Dan Tanna is a private investigator in the gambling town of Las Vegas, Nevada. Las Vegas can be seedy or glamorous, depending upon the point of view. This show is also notable for perhaps ... See full summary »
Rita Fiore hires Spenser to determine if two-time loser Ellis Alves really did kill a college coed. Soon everybody wants him off the case, from the investigating officer to the parents of ... See full summary »
Spenser is hired out by Hugh Dixon to track down the killers of his wife and daughters. He and Hawk are drawn into a huge plot involving assassination attempts on African leader Winston ... See full summary »
Joseph L. Scanlan
When one of Susan's former patients, a news reporter, turns up dead on the outskirts of Wheaton, the cocaine capitol of Massachusetts, she and Spenser head out to Wheaton to find out why he... See full summary »
Shortly after the Civil War, a man pulls himself out of a grave in the South wearing Southern clothing but carrying Northern gold and carrying a US Army revolver. He has no memory save for ... See full summary »
Frank Belson didn't ask too many questions about the past of his new wife Lisa St. Claire, even after she suddenly and mysteriously disappeared one night. He brings in Spenser to help ... See full summary »
As a favor to his longtime lover Dr. Susan Silverman, Spenser agrees to investigate the stalking of a theater company director, pro bono. But before he can get started, an actor is killed ... See full summary »
Marcia Gay Harden
Following the death of his wife, a world-travelling reporter decides to leave the hustle and bustle of the big city behind, packs up his kids and moves to a quiet little town in Wisconsin, ... See full summary »
Mystery/suspense series based on Robert Parker's "Spenser" novels. Spenser, a private investigator living in Boston, gets involved in a new murder mystery each episode. Using his years of experience, his natural talents for observation and reasoning, and the occasional bit of help from his friend Hawk, Spenser never fails to crack the case. Written by
Jean-Marc Rocher <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Strong casting and production values made the TV series "Spenser" worth watching
Several weeks before posting this review, I visited Boston for the first time. While riding the city's MBTA Red Line across the Longfellow Bridge, I could not help but hum variations of the theme song from "Spenser: For Hire," which aired over 25 years ago. I never read the Spenser books written by Robert B. Parker so I have no idea if the show ever captured the essence of the novels. The series never ranked in the top 20 and was switched to several time slots during the show's three seasons. The show's major strengths were Robert Urich as Spenser, Avery Brooks as Hawk and the incredibly strong on location production values that made the show better than some current and past detective shows, depending on the episode.
Some episodes, especially within season 1, had strong, intriguing plot twists that kept my interest. Three of my personal favorites were "The Choice," (which starred Patricia Clarkson and Sam Robards as thrill killers), "When Silence Speaks" (with Phyllis Frelich as a newspaper columnist who hires Spenser to locate a letter writer) and "Discord in a Minor," in which the teenage daughter of the city's symphony director tries to run away with the son of a local crime boss.
The show was far from perfect. Both of Spenser's love interests, Susan Silverman (played by Barbara Stock, seasons 1 and 3) and Rita Fiori (played by Carolyn McCormick, season 2) were generally thankless, underdeveloped roles. Arguably, both actresses tried their best with the material given but, more often than not, the dynamic between Spenser and Hawk was more interesting. In addition, several episodes depended more on chase scenes and stunts instead of correcting plot deficiencies, great stunt work notwithstanding.
I watched "Spenser: For Hire" on SlashControl.com and, as of this post, over 50 of the show's 65 episodes are available for streaming. Overall, the show was a nice diversion and a better-than-average detective series.
Update (6/14/2012): Sadly, with AOL ending SlashControl.com, Spenser: For Hire is not being streamed as of this update. I hope Warner Brothers will reconsider and stream and/or release the program on DVD in the future.
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