In which there’s no business like club business.
The episode begins with a mobster, Mr Vincent, talking to his main enforcer Jack. Jack’s been squeezing the locals too hard and Vincent warns him to take it easier, reminding him that “a dead horse can’t” run.
A disgruntled Jack pays a visit to Gino’s restaurant, suspecting the owner of complaining about him to Vincent. In retaliation, Jack increases the repayments on Gino’s loan to more than $35,000 – even though he only borrowed $10,000. If he doesn’t pay, Jack will be back to hurt Gino and his daughter.
The A-Team are already on the case, having been hired by Gino and are planning to get Face kidnapped. However, Jack’s threats have scared Gino and he calls the contract off.
Already invested, the team agree to work the case anyway and plan to set their own bar up to attract the attention of the mobsters. As Hannibal has been working on a film with the perfect props, they make it an Irish club and the Colonel adopts a ropey accent for his latest character.
Hannibal meets Jack at a restaurant and asks him for a $10,000 loan. Jack agrees, making the terms clear – heavy interest rates and plenty of violence if Hannibal misses a payment.
Meanwhile, the rest of the team get to work assembling and painting the borrowed set in time for the grand opening. That night, Jack arrives but is told he can’t come in without a reservation. He kicks up a fuss but Hannibal reveals that all of the guests are Jack’s victims – Gino included – and delivers a rousing speech for them to stand united against the mob.
Unmoved, Jack pulls a gun on Hannibal but BA takes him by surprise and throws him out of the door and into the street. Jack’s ready for instant war, but his second in command Travis advises him to retreat and regroup.
That regrouping leads Jack to the top of a neighbouring building with a sniper rifle, lying in wait for Hannibal to leave the club. The enforcer lines up his shot and takes out Hannibal, who falls to the pavement dead.
A surprisingly chipper team attend the funeral with Gino and the other victims. Murdock delivers a eulogy, which Jack interrupts as he comes to pay his respects. Leaning into the coffin, Jack finds Hannibal much more alive than advertised and now holding a gun to his face.
The team stuff Jack into the coffin and leave the church in a borrowed hearse. Jack’s men give chase, but Hannibal shoots out their tyres to help the escape.
Jack’s quick to sell out his boss under some light pressure and the team deliver him to Mr Vincent by driving through his gates and dropping off the coffin. Vincent’s not at all pleased the team were able to link Jack to him and orders him to get control of the situation.
Charging into the bar later that night, Jack finds it hosting a police night and makes a hasty retreat. Tension rise in the mob as Vincent now has to deal with Jack and the A-Team.
To make matters worse, the team round up the jukeboxes that the mob have been obliging their “protected” bars to use and dump them into the marina next to Vincent’s yacht. They also blow up the trucks from a linen company that’s also owned by Vincent and forced upon his victims as another way to make money from them.
Now personally involved, Vincent kidnaps Gino and his daughter and promotes Travis ahead of Jack. Travis isn’t overjoyed at the move, knowing he has to face the A-Team. The gang head to the club, threatening violence on Gino if Hannibal won’t surrender. The Colonel accepts Vincent’s terms and orders Face and Murdock to stand down, although BA is hidden behind a mirror filming the scene.
With the evidence on film, BA gets into the van and drive through the club’s wall. In the confusion, a gunfight breaks out which the team quickly win. They round up the mobsters and hand Gino the guns and tape recording.
Later, the team hear on the radio that Vincent and his men have been arrested. They’re even happier to hear themselves described as “folk legends” as their reputation for doing good spreads.
Let’s wrap up with a few key questions.
Does Hannibal wear a disguise?
Yes. For a lot of this episode, he plays the character of an Irish club owner.
Does BA get on a plane?
Should someone be dead?
No. There is a gunfight later on and BA does drive through a wall but it’s all well planned and seems intentionally non-lethal.
The Big Squeeze (S03, E15) is a grittier episode of The A-Team than usual. The action leads from a small businessman being bullied, but when he’s too scared to hire the team they set up their own club. The plan works, but it’s the tensions within the mob that make this story stand out.
We get a classic mobster in Mr Vincent, at odds with the methods of his hothead enforcer Jack who is squeezing their victims too hard. Vincent’s proved right when one of their marks can’t pay any more and contacts the A-Team, setting the episode in motion. Add to that the ambitious second-in-command who wants to be the top enforcer and it makes for a different dynamic to see the villains having their own issues.