Simon & Simon (TV Series 1981–1989) Poster


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Laid-Back, Often Funny Adventures of P.I. Brothers...
cariart27 March 2004
SIMON & SIMON was never a show that 'blew it's own horn' too loudly; tucked in neatly behind megahit MAGNUM, P.I., the (usually) easy-going adventures of private eye brothers Rick and A.J. Simon (Gerald McRaney and Jameson Parker), with it's Joe Walsh-inspired slide guitar theme, loopy humor, and occasionally off-the-wall resolutions was often as light-hearted as a day at the beach, and was largely ignored by critics during much of it's run...until it began appearing as a 'Top 20'-rated show, even without the benefit of Tom Selleck and his Corvette. True, by the series' end, after seven seasons, it had lost nearly all the charm and humor that had endeared it to the public for so long, but in it's prime, SIMON & SIMON was a blast!

Originally conceived as a Jimmy Buffet-influenced detective show set in the Florida Keys (the series' pilot would be integrated in several later episodes, and the original theme song would pop up, occasionally), the show ultimately called San Diego home, with it's easy accessibility to Tijuana. Rick Simon (McRaney), mutton-chopped, mustached, biker/Vietnam vet, was a usually in debt, often in trouble 'free spirit', his broken-down boat parked next to his younger brother's home, who believed in conspiracy theories and never saw a case (or a 'sure-thing' bet) he could pass up. Younger brother Andrew Jackson Simon, (A.J.), portrayed by Jameson Parker, was a buttoned-down, conservative college graduate with Robert Redford blond hair, a budding stock portfolio, and a girlfriend (Jeannie Wilson) who was the daughter of the head of the biggest detective agency in town (Myron Fowler). Less trusting than his older brother, A.J. preferred clients that paid 'up front', and didn't use police 'rap' sheets as a form of I.D.! (A piece of trivia: McRaney and Jameson, in real life, were the same age). Keeping the brothers from killing one another was their beautiful, long-patient mother, Cecilia (Mary Carver), who would often find 'victims' needing their assistance.

As the series progressed, A.J. lost his girlfriend and her father's agency, the brothers would move into more 'upscale' offices, and a new 'contact' would be acquired, the irrepressible Police Lt. M.P. 'Downtown' Brown (Tim Reid), who seemed to spend half his life getting the brothers out of scrapes with the law. The Reid seasons offer the very best episodes of the series, with the most outrageous, entertaining plots and humor.

After Reid left the series, in 1987, "Simon & Simon" dropped the humor, choosing to become a dramatic, 'message'-oriented program (with one episode devoted to the rape of their mother), and the show quickly lost their audience base. When it was canceled, in 1988, "Simon & Simon" disappeared as quietly as it had first appeared.

While the loyalty of it's fans would produce two TV-movie reunions, in 1994 and 1995, the series was truly a product of the eighties, a simpler time that best suited two unconventional guys, and their VERY unconventional cases!
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Action, Adventure and Humour -- 80's style
greg-mcphee11 November 2003
I really enjoyed this show, and watched it religiously when me and my family lived in L.A. in the eighties.

I think it was one of the last P.I. shows on the air when it was cancelled, as by that time the sitcom was taking over and action/adventure shows like this had fallen out of favour.

It had the same kind of sense of humour as Rockford and Magnum, and was just as entertaining as either one. (No real surprise as the series creator Philip DeGuere had worked with Roy Huggins, Stephen J. Cannell and Donald P. Bellisario, who gave us those other two classics.)

Stand out episodes include: "Ashes to Ashes, and None Too Soon", "Thin Air", "Pirate's Key", "The List", "Grand Illusion", "The Dillinger Print", "C'est Simon", "Who Killed the Sixties?" "Simon Without Simon" Parts 1 and 2, and of course, "May the Road Rise Up"

There are more but not enough room or time to mention them all.
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Great series, wish it lasted longer
edkipp10 September 2001
This series took a staple element of the detective genre - mismatched partners, and added the twist that they were brothers. Instead of setting it in a classic location for a detective series (NY, LA, Chicago), they took the 90 minute drive down the coast to the beautiful city of San Diego. What they found was a gold mine. Instead of the tired cliche locations, they banked on the little seen but widely known attractions of San Diego (the Zoo, Sea World, the Beaches, and the close proximity to Baja California). The pilot was set in Florida, but the series was wisely moved to the West Coast; Rick Simon, the older of the brothers, was a former marine that was the braun, while buttoned down preppy AJ (the embodiment of preppies in the 80's) was the cultured, refined brother. With Tim Reid as a supporting character (Downtown Brown) and Mary Carver as their mother Cecilia, this series produced many memorable episodes that not only entertained, but taught about the viewer history (WW2, John Dillinger, etc.). Catch it in syndication if you can.
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One of the best series, ever!
Tirya15 June 1999
I loved this series when it was on in the 80's, and was worried when A&E started showing it again (M-F, 12pm ET) that I'd be disillusioned by the actual quality of the show, as opposed to what I remembered it to be (as I have been for other series I've seen after 15 years).

I wasn't. The chemistry between Jameson Parker (A.J.) and Gerald McRaney (Rick) is still wonderful, the relationship they have developed is very believable, the dialogue is still great. Would that I enjoyed some series from the 90's as much as I love this classic from the 80's!!
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Great Show...I Still Watch It On SLUTH.
mixedmerchandise3 March 2006
I started watching Simon & Simon when it aired in 1981 and from the very beginning I enjoyed the show, especially the shows setting in beautiful San Diego, CA.

I was a 14 yr. old kid when it aired in 1981 growing up in a crime ridden area of New York City (The South Bronx).

I could only dream of escaping to that beautiful sun soaked paradise I envisioned through the wonders of television as I watched episode after episode.

In 1989 a year after Simon & Simon was cancelled I happily moved to beautiful San Diego, CA and could now experience what life in such a wonderful town would be like first hand.

I lived in San Diego from 1989-1993 and could honestly say that those were the most memorable moments in my life, and I owe it all to the Simon & Simon T.V show for giving a teenage kid from The Bronx hope beyond the ghetto.
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What a fantastic show!
darqueguy1 November 2001
You know, I was too young in the 1980's to really appreciate the fact, I don't recall having seen an episode during it's original run. I've just started watching the reruns at 4 AM (PST) on A&E and I'm amazed at just how fun a show it was. A lot the shows like this from the same era seem a bit dated today (Miami Vice, anybody?), but this remains fresh without showing it's age. Parker and McRaney are perfect as the brothers and hit the right combination of comedy and drama, just like a good show should. This is a new favorite for me.
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One of my other all time favorite shows
mm-3930 May 2003
This show had a great combination. The odd brother, and the perfect brother working together, along with a strong suporting cast. Milo the dog, the power wagon truck, and over the top fun action, mixed with some story. Best of all was the humor, I love the time they where getting drunk locked in the whinery and asked if the govenor was gona give them a pardon. Family entertainment, with something for everyone.
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I love this show
Risa-513 July 1999
This show is one of my all time favorites!!!! I love the comradery between A.J. and Rick, even though they are brothers. When times get tough they are there for each other. It is too bad that we do not have many shows on today like that.
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Just good fun, I'll buy that for a dollar!
cnote196914 July 2006
This recently started showing again in my area, and strangely it was shortly after I had a bout of nostalgia about the show and started looking for it on the TiVo. Was not to be found, until DTV added Sleuth to their lineup. Oh; wait, I had a point here... the show is as good as I recall, in some ways better. As a teen in the 80's I enjoyed the show, but so much of what you enjoyed as a younger version of yourself turns out to be complete mindless garbage as an adult. Great television for 13 yrs old, but not good for 36 yrs old. I was very happy to find this was not true with the show. I have watched 20 episodes in the last month or so; and I find it highly watchable; very entertaining, and most of all believable. Of course you will find some "cheese" it was the 80's after all, but isn't there something good in that wink, wink...nod, nod?? Wasn't that once the whole point? I am far from a rated G guy, in fact quite opposite. But I do think sometimes in today's television shows; it's too far and too much *IN YOUR FACE* because being an intelligent being means sooner or later you want to scream, "Yeah I get it already!" This show is worthy of your time if you have never seen, or it's been many years since you have visited the Simon brothers. The acting is stellar in most cases, good story lines, and it doesn't take itself too seriously; nor should the viewer. This is one show that stands the test of time, and should get better recognition for being more than "just that show after Magnum".

Nice quote (I'm doing from memory, but it's close to this):

Guy with gun: "can't you read?"

AJ: "why, you want me to read something for you?"

Guy with gun: "don't be a wise guy"

Rick: "Sign said no trespassing, didn't say nothing about not being wise guys"

Guy with gun is not the brothers make tracks.

So, stop reading this and go watch the show, dare you not to crack a smile when they fire up the theme song (second season and on one, first one is slower).
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Fun and interesting
Calios6 December 2000
Didn't watch this series that often when it ran in the '80s, but did catch a few episodes then and saw nearly all when A&E replayed it. It is one of the best action, detective series ever. Some shows are better than some Rockford Files episodes.

The relationship and interaction between the brothers seemed real and genuine. The acting and directing was top notch and the locations are special as one can get a taste for that time period in San Diego or Florida (my favorite episode when they went back to where they started, it was a two-parter) or where ever the guys were.

The acting was the best as this series easily tops Magnum for quality and enjoyment... well except for guys, seeing the sights in Hawaii ; ) and a Ferrari Testarossa and for women, Tom Selleck.
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Two brothers, one a Preppy type and the other a Nam Vet, run a detective Agency in San Diego, CA.
greenmountainsme16 November 2006
Rick and AJ Simon are brothers. They're as different as night and day. AJ is college educated and somewhat of a preppy type. Rick is laid back, somewhat scruffy and has been described as disreputable. That's not really fair but he doesn't exactly try NOT to earn that reputation. They're very different but they're a lot alike, too. Both are as honest as the day is long. However their methods of doing things are apt to be completely opposite. AJ's by the book and Rick likes to wing it and do things outside the rules.

Marlowe is Rick's dog - a lovable and harmless mutt who is hopeless when it comes to helping them.

Their Mom, Cecelia, appears briefly in most episodes - to scold, encourage, help or bring them a client. Both boys say "how high" when Mom says "jump".

Janet Fowler and her father, Myron, run the detective agency across the street. Janet is AJ's ex-girlfriend or fiancée. The boys do, on occasion, steal clients from Myron which does not exactly endear them to him.

When Janet left the series she was replaced by Tim Reid as Detective Downtown Brown. When he left the series he was replaced by Joan McMurtry as Detective Abby Marsh who was definitely not very fond of the boys. At least at first. She was just the opposite in temperament as "Town" was - at least as far as the boys were concerned.
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Rick and AJ
gazzo-218 September 1999
This was a really good series, great partner for Magnum which it followed for some years. Good action, good humor, decent chemistry between the two leads....this show has a lot going for it. And having Venus Flytrap be your pal can't hurt either! I hadn't seen the show for some years 'til A and E began rerunning it of late; and still enjoy it, about as much as I had back in the '80s. It is a little repetitive and etc. as most series are, but still....see it if you can.
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one of the best shows ever
df561 June 1999
This show was just great! It had action, drama and best of all it showed how two brothers could be totally different but the best of friends. I enjoyed this show so much.
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Theme song trivia
kethrick2 May 2005
The theme song to "Simon & Simon" changed after the first season. The song in the first season had a sound I can only describe as "An American in Tijuana." The replacement theme song had a snappier rhythm, more like "Zany Times in San Diego-- Er, Los Angeles." The theme music was played at the beginning and end of each episode. At the end of the final episode for the first season, some guy actually sang lyrics, which he probably had written, to the music. I don't remember the lyrics, but there was something along the lines of "'cuz they're brothers." First and only time I've ever seen that happen on a TV show. The original theme song didn't entirely vanish. It continued to be used as a lead-in between the end of the new song and the "brought to you by..." commercial intro.
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Great show really made Thursday nights something to look forward to.
jakshi11 August 2002
Growing up in the '80's was lame but Simon and Simon was funny, exciting, and had a little bit of mystery to it. The love/hate relationship sibling relationship was something many viewers could relate to. The show got kind of lame towards the end of the '80's. Just like my brother told me "they turned it into a soap opera". Whatever happened to Downtown brown? I noticed that some chick replaced him the last season or two. She wasn't a bad looker even for the '80's but she was no Town that's for sure.

When I watched the reruns on A&E I notice that some details of the show are missing. I notice this more with the Magnum P.I. shows. For example When Mangnum did his weekly look into the camara or when Higgins' started remniscing on his past and the guys slowing sneek out of the room. Is it me or have they been cutting these out to show more comercials?
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Always in love with Rick
pattykeough19 August 2006
I too am enjoying this show again.

It was one of my favorites in the '80s - I believe it was a Thursday night line up Magnum, Simon and Simon and Hill Street Blues. lol. It was a running joke between a boyfriend of mine at the time because he wanted to watch the competing line up which I believe had Cosby on - and whatever other shows I don't remember.

And I feel the same way - each episode I watch now delights and surprises me with how great a show it was and what a great job both actors did of conveying the love and sometimes balancing act of being brothers. I'd be interested to know if Jameson Parker and Gerald McRaney really got along - they surely hit it right in their roles.

Gerald McRaney has been a very unappreciated actor - glad to see him working it in Deadwood.

And really Rick Simon and/or Gerald McRaney - the perfect man.
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Fantastic brother drama with comedy elements
ribender18 June 2006
This was the show I grew up on. Thursday nights were must-see TV for me long before the Seinfeld era as I had to see this show more than any other. While Magnum, P.I. got the largest following, Simon & Simon had better characters with Jameson Parker and Gerald McRaney making a terrific duo. The best years were with Downtown Brown (Tim Reid) in the cast. What made the show so enjoyable were all the inside jokes that ran throughout the show, jokes that only avid watchers would truly understand. The villains were occasionally a bit stiff, but it was the interaction between the two brothers, their mother and Downtown Brown that riveted me to the set. This show wouldn't fare well in today's TV, however, because it would probably be considered a bit cheesy or beefcake-like. The reunion TV movie was fair at best, but seasons 3-6 (if memory serves correctly) were fantastic.
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A fun, diverse P.I. show with a dose of realism!
denrainwater12 June 2006
Simon and Simon was one of my favorite TV shows, ever -- particularly of the 80's. It was funny, had plenty of action, and showed some of the REAL sides of the P.I. business; unlike the more glamorous and sexy Magnum P.I., etc. (I mean, how often did we see Magnum squirming in that Ferarri for 15 hours on a stake-out, the floor littered with coffee cups, trying to keep his eyes open just a bit longer? Or for that matter, how often did he ever collect a fee for his services?? Nothing against Magnum -- I loved that show, too. But really, how long can a guy sponge off his friends -- or a host (Robin Masters) he's never even met -- and get away with it??) Simon and Simon showed just enough of the mundane side of the investigation business to keep it believable. Particularly for those of us who worked in that career... A good balance between action and fun, and the grittier reality of real-life investigators.

Rick and A.J. were such polar opposites in clever ways that provided tension between the principal characters. The variety in their styles also gave a diverse audience something to relate to, to connect with. And who can forget Tim Reid as "Downtown" Brown, trying his darnedest to comprehend the latest scrape Rick's unorthodox methods had gotten them into?

This show's run coincided with my relatively brief tenure as an investigator, and it became a tongue-in-cheek "policy" that our crew would gather each Thursday evening to take a needed break from business, and take in an hour of Magnum for comic relief -- and then our hour of Simon and Simon... Our weekly "training" meeting ;-) Ah, those were the days!
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Fun show for a while
sp2734324 September 2002
I remember liking this show alot for the first few seasons. After that it got a little tired. The first season was the best when they filmed entirely (and brilliantly showcased) in and around San Diego. Starting with the second season, the pressure to cut costs forced the filming to be in Los Angeles, with Marina Del Rey stepping in for Pacific Beach/Mission Bay. The humour of the brothers being almost constantly broke really drove them to work, and you wonder how they made ends meet. The addition of Tim Reid to the cast gave the show a new breath, and carried it for a few more years, but by 1987 the show had run out of gas.
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An Overlooked Gem from the '80s
msnovtue14 March 2017
I am a true child of the '80s, and one of the best things was the TV and movies of the time. Not always the most sophisticated of stuff, true, but it was fun and entertaining. Watching many if those favorites now, it's painful to see just how bad some actually were (I'm looking at you, "Airwolf".) Others are just woefully dated products of their time, but still have some good storytelling at their core, like "Miami Vice".

"Simon & Simon" is, interestingly enough, neither. It's a show that could have been made or set in any recent decade from the 1970s to now and still worked, because it rests on decent-to-good storytelling, fairly witty writing, and well-developed, interesting characters. This is one of those shows that probably should have been mildly successful for 2-4 seasons and the disappeared into TV history.

What made the difference is the cast they got, in particular Gerald McRaney and Jameson Parker. I have a hard time thinking of another set of actors that were more believable as siblings. It was just so effortless how they played off each other. And face it--if you step back a bit, both the Simon brothers could've easily come off as highly irritating and rather unlikable. AJ was a 'preppy' college boy who was basically slumming it, and Rickmwas a grumpy-ass ex-Marine who tended to try to con his way out of uncomfortable situations.

Instead, AJ ended up being a guy who, as much as he griped about his brother's less-than-cultured habits, would go to hell and back to stand up for others, and God Help You if you messed with his family, because the preppy pretty boy could get downright scary if you did. Rick, for all his foibles, bad habits and fast-talking, would be quick to remind you why some say there's no such thing as an "ex" Marine if you messed with his baby brother.

The show in general was a cut above because it was witty, smartly written, and after the initial learning period, let the characters lead the stories rather than trying to force its characters into certain story lines. And when I say it was smart & witty, I don't mean highbrow or overly aware of its own wit. There was *plenty* of lowbrow humor-but the comedic timing and pacing was brilliant. It (mostly) didn't try to go beyond what it was, but instead excelled at just doing that. No need to give AJ a long, high-IQ rant when a pithy comment from Rick covered it nicely.

With all the remakes of everything popping up everywhere these days, I'm a little surprised a network hasn't given Simon & Simon a look. Other than a few time period updates, a witty, entertaining show that could be fairly low-budget would seem like a dream for some enterprising network.... All the same, though, I'm still highly entertained by the original.
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No Honor Among Thieves!
Sylviastel16 November 2015
Simon & Simon was a rare series in the 1980s. While crime dramas have risen in popularity over the last thirty years, this series was both entertaining and enlightening without being violent or murderous. For the first season, the Simon brothers are San Diego private detectives. They are more involved in kidnapping, robbery, burglary, etc. There is some mild violence but nothing serious. Gerard McRaney and Jameson Parker are believable as brothers. Their characters are developed to be solid and different. The series has quite quirky theme song to go along with it. Their mother is played by Mary Carver. The San Diego setting is different and ideal for cases. I never watched the series on television and believe it followed Magnum P.I. on CBS. I'm not surprised that it lasted eight seasons. This series was a smart show and I caught the first season on DVD by chance. I love the dog, Marlow, and I enjoy the humor as well. McRaney and Parker were smart performers who should have been awarded with Emmys as well.
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An Honest Review
generationofswine9 February 2019
Rick or A.J.? I always liked Rick, he reminded me of family. A.J. always kind of reminded me of the family that was never around when you needed them.

But you know what, they were both relatable and exceptional characters to follow in a string of TV shows in the 80s that focused on detectives....I would LOVE to have those back, wouldn't you? Trade in all the police procedurals in the world for those.

Anyway, it was mainly forgotten, and that is a shame, because it was a GREAT depiction of how siblings squabble and fight and yet still stick together. It's a bit smarter than people give it credit for, but that doesn't matter because it is endlessly entertaining.
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Mostly Good
hereispierre3 July 2018
This show is mostly good. The writing was pretty good compared to other detective shows of the era and it definitely had more and better action than say Hart to Hart obviously.

Great cars, good acting. Major Dad is one of the stars. Also just about the best theme song of any show ever!
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My Favorite Show
phillipammar18 September 2017
First off, Simon & Simon was on CBS for 8 seasons (1981-1989), not 7 as the original reviewer noted. I loved this show because it was based on my favorite city - San Diego, California. The first season was shot in San Diego along with some scenes filmed in Mexico. After that most episodes were shot in Los Angeles with B-roll footage of San Diego mixed in to save on production costs. There was also a made for TV movie called Simon & Simon - In Trouble Again that aired on CBS in 1995. Re-runs of the show are currently aired on COZI-TV, or you can stream them on And all eight seasons are available on DVD.
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not the best but better than most
SnoopyStyle26 July 2015
In San Diego, the Simon brothers have a private detective agency. Rick Simon (Gerald McRaney) is a Marine Vietnam vet, a hound dog and street-wise with underworld friends. A.J. (Jameson Parker) is the younger brother, a college boy with book smarts, responsible and living with their mom. Myron Fowler is their former boss who is still bitter about their departure. He's also angry that his lawyer daughter Janet Fowler often helps the brothers on their cases. In later years, police Lieutenant Marcel Proust "Downtown" Brown (Tim Reid) is their friend inside the force.

There was an explosion of private detective shows with fun characters around that time. While it's not the best, it is better than most. Magnum is the king of the hill and these boys rode his coat tails. This show is notable for the fact that it stuck around for so long. McRaney and Parker don't really have superstar qualities but they work together well. At their best, they are loads of fun. Setting the show in San Diego allows the boys to go into Mexico every once in awhile. They do need a good third character and it's not until Tim Reid that they got a functional one. The show still suffers from a lack of good side characters. But at least their opening is really catchy.
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