Paramount // 1973 // 1192 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // July 12th, 2012
"I'm not putting long hair down, but this one I'd enjoy scalping." -- Joe Mannix
Come. Let us return to a time of magic and Mannix. It's 1973 and crime is rampant, with an ineffectual police force struggling to contain the malfeasance of evildoers. Where do you turn when the duly elected authority figures are powerless? Who can help when you've got the mob on your heels or you need to infiltrate a banana republic and give counter-revolutionaries a pacemaker?
Only one man: Joe Mannix (Mike Connors). A legendary private eye, Joe receives multiple requests for help from all manner of troubled citizens. He's so effective an investigator, even the cops find themselves beseeching his assistance. Aided by his peerless secretary/office-manager/voice-of-reason Peggy Fair (Gail Fisher), Mannix has been working like a dog for six seasons, and here's the seventh installment; a 24-episode assembly of gunfights, hand-to-hand combat, subterfuge, sleuthing and extreme hair-parting.
As the de facto Mannix biographer for DVD Verdict, I have to say this show pretty much rules. It may be a cultural relic, but Mannix's adventures are more substantial and worthwhile than simply being viewed at as nostalgia. Yeah, there's some entertainment to be had enjoying the outlandish fashion (the neck ties are astonishing in their retina-torching design) or grooving to the show's hip soundtrack, but I suspect you will ultimately make the transition from watching with hipster irony to acknowledging, "Geez, this is actually pretty cool!"
And it is pretty cool. At the center of this coolness is Mike Connors, who blends an old-school, hard-boiled private dick approach with The Terminator. His Mannix is a man's man, a glowering all-business type willing to take on all manner of ridiculous assignment.
On the crazy spectrum, nothing approaches my favorite episode of the season, the two-parter "Race Against Time," the show featuring the aforementioned banana republic plot. Seriously. Mannix is hired to infiltrate a country and oversee a heart surgeon's risky pacemaker installation into a Latin American revolutionary. It's such a far-out concept that, for this highly sensitive national security matter, a private investigator is chosen. So awesome.
Look, this won't be a revelatory experience, but if you're in the mood for some throwback badassery -- the sort of gritty, grounded "action" show that just doesn't get made anymore -- Mannix might just be worth your time.
Paramount's no-frills DVD set: six discs, standard definition 1.33:1 full frame, Dolby 2.0 Mono, and no extras.
Not Guilty...and I swear, I'm not being patronizing.
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Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 1192 Minutes
Release Year: 1973
MPAA Rating: Not Rated