The show was created by the team of Link and Levinson, who later gave us the detective in the rumpled raincoat, Columbo. It was groundbreaking in so many areas. While it might not be remembered today as one of the top detective shows, there can be no argument about the impact Mannix had on the genre. A decade later one of my favorite television detectives, Jim Rockford, would borrow rather heavily from Mannix. Like Rockford, Mannix was getting beat up a lot. They both had the same sense of style, wearing rather ugly sports jackets. Neither was afraid to bend the rules, or the law, when necessary. Again like Rockford, Mannix often falls for the wrong girl at the wrong time. Mannix was good with a gun and equally adept with his fists. The show received a ton of controversy from the start for the amount of violence it employed. Tame by today’s standards, Mannix was quite aggressive for its time. The joke was that the show’s producers mandated a fight or car chase every 15 minutes whether it was needed or not. I’m sure that wasn’t true, but nonetheless the show opened the floodgates for the detective shows that followed. In this first season, Mannix worked for the enigmatic detective agency, Intertect. They supplied him with the latest in modern technology and with his cases. His main company contact was Lou Wickersham, played by Joseph Campanella. Now Mannix is on his own and begins to resemble more and more these detectives that would eventually follow in his tire tracks.
Season 2 sees a lot of changes for Mannix. He has left Intertect, and gone now is friend and boss played by Campanella. Papa Brady, Robert Reed, joins the show as a police contact for Mannix, Lt. Tobias. Ward Wood played another police contact, Lt. Malcolm. Gail Fisher would join the cast as his faithful secretary and confidant, Peggy Fair. There are a lot of parallels between Peggy Fair and Perry Mason’s Della. Both were completely loyal and were instrumental sounding boards. Campanella showed up a few times in this season but was eventually completely gone from the series. Mannix relied more on his fists and his gun now than he did his brains, and the show became more of an action show than it had been.
You get all 25 2nd season episodes on 6 discs.
Each Mannix episode is presented in its original television full frame format. We’re talking about a 40 year old television show, and your expectations should be adjusted accordingly. Overall the transfers are remarkably solid. While colors are a bit soft, the picture itself is rather clean. The most notable standout is the rather generous level of grain, but this should never be considered a defect, but rather the result of the film’s stock and a legitimate part of the presentation. Print defects are minimal when you consider the age. Black levels are relatively weak but do not seriously take away from the experience.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 track does what it needs to do, nothing less, nothing more. You get to hear the dialog and the energetic and jazzy theme perfectly, even if not in a more modern dynamic presentation. The show never sounded better and is not likely to at any time in the future.
Sadly, no extras this time.
This season brings you the Mannix that would be seen for 7 years on television. The close, but never romantic, relationship with Peggy Fair would help to bring some stability to the show after such a serious retooling. Still, I missed Campanella most of all. His guest appearances only further served to show how important he was to the mix. Overall it was a year of changes on Mannix. Even the cars changed because of the new relationships of the parent studio company. Now that we’ve settled, will Paramount reward us with more Mannix on DVD?’ “I sure hope so.”