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The Bionic Wiki
“Once a Thief”

S2 E22

Production 45443
Original Airdate: 4 May 1977
Jaime and Inky enter the bank vault
Produced by
Kenneth Johnson
Written by
Kenneth Johnson
Directed by
Alan J. Levi
Guest Cast
Guest Star(s)
Elisha Cook as Carl "Inky" Inkervoya
Ed Barth as Sully
Dick Bakalyan as Gino Talvin
Dick Balduzzi as Rogers
Richard Libertini as Rick
William Boyett as Captain Blank
Mickey Morton as Davis
Fuddle Bagley as Reggie
Paula Victor as Winnie
Frank Cala as Steinhauer
Sonny Klein as Marchese
Don Maxwell as The Cop
Broadcast Order
Season 2
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"Iron Ships and Dead Men" "The Bionic Dog"

When a bumbling crook films Jaime using her bionics, he blackmails her into helping him rob a bank.


Jaime confronts a burglar in the act of robbing Jim and Helen's home, but "Inky" flees and tells his boss about her.  Not believing him, the boss kicks Inky out of his professional fencing operation, denying Inky any future income.  Vowing to prove his story true, Inky returns to Jaime's house the next day, discovers that she'll be gone quite some time and hides in a tree after damaging several things around the Elgin property to see if she can fix them.

Jaime comes home and, puzzled, does indeed bend everything back into shape -- all under the watchful eye of Inky and his Super 8 portable video camera.  Rather than reveal himself right away, Inky hides out in Jaime's car, carjacks her and makes her drive to his apartment building, where he intends to blackmail Jaime into helping him pull off a bank heist the next day.  Inky's pet chimp, Ralph, though, fouls up Inky's plan by jumping on him, allowing Jaime to grab his gun and turn the tables on Inky.

But the gun is unloaded, so Inky still has the upper hand.  And he threatens to make the videotapes he made of her bionic superpowers public unless Jaime cooperates in his plan to rob First National Bank the following morning.  Oscar, too, wants Jaime to help Inky rob the bank, but only so he can nab Inky for his third felony, and "have him sent to Alcatraz."

Jaime arrives at Inky's place the next morning dressed for action.  As she, Inky and Ralph head out, none of them -- or Oscar and the police, who are also following their every move -- know that Inky's former employer is shadowing the operation, too.  Once Inky and Jaime come out of the bank, they're confronted by Inky's former coworkers, who spirit them out of the rapidly closing police dragnet, only to deliver them back into the clutches of "Mr. Talvin," who relieves Inky of his ill-gotten gains and directs his thugs to knock Jaime out and stuff her in a shipping crate!

Jaime escapes with ease, but Inky is shot, and Jaime must come to his rescue, along with Ralph, who will have to do the one thing Inky always forbids him to do -- ring the burglar alarm bell -- to save all their lives!  Ralph comes through, and Jaime sneaks him and Inky out while the cops and Oscar are taking down Inky's former associates.  Later, she reassures Oscar that Inky is no longer a threat, as she, the reformed thief and his beloved pet eat the carrot cake Jaime was bringing to the teacher's meeting when Inky so rudely interrupted her.  In a moment of comic genius at the very end, Inky casts some doubt on whether he's really ready to go straight when Jaime asks him "How's it taste," and he replies: "Like a MILLION BUCKS," which prompts a stern but sweet: "Inky!" from her, bringing the episode to a close.


Talvin: Inky, you smell like a brewery.

Inky: Well, I got a bottle of liquor dumped all over me.

Jaime: (holding Inky's gun on him) Hold it.

Inky: It's not loaded. Take a look - there's no clip in there. I hate guns.

Jaime: (turns the gun over and looks, then tosses it on the bed) So do I.

Oscar: Do you have any idea what you're dealing with? I ran a fast check on this character; this is the file on him. Carl Inkervoya, also known as 'Inky.' He's got a string of arrests as long as your arm...

Jaime: Which he knows all about...

Oscar: ... mostly petty thefts. He's not wanted for anything now, but he's gone down on grand theft twice. The last time he was caught because a... because a monkey triggered the burglar alarm?!

Jaime: (laughing) I can believe that!

Oscar: What if you continued to go along with him?

Jaime: You want me to become a bank robber?

Oscar: Help him with the robbery - and I'll be there to catch him for his third felony.

Jaime: You want me to set this man up?

Oscar: I can pull some strings, Jaime, and have him sent to Alcatraz.

Jaime: Alcatraz is closed down, Oscar.

Oscar: You're beginning to get the idea, babe.

Inky: I got myself a partner.

Saul: Yeah, who?

Inky: A very special woman. An amazing woman.

Saul: Inky, the last woman you had in here was really amazing. She looked like Big Foot.

Inky: (to Ralph the chimp) Go on, banana brains

Jaime (to Inky asking about her carrot cake): How's it taste?

Inky: Like a MILLION BUCKS!!

Jaime: Inky!!


  • Crooked character Gino Talvin seems to be named after director of photography Gene Talvin.  In Herbie Pilato's The Bionic Book: The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman Reconstructed he says this was done for many of the crew on this episode as a special tribute for all their hard work behind the scenes.  Pilato also reveals that Lindsay Wagner was constantly running around the set with a squirt gun while filming this episode, something we can clearly see on the Bionic Woman bloopers reels.
  • Were it not for NBC coming to the rescue, this would have been the final episode of The Bionic Woman as ABC canceled the series. However, NBC did ultimately pick up Bionic Woman for one more season. After this episode, however, it became impossible for Lee Majors to appear in any crossover appearances as Steve Austin, though the character would still be referenced in dialogue. Richard Anderson and Martin E. Brooks, however, would be allowed to continue appearing in both series.
  • During one of the bar scenes, an instrumental version of the song Don't Go Breaking My Heart can be heard in the background. The same version of this song can also be heard in a bar scene in the previous episode ("Iron Ships and Dead Men").


  • When Jaime Sommers fixes the gate latch that Inky bent while escaping from her, the bionic sound effect carries on long after she finishes fixing it.
  • After Inky climbs into a tree to await Jaime's return from school, a dog takes up residence at the foot of the tree. One would think that she would've noticed the dog, and thus would've noticed Inky.
  • It's amazing how many different angles and zooms Inky's little Super 8 camera is capable of.
  • When Inky is dangling from the overhead walkway by one arm, why doesn't Jaime jump up to rescue him, instead of taking the (arguably MUCH slower) stairs?