I haven't seen this show since it first appeared, but it still stands out in my memory of the 1960s so it must have been good.
There's one scene I remember vividly and it encapsulates the "loser" aura of McGavin's character in the show. He is looking out of the window of a tall office tower and sees someone in the parking lot far below backing into his car. He watches helplessly as the driver gets out, writes a note and slips it under his windshield wiper. Later, when he gets back to his car he reads the note. I can't remember the exact words after 40 years but it says something like "Sorry I dented your car. There are people watching and they think I'm leaving my name, address and insurance company. But I'm not!" I still grin at the memory of that scene, and it sums up the character's life. You have to feel for him and when he manages to solve a case you have to rejoice for him. Our natural support for the underdog is one of the main reasons for watching this series.
I can understand why I love this show, because the Rockford Files is another of my favourites and they are similar except that Jim Rockford has family and friends (some of them false). But David Ross doesn't seem to have anyone. To that extent The Outsider is what the title announces it to be, and to that extent it's a bit bleak. But it has some wonderful moments - at least in my memory. Faced with the rubbish that is on TV today I am dying to see it again.
Darren McGavin is always able to inject cynical humour into a part. Like Vincent Price you can always detect that he as a real person is relishing his role. This is why he is one of my favourite actors of the period. I think he was sadly underused, and when I caught up with him later he always seemed to be playing superior villains in roles which restricted him. As an aside I may be the only person alive who never saw him in The Night Stalker.
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