Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Thursday Thirteen # 10 - Favorite Television Show Crime Fighters

I made to my tenth Thursday Thirteen, a milestone. This Thurday I will focus on my favorite crime fighters. At first I was going to say detectives, but some are police officers, millionaires, and even an author or two. As Mr. Peabody and Simon ("Rocky & Bullwinkle") would say, I am traveling in the "way back machine" to get these and you will notice I am being very inclusive of women who actually served as role models for myself, girls, and women. I will also provide a little bit of trivia on some of these shows. Now I know some people will say that I forgot this show or that detective. But I really didn’t. I have thirteen positions here and I am filling them with some of my favorites. I wish I had room for all of my favorites, but it’s not Thursday twenty or Thursday thirty-two. Enjoy!

1. The Adventures of Ellery Queen – Jim Hutton portrayed probably my all time favorite detective. He was an absent-minded author whose father was a New York City Inspector. Father would enlist the help of his son to solve the crime and when he solved it he would break the fourth wall (talk directly to the viewer) and ask if they had gathered all of the clues enabling them to solve the crime. John Hillerman was excellent as Queen’s nemesis. Jim Hutton's untimely death June 2, 1979 (of liver cancer) came just before his son Timothy would gain fame with a supporting role in Ordinary People.

2. Rick Hunter was an 80's Los Angeles police detective portrayed by former football player Fred Dryer. For six of the seven seasons the show aired he worked alongside female detective Dee Dee McCall (Stephanie Kramer). The first season was deemed a bit violent by the standards of the day and had to be toned down. What I liked about the show most is the genuinely caring and supportive relationship between the two leads.

3. Cagney and Lacey
– Loretta Swit played the role of Christine Cagney in the original television movie (1981), but she was forced to decline the role in the series when the producers of MASH (also airing on CBS) refused to let her out of her contract. The movie was then picked up as series, first airing with six episodes as a midseason replacement in the spring of 1982, with Meg Foster playing the role of Cagney. The show was then picked up for a regular season beginning with the 1982-83 season, but Foster was replaced by Sharon Gless because CBS deemed Foster too aggressive and too likely to be perceived as lesbian by the viewers. Despite all of the backstage drama the show made for excellent television.

- a very popular detective series featuring Peter Falk as Lieutenant Columbo. The character (who never had a first name), and the series are a creation of the writing/producing team of Richard Levinson and William Link. Columbo ran as a television series from 1971 to 1978, but the character had appeared in a short story, a live-television broadcast, and a stage play before making his first network television appearance in the Made-For-Television Movie Prescription: Murder (1968). Originally written for Bing Crosby, the Columbo role went to Falk when Crosby opted not to end his retirement.

She Wrote – Though technically Jessica Fletcher is not a detective, she does an awful lot of detecting. I always found it odd that every where Ms. Fletcher traveled someone would turn up dead. When she stayed home in Cabot Cove someone would invariably die there as well. She brought intelligence and warmth to the role. FYI: The role was offered to Jean Stapleton initially, but she did not want to return t
o network television so soon after leaving “All In The Family”.

6. Get Christie Love – “You’re under arrest sugah!” were the words uttered by policewoman Christie Love when she caught an offender. Christie was hip and tough as she swung her enormous pocketbooks at the bad guys - and watch out for her karate moves and confrontational dialogue like "I got news for you lieutenant Christy Love isn't a quitter, Sugah. She intends to fight!" Historically, this was the first series with an African-American woman in a dramatic lead. She ended up leaving the series when she began to seriously pursue her religious beliefs. She died in a house fire many years later.

7. Hart to Hart - Jonathan Hart was a self-made millionaire--the CEO of Hart Industries and his wife Jennifer was a freelance journalist. They were both amateur sleuths, and in every episode found themselves up to their eyeballs in murder, smuggling, theft and international espionage. They also managed to find time to snuggle together, as they loved each other very much. Max was their loyal, gravelly-voiced butler, cook & chauffeur, and Freeway their pet canine.

8. Homicide: A Life on the Streets
- A one-hour drama inspired by David Simon's acclaimed non-fiction book "Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets." It is at once a mundane yet compelling look in and around a Homicide unit of the Baltimore Police Department, a group of determined individuals who are committed to their grim job at hand. Sometimes the storylines on this show would intertwine with those of “Law & Order”. It was fun to see the exchanges between the New York and Baltimore detectives.

Honey West – I watched this one when I was in elementary school. I even had the doll (or should I say ACTION FIGURE). I remember the doll being dressed in black and packin heat. Anne Francis portrayed Honey West, a judo/karate master that tooled around town in a cool little white sports car like a super-sixties Barbie doll, complete with scarves, sunglasses and leopard-print coats (costumes by Nolan Miller, later of 'Dynasty' fame). She even had her own mobile spy unit disguised as a TV repair truck and high-tech mini-cameras and microphones (thirty years early!).

10. Law and Order – A perennial favorite of mine for years and through all of the cast changes it has maintained its quality and integrity. I am a big S. Epatha Merkerson fan, now the longest starring cast member. The show follows a crime, usually adapted from current headlines, from two separate vantage points. The first half of the show concentrates on the investigation of the crime by the police; the second half follows the prosecution of the crime in court.

11. McMillan and Wife - San Francisco attorney Stewart MacMillan is named commisioner of the San Francisco police department. With his pretty, but somewhat cooky, wife Sally, his hard drinking housekeeper Mildred and his assistant, the somewhat dimwitted, Sargent Charlie Enright, Mac manages to solve some of San Francisco's most baffling crimes.

12. The Mod Squad - Young people in trouble with the law (wealthy Pete stole a car; Linc arrested during Watts riots; Julie ran away from her San Francisco prostitute mother) can avoid jail by infiltrating the counter culture and exposing bad guys who prey on other kids. This was a really cool show for me as a young girl entering adolescence. I had a huge crush on big afro wearing Linc.

Police Woman
- The pilot for this show aired on an episode of "Police Story" (1973) entitled "The Gamble". However Angie Dickinson's character's name in that episode was Lisa Beaumont with Bert Convy playing the role of her commanding officer. Convy was later replaced by Earl Holliman. Pepper was a sensual, brassy, compassionate, sincere, and beautiful divorcee. She resided at 102 Crestview Drive. Stories, which were adult and open-minded about sex and marriage, realistically depicted the life of a police woman.

Who are some of your favorite crime fighters?

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Chuck said...

Oh, that was fun! Yippee - good one for the 10th. My 10th is up too :) Happy TT!

Tink said...

I'm sooo with you on all of them! I love these kind of series! I still watch law & Order every day.
My TT gives you 13 quotes by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Nicholas said...

Cagney & Lacey was a great favourite of mine. Hart To Hart and McMillan& Wife were very similar, from the days when we would actually believe that a man and wife could go about solving murders every week on their own. Will viewers put up with that sort of idea nowadays? Oh, and I think Jessica Fletcher is a serial killer!

Sandee (Comedy +) said...

I've watched every one of these at one time or another. Some were better than others. Great list. Have a wonderful TT. :)

The Gal Herself said...

What a fabulous TT! I would love to see the Ellery Queen series -- John Hillerman can be so funny. I also enjoyed Tim Hutton as Archie in the A&E Nero Wolfe series. McMillan & Wife was fun, too. My all-time favorite is the original L&O. (I miss Lenny.) Thanks for visiting my TT.

Malcolm said...

This TT is just the way I like my steaks... well done! Along with the bits of trivia, I liked how you gave the TT a female slant. Good call on "Ellery Queen". I have the theme song playing in my head now. Me, ma, and Cook used to watch this every Sunday for that one year it was in primetime.

Some of my favorite crimefighters are:

Jim Rockford
Veronica Mars
Thomas Magnum
Maxwell Smart
Barnaby Jones

Lori said...

Good stuff PJ. Gave me some great memories. I'd all but forgotten about "Police Woman" and "Get Christy Love." Didn't know any of that background about the woman who played Christy. Interesting.

As I kid I watched Columbo, Mac & Wife and McCloud (it was rotating trio, right?) As a adult, my favorite was Homicide, even though I didn't start watching until the series was nearly over.

Sandy Carlson said...

Honey West is new to me. I think Angie D.broke the mold!

Jenny McB said...

This was great, a real walk down memory lane for me.
Adam 12 was a hoot for us, we would make up police codes for nosepicking since we were kids.

pjazzypar said...

Chuck, Thanks for visiting. I visited your blog and I will be back to comment later.

Tink, I am a "Law & Order" junkie, but the original is the best. I will sometimes watch special victims unit in a pinch.

Nicholas, Hart to Hart was a bit far-fetched; however McMillan was a police inspector, his wife was just a busy-body and a budinsky. That's funny what you said about Jessica Fletcher, but it would make sense.

Sandee (comedy+), Thanks for stopping by. The list was a bit unconventional, but that what makes it mine.

The gal herself, I miss Lenny too. He left the show and did some episodes of another Law & Order series. I hated to lose him.

Malcolm, I figure you would appreciate this one. I would have liked to add Barnaby, Cannon, Ironside, and Charlie's Angels, but I didn't have room. Quinn Martin had awesome detectives. Maybe that will be a future list.

Hey Lori, the mother of a good friend attended the Kingdom Hall with Teresa Graves. She married a Jehovah's Witness and made a choice to leave the performing part of her life behind (jazz singer Dakota Staton did the same thing). It's funny because you don't see male entertainers giving up their careers because of their religious commitments (both Prince and Michael Jackson are Jehovah's Witnesses too). You are absolutely correct about the rotation between Columbo, McMillan & Wife, and McCloud the "NBC Mystery Movie".

sandy carlson, picture it...1965, Honey West is the first woman detective to appear as the central character in a crime drama. Thanks for visiting.

Chuck said...

I just got your comment on my blog. I am flabbergasted. My goal is to some day have my voice in print so that people like you will spread my book to those in need. The words you wrote are the best I've gotten since I started blogging in June! Thank you so much for being here! Let's not lose contact.

Cricket's Hearth said...

I remember the Mod Squad! My favorite is Murder Shw Wrote.

Candy said...

Law & Order is a favorite as well as its spin-off Law & Order SVU. Cagney & Lacey was great. :o)

Joyismygoal said...

USed to love Hart to Hart Mcmillan and wife Law and Order of course

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

There are some shows on there that I've never seen or heard of. I might need to track them down.

Sharon said...

I used to watch Hunter with my mom. I thought he was cute. :-) Still watch Law & Order.
Fun list. Happy TT!

MondaythroughSunday said...

Loved Murder She Wrote!

Miranda said...

Oh I remember those shows, they were great!!

Great list!!
Happy TT!!

Open Grove Claudia said...

How fun! I haven't thought about some of these shows in forever.

I used to work out at Gold's Gym in Venice Beach and the guy who played Hunter used to come in all the time - what a weirdo!

I was a big Perry Mason fan as a kid.

Happy TT!

Buck Naked Politics said...

What Memories! As a kid, I used to watch McMillan & Wife, Police Woman, Mod Squad, and Columbo.

SJ Reidhead said...

I'm impressed. That reminds me, I need to see if final season of Magnum is out on DVD yet. (My favorite)

the Pink Flamingo

Lilibeth said...

That was so much fun to read. I always enjoyed Colombo and Perry Mason.

Peter Plum said...

What a great list! As I was reading through these I can remember watching some of them.

I had a hard time picturing Crosby as Colombo. And if that would have happened, I'm sure there would have been some cameos by Bob Hope! Wouldn't that have been strange!

Bloggers said...

great one! i watch law and order every day.

Wani said...

Good stuff! I miss a few of those shows... I would have to add Magnum PI to the list... I've always thought Tom Seleck was a good looking older guy. Crossing Jordan is a great show too.

Sandy Feet said...

This is a fun list. Lots of great TV memories. Happy TT!

Kat's Krackerbox said...

I used to watch all of them! They are all great. My favorite today would be Law & Order. Happy TT

Sarai said...

OMG I love 3 4 and 5 I would sit quietly (the only time ever as a kid) and watch with wide eyes. I even told my dad I wanted to be Columbo when I grow up!

ellen b. said...

Ok you are taking me way back and I watched most of those and enjoyed them alot. Hard to chose a favorite!!
congratulations on being site of the week..

MondaythroughSunday said...

Congratulations on being the featured 13'er!!

Harris Channing said...

OH WOW! Talk about some blasts from my past. I wanted to be Honey West when I grew up! I even have the mole (I mean beauty mark.) McMillan and Wife,, why doesn't TVLAnd ever run those???

Thanks for the memories.

OneLuvGurl said...

I used to watch Murder She Wrote as a kid! Happy TT! :)

Natalie said...

My mom loves most of those too...I haven't been able to get into that kind of show myself.

pjazzypar said...

jenny mcb, I really liked Adam 12 also. I could name plenty of detective shows that I adore, but there wasn't enough room or time. Thanks for visiting.

Cricket's hearth, That was fun television wasn't it? Thanks for visiting.

Candy, Law & Order is absolutely the best. Thanks for stopping by.

joyismygoal, Hart to Hart was a really good show. I liked the relationship between the married couple. Thanks for visiting.

susan helene gottfried, you are either very young or you don't watch a lot of television. Either way, Happy TT and thanks for visiting.

sharon, I was a young woman when Hunter used to air. I must say I thought he looked pretty sexy when he wore jeans.

mondaythroughsunday, Murder She Wrote was a cool and intelligently written show. Thanks for letting me know that I was the featured blog thia week. I had no idea. Also thanks for stopping by.

miranda, Thanks for visiting and I'll be by to check out your spot.

open grove claudia, Perry Mason was a detective as well as an attorney. My grandmother adored this show. Thanks for visiting.

buck naked politics, I am glad you enjoyed my selections. Thanks for stopping by.

sjreidhead, I like Magnum also. The list could have been endless, but I had to stop at thirteen. Thanks for coming.

lilibeth, Those were the best times for this genre of show. Television may be a little too slick these days. Thanks for visiting.

peter plum, you know I could have actually pictured Bing Crosby in the role for some reason, but it would not have been the same. I am sure Bob would have showed up. Much like Don Knotts showed up on Matlock. Thanks for visiting.

bloggers, I watch Law & Order daily too. Great show. Thanks for visiting.

wani, Magnum is a great show. Crossing Jordan was a really good show as well. I hate they cancelled it without any fanfare. Thanks for visiting.

sandy feet, Thanks for stopping by and Happy TT.

kat's krackerbox, Mine too. Thanks for visiting.

sarai, That's funny, that watching these shows were the only time you were able to sit still. These shows could be interesting for children too. Thanks for stopping by.

ellen b, some of these gems were all but forgotten. Thank for letting me know that I was featured and I appreciate your congratulations. Thanks for visiting.

harris channing, I wanted to be Honey West also. She was TOO COOL! It didn't matter that I was Black. Thanks for visiting.

oneluvgurl, Everybody seems to love Jessica Fletcher. Thanks for stopping by.

natalie, These types of shows are not for everybody. I am sure you have some shows that you remember fondly. Thanks for visiting.

Dane Bramage said...

That was awesome. I have seen every one of those shows and I definately prefer the old school hotties like Christie Love and Honey West.

As for faves not on the list, before Hart to Hart, and before Cagney and Lacey, Wagner and Gless starred with Eddie Albert in Switch. I also liked Brosnan and Zimbalist in Remington Steele. I guess I like the juxtaposition of old fashioned hard detective work and a little flim-flam. Shows with that mix might make a good T13 of their own.

Thanks for visiting my T13 #66 13 Movie Titles that are Song Titles too.

Nancy J. Bond said...

I loved Jessica Fletcher! And Hart to Hart was a favorite, too. Great list! Congrats on being a featured TT blog this week.

pjazzypar said...

hey dane bramage, I also remember Switch,it was a really funny show. Remington Steele was good too. I could actually do 13 of these every week for a year and not run out of shows. Thanks for stopping by.

nancy j. bond, thanks for visiting and congratulating me on being featured. I would never had known I not be told by other bloggers. I have got to be more attentive. I wish TVLand would show Hart to Hart or some of the other vintage shows. They seem to show the same shows that you see everywhere else.

OneLuvGurl said...

P.S. I tagged you!

Chuck said...

hey there - come by if you can and give me your thoughts on my first excerpt. i'd luv 2 hear from you.

gr8 wk end *huggies*

chanpheng said...

Nice list. I remember some of those shows when I was much younger, so brought back nice memories.

Toia said...

I used to watch Hart to Hart, Cagney & Lacey, and who can forget about Hunter. Another one of my favorites back in the day was Spencer for Hire. Hey, I almost forgot about The Equalizer. My TT is 13 reasons my 2 year old students give when they don't want to potty. Check it out if you get a chance.

X. Dell said...

We seem to have similar taste. I remember Get Christy Love, even though I was a bit young to watch it at the time. Didn't matter. I had such a crush on Theresa Graves.

Ellery Queen and Columbo were so fun to watch because of the quirky characters.

viagra online said...

I have the theme song playing in my head now. Me, ma, and Cook used to watch this every Sunday for that one year it was in primetime.

lauren said...

Found your blog by accident for the second time today so I thought I'd take a closer look. I have just started making my own blog and modeling it after what you have done. I hope mine will be as successful as yours.


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