Mike Pratt, Kenneth Cope. A pair of private eyes take on a variety of divorce cases until one of them is run down and killed. But that doesn't stop him, and in fact the duo become an even better team in this cult hit British series. Includes all 13 first-season episodes on DVD for the first time. 4 DVDs. 1969-70/color/11 hrs/NR/fullscreen.
The twist of private-eye show Randall & Hopkirk Deceased
is that in the first episode, gumshoe Marty Hopkirk (Kenneth Cope) is killed off by the villains, only to pop up in an immaculate white suit as a ghost visible only to his hardboiled partner, Jeff Randall (Mike Pratt). In theory, the supernatural streak--which meant a complex set of rules about Marty's appearances and effects on the physical world--should lead the show into wilder territory, but most episodes squander the team's unique abilities on ordinary cases about blackmail and murder-for-profit. A persistent subplot has the living Jeff getting cozy with the dead Marty's widow Jean (Annette Andre) to the discomfort of her late husband. The elementary effects and the nice underplaying of the leads have a certain period charm, and the show was able to afford a high caliber of special guest villains and beautiful women. A 1990s remake with Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer hasn't obliterated memories of the original. --Kim Newman