San Francisco attorney Stewart MacMillan is named commisioner of the San Francisco police department. With his pretty but somewhat kooky, wife Sally, his hard drinking housekeeper Mildred and his assistant, the somewhat dimwitted Seargent Charlie Enright, Mac manages to solve some of San Francisco's most baffling crimes...
They were the happening '70s answer to Nick and Nora Charles from the Thin Man
movies, and when McMillan & Wife
premiered as part of the "NBC Mystery Movie" lineup (in three-way rotation with McCloud
) on September 17, 1971, they were an instant hit with both critics and viewers. The two-hour pilot "Once Upon a Dead Man" set the serio-comic tone for the series: San Francisco police commissioner Stewart McMillan (Rock Hudson, his film career in decline) and the goofy doofus Sgt. Enright (John Schuck) frequently found themselves in the midst of a mystery, typically beginning when McMillan's cute and kooky wife Sally (Susan Saint James) stumbled onto telltale evidence or a murder scene. The McMillans were the perfect image of '70s California cool, attending trendy parties and charity benefits while solving robberies, murders, and other malicious goings-on, sporting the latest fashions (Hudson's handlebar moustache and longish hair perfectly complementing Saint James's bellbottoms and shag hairdo) and verbally sparring with some of the goofiest dialogue this side of Hope & Crosby's Road movies. Schuck provided additional comic relief while Nancy Walker, as the McMillans' nosy maid Mildred, made brief but memorable appearances before her role was expanded in subsequent seasons. --Jeff Shannon