Sam McCloud is a rustic country sheriff from a rural part of the United States. He travels to the big city and joins the police force, using his country ways and laid-back approach to nab ... See full summary »
Sam McCloud is a rustic country sheriff from a rural part of the United States. He travels to the big city and joins the police force, using his country ways and laid-back approach to nab the bad guys. Written by
Fine Entry in the Sunday Night NBC Mystery Movie Series
When the Mystery Movies started on NBC, the viewer was treated to a set of rotating series, including the great Columbo, the fresh MacMillan & Wife, the unusual Hec Ramsey, the very 70s Banacek, to name a few. And then there was this fish-out-of-water series about a New Mexican lawman working in the Big Apple, and it was cool, very fun and enjoyable.
Having never seen Coogan's Bluff, I had no comparison points and so took the program on its own merits. The cast was excellent. Lanky, likable Dennis Weaver wore Marshall Sam McCloud like a second skin, and because he'd been in Westerns, was believable as the cowboy cop; his riding and gun-handling skills appeared very natural, and he was also good at fight scenes. Short-fused police Chief Peter B. Clifford was his foil, adeptly portrayed by veteran actor J. D. Cannon. These two formed the main dynamic conflict for the programs. They were supported by a good cast of characters that included long-suffering Sergeant Joe Broadhurst(Terry Carter), a lovely reporter in love with Sam named Chris Coughlin(Diana Muldaur), and a changing roster of cops(including a delightful turn by Teri Garr as Sergeant Phyllis Norton).
The writing was decent, and the episodes where McCloud went even further afield to places like Australia, Paris and Hawaii were great. The chemistry of the cast was never flat, and there did slowly build in the cranky Chief Clifford a grudging respect for McCloud's unconventional approach to police investigation. When stuck in Hawaii on a trumped-up murder charge, Clifford is almost even glad that McCloud is there with him...almost.
Unlike some of the other shows that aired in the NBC Mystery Movies, this one has not grown stale or appears too dated, much like Columbo. Yes, it was at times formulaic, but the formula was appealing and easy to enjoy, and the main character less grating than some from that same time period. It wasn't as dated as Banacek or as silly as the Snoop Sisters, but like Columbo and McMillan & Wife, has aged gracefully and is still a fun ride, you betcha.
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