Amos Burke was a Los Angeles chief of detectives who was also a millionaire with a chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce, a mansion, and a high-wheeling lifestyle. The hallmarks of this series were ... See full summary »
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Amos Burke was a Los Angeles chief of detectives who was also a millionaire with a chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce, a mansion, and a high-wheeling lifestyle. The hallmarks of this series were glamorous, sophisticated settings, unusual twists on formula homicide plotlines, and big-name guest stars. After a couple of seasons, its format was radically revamped. Burke left the police force and became an agent for US Intelligence. At that point, the show's name changed to "Amos Burke--Secret Agent". Burke's adventures were briefly revived in 1994, under the original title. Written by
Marg Baskin <email@example.com>
The 64 black and white hour-long episodes of "Burke's Law" were originally broadcast from 1963-65 on ABC. The show then morphed into "Amos Burke, Secret Agent" for another 17 episodes during the 1965-66 season. And one episode "Who Killed the Jackpot" served as the introduction of the "Honey West" characters played by Anne Francis and John Ericson. Gene Barry played police captain Amos Burke, who headed up homicide while maintaining a lavish lifestyle; not because he was on the take but because he was already extremely rich and was just working for whatever intrinsic value the job provided. This was the main hook or novelty of the show, which was a weekly showcase of his lavish lifestyle (chauffeured limo with fully stocked bar, mansion, and a host of gorgeous women clamoring for his affections).
Although technically a mystery-adventure series there was a significant comedy element generated by the reactions of his detectives and his superior to Burke's displays of wealth and indulgence.
Barry was perfectly cast as the suave and sophisticated working playboy. Unfortunately the supporting cast was quite marginal and the writers never developed these secondary characters beyond the most superficial level. But this did allow room to showcase a multitude of guest stars and like "The Wild Wild West" many of these were Hollywood's hottest starlets. Especially memorable was former Miss America Mary Ann Mobley whose unexpected chemistry with Barry led to multiple appearances during the course of the series.
Unlike "Columbo", the series withheld the identity of the killer from viewers until the end although it was not disclosed in the standard "Murder She Wrote" moment of revelation. The huge popularity of "James Bond" and "The Man From UNCLE" caused producer Aaron Spelling to introduce a secret agent formula into the final season. Unfortunately what had been a unique cop show became just another silly spy series and it expired after just half a season.
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
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