a lot together and…"

"Say no more, Chief. How bout meeting us at 'The Pits' about 2000?" Starsky said as Hutch nodded in agreement.

"You two have wives and boys to get home to. Your boys are young, this time goes by so fast, don't miss it. You spend enough time away…"

"Chief, we'll be at 'The Pits' at 2000 hours and we'd like you to be there."

Chief Dobey rubbed his hands through his hair and nodded, "Yeah. I'll be there." He sounded tired.

Hutch called Jennifer and told her about meeting Dobey after work. He didn't tell her why, just that they had a meeting. He apologized and she said that she fully understood. Jennifer said that she was with Jeanne and would let her know. Hutch told her to give Davey a hug and kiss goodnight for him.

Chief Dobey walked into 'The 'Pits' and looked around for Starsky and Hutch. Huggy spied him and came out from behind the bar, walked over to Dobey and said, "You lookin' for the dynamic duo, Chief?"

"They're supposed to meet me." He sounded disappointed when he looked around them and didn't see them.

"Not to worry, my man. I know how you like your privacy, they're up stairs."

Chief Dobey walked up the stairs to talk to Starsky and Hutch. This time he was going to talk to them as friends and not their supervisor. This time, he was the one who needed them. He talked to Starsky and Hutch for a long time. He talked about everything that he had gone through over the years. Starsky and Hutch knew this is exactly what he needed to do. Dobey choked back a few tears as he talked about Elmo and the friendship they shared. He had never talked a lot about Elmo until tonight. Elmo had been his partner and best friend for a long time. The night he was found on a meat hook was one of the worst in Dobey's life. He didn't think he could live through it. He told Starsky and Hutch that his Captain wanted to assign him a new partner but he couldn't imagine working with anyone else. That's when he decided to take the lieutenant's exam.

Starsky looked at Hutch and took a deep breath, "I don't blame you, Chief. I don't think I would work with another partner."

"No kidding. The two of you don't play well with others." They all laughed.

"No, I don't guess we do play well with others." We've had to work with other partners and it's never gone well." Hutch said as he remembered a couple of times when he had another partner on a temporary basis.

Starsky nodded in agreement, "Although there was this one detective when Hutch got shot…" He stopped and got a serious look on his face, "I really wouldn't trade you in for anyone, buddy, you know that."

"Yeah, I know that," was Hutch's soft reply.

The three men talked a long time. Huggy came into the room a couple of times to bring them coffee. Dobey started talking about all the good times he's had over the years too. He chuckled and looked from Starsky to Hutch, "Don't think I didn't know who put up those deli business cards around the station."

"You knew that was us?" Starsky said sounding surprised.

"Of course I knew it was you, who else would try to get by with something like that?"

"He's got a point there, Starsk." He chuckled remembering the incident and getting Kiko to help change the cards to a plumbing service.

And Starsky, don't think I don't know it was your idea to give me that toilet for Christmas that one year."

"Hey, that one wasn't me. It was Babcock's idea. I just uh, went along with it."

They talked well after midnight. "I want you to know, boys, I've always thought a lot of the two of you. You have always been my favorite team. I guess when you first became detectives you reminded me so much of me and Elmo. You were so sure of yourselves, so sure you could take on the world and win."

"I remember you almost didn't put us together." Hutch said.

"I remember you bugging me until I did."

"It was one of the best decisions you've ever made." Starsky said giving Hutch a nod and smiling.

"You're really going through with it aren't you, Chief?" Hutch asked with a serious tone to his voice.

Chief Dobey took a sip of his beer and nodded as he said, "Tomorrow, I'm going to turn my letter in to the Commissioner." He leaned forward and added, "I'm going to recommend Captain Sterling take my place."

"Logan Sterling, Chief of Police." Hutch nodded, "I can see that. He'd be great."

"Either of you could be Chief by now, you know."

Starsky and Hutch both grinned and looked down toward the ground. Starsky said, "We've been through this before."

"We kind of like things the way they are." Hutch added.

"I know. If Elmo had lived we would probably still be partners too." Chief Dobey said that he would let them know as soon as he knew what the commissioner thought of the recommendation. The chief was all talked out for now. He said it was time he got home before Edith divorced him. He stood up and put his light weight jacket on. "I want to thank the two of you for this."

"Hey, Chief, no thanks needed." Starsky said as he opened the door.

"Our door is always open." Hutch added.

"I want the two of you to know, I'll always be around for you. You can come to me anytime."

"Thanks, Chief." They replied at the same time.

"Yeah, Elmo and I used to do that too." Dobey said as he put his hat on and headed down the staircase.

Chapter 3

Handing Over the Reins

The next day, Starsky and Hutch walked into the chief's office and was surprised when he wasn't there. Starsky picked up the phone and called Edith and she told him that he left for work a couple of hours ago and was worried that he wasn't there. Starsky told her not to worry about it that they would find him. He asked her how he seemed when he left the house and she said he sounded normal but she could tell something was on his mind.

Starsky hung up the phone, "I wonder where he could be. It's not like him to be late."

Hutch bit his lower lip as he thought a minute. He snapped his fingers and started to walk quickly out the door, "I know where he is."

Starsky had to almost run to keep up with his partner, "Where?"

Hutch didn't say anything until they got into Starsky's car. Starsky had given up driving the Gran Torino that he loved years ago and now his love was Ford Mustangs. His current one was solid red. Much to Hutch's relief, Starsky didn't put a white stripe on this one. Hutch told Starsky where he thought Dobey might be.

Starsky pulled his car up behind Chief Dobey's and they got out. Starsky and Hutch both took a deep breath as they saw their Chief, their friend sitting in a chair at a graveside. They knew it was Elmo's grave and weren't sure just how to approach him.

Chief Dobey had driven to his old partner's grave when he left for work. He hadn't been to it in years, but felt today he needed to. He brought a chair so he could sit for a while. "Elmo." He said as he took a deep breath. "We were supposed to retire together. I guess you've been keeping an eye on me. I've felt you over the years, watching me, looking over my shoulder. I want you to know even after all these years, I've never forgotten you. You were my best friend and I have missed you every day." He just sat there talking to his old partner like he was standing right there in front of him. Dobey just let tears flow down his cheeks as he talked. He wasn't aware of the time that had passed. He heard a car pull up and never turned around. He knew it was Starsky and Hutch. "That would be Starsky and Hutch who just pulled up. They're good guys, damn good cops. You'd like them. I just want you to know, I wish we were doing this together, buddy. I miss you, Elmo." No words were needed as they approached him. Dobey took a handkerchief from his pocket and wiped away the tears. Starsky put a hand on his left shoulder and Hutch put a hand on his right. Dobey stood up and Starsky folded his chair up. "I'm sorry Starsky, Hutch…"

"You have nothing to be sorry for, friend." Hutch said as he patted Dobey's shoulder. "You okay?"

"Yeah, I'm okay, Hutch. I haven't been here in years. I just wanted to tell him, let him know I'm retiring. I guess I lost track of time."

"I wish Starsky and I could have met him."

"Me too, Hutch, me too." He sighed as he turned his head and looked at the grave again. He lowered his head and slowly walked back to his car.

Starsky opened the trunk to Dobey's car and put the chair in. Dobey thanked him and said, "You guys head on back to the office. I'll be there after I see the commissioner."

A few hours later, Starsky and Hutch were sitting at their desk going over a file when Chief Dobey opened the door leading into his office and said, "Starsky, Hutch, I'd like to see you a minute."

As if they were actors who had rehearsed the move a hundred times, they slid their chairs back, picked up their coffee mugs at the same time and walked into his office. They didn't wait for Chief Dobey to ask them to have a seat. Hutch sat down in the soft brown leather chair and Starsky sat on the arm of the chair.

"I talked to the commissioner and I want you to know that the two of us are going to talk to Captain Sterling today. He's also going to recommend that the two of you work directly under him like you've done for me. That is, if you agree."

"We'd like that, thanks." Hutch spoke for the both of them.

"After he talks to Sterling, I'll make my decision known to everyone else."

"We had the kids over for dinner last night and told them. Neither of them was surprised. Calvin said he's seen this coming for a while now."

"They've really grown fast. I can't believe he's a lieutenant already." Hutch said reaching for his coffee when he saw Starsky reaching for it. He managed to grab the cup before Starsky's hand could get a grip on it. Starsky sat back on the arm of the chair looking disappointed. Hutch gritted his teeth to keep from laughing.

"And Rosie, her photography career is really taking off." Starsky said.

"I must say, I'm really proud of both of them. Edith and I both are."

"You have every reason to be." Hutch said.

"Are you any closer in solving that murder case you've been working on?"

"You just gave that case two days ago. I knew we're good, but give us a little bit of time, will ya. We don't even know the identity of man that was killed."

"We were just on our way to see Huggy about it." Starsky said. He reached for Hutch's cup and this time Hutch handed it to him.

"Let me know what you turn up."

Logan Sterling stood outside Chief Dobey's office a couple of minutes. He straightened his tie and took a couple of deep breaths. Logan Sterling was a tall thin man with soft brown hair and eyes. He had a good sense of humor but could be very serious when he needed to be. He has been on the force for a long time and it wasn't much that him nervous. He had seen the commissioner going into the chief's office a little while ago and now he was being called in. He was nervous and hoped it wasn't showing too much. He had no idea why and his thoughts were racing wondering what he could have done so wrong to warrant a visit from the commissioner. He finally took one last deep breath and knocked on the door. "Come in," was the reply he heard from the other side.

He slowly walked in and stood in front of the desk. He felt like a little kid who'd been called into the principal's office. "You wanted to see me, sir?"

Chief Dobey was standing next to the commissioner, "Captain Sterling, I believe you know Commissioner Davies. Commissioner Davies, this is Captain Logan Sterling." The two men shook hands.

"Yes, I've met the Commissioner a few times."

"Let's not be so formal, Logan, have a seat." Dobey smiled at him realizing the man had no idea why he was called in and was probably wondering what he'd done wrong.

"Yes, sir." Captain Sterling sat down never taking his eyes off the commissioner.

"I'll just come out with it. I'm going to retire next month and we'd like you to replace me." Dobey said as he sat down behind his desk.

"You mean, you want me to be the Chief of Police?" Sterling said sounding excited. This is the job he's wanted since he joined the force.

"That's exactly what I'd like." The Commissioner said as he smiled realizing how nervous his mere presence was making the captain.

"Yes, I mean I accept, sir. I don't what to say." He looked more relaxed now that he knew the reason he'd been called in.

"I haven't told anyone except Starsky and Hutch. Tomorrow morning there will be a formal announcement. We will name you as the new Chief. To make the transition easier for everyone, I have agreed to work another four weeks and can work longer if I need to."

Commissioner said that he was late for another appointment and that he would be talking with the two a lot during the transition phase. Chief Dobey and Captain Sterling stood up and shook the commissioner's hand.

Captain Sterling sat back down and said, "Chief…"

"Oh, please, you can call me Harold."

"Harold," he hesitated, "No, it just doesn't sound right. Chief is better. When did you decide…"

"I've been thinking about it for a while now, but losing Gomez and Jenkins was the last straw. I just can't do it anymore, Logan."

"That was a tough one. They were great guys."

"Listen, you know Starsky and Hutch have been with me since… well seems like forever. We've been through a lot. Those two have been through a lot. There are things that are not and will never be put into their files. Things that you need to know about them."

"They're fine officers. I know they've been partners a long time and they work well together."

"You have no idea how well. They are willing to work directly under you in the same capacity they work with me if you want them too."

"I like the idea of having a team assigned to me to work special assignments."

"Good. Let me tell you some things about them. They met in the academy and became friends instantly. They came to me several times when they worked in uniform asking if I would let them be partners when they passed their detective exam. I knew how close they were and almost decided against putting them together because of it. I thought maybe they were too close. I thought that if something happened to one of them, I'd lose them both. In the end they won, they usually do, and I put them together. They have been the best team of detectives I've ever seen. They work so well together, it's like they read each other's minds."

"I've noticed that about them. They seem to trust each other more than most partners."

"There are plenty of reasons for that trust. I guess I'll start with an incident that happened in the 70s. It's not in any file, and it shouldn't be. Hutch was kidnapped for several days and forcibly became addicted to heroin. Starsky helped him beat it cold turkey. He kept Hutch locked up for two whole days, never left him. You know Huggy Bear?" Sterling nodded. He never knew this about Hutch, but it did explain the extra compassion Hutch seemed to have with addicts. "That's where Starsky hid Hutch. Huggy has always been there for them. They trust him with their lives. Huggy has supplied them with more information than Google or our best computers ever could. Huggy trust them the same way. Starsky was poisoned and only had twenty-four hours to live. It was Hutch who figured out the who, why and found the antidote with less than an hour left. They have their off days and disagreements like everyone else, but when it comes down to it, they will be there for each other no matter what. They have bent the rules and helped several people over the years. I'm not sure they know that I know everything they've done. They have kept each other from crossing the line and losing their tempers during interrogations. They have developed several interrogation techniques and if you let them have a little slack, they will break the toughest, hard-nose cases. Trust them to know their limits and each other's limits." Chief Dobey opened a drawer and said, "See this." Sterling nodded. "This is their drawer. I keep a bottle of aspirin in it and nothing else. Trust me, you'll need the aspirin for them or because of them. I'll leave it for you. Their weapons and shields have spent a little time in here too."

"Suspensions?"

"Suspensions, they've had a couple. I've kept them when they've been undercover too."

"I've seen their arrest record, it's impressive."

"When they work together, they're unbeatable."

"They've been in the hospital a lot, I know."

"That's another thing, if one of them is hurt, do yourself a favor and don't assign the other a temporary partner. That never goes over well." He chuckled as he remembered the times he's assigned them temporary partners.

"I've heard they have a good sense of humor too."

"That they do. One time they put business cards all over the station advertising a deli station with my extension on it. Then they changed it to a plumber. What they don't know is that I played my own little pranks on them for a couple of weeks."

"Thanks for the warning. I know they saw a psychologist after the Gomez and Jenkins shooting how'd that go?"

"Well, actually I never made them see one. They talk to and with each other and work things out themselves. Believe me, they are each other's best shrink."

"I know Johnson and Reynolds are new detectives and I think I'd like to keep them working with me. I like the idea of having them work with well-seasoned detectives like Starsky and Hutch."

"They could learn a lot from them. As Chief, you can do what you want with your men."

"So, who does the commissioner have in mind to take my place?"

"Actually as Chief, that will be your decision."

"Oh." The newly appointed Chief thought a minute and said, "Lieutenant Glass. I think he'll make an excellent Captain, don't you?"

"I think you made an excellent decision. When are you going to ask him?"

"Tomorrow after the official announcement, I'll call him in and ask him if he'll accept the position."

The two men spent the rest of the day talking about the position and the men under the Chief. As Captain, Sterling knew the most of the men but as chief, he would get to know them all.

Chief Dobey filled Sterling in on the murder case Starsky and Hutch were working on and said that they had just received some information from Huggy and were expecting to have it wrapped up in a couple of days.

Chapter 4

Catching a Murderer

Huggy had given Starsky and Hutch some valuable information about the murder case they were currently working on. They now had the names of the two men involved in the murder, Ringo and Staples. Until now, the identity of the man they killed was unknown. Huggy was able to find out it was Joe Stratton, a drug dealer from back east. Seems Stratton was able to keep a low profile and had been able to stay under the police radar. Huggy only knew who he was because… well that's what Huggy does best, finds out the nearly impossible.

Starsky and Hutch decided it would be best to tell their wives that Chief Dobey was going to retire at the same time. Hutch called Jennifer and asked her to bring Davey, their son, to Starsky's for a pizza dinner. At dinner they discussed the changes that would be taking place. Jeanne stated that she was surprised that Chief Dobey hadn't retired long before now. Jennifer and Jeanne knew Starsky and Hutch were still working on a murder case but were closing in on the murderer. The next day they were not going into work until 4 and since their wives had the day off, they made plans to take the boys to the park in the morning.

"We get to play at the park in morning?" Davey asked happily in his very cute baby voice.

Hutch smiled at his young son and said, "Yeah, Davey. Daddy and Uncle Dave are going to the park with you and Kenny tomorrow."

"I like the park. Can I play on swings, Daddy?" Kenny asked sounding equally happy as Davey.

"Sure, son, I'll push you on the swings. I'll push you both." Starsky looked at his nephew.

At the same time Chief Dobey's retirement announcement was being made, Starsky was pushing his son and nephew on the swings at the park. Hutch was unloading the car and had his hands full of picnic supplies. He was in the process of handing them to Jeanne and Jennifer when he heard a car screeching in the parking lot. He turned around in time to see a gun sticking out of a window. He simultaneously pushed the women down, yelled, "Starsk, gun!" drew his gun taking aim and was able to shoot the driver. Starsky grabbed both boys and covered them with his own body as he drew his gun. The passenger got out of the car and took off on foot. Starsky got up carrying both boys in one arm while holding his gun in the other one.

Jeanne and Jennifer got up and ran to get the boys from Starsky. He handed them the boys and told them to get home. Jennifer and Jeanne put the boys in Jennifer's car and went to Starsky's.

Starsky started running after the suspect when he noticed Hutch was lying on the ground face down. "Oh, God, Hutch!" He rolled Hutch over and saw that he had been shot in the left shoulder but he was conscious. "You okay?"

"Yeah, I'll be fine. Help me up." Starsky helped Hutch to his feet and Hutch said, "I'll call for back up. Don't let them get away, Starsk." As Starsky ran off Hutch yelled, "Be careful, Starsk." Hutch held his shoulder as he made his way to the car as fast as he could. When he reached through the open window of the car he grabbed the radio. He keyed the mic, "Zebra three to control with emergency traffic."

"All units hold your traffic, go ahead Zebra three."

"Shots fired at Bay City Park. One officer and one suspect shot. Detective Starsky is chasing suspect on foot headed south."

"10-4 Zebra three." That was the last thing Hutch heard as he slowly slid down the front door of the car to the ground.

Starsky came back before help could arrive with his suspect in handcuffs. He saw Hutch lying on the ground unconscious and cuffed his suspect to the water fountain that was nearby.

He kneeled down next to Hutch and gently shook him, "Hey, Hutch, Hutch come on wake up."

Hutch slowly opened his eyes and squinted from the sunlight that was hitting them. Starsky positioned himself so that he could hold Hutch and keep the light out of his eyes. He could hear sirens approaching as he said, "Hold still, Hutch. Help's on the way. You're gonna be just fine, buddy."

"Jennifer, Jeanne, the boys…" Hutch said weakly.

"They're fine. I told Jeanne to take them to my place. It's okay, Hutch. We got them. You shot Ringo and I caught Staples. It's over, buddy."

"It hurts, Starsk."

Starsky held him a little tighter, "I know it does, pal, just hold on a little while longer, okay."

Starsky followed the ambulance in his car and was met by Chief Dobey and the newly appointed Chief Sterling when he arrived. "How's Hutch?" Dobey asked as if he was scared to hear the truth.

Starsky patted him on the shoulder and said, "He was shot in the left shoulder again. The paramedics said it didn't look too bad." Starsky's tone changed to one full of anger, "They shot at us in the park in front of our wives and the boys! They could have killed any of them." He punched the wall almost breaking his fist in the process. "I got to call Jeanne and tell her about Hutch. Don't let anyone else talk to Staples. He's mine, Chief." He looked at Dobey then at Sterling not quite sure which Chief he should be reporting to at the moment and not really caring.

Chief Sterling put his hands on Starsky's shoulders and spoke in a soft manner and said, "I think you need to calm down a little first. Take a couple of deep breaths or you'll scare the hell out of her."

Starsky raised his eyebrows and nodded as he took as deep a breath as he could and slowly let it out. "I'm okay." He said as he walked toward the phone that was in the waiting room.

"Is he going to be okay, Harold?" Chief Sterling asked as he watched a very angry Starsky storm off to make the call.

"He will be as long as Hutch is."

"Ringo and Staples, were they the two men they've been looking for about that murder case they've been working on?"

"Yeah, those would be the two gents." The Chief's heard from a voice standing behind them. Chief Dobey knew it was Huggy Bear standing behind them but Chief Sterling had never met the man.

"Chief Logan Sterling, meet Huggy Bear. Huggy this is my replacement, Chief Logan Sterling."

Huggy shook hands with Chief Sterling and looked at Dobey, "He may be the new Chief but he could never replace you, my man." He smiled at Dobey and turned his gaze back to Sterling, "Nothing personal, you understand. It's just that Dobey and I go way back and it's going to be hard to…"

"I understand." Sterling looked confused a minute, "What do you want me to call you?"

"You're friends with Starsky, Hutch and Dobey here then you're a friend of mine and my friends all call me Huggy."

Starsky came back from calling Jeanne, "Hi ya, Hug. Jeanne's going to get the neighbor's to watch the boys and she's bringing Jennifer."

"I have a question." Chief Sterling said as he looked at Huggy then Starsky.

"The shooting just happened, how'd you know about it Huggy?" Huggy shook his head and laughed.

"That's Huggy's expertise, Chief. He knows things and what he doesn't know he finds out."

The doctor came out and said that Hutch was fine and would be released in the morning. He was a little groggy but he would be allowed visitors in about an hour. Starsky saw Hutch first and when he was satisfied that Hutch was really going to be okay he said he needed to get to the station so he could book and interrogate Staples. He told Jeanne and Jennifer that he would meet them at home a little later.

Both Chief Sterling and Chief Dobey were watching Starsky through the two-way mirror as he interrogated Glen Staples. Starsky was hoping to get him to admit to the murder of Joe Stratton.

Starsky slammed his fist down on the table and yelled, "Come on, I know that you and Ringo killed Joe Stratton and you know that I know!"

"I don't know nothing."

Starsky's voice became relaxed. It was an eerie kind of calm, like the calm just before a storm, "You shot my partner in front of my wife, my sister-in-law, in front of my nephew and my son."

Sterling watched the scene unfold through the mirror and he was getting worried about Starsky. He leaned closer to Chief Dobey and whispered, "Is he going to be okay? I think he's losing his cool in there."

"He's just getting started, watch." Dobey crossed his arms and grinned at the master interrogator at work.

Starsky moved in so close to Staples that Staples became visibly shaken. When he was as close as he could get, Starsky put his left hand on the table and his right hand on Staples' shoulder and whispered, "You could confess now and tell me what really happened that night or we could wait until Hutch gets out of the hospital tomorrow and he can ask you a few questions himself. And just so you know, I'm the nice one." Starsky backed off a little so Staples could see his cold, hard stare.

Starsky's deep blue eyes had turned ice cold right in front of Staples. He wasn't sure what would happen to him if he was left in a room with Starsky and Hutch both, "Okay, Okay. I'll tell you what happened. It was an accident. See…"

As Staples was telling Starsky all about the drug deal that went bad and how Ringo killed Stratton, Sterling smiled and said, "You're right, he's good."

"Wait until you see the two of them together." Dobey uncrossed his arms.

Hutch was released the next day. Starsky and Hutch talked with Jeanne and Jennifer at length about the shooting at the park. The two women were less than thrilled about the shooting, but they also knew that it was not Starsky or Hutch's fault. They always knew there was a chance that something like this could happen. The boys thought it was all a game and laughed about it.

Staples confessed to shooting Hutch and taking part in Joe Stratton's murder. He was sentenced to twenty-five years in the state prison.

Chapter 5

Chief Dobey's Retirement

Starsky and Hutch noticed that Chief Dobey seemed happier in the days and weeks leading up to his retirement. It was as if the weight of the world had been lifted off his shoulders. Hutch even heard him whistling a couple of times.

He worked with Chief Sterling to make the transition easier and showed him all the extra paperwork and other duties that were involved in his new position. Chief Sterling asked Johnson and Reynolds if they wanted to be a part of his team. They felt honored to be asked. They had only been detectives a few months and to be on the Chief's special team was a real honor and privilege. They were also excited to be working with Starsky and Hutch again. They knew they could learn a lot from the older detectives. Starsky and Hutch introduced Johnson and Reynolds to Huggy.

The day finally came for Chief Dobey's retirement party. He never wanted it to be a big affair, but he had been on the department for a little over thirty years and everyone wanted to give him a nice send off.

Edith fixed his tie just before they left the house. Calvin and Rosie came to ceremony. They were proud of their dad and all the things that he accomplished in his career. Starsky, Hutch and their wives, along with Johnson and Reynolds sat at the same table as the Dobeys. Commissioner Davies called Dobey to come on stage and Hutch handed Edith a tissue as she became teary-eyed hearing all the great things that everyone had to say about her husband. She was always proud of him and knew tonight just how many friends they really had.

Starsky and Hutch walked up on the stage and Commissioner Davies handed Hutch the microphone. Hutch looked at the crowd and said, "For the record I'm Hutch, and he's the other one," as he pointed at Starsky. The crowd laughed as they understood the joke. "We've know Harold Dobey for a long, long, time now and I must say he's one of the best cops I know. He's one of the most honest, caring people I think I've ever met. Starsky and I would not be here today if it hadn't been for him."

Starsky took the mic from Hutch, "See, years ago he allowed us to be partners. For that, I thank you Chief. You taught us so many things. You were there so many times for us. I gotta tell you here in front of everyone, we love you."

Hutch took the mic back, "And although you won't be our Chief any more, you always have been and always will be our friend." Dobey wiped away a tear from his eye as they sat back down.

The night went on as more people stood up to pay tribute to Chief Dobey and wish him well.

The next day, Chief Sterling walked by Starsky and Hutch on his way to his new office. They were looking over a file with Johnson and Reynolds. "Are you sure we're not gonna get canned for this, Starsky?" A nervous Reynolds whispered as he watched the chief open his door.

"Don't look at him." Hutch whispered. "Just look at the file."

Chief Sterling opened the door to his office, he closed his eyes, shook his head and laughed out loud when he saw his desk and chair had somehow been suspended two feet off the ground. He saw an envelope with his name on it lying on the desk and he carefully opened it, not quite sure what to expect, the note said Welcome Chief. He said to himself, 'I can't say Dobey didn't warn me.'