When he was a child, Judge David Johnson wanted to grow up to be a grizzled 1970s-era detective.
Your dad, the cop.
Don't remember this one. Warner Archive apparently thinks highly enough of this 1973 detective series that spanned all of two seasons and featured one of the least-electrifying heroes to ever grace the screen, small or otherwise. He's Harry Orwell (David Jansenn, The Fugitive), a former cop who was forced to retire when a bullet lodged in his spine. Now he spends his time scraping together meager earnings as a part-time private investigator, funds he uses to supplement his police disability (the series makes a big deal out of this for some reason). Harry doesn't have a car, taking the bus when he needs to travel, and mopes around in cheap clothes. But he can solve mysteries and seems to attract the services of attractive women, so he's got that going for him.
Harry O: The Complete First Season offers up 22 episodes on six discs, including the made-for-TV pilot film. Harry's adventures tend towards the mundane. The people in distress aren't squaring off with many exotic threats, which is fine because Harry operates a few degrees north of idle. When he wraps up his cases he, likes to embark on windy monologues that send the episode into a fade-to-black and the audience into a light coma.
Some recognizable faces pop up, including Anthony Zerbe (Licence to Kill) as the exasperated police official who finds himself consistently drawn into Harry's goings-on, as well as Martin Sheen (The West Wing), Linda Evans (Dynasty), and Maureen McCormick (The Brady Bunch). When I'm faced with an antiquated relic of a series like Harry O, I find spot-the-celebrity a much-needed mini-game to keep my interest from totally flagging.
And in the end that's what we're dealing with here: a relic. I don't know what the outcry was for this series, but apparently there are still fans somewhere out there. I would wager they must have been established four decades ago when the show made its abbreviated broadcast, because I'll be honest: I can't see anyone else plugging into Harry's slow-moving, yawn-inducing world.
The DVD: standard definition 1.33:1 full screen, Dolby 2.0 Mono, and just the TV movie as a bonus.
Hey, Harry. Stay retired.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
• TV Movie
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