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Years: 1968, 1969
Genre: TV series, Drama
Country: United States
Starring: Mike Connors, Gail Fisher, Joseph Campanella, Ward Wood, Robert Reed
Creator: Lalo Schifrin
Run time: 21 hours 18 minutes
DVD distributor: Paramount Home Entertainment
DVD extras: Not much of anything
Related reviews: Mannix Season Two, Mannix Season Three
Season Two of Mannix is, in almost every way, superior to Season One. One of the few ways in which Season Two is worse is in the titles of the episodes. Season One had some classic, silly titles. Like, “Skid Marks On A Dry Run”, and such and such. Season Two can’t manage that level of hilariousness, the best they can come up with is “The End Of The Rainbow”. Lame. The episodes aren’t much different than they were in the first season. They are either formulaic and obvious, in a generic way, or formulaic and obvious to the point that none of the characters’ motivations make any sense.
The best thing about Season Two is Gail Fisher, who plays Mannix’s assistant Peggy. She adds some much-needed charm to the show, and also provides a convenient means to introduce new cases for Mannix to crack. Peggy, you see, seems to date several men, and each one is either a crook out to do something dreadful, or a sweet innocent man being framed for doing something dreadful. And that way, Mannix can delve into some kind of conspiracy without leaving the office. His office, in Season Two, is his own – that’s another good thing.
In Season One, he worked for a detective agency, a massive Big-Box Detective Company called Intertect. Now he works on his own. This is good, because the concept of a Big-Box Detective Agency called Intertect was ridiculous. He may as well, at that point, have been Batman, with the big supercomputers spitting out the identity of killers and so forth. It took the cleverness out of the work. Of course, in Season Two, he occasionally sends Peggy back to Intertect when he needs some data from a supercomputer of some kind. But at least a privately-owned detective business makes more sense.
Then again, it really doesn’t matter. He could be a construction worker or a graphic designer and the show would be the same, as long as he was a nosy and smart busybody construction worker or graphic designer. Because almost no one ever hires him by walking into his office. Just about every case he tackles is one he stumbles across. Either Peggy is dating a bad guy, and Mannix investigates. Or he overhears a conversation in a police station where a deaf girl describes a murder plot. He’s like Jessica Fletcher – always in the right place at the right time to Stop Murders. And since just about every case he takes is done solely to help one of his friends, or to save himself, I have no idea how he actually makes money.
I suppose we are to believe that between the cases that are interesting enough to make it onto TV, Mannix is running around finding lost cats, and taking pictures from his car of wayward wives and philandering husbands, and convincing runaways to return home, and whatever else it is that private investigators do for money. I’m not sure what he would do if some stranger came to his office with a real case. I suspect that he would immediately question their motives, investigate them, and discover that yes, they were indeed a part of a vast criminal conspiracy. No one is innocent in Mannix.
The second season IS considerably better than the first, but I would still like to see a few things happen. Every episode, as in the first season, involves some smoking hot woman. I would like to see Mannix sleep with them all. Or Peggy could sleep with them all. Either way. I could also use a little more wisecracking. Mannix is way too serious, and from what I understand, there is not a private investigator alive who is both serious and successful. They all crack wise. Why not Mannix? (Or Cannon, for that matter?) Also, I’m a little worried about Mannix and his brain function. He gets knocked out cold a lot. Like, twice every three episodes. I’m certain Eric Lindros’ doctors wouldn’t let him back into the Private Eye game after that. He can’t possibly be cleared to play.
All in all, Mannix is improving from season to season. Peggy is a nice addition, Intertect is a nice omission, and the hot chick guest stars are always welcome. The Second Season of Mannix came out January 6th, from Paramount Home Entertainment. I am looking forward to Season Three now. Perhaps then he will be knocked out less, take actual cases, have sex with the women he should be having sex with, and start to loosen up enough to crack wise. All of that ought to get him a seven-star rating, at least!