User ReviewsReview this title
On the strength of the cast alone, with a fairly significant star (Robert Wagner), a likable and first-rate character actor (Eddie Albert) and a future TV star, Switch should get receive recognition. Yet no one pays attention. Strange.
Still, the show stands up on its own merits. It had an original premise (which has since been copied more than once), cleverly constructed stories, snappy dialogue, spot-on action, likable characters and first-rate acting. All-round excellent entertainment.
If you get the chance to watch this on a rerun, take a look. You won't regret it.
"Switch",was one of the brilliant array of shows that was produced by television mogul Glen A. Larson that ran for three seasons on CBS-TV from the premiere episode on September 9,1975 until the series finale on September 3,1978 producing 68 episodes. The cast was perfect here: You have the great Robert Wagner and the great Eddie Albert in the role of their careers as a con man(Wagner)and a bunco cop(Albert)working together as private detectives on the good side of the law. This was a highly intelligent series with some great stories and not to mention some highly intense action and it was one of the great detective/cop shows that came out of the mid-1970's that had psychological perspective to it. "Switch" was a thinking man's detective show and it shows in some of the great writing this show had that came from not only Glen A. Larson but also from Donald P. Bellisario(who would go on to produced excellent shows like "Quantum Leap", "Mangum P.I.","J.A.G.",and "NCIS").
This show also had the great Sharon Gless(long before her stint on "Cagney and Lacey",one of the great cop shows from the 1980's)as the secretary Maggie,and also comedian Charlie Callas as Malcolm. It was Callas who kept the show's rich humor afloat for the three seasons it ran on the air. Before "Switch" came around in 1975,actor Robert Wagner was known to audiences as secret agent/con-man Al Mundy in the espionage series "It Takes A Thief"(ABC,1968-71),also produced by Glen A. Larson. While Eddie Albert was known for dramas and mostly comedies and before this was seen in the classic rural comedy setting as Oliver Douglass opposite Eva Gabor on "Green Acres"(CBS,1965-71). By the middle of the show's second season,the series went through some changes. First up,it when from being more of a con-man's venture into a straightforward and more traditional detective series,with fewer of the elaborate con games. By the end of what was to be the show's third and final season,Pete moved into a new apartment above Malcolm's bouzouki bar,while newcomer Revel(Mindi Miller)was the hostess and Wang (James Hong)was the new cook. In other words,the show was getting into the style of several other detective shows of that period,basically taking a cue from a classic 1950's P.I. show...Who remembers 77 Sunset Strip? When the show premiered in September of 1975,it was on Tuesday nights opposite ABC's The Rookies(produced by Aaron Spelling),and NBC's Police Story(produced by David Gerber). When the show ended in 1978,due to poor ratings,CBS had no decision to find a show that replaced it..."The Incredible Hulk".
The first scripts of this show were extremely intelligent. Wagner playing off Albert & Gless trying to stop the 2 of them from going at each others throats was very effective. The friction gave this show a strong start. The early shows had something special. Charlie Callas helped the early shows too but he strangely stopped appearing after the second season.
Later on in the series, a report about excessive violence on TV came out & CBS reacted by watering down the quality of the action & the parks between Wagner & Albert. Once this happened, the show abruptly lost ratings & got canceled. This was a very good series originally, but if you watch the first shows & then watch the last ones, you will see what I mean about the change.
And yes - this is indeed a show which appears to have 'fallen out of Television History' - others being 'Cool Million' and 'It Takes a Thief' - these made Saturday evening viewing (while growing up) a delight.
More please ( but DON'T remake them as movies ! ).
Perhaps it was the title which seemed to have little to do in the way of describing the action, and even less for the brain to latch on to.... "switch.. Switch?? what on earth was that?"
"A series about a conman and a cop.... Eddie Albert and Robert Vaughan... surely you remember ?... NO?
How it goes sometimes..