Mannix was a detective drama shown on CBS from 1967 to 1975. Joe Mannix lived in LA and during the first season worked for Intertect,a detective agency that made extensive use of computers. This cramped Joe's freewheeling style,and in season 2 he opened his own one-man agency and acquired a secretary, Peggy Fair. Joe Mannix was a smart guy,but also didn't mind letting his fists do the talking. This was a very violent show for its time. Mannix was one of the final shows produced by the Desilu Studios before Lucille Ball sold out to Paramount.
"Mannix" has been another joy to discover on DVD. It's got the polish of "Mission: Impossible" and the action of a Connery James Bond movie. Mike Connors is terrific, and Joseph Campanella is a great foil for him to play against. The clash of man vs. machine gives Mannix a throw-back appeal, cut from the Philip Marlowe/Sam Spade cloth and dropped into the modern world. Watching 60s TV with a 21st century mindset is always risky - sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, but I've been pleasantly surprised with how well "Mannix" holds up.
Some of the plots are very strong and have shades of a Ross MacDonald novel (particularly "The Many Deaths of St. Christopher"). The good writing and the strong duo of leading men really keep "Mannix" from becoming too campy or ridiculous.
I've only seen episodes from the first season, and the Intertech formula works so well that I'm disappointed that it went by the wayside for the rest of the series. That angle really makes the character stand out among the field of TV private eyes. While I'll check out Season 2 when (and if) it comes to DVD, I don't know how it will stack up.
Riding on the great theme music by Lalo Schifrin (whose most notable TV work would have to be 'Mission:Impossible'), the viewer is taken on a fast moving, one-hour journey shadowing (pun intended) a gun-toting, California detective, whose cases always get solved with fisticuffs, bullets, and a beautiful woman at his side (think: "Captain Kirk" meets "Thomas Magnum"!).
With a base cast of three people - - Mannix, his secretary, and a police inspector - - we were treated to a new guest star nearly every week. Whether they were good guys or bad, they always seemed to be cast right for the role they played! Even though the plots were basically the same from week-to-week, they somehow were presented with a new feel to them, that made us come back for more!
By today's standards, the "violent" aspect of "Mannix" would be considered tame, but, back in the 70's, the sight of car chases, fist fights (with Mannix always seeming to give as good as he got, but usually ending-up with a black eye in every episode), along with the occasional shoot-out was exciting, with very little blood being spilled (or, at least, not to the degree of today's unnecessarily gory scenes).
As seems to be common for most cop shows, Mannix was always arguing with the head police detective (who changed from time-to-time), with the trite "Stay-out-of-it" speech from the cop, and who might have been considered a "heavy", but, it was clear that they were on friendly terms.
Gail Fisher, one of the few black characters of the time cast in more than a cameo role (similar to Nichelle Nichols, "Lt. Uhura", of "Star Trek" fame), played Mannix's secretary, but she was viewed and treated as a person and Mannix's personal friend, as opposed to being just a hired telephone-answerer and bookkeeper. It would not be "politically incorrect" of me to say that white audiences accepted her as more than just a token black.
This was one of my favorite shows, back in the day!
One of the longest running and most violent detective shows of its time, Mannix was seen in two formats. Originally, Joe Mannix worked for Lou Wickersham at Intertec, a sophisticated investigative firm noted for using computers and other advanced detection aids. Joe Mannix, on the other hand, relied on his own intuition and fists. Later, Mannix split off and worked out of his own office, located in the building where he lived. All in all, Mannix fought his way through nearly ten years' worth of cases.
A terrific Private Eye show. MANNIX was a trendsetting show in the whole entire private detective TV genre and one of the first back in 1967. Joe Mannix was the original cop fighting the system and going it alone and doing it "his way". Mike Connors did a wonderful job for 8 highly successful seasons (1967-1975).The series had plenty of action scenes also as Mannix was a street-wise cop. Over the years some have claimed that it was the most "violent" series of all the TV detectives class. Mr. Mannix was always portrayed in terrific style, both clothes and cars, and carried it all off with an air of ultra-smooth coolness of character. The show also had the greatest, jazziest TV Theme Music and action-packed opening credits to boot! Long live JOE MANNIX!!!! Now to get MANNIX released on DVD.....
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