on 18 August 2014
One of the most memorable of the plethora of cop shows that graced our tvs in the late 60s and 70s - for me, the highlight of David Janssen's career - I always found the Fugitive too formulaic and the "tied to the tracks until the next episode" syndrome annoying at times. This was wonderful - the world-weary ex-cop (invalided out through being shot; with bullet still causing problems) still ends up working with the police force on many cases. He lives off his disability pension and sporadic PI work. His car is a nightmare and 2 of his best friends are mechanics!
Initially, Henry Darrow was the reluctant police lieut "sidekick", and very good he was too - some episodes in Harry O relocated from San Diego to LA and acquiring new police sidekicks in the form of Lieut Trench and Sgt Roberts. Trench is played by the always watchable Anthony Zerbe and the sarcastic exchanges between him and Harry are hilarious and continued through all of the 2nd and final series - Harry has some parsimonious habits such as freeloading the police dept coffee and always checking phone boxes for "dropped" coins which form a running background theme - the stories themselves are probably more cop than PI most of the time and often what starts as a "simple" case turns very complicated along the way.
Providing more light relief is the hilarious character of Lester Hodges, a Trust fund kid ably played by Les Lannom - he regards Harry as a criminologist guru and is very reminiscent of Ellery Queen - there are only a few episodes featuring "Lester", but they are gems, and he drives both Harry and Trench 'round the bend - nice touch that Lester even dresses like Harry, tries to walk like him but occasionally reverts to the classic trenchcoat so beloved of Sam Spade
Slightly iffy picture transcription here and there, but given the age of the show forgiveable - all in all it's a gem and a must for all detective series fans - so step back in time to when a detective often had to catch the bus because of his rubbish car, no mobile phones and no personal computers - just good dogged detective work with plenty of humour and some interesting recurring as well as one-off guest stars. Farrah Fawcett-Majors, pre-Charlie's Angels, is charming as next door neighbour/girlfriend Jill
on 22 February 2015
Janssen's best series, yes, even better than "The Fugitive", finally got it on dvd, I was a bit disappointed that the pilot tv-movie is on disc 6 as a bonus, and the 2nd pilot is only available to purchase seperatley, but that can't take away from the quality of the show itself.