When Captain Reardon (Harry Guardino) discovers that there’s a ledger that contains information that could bring down Los Angeles drug lord Enzo Cortino (Paul Stevens), he decides that the best way to get the ledger is through the drug lord’s mistress, Helena Varga (Louise Sorel). To get Helena to betray Cortino, he’s going to have to discover what makes her tick. He’s going to have to send someone undercover to find out all there is to know about Helena. It’s time to get Christie Love!
Teresa Graves plays Christie Love, a tough and beautiful woman who is also the best undercover cop in Los Angeles. She goes from busting a serial killer (played by Ron Rifkin) and investigating Helena’s life. Along the way, she deals with by-the-book superiors, incompetent assassins, and hapless bureaucrats. She throws one killer bellboy off of a hotel balcony and she lets a crook know that, “You’re under arrest, sugar!”
Get Christie Love! was an attempt to a do a made-for-TV version of a Blaxploitation film and the results are mixed. While the movie features the expected car chases and a handful of fights, it’s still limited by what was considered to be acceptable for prime time in 1974. Pam Grier may have blown someone’s head off in close-up in Coffy but, in Get Christie Love!, the camera always cuts away as soon as Christie throws her final punch. Teresa Graves is likable as Christie Love but, unlike the best Blaxploitation heroes, she’s working inside the system and she never has any mixed feelings about being a cop. The fight scenes are particularly disappointing because they’re edited in such a way that it’s obvious that most of the work was being done by the stunt crew. The best scenes are not the action scenes but the ones that emphasize Christie’s intelligence and that feature her doing old-fashioned detective work, investigating Helena’s life and putting the clues together.
Get Christie Love! was enough of a rating success that it led to a short-lived television series. It’s historically significant because it was the first hour-long drama to feature an African-American female in the lead role. (It was the second series to do so overall, after Julia, which starred Diahann Carroll.) The show only lasted a season but it achieved pop cultural immortality when, years later, Quentin Tarantino used it as a reference in Reservoir Dogs.