Scarecrow & Mrs. King: The Complete First Season (DVD)
A single mother in suburban Washington D.C. discovers she has a talent for espionage work when she meets a dashing undercover agent--but balancing her duties as a spy with her responsibility as a parent proves constantly entertaining in this romantic-adventure series.
Scarecrow and Mrs. King
proves there was life for Kate Jackson after Charlie's Angels
--and for Bruce Boxleitner before Babylon 5
. Jackson's divorcée, Amanda King, a pretty lady with an '80s perm, lives outside D.C. with her sons, Jamie and Phillip. At a train station, she meets Boxleitner's Lee "Scarecrow" Stetson, who convinces her to do a "life or death" favor. The delivery to the man in the red hat doesn't go as planned, but King ends up cracking the case and a new team ensues. Scarecrow's boss, Billy (Mel Stewart), thinks a housewife will make a perfect decoy, though fellow agent Francine (Martha Smith) has her doubts. As she says about her colleague, "His methods might be unorthodox, but Scarecrow always delivers." Unfortunately for the apprentice agent, she can't tell anyone about her new career, not even her mother, Dotty (Beverly Garland, great value), who looks after the boys when she takes on assignments, offering different excuses every time. In Scarecrow, however, Amanda finds a friend as well as a partner--and a possible love interest, to judge from their longing glances.
If Scarecrow and Mrs. King bears comparison with Remington Steele, the cases that deal with the domestic arena help to set it apart, with perpetrators ranging from cooking-show hosts to cosmetics titans. The more dramatic episodes don't work as well, mostly because they feel like retreads from The Rockford Files (executive producer Juanita Bartlett has written for both programs). Also, Jackson is a deft comic actress, but her crying scenes don't quite convince. Still, it's a minor complaint about a light entertainment that wasn't aiming for documentary realism. Plus, it's the chemistry between the leads that led to three more seasons--and Boxleitner's GQ good looks certainly didn't hurt. --Kathleen C. Fennessy