Aside from its Polish and proverb-spouting sleuth, "Banacek" set itself apart from the rest of the 1970s detective shows by the type of crimes it featured. While other TV gumshoes were tackling murders, "Banacek" looked at thefts, disappearances, and almost always solved what are known as "locked-room mysteries." On "Banacek," it's sometimes just as important to figure out how the crime was committed as it is to identify the guilty culprit. It's more intellectual than the average show ("McMillan & Wife," etc.) and shares more of a pedigree with "Columbo" than it does a lot of other shows.
Case in point - "Let's Hear It for a Living Legend," in which a football player vanishes from under a tackle in the middle of a game. Not only must Banacek find the missing man, but he's got to discover how a man can vanish into thin air before a full stadium and TV cameras.
The caliber of acting among the guest stars is pretty typical for the 1970s, but George Peppard doesn't measure up to fellow sleuths Peter Falk and James Garner, in my opinion. That could be because the writing is not supporting him, but I think it is his characterization. Banacek isn't an easy guy to like; even when Rockford is conning his way through a case, you love the guy. Peppard wore out his welcome for me.
Still, an entertaining mystery series that offers some cases and crimes to crack that are unlike other shows of the era. I'd definitely recommend "Banacek" to mystery fans, but it's not in the same class as "Columbo."