Harry Orwell is a world-weary private investigator who was forced to leave the Los Angeles Police Department after a bullet became lodged near his spine. Moving to San Diego, he lived on ... See full summary »
A friend of Harry's calls him, saying her husband hasn't been home all night. Her husband is Harry's former partner on the police force, now a P.I., and a known womanizer. When Harry discovers him in...
A young widow has a malpractice suit against the doctor who was treating her deceased husband, but after she is threatened by two men to drop the suit, her mother hires Harry to look into the Dr.'s ...
Richard Diamond is a suave private eye who, at first, walks the mean streets of New York, then later packs up and moves to Los Angeles, where he tools around in a convertible with a car ... See full summary »
Attorney and US Navy vet Stuart "Mac" McMillan is appointed Commissioner of Police for the city of San Francisco. He often handles the very high profile cases personally. Helping him out on... See full summary »
Susan Saint James
Sam McCloud is a Marshal from a Taos, New Mexico, who takes a temporary assignment in the New York City Police. His keen sense of detail and detecting subtle clues, learned from his experience, enable him to nab unsuspecting criminals despite his unbelieving boss.
Harry Orwell is a world-weary private investigator who was forced to leave the Los Angeles Police Department after a bullet became lodged near his spine. Moving to San Diego, he lived on the beach, and, when not working on a current case, spent much of his time fixing up his boat, which was called The Answer. Harry O was unusual in that he didn't own a flashy car in which to conduct high-speed chases, preferring to ride the bus instead. Written by
Marty McKee <email@example.com>
Now Available on DVD. Great series cut off in its prime.
This series was that rare thing in the 1970s - an original and intelligently constructed mainstream US TV series.
This was due to two factors, the personality and performance of David Janssen (the word unique is grossly over-used, but it truly applied to him), and the way that the character of Harry Orwell was constructed around Janssen's screen persona. The idea of an ex cop taking up private detection was not new, even then, but the details were what made this one special. For example, Harry often travelled by bus, being unable to drive because his car was always hosed. Imagine, Kojak or Jim Rockford doing that? No, neither can I. Harry also had a family history (ex-partner, money problems etc)that we actually saw him dealing with. Very little gloss on Harry's life.
So, an intelligently constructed premise, a great central performer, superb performances from the recurring characters - notably Anthony Zerbe as the acerbic Lt. Trench (replacing Lt. Manny Quinlan half-way through series 1, when the series' location moved from San Diego to LA at the behest of the studio suits). And then, we had some interesting and well written scripts - but yes, there were some clunkers too. Harry O was well directed, very well cut in the styles of the time and oh! - those Foley sounds, loud footsteps in longshots - I love it! The sound on just one of the series one episodes is appalling, but for all the rest, they look and sound great.
Perhaps because it came in at the middle or latter end of the US boom in detective series, Harry O ran for only two seasons. A great shame, it had a lot more potential to realise - and without Janssen it can never be recreated.
2013 UPDATE: The first series is available now as a box set from the Warners online shop!
2014 UPDATE: No longer a rare series! Warners have put out box set of both series now. You can buy on Amazon or direct from WBshop.
Excellent! Just ordered mine!
18 of 18 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?