Think of it as The Odd Couple Private Investigation Agency. These guys might be brothers, but they have only one thing in common, and that’s their skills as private investigators. Otherwise they are as far apart as night and day. A.J.’s (Parker) the clean cut, nearly anal member of the sibling pair. He sees the detective game more in the mainstream world and tries to play things straight and by the book. Rick (McRaney), on the other hand, is a slob of a guy. He’s the kicked back let life come to him sort of chap. He doesn’t pick up very much after himself. He lives a Bohemian lifestyle complete with houseboat and Sanford and Son beat up pick ‘em up truck. Neither of them are pulling in very much money and have to deal with Mom’s (Carver) disapproval of their chosen profession. The two treat everything like a competition and take sibling rivalry to new heights. They were also in heated competition with the detective agency on the same block, run by crotchety old Myron Fowler (Barth) and his daughter Janet (Wilson). Janet eventually becomes a district attorney and really gets under the brothers’ skin. Unfortunately she’s absent on all but a couple of the third season’s cases. The pair worked with rather off the wall detective Downtown Brown played by WKRP’s own Venus Flytrap, Tim Reid. He was one of those end justifies the means kind of a guy.
The cases were always just a little over their heads and often led them into various traps, gunfights, and car chases. The real charm of the show was watching the brothers working together. They would fight and argue about pretty much everything. Still, when the chips were down, they could always each depend on the other to have his back. They weren’t the brightest of detectives and fell into as many clues by dumb luck as through good investigation technique. It was most definitely a lighter show than most of the detective shows of the 80’s. Miami Vice this was not. The pair went against the mold in almost every aspect. They were not very good with the ladies. They didn’t drive hot fast cars. They were almost always out of money. And, they carried themselves as immature frat boys most of the time. The appeal was their Joe Public image. It must have worked, because the show ran for nearly a decade.
The third season brought some rather fun and exciting cases. The boys get involved in a magician rivalry in Grand Illusion. In Caught Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea the boys are hired to find a cop suspected of killing another cop. In The Bare Facts the brothers pose as nudists. Like all good television detectives, the boys can’t even get a vacation without running into trouble. They take their daughters on a cruise in Bon Voyage, Alonso and wouldn’t you know it the ship is hijacked. The brothers get framed for smuggling in Double Play. Now they have to find out what’s really going on or spend a lot of years in prison. Evidence points to famed outlaw John Dillinger when the boys try to track down the killer of an FBI agent in The Dillinger Print. The boys are hired to help a guy disappear in The Disappearance Of Harry The Hat. Looks like they didn’t quite vet their client, because he has some serious reasons for wanting to disappear. All of this and more is waiting for you as Shout brings you the complete third season, all 23 episodes on 6 discs.
Each episode of Simon And Simon is presented in its original broadcast full frame format. There’s color bleed and a serious lack of definition. The series was originally lensed on film, and you can see a ton of specks and artifacts to prove it. You’re not going to be buying this set for its superior video presentation.
The Dolby Digital Mono track delivers exactly what you are looking for and nothing more. The dialog is clear, and that’s all you’re going to get out of this minimalist presentation.
As I watch this show for the first time since it ran originally a couple of decades ago, I see a lot of influence from The Rockford Files. The show had that same everyman wise guy type of style going for it. Like Rockford there was the disapproving parent, this time a mother instead of a father. You also got a lot of those stumbling into bad situations in both shows. If Rockford had had a brother, this is the kind of show it might have been. “That’s exactly the type of sensational stuff people eat up with a spoon.”