Harry O

ABC (ended 1976)
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  • show Description
  • A bullet lodged near his spine has forced former police officer Harry Orwell to seek new employment as a private detective to supplement his disability pension. As he is frequently in pain, it also limits his ability to engage in hand-to-hand combat with bad guys. And since his car is in the shop, waiting until he can afford a new transmission, he is also forced to pursue his investigations by bus or taxi, or even on foot. Thus Harry is unusual among private eyes in not engaging in fisticuffs or car chases. Harry O is one of TV's more bohemian private eyes, a loner living in a beachfront cottage near San Diego, spending his time re-building a boat in his yard. Harry's sometime nemesis, sometime ally, is Lt. Manny Quinlan of the San Diego Police Department. When Manny is killed off in February 1975, Harry moves his base of operations to Santa Monica. There he inherits a new nemesis, Lt. Trench, plus occasional unsolicited help with his cases from amateur criminologists Lester Hodges and Dr. Fong. He has an ex-wife but no steady relationships until the move to Santa Monica with episode 17, after which he has a fair number of gorgeous flight attendants as neighbors, including Farrah Fawcett and Loni Anderson.moreless

  • Episode Guide
  • S 2 : Ep 22

    Death Certificate

    Aired 4/29/76

  • S 2 : Ep 21

    The Mysterious Case of Lester and Dr. Fong

    Aired 3/18/76

  • S 2 : Ep 20


    Aired 3/11/76

  • S 2 : Ep 19


    Aired 3/4/76

  • S 2 : Ep 18

    Forbidden City

    Aired 2/26/76

  • Cast & Crew
  • Henry Darrow

    Det. Lt. Manuel "Manny" Quinlan [eps 3-15, 23]

  • Anthony Zerbe

    Lt. K.C. Trench [eps 17-46]

  • Farrah Fawcett

    Sue Ingram [eps 21-42]

  • David Janssen

    Harry Orwell

  • Paul Tulley

    Sgt. Don Roberts [eps 17-46]

  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (40)

    • Writer(s): Howard Rodman Quote 1 LIBERTY: Whatsa matter with your back? ORWELL [voiceover]: You want to know what's the matter with my back? It hurts because there's a bullet in it. That's why I live at the beach on a policeman's disability pension, and that's why I moonlight the rest of my income as a private detective. I have a boat, and as soon as I get it put back together I'm going out on the ocean where they don't have any telephones. Telephones bug me… Quote 2 LIBERTY: Who's that? ORWELL: That's Mildred. LIBERTY: You makin out with her? ORWELL: Go home! LIBERTY: You never said what's the matter with your back. ORWELL: It's none of your business what's the matter with my back…How do you know she's not my wife? LIBERTY: Hmph…she doesn't look like a wife to me. Quote 3 MILT: Harry, you're on your own time. My time belongs to the department. I have eight mur…I have eight murders going, Harry!! I don't have a day and a half to spend on a simple case like this one. ORWELL: Who did it, Milt? The butler? Quote 4 KENNY: How'd you like my daughter? ORWELL: I'll take her for Christmas. KENNY: You'll have to get at the end of the line. Quote 5 LIBERTY: You lead a funny kind of life. You don't even have a car. ORWELL: I have a car…It'll cost me $300 to get the transmission rebuilt and I'm thinking about it. LIBERTY: You broke now? ORWELL: That's not what I'm talking about. It's…it's way of life. Quote 6 ORWELL: Where've you got the colonel now, Milt, downtown? MILT: It's an easy bus ride, isn't it, Harry? ORWELL: You ever ride the buses, Milt? MILT: Hardly ever. ORWELL: Well, that's nice. You sit there and look out the window. It gives a man a chance to think. You ought to try it sometime, Milt. Quote 7 LOCKPORT: I didn't murder the man. You don't murder somebody for slapping somebody. It's disproportionate. There's no mystique to killing. You don't commit murder if there are other alternatives because murder…has a limited problem-solving value in most situations. So, uh…you don't commit yourself to murder lightly. And that's ignoring the insoluble question of morality—-in the stillness of the night, in the times of being totally alone. Not for a slap in the face. Quote 8 ORWELL: A house belongs to who lives in it. If you want guests, you invite them. If you lock the door, you want the cockroaches to stay out. Quote 9 JENNIFER: …You're very…patient, aren't you?...Wrong timing. ORWELL: What's that? JENNIFER: The courtship dance…round and around. ORWELL: I give you the impression I was coming on with you? JENNIFER: No...I know. I like you. ORWELL: I like you too. JENNIFER: ….Be careful of me. It's just something I do…I don't even need to do it. I just want to be liked. I ask for approval to make you come closer. Quote 10 Orwell [voiceover]: Days happen to you. And sometimes I wish I could go back to being 17 again. When I was 17, I once said, "A woman is like a bus: let her go, there'll be another one along in 5 minutes." Now that was a long time ago. Good-bye, Jennifer.

    • Quote 1 GERTRUDE: Did you think the heel was hollow and a message was in it? ORWELL: Something like that. GERTRUDE: Maybe the message was in the right shoe. ORWELL: Harold doesn't have a wooden leg, does he? GERTRUDE: What would he do with a wooden leg? ORWELL: If he had a wooden leg, he wouldn't need a right shoe. GERTRUDE: Ohhh…Harold doesn't have a wooden leg. ORWELL: You're sure? GERTRUDE: You're very skeptical. ORWELL: I am. You like the ocean? GERTRUDE: Sometimes I can't follow your sequiturs. ORWELL: Likewise. Quote 2 ORWELL: Here are some sheets for you. GERTRUDE: Where are you going to sleep? ORWELL: Outside…I do it all the time. (Gertrude locks the door, locking Orwell outside) ORWELL: Why'd you do that? GERTRUDE: To keep you out. ORWELL: Look, I'll tell you what we'll do…I'll knock three times like this…Then if there's a man in there and he didn't knock, it's not me. GERTRUDE: Because I don't intend to shortchange the man I marry. ORWELL: I wouldn't have it any other way. GERTRUDE: Thank you. Quote 3 ORWELL [voiceover]: One of the collateral advantages of riding buses is that it's hard for anyone to tail a bus without giving them self away. A bus moves with a different rhythm than somebody's car. When I was on the force, I had to tail a guy on a bus once. It was the worst 45 minutes I ever spent. Quote 4 ORWELL [voiceover]: Most of the time private detectives get cases that involve amateur criminals. And it makes interesting, and it makes it hard too. Especially for me, because I was a cop first, and I had to deal with professionals. Now a professional knows what he's doing and he moves in a straight line. So you just go after him in a straight line. But your ordinary amateur criminal is usually some sort of eccentric. Probably doesn't know himself what he's gonna do next. If you're trying to follow him, you're gonna lose his trail. So what you have to do is keep one step ahead of him, and let him catch up to you. Quote 5 ORWELL [voiceover]: Time went…The phone didn't ring, but on the 11th of March the next year I got a postcard. It said, "Having a wonderful time, wish you here." The card was signed Gertrude and Harold. They had $2340 dollars and that would take them anywhere in the world. I didn't look at the stamp, I didn't turn it over to see the picture. I like to think of them sitting on the beach in Brazil.

    • Quote 1 ORWELL: You see, I handled a missing wife case about a year ago from your attorney. It turns out she wasn't missing at all, she was hiding, just waiting for some sign of affection from her husband. When the private investigator came along--that was me--that‘s all she wanted. I was a symbol for her husband's caring. I didn't like that. Quote 2 ORWELL [voiceover]: But a man like that's hard to help without hurting. The last of the gentleman. You know, they ought to stuff him and put him in the Smithsonian….

    • Writer: Stephen Kandel Quote 1 ORWELL [VOICEOVER]: Now, jogging isn't a sport, it's a penance. My sins aren't that gaudy, but I'm cautious. That's one way to stay out of trouble. Quote 2 VETERINARIAN: I don't know [if dog will recover]. He's ingested quite a bit [of poison]. Can't tell ya. PAUL SAWYER: Doctor, that statement is a pompous advertisement of ignorance. The state licensed you as a veterinarian. I expect you to cure him. VETERINARIAN: I can't work miracles Mr. Sawyer. PAUL SAWYER: Ahhh, miracles are created by money, of course. Marian, write Dr. Belden a check…. Quote 3 ORWELL [VOICEOVER]: He was afraid. Behind all the anger and arrogance, he was terrified: not of being found dead, but of being found no more than human. Quote 4 ROSS: …He was a monster: no loyalty, no friendship, no love. But he's also the greatest architect alive on this earth. He'll walk in here one day without warning…and he'll create a miracle. It's a crummy world, Orwell: you gotta cherish miracles. Quote 5 ORWELL: Why didn't you leave your father? MARIAN SAWYER: He needs me….He lives inside himself, in a fortress. And I'm the guardian at the gates….When I was little, he took me with him once. He was building a skyscraper. He took me up in the construction elevator, 40 stories. I was so scared, it tasted like brass in my mouth. He was explaining design to me—I couldn't follow. But I was listening to the sound of his voice: God, it was like hearing electricity, all that confidence. I think he forgot I was there, and he left me, on top of the building platform, 40 stories up. And I saw him walk out on a girder, and it looked like he was in mid-air. And I looked beyond him, and there was nothing but sky—father and sky. If he had said,"Marian, step off the edge," I would have gone. Believing…I need to keep believing. I need to be needed. What do you need Harry? ORWELL: Well, not much more than I have…A few friends; a little room; time to find out what I want, what I am. MARIAN SAWYER: I'm envious. I'm afraid of time, and too much room makes me anxious. I don't have friends or enemies…And when I start to suffocate, I drink, turn on, or find a man—it's called better living through biochemistry….You interested?...You're interested… ORWELL: I don't make love unless I'm in love…just a little. It's gotta be a hell of lot more for me than just therapy to keep from screaming. MARINA SAWYER: Sweet, rejecting Harry. I'll crawl right home and make myself acceptable…. Quote 6 MARIAN SAWYER: What are you doing here? ORWELL: Feeling foolish...and, uh, clumsy…and I'm apologizing. Because I wanted you and I resented it: a beautiful lady with no strings. Well, I need some strings, I need ‘em. Quote 7 DEMPSEY: Mr. Sawyer, I believe that man's only excuse for living is to shake the world. PAUL SAWYER: Wrong…man's excuse for living is to create the world. Shaking it is the province of politicians...and other psychotics. Quote 7 ORWELL [voiceover]: He walked away from the wreckage and the bleeding because they didn't exist for Paul Armand Sawyer….Maybe that's the definition of greatness: to be always alone and never lonely. Well, that's a hell of a price to pay. Quote 8 ORWELL [to Paul Sawyer, who's affectionately hugging his German Shepherd]: Don't worry, Sawyer, I won't tell on you. Love is only occasionally sinful.

    • Quote 1 ORWELL [voiceover]: Homicide [detectives] had come and gone, done their ritual. Taken the body and left the empties. It was a nice house, but it made a lousy mausoleum. Quote 2 ORWELL [voiceover]: She hung on to me as if I was the edge of a cliff. Then a doctor got there, and she let go and started falling. Quote 3 FR. VECCHIO: God help me, God help me, he is [my murderer]. He's chained to me, dragging two corpses with him. Harry, I'm drowning: I don't know what to do. ORWELL: I can't give you absolution, Father. Quote 4 ORWELL [voiceover]: You meet a lot of people like Marty Scofield. Drunk or sober, they don't make much difference in anybody's life. Quote 5 MARIAN PRESS: Eric couldn't take it: too much responsibility…Anyway, he ducked into the bottle and he stopped being a man. Pretty soon I stopped being a woman—I became a shrew. He blamed me, and I blamed him, and we turned into a pair of [????]. So, for a lot of wrong reasons, I turned to Marty Scofield.

    • Writer: Elroy Schwartz Quote 1 ORWELL [voiceover]: Kids never seem to cry about the big things. Only when they stub their toes, or skin their knees, or spill their milk. Get on with it, Harry—don't stub your toe. Quote 2 HESTON: How's he gonna lead us to Yorkfield? He [Orwell] can't even keep his car running. LASSITER: Now don't get edgy…Easiest job I've ever had: I can hear that car three blocks away.

    • Writer: Herman Groves Quote 1 QUINLAN: Come on, Harry, you've been here before. You know as well as I do that sometimes being a cop is ninety-percent paperwork. I make out a report in duplicate, I file it in triplicate, I refile it in quadruplicate. I didn't create the system, I inherited the system. You think I want to do this ninety percent of the time? Quote 2 WOMAN: What do you want? ORWELL: I'd like to speak to the manager. WOMAN: He's not here. ORWELL: He isn't? Where is he? WOMAN: Upstairs. ORWELL: Apartment 2E? WOMAN: How'd you know that? ORWELL: You just told me.

    • Quote 1 Marilyn Sidwell:…I don't belong in a mental institution. I'm there only because it suits other people's needs. I'm as sane as you are, Mr. Orwell…. Orwell [voiceover]: Being as sane as I am may not be the highest recommendation in the world…. Quote 2 Orwell [voiceover], on being in mental sanitarium: If you were ever drafted, you might begin to understand how it felt--a little bit unreal, like walking underwater. And, like the army, once you were in, it was almost impossible to get out—the louder you protested you didn't belong there, the more it seems you did….There was really only one way to be sure—if you had a key in your pocket and could go home at night, you were sane. Orwell, to Lamport, an obviously disturbed patient: Do you have a key? Lamport: No.. a key? Why? Orwell: Then why are you smiling? Lamport: I know your secret. Orwell: What's that? Lamport: You're sane…. Orwell: How'd you know I was sane? Lamport: We're the only two! Quote 3 Billings, referring to dead body on beach:…His body washed up there and one of the fishermen snagged him on his line… Cole: …Hope that fisherman had a license. Quote 4 Quinlan, looking at scrap of paper: Piece of the San Diego telephone book. All in the M's. Cole: Anything marked or underlined? Manny: No…better check them all. Cole, frustrated: There must be 30 names here, or more. Quinlan: I didn't ask you to count them, Frank. Quote 5 Marakian: I killed him with a scalpel. Arthur Rankin: Old habits die hard. Why don't you get yourself a drink? It will steady your hand. Marakian: I was a good doctor. Rankin: You were a butcher. Quote 6 Marilyn: Wind, sand, and stars...the sea...sunshine and shadows...rain. They're all in bed at night. That outing…was the first chance I've had in two years...was the only chance…maybe the last chance...If you make too much trouble here, and create too many disturbances, they do things to you....Harry, I'm glad you're here.... Quote 7 Cole, upon finding the body of Dr. Marakian, an obvious suicide: I was reading some statistics the other day. Highest suicide rate in the country is among doctors. I'll bet you never guess what kind of doctors had the highest rate. Quinlan, sarcastically: Gynecologists, Frank? Cole, sincerely but perplexed: No!! Psychiatrists Quinlan: The mind reels. Quote 8 Marilyn, being led away by sanitarium attendants: …. I stepped on a sea urchin. They have these little spines—they're poisonous, you know. Some people have a violent reaction to them. But they have to work their way out....And, then sometimes, they don't ever work their way out. Orwell [voiceover]: The review board had confirmed the diagnosis: paranoid schizophrenia. People get better, they get worse. There are remissions, but there's still no real cure. I felt like screaming. But I didn't—you can get into a lot of trouble screaming. I decided to run instead. It didn't do much good. I did another thing that didn't do much good either: I locked the door to my house. Not that I was worried about anyone trespassing. I just liked the feeling of having a key in my pocket.

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    Notes (2)

    • Actor Les Lannom would make later recurring appearances as memorable humorous character Lester Hodges.

    • This was the pilot for a potential spin-off series.

    Trivia (1)

    • Star Trek fans will have to look fast to recognize Rosanna Soto as Edwina. She played Azetbur the Klingon Chancellor in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

  • Fan Reviews (3)
  • Languid, humane, and convincingly quirky, Harry O was the pinnacle of the TV detective show cycle. It's a pity the series didn't last... or is it?

    By ex-liontamer, Mar 19, 2010

  • Harry O: Crime/detective tv series from the 70\\\'s with David Janssen and Anthony Zerbe

    By DHMJ, Aug 10, 2005

  • Harry O was unique

    By gophone, Jul 06, 2005