Friday, Nov. 23, 2012

Mannix: The Final Chapter

By David Luhrssen
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  Joe Mannix was in the top tier of ‘70s TV detectives. Mike Connors played the ruggedly handsome, unflappable man with a cool pad,  black gal Friday (groundbreaking in those years), a two-door Chevy and a gun concealed under his loud plaid sport coat. The long-running “Mannix” series had all the characteristics of the era, including cool split-screen action images under the credits and a dynamic Lalo Schifrin theme, whose shifting jazz textures encapsulated the title character’s personality contrasts. He was hard as steel, yet sympathetic.

The six-disc DVD set “Mannix: The Final Season” covers 1974-1975 and pits the P.I. against a corrupt music mogul (a parody of Phil Spector?), a homicidal DJ (played by a sweaty Larry Storch) along with the usual psychotic war veterans and ruthless drug dealers. Famous guest stars include gossip columnist Rona Barrett, playing herself in an episode involving Hollywood intrigue. Leathery tough, Mannix was a detective who survived every blow except network cancellation after eight seasons.

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