The weekly adventures of private detective Joe Mannix in Los Angeles. At his side is his faithful assistant Peggy Fair. Hard-boiled and gritty, Mannix dished out justice outside the law for his clients.
There's that great line in Blazing Saddles when Sheriff Bart grabs his gun to go capture the fearsome Mongo. "Don't do that," the Waco Kid cautions. "You'll just make him mad." Joe Mannix (Mike Connors in his signature Emmy-winning role) is a lot like that. Cut the brake line in his car, rough him up, or frame him for assault; once he's on a case, he won't quit. Doing the legwork and pursuing the thinnest of leads, Mannix is an old school private eye, which is why it's great to see him out of the high-tech Intertect firm and in his own no-tech private practice with his faithful Girl Friday, Peggy (Gail Fisher in her groundbreaking, Emmy-winning role). Mannix doesn't need computers to do his job. "I don't fly by instruments," he proclaims in "The Girl Who Came in with the Tide," "I fly by the seat of my pants like a barnstorming pilot." Which is why, in "Tide," when he recognizes a slain girl about town at the morgue and discovers she was in the company of the "swinging attorney" who once had Mannix's license suspended, he takes the case as a labor of love. Some cases put his gut instincts to the test. In "A View of Nowhere," he is convinced he witnessed a man trying to strangle a woman, but when he follows up, the couple denies anything is amiss. Some of this season's most compelling cases hit closer to home; in "In Need of a Friend," he reaches out to a man just released from prison after seven years for a crime he didn’t commit, and whom Mannix had helped to convict. Peggy’s love life also keeps him busy. In "Death in a Minor Key," Mannix goes to a small town to help clear the name of Peggy’s jazz musician boyfriend (guest star Yaphet Kotto) after he reveals he is a fugitive, and in "Last Rites for Miss Emma," her latest squeeze may be involved in the theft of morphine. In classic TV PI tradition, Mannix butts heads with the police (including a pre-M*A*S*H Larry Linville, and Robert Reed), but his "reputation" earns him considerable leeway. Mannix was a particularly hard-hitting series in its day, and it’s still bruising. In episode after episode, Mannix takes a licking, but keeps on ticking. His sports coats may now be out of fashion, but this tough and rugged series will never go out of style. In "an uptight world," it’s comforting to know that Mannix is on the job. --Donald Liebenson