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"The Monk" could have been a great series for George Maharis
George Maharis gave a brilliant performance as Buz Murdock on "Route 66". For a short period in the 60's, all you could hear about was Maharis (sort of like Don Johnson or David Caruso in later years.) Maharis seemed to have a great future ahead of him. He had charisma and attitude to spare. In interviews, he seemed extremely sensitive and intelligent. When his movie career didn't quite take off, Maharis tried to return to series stardom-always a risky bet.
Blake Edwards had created three great TV detectives: Richard Diamond, Peter Gunn and Mr. Lucky. Blake Edwards' Gus Monk could have been another classic, stylish hero. (Vince Edwards turned the role down due to another commitment, but said he loved the script.) The problem with this pilot wasn't Maharis. He looked incredible and his personality meshed with Monk. Given time and good writing, Maharis could have given the role real depth, as he did with Buz Murdock.
The problem with this pilot was that producer Aaron Spelling just wasn't sharp enough. Maybe Herbert Brodkin ("Coronet Blue", "Shane") or David Susskind ("N.Y.P.D.") could have made it work. Or the great Blake Edwards.
When "The Monk" didn't sell, Spelling came up with another series for Maharis called "The Most Deadly Game", a reworking of "Checkmate". The show was originally going to co-star Inger Stevens and Ralph Bellamy. Yvette Mimieux replaced Inger Stevens when she died. It was another viable premise and a fine cast, but again the execution was not as good as it should have been.
Amazingly the great George Maharis never had another series. One of Hollywood's true unsolved mysteries.
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