This series was actually canceled after its first season, but CBS revived it under unusual circumstances. With "Magnum, P.I." coming to an end, CBS was left with empty - and very expensive - studio facilities. The producers of "Jake and the Fat Man" came up with the idea of the Fat Man (J.L. McCabe) retiring from Los Angeles and moving to Hawaii to take up the practice of criminal law, with his investigators coming along. He later became District Attorney for Honolulu. The ratings went up sharply with the move. Apparently, CBS's lease on the Hawaii studio expired during the 1990-91 season, resulting in the show returning to Los Angeles.
The year before this show premiered, William Conrad (J.L. McCabe) appeared in a two part episode of Matlock (1986), titled "The Don", in which he played prosecutor James L. McShane. Joe Penny (Jake Styles) appeared in the same two-parter as Paul Baron, the son of Matlock's client. (Both shows came from Dean Hargrove Company)
The show's second season was delayed by two union strikes: the writer's strike of spring-summer 1988 and a wildcat strike of resort workers in November. William Conrad arrived in Hawaii incognito and stayed quiet until the second strike was resolved, to avoid charges of conflict of interest.