Banacek (1972–1974)
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Let's Hear It for a Living Legend 

When a football player vanishes from the field in full view of network cameras and a live audience, it's up to Banacek to figure out how his kidnappers spirited him away without a trace.




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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Angie Ives
Holly Allencamp
John Brodie ...
Ritchie Mulligan
Ben Davidson ...
Deacon Jones ...
Joe Fabian
Tom Mack ...
Ed Wolinski
Gene Washington ...
Clay Mills
Clancy Williams ...
Walt Hicks
Albert Bates
Curt Gowdy ...
Curt Gowdy
Charlie Jones ...
Charlie Jones


In the middle of a televised professional football game, star running back Hank Ives disappears from the bottom of a pileup. Insurance investigator Banacek, seeing the game on TV, soon looks into this curious vanishing act. Even though a ransom note arrives demanding two million dollars for Ives' safe return, Banacek suspects football promoter Jerry Brinkman of pulling off yet another crazy publicity stunt for which he is so well-known. Murder, however, makes it serious business. Written by statmanjeff

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Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

13 September 1972 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Banacek's chauffeur offers a solution for the missing player by saying they cut a slit in the turf where they hid the player. While it was meant to be a joke here, that idea was the basis of a solution for another case Banacek would solve later in the season. See more »


For some reason nobody (especially Banacek ) never wondered where the football player with the #20 suddenly came from after all of the tacklers got off the ground. See more »


Jerry Brinkman: What are you doing? You're supposed to be here to help me.
Thomas Banacek: I'm here to listen. There may be a difference.
See more »

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User Reviews

Cool Is The Rule...Sometimes Bad Is Good...
16 August 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

My summary is pure plagiarism quoting a lyric from a popular Huey Lewis song, but it fits. Banacek is a bad boy and he sure is cool. He lives the playboy life, but he's deadly serious about his craft. That craft would be solving insured criminal theft. For a meager 10-percent Banacek can live the high life. Yet he's grounded by Boston's "old-school" blue blood circles in which he moves. A wonderful juxtaposition! Banacek is George Peppard. An elegant yet approachable man. A pillar of both old world acceptance as well as garish 70's cool. He's perfect in the role. It was rumored that others such as James Coburn were considered, well all I can say is they snagged the perfect actor in Peppard.

Like Sherlock Holmes the crux of each week's complicated mystery isn't so much in the action but in the elimination. While Peppard can be physical it's his wily intuition that always rises to solve the case. Along the way we get some fantastic cinematography and some downright cool style via our protagonist. Dino and Frank can only remember when as George rewrites cool.

I'm a "Brother of the Leaf" ( a cigar lover) and I sincerely enjoy how much of Peppard's own signature style carries over into the series. The cocktails and the smokes, the cars, and the clothing (('ll forgive the SansaBelts) make for pure fashion forward style. Not to mention the signature gloves that carried over much later in "The A-Team".

So much for the overview, this episode, not unlike the pilot, is complicated. It, of course, skirts believability as it shoe horns relevance into everyday life...The NFL here. A player mysteriously disappears after a gang tackle. Insurance, as well as in this case ransom, money is on the line Banacek is on the case.

O.K., this episode isn't as earthy as the pilot. It stretches the imagination more, but it's still complicated and doesn't give up the finale too early. It keeps you invested. This is the fun, and entertainment, that is Banacek. It's great fun indeed. He's just too cool for words. We knew he'd solve it, but the ride was good. Sure, there tension isn't too great, but the journey is so enjoyable. The window dressing of Susan St. James is spot-on. The supporting characters add color. A solid start for a 70's cool Sherlock Holmes.

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