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BHWW - 2017-01-29

The first season of Mannix, which was often left out of syndication packages so many people weren't familiar with it, had a certain tension later seasons didn't as Joe Mannix worked as a hotshot operative for a modern, high-tech Pinkerton-like detective agency called Intertect.

Mannix, a somewhat old-fashioned PI who relied on his wits and instincts, shared a mutual respect with his boss, Lew Wickersham (Joe Campanella) but there was also the clash of ideologies and work M.O.s - Wickersham was heavily invested in the use of databases and computer analysis and Mannix was a rough-and-tumble loner with his heart on his sleeve and a penchant for action. Eventually these differences came to a head in an ep near the end of the first season where Mannix leaves Intertect rather than accept an assignment to work for a suspected gang boss. In the next episode, he severed his ties with Intertect entirely.

By the second episode of the second season, the set up for the Mannix most people remembered was in place - Mannix's one-man agency and his hiring Peggy Fair (Gail Fisher), a policeman's widow to be his secretary/assistant, running down information, brainstorming on cases with him and rescuing him every so often.

Eventually, Mannix came to an end in the mid-70s, while the PI series had never gone away there was another explosion of them on the screen, many of them hipper, or gimmicky, or 'colorful'. A hard-boiled PI who just solved cases suddenly seemed old hat.

Though Mannix was one of the shows that had given the private eye sub-genre a jolt, during the 1960s the series had run aground on gimmicks and copies of copies, Mannix had been a more subtle and humanized update.

As Connors once said, he said that somewhere out there Mannix was still working, there being a decency and dignity to the character.

Bort - 2017-01-29

Currently on MeTV in the middle of the night, they're doing the Interlect episodes. (MeTV: The Station You Kind Of Leave On In The Background.) They had an episode the other night where Mannix and Lew were getting into a fist fight over ... I don't know what, but Mannix kept calling out "LEW!!!" in a tortured voice throughout the fight. It was like that videogame glitch where the guy keeps shouting "SHAWN!!!"

In the 90s, Mike Connors reprised his role as Mannix for an episode of "Diagnosis: Murder". That's how I found out that Connors had died: that episode was on (in the background) when I heard the TV go all tinkly with a "MeTV Remembers" graphic to mourn an actor who'd passed ... Mike Connors. Not sure whether they were airing that episode to commemorate Connors or was it a coincidence. In any event, Dick Van Dyke keeps outliving his co-stars.

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