|Warner Archive / Released August 9th, 2012|
Harry Orwell is a decidedly different detective. And Harry O is decidedly different TV show. Forced off the force thanks to a bullet lodged near his spine, former police detective Harry Orwell gets by on his disability pension and the occasional private detecting gig (“100 bucks a day. Plus expenses”). No flashy car for the downtrodden Harry – he’s as apt to get around town on bus as he is on foot. But he’s as savvy as he is sophisticated, and though he might have to avoid the slugfests, he can crack any case. Even if it sometimes breaks his heart.
The early Seventies might have been the best period for the detective genre on television; from the Rockford Files to Columbo to Kojak to Cannon. And hidden among those better known shows is this gem, Harry O.
Following his work on The Fugitive, David Janssen portrayed Harry Orwell in two tv movies and then for two seasons in a series that's chock full of pulpy goodness; sexy women, corrupt politicians and slimy businessmen. Utilizing a weary voice-over, this weary gumshoe in many ways is as much Philip Marlowe as he is Jim Rockford. The series is a treat for those who remember episodic television being just that; each episode is self contained (less one two parter) and aren't terribly sophisticated; but the secret is that they don't have to be. Jannsen is terrific and the first season features dozens of familiar faces including Kurt Russell, Sal Mineo, Jim Backus, Farrah Fawcett, Bernie Kopell, Anne Archer, Linda Evans, Broderick Crawford, Tom Atkins, Maureen McCormick, Anthony Zerbe, and Cab Calloway.
Included is the entire first season and the original pilot film, "Such Dust As Dreams Are Made On," but the second telefilm, "Smile, Jenny, You're Dead" is not included (this one features Jodie Foster and is available separately from the Warner Archive).
Harry O: The Complete First Season is an extremely entertaining series, in no small part to series star Janssen, that deserves to find a wider audience. Recommended.