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Champagne and Murder
on September 10, 2005
For five wonderful seasons, "Hart to Hart" was about the most fun you could have in an hour without getting into any trouble. Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers were simply perfect as the rich couple with nothing to do but solve murders. They were Jonathan and Jennifer Hart, living the fun life we all wished we had. The chemistry between Stefanie Powers and Robert Wagner was natural and you could always tell, especially with Wagner, that they were having a ball.
Sidney Sheldon created the characters but it was really a stroke of genius to cast Wagner and Powers. Wagner took his cool Alexander Munday persona from "It Takes a Thief" and just made him richer and happier, with a lovely companion he got to keep. Stefanie Powers always had a certain something but had never really found the right part, until Hart to Hart. Jennifer Hart came so naturally that you couldn't help thinking she wasn't really acting at all. Come to think of it, the same could be said of Robert Wagner's seemingly effortless turn as Jonathan Hart.
This was heaven for light mystery fans. There was always plenty of fun banter between Jonathan and "Mrs. H" and enough humorous situations mixed in with the latest week's adventure to keep everyone tickled pink. Not to be undervalued as the reason the show was such a big hit, was Lionel Stander's role as their butler, Max. Max was much more like family than hired help, and in the show's opening every week, you knew right away Max was an important part of the proceedings. After introducing the self-made millionaire, Jonathan, and his other boss, Mrs. H, Max always stated that he had trouble taking care of them, because their hobby was murder!
Not to be forgotten, of course, was their lovable dog, Freeway, who sometimes forgot who was the owner and who was the pet. The first season had great guest stars like Markie Post, Juliet Mills and John Hillerman. The stories were frivilous fun, as this wasn't real danger, just TV danger, and we always new our favorite husband and wife would solve the mystery and uncork some champagne at the end.
There were 22 episodes the first season, plus the pilot movie. Those episodes are: HIT JENNIFER HART - PASSPORT TO MURDER - JONATHAN HART JNR. - DEATH IN THE SLOW LANE - YOU MADE ME KILL YOU - MURDER BETWEEN FRIENDS - COP OUT - MAX IN LOVE - A NEW KIND OF HIGH - WITH THIS GUN, I THEE WED - MAN WITH JADE EYES - COLOR JENNIFER DEAD - A QUESTION OF INNOCENCE - NIGHT HORRORS - WHICH WAY FREEWAY? - DOWNHILL TO DEATH - RAID -SIXTH SENSE - DOES SHE, OR DOESN'T SHE? - CRUISE AT YOUR OWN RISK - TOO MANY COOKS ARE MURDER - DEATH SET
"Hart to Hart" was delightful escapist fare. Mark Snow's "Hart to Hart" theme at the opening of the show was light and breezy, and fans looked forward to hearing it every week. Snow would finally become famous for his moody theme for "The X-Files."
The domestic and mystery adventures of the self-made man, Jonathan, and his ex-journalist wife, Jennifer, made for a charming and breezy hour of pleasure. The adventures of the spohisticated couple, who it turned out were just like us, only rich, was a great way to unwind at the end of a long day, and still is. Every TV mystery fan will want to pick this one up. So pop the cork from the champagne in the limo, call ahead to make sure the private jet is waiting, and jot off to TV land, where rich and attractive couples delight us by solving murders while living the life of leisure. Great fun!