Bradford Dillman stars as Paul Grogan, a reclusive alcoholic living in a cabin out in the woods in an undisclosed part of the United States. He’s visited by a skiptracer named Maggie McKeown (Heather Menzies), who is out to find a couple of backpackers who have disappeared without a trace. Their search leads them to an abandoned Army research facility solely inhabited by a strange scientist, Dr. Hoak (Kevin McCarthy). Hoak has been keeping up the research on “Operation Razorteeth,” where mutant carnivorous piranha fish became bioweapons they can use to destroy the coldwater river systems of North Vietnam. The war ended, and the research stopped, but the scientist wouldn’t abandon it. A mishap sees the piranha drained out into the nearby river, where they begin to wreak havoc on anyone unlucky enough to be in the water with them. Joe Dante directs this Roger Corman production from a script by John Sayles.
In this semi-spoof sequel to the classic TV show, “Dragnet”, Dan Aykroyd isn’t playing Jack Webb’s character, Joe Friday, in this film, but rather, his nephew, with the same name and personality. He’s assigned a roguish new partner named Pep Streebeck (Tom Hanks) with which to fight crime with, though he’s of a new breed of a police officer, not really respecting the rule of law that Sergeant Friday does to his core.
Their first case together sees them trying to crack a slew of recent murders in Los Angeles, ostensibly done by a mysterious cult known simply as P.A.G.A.N., (People Against Goodness and Normalcy) as the calling cars they leave behind at the scenes of their crimes suggest. Signs begin to point in the direction of a smarmy TV evangelist named Rev. Jonathan Whirley (Christopher Plummer) and a smarmy smut merchant named Jerry Caesar (Dabney Coleman). Friday and Streebeck rescue a sacrificial virgin, Connie Swail (Alexandra Paul), at one of the P.A.G.A.N. gatherings, and for the first time in his life, Sgt. Friday has found someone wholesome enough to consider as his girlfriend, though he has now become too involved to think clearly — or play things by the book when the heart is involved.
In this “Get Smart” sequel movie made for network television, KAOS makes a comeback in a world that hasn’t been terrorized by them since CONTROL took them down and put themselves out of the international terror business. Recurring “Get Smart” actor Bernie Kopell returns as Maxwell Smart’s (Don Adams) main nemesis Conrad Siegreid, who leads the new KAOS after it has been bought out in a corporate takeover and is now encountering budget cuts requiring a quick influx of cash. Siegried launches his own plans for world domination with the formula to create a Weather-Control Machine, which gives them the power to adjust the climate anywhere in the world as they see fit, but willing to stop targeting places like the interior of the White House for a ransom of $250 billion to be paid within seven days. Barbara Feldon, Dick Gautier, Robert Karvelas, Harold Gould, King Moody, and Kenneth Mars also appear.