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 kick 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 fourth season continues the ride. In Manna From Heaven, Rick’s boat gets repossessed. But when the company’s president gets killed, Rick is in even deeper trouble, because he doesn’t even know the name of the woman he was with at the time of the murder. In Who Killed The Sixties, the boys run into AJ’s old school girlfriend and get sucked into an old murder at a Concert For Peace. Almost Completely Out Of Circulation has the boys looking into the murder of a cartoonist who left clues in his strip. In Deep Cover, the boys are trying to protect a reporter from a hit man who was hired by the reporter himself. The two part episode Simon Without Simon finds the boys split up by competing job offers and then almost framed for murder. In Mummy Talks, the boys are hot on the trail of a killer mummy? Nah, but when one shows up that might be a famous Egyptian figure, it could be murder anyway.
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.
What’s really amazing is the legs this show ended up having. When you consider it was the chemistry between the brothers that really drove the series and not the cases, the writers, actors, and crew did a pretty good job of getting folks to tune in from week to week. Even more surprising is how quickly such a long-running series was forgotten. I’m amazed at how many people look at me quizzically when I mention the series. For a show with such a loyal following, so few remember those glory years. If you want to recapture some or just refresh your memory on any of the 8 seasons, “Make it four”.