9 hard-boiled facts about 'Mannix'

Learn how Lucy, Neil Young and Mike Brady all interacted with the tough detective.

Image: The Everett Collection

Los Angeles private eye Joe Mannix (Mike Connors) is a dressed-down detective who plays by his own rules and isn't afraid of a whooping. He's a hard-living, hard-working man's man who never backs down and never loses.

Loaded with plenty of brawling, shootouts and car chases, Mannix ran on CBS from 1967 to 1975 and was perhaps the most exciting and violent television series of its era.

Buckle up. It's going to be a wild ride. Here are nine facts you may not have known about Mannix.

WATCH 'MANNIX' ON METV - WEEKNIGHTS AT 2AM | 1C.

1. Richard Levinson and William Link dreamt up Joe.

The minds behind ColumboEllery Queen and Murder, She Wrote also dreamt up Joe Mannix. Television collaborators Levinson and Link channelled their inner tough guys in the creation of the rough-and-tumble detective.

2. The series was the last produced by Desilu.

Mannix was the last series produced by Desilu Productions, which was helmed by Lucille Ball at the time. She sold Desilu in 1967 to Gulf+Western, and the studio was renamed Paramount Television. At the time of the sale, the shows Desilu had in production were Mission: ImpossibleMannixThe Lucy Show and Star Trek.

3. 'Mannix' was not the original title.

Imagine if Mannix was called Intertect. Sound familiar? Intertect was the sterile, surveillance-riddled Los Angeles detective agency Mannix worked for in season one. A gruff non-conformist, Mannix never fit in at the 1984-inspired detective agency, and, luckily, the name didn't stick.

4. Season two got a major overhaul.

Hoping to improve ratings, Lucille Ball and producer Bruce Geller decided to do away with the Orwellian Intertect and its high-tech computers and cast season two in a more conventional detective series mold. From the second season on, Mannix is a private eye, assisted by his receptionist, Peggy Fair. He also would have help from friends at the LAPD.

5. Gail Fisher was a television trailblazer.

Gail Fisher was one of the first African-American actresses to have a regular role on a television series. She played secretary Peggy Fair from 1968 to 1975 and received two Golden Globe Awards and an Emmy Award for the role. Fisher was the first African-American woman to win a Golden Globe.

6. Mike Brady was a cop for the LAPD.

The patriarch of television's most famous blended family, Mike Brady also was moonlighting as an LAPD cop. Robert Reed of The Brady Bunch fame had a recurring role on Mannix as Lt. Adam Tobias from 1969 to 1975.

7. Joe Mannix was one tough cookie.

Mannix takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'. He was shot, stabbed, beaten up, run off the road. During the show's eight-year run, Mannix was shot nearly 20 times and knocked unconscious at least 50 times. And while making the show's pilot, Mike Connors managed to dislocate his shoulder and break his hand while filming a scene.

8. There were two 'Mannix' crossovers.

In the grand tradition of famous guest stars on Lucille Ball's television series, Mike Connors appears as the tough detective on a 1971 episode of Here's Lucy titled "Lucy and Mannix Are Held Hostage." Years later, Connors would reprise the role in an episode of Diagnosis: Murder titled "Hard-Boiled Murder." The episode served as a sequel to Mannix episode "Little Lost Girl" (1973).

9. Buffalo Springfield made a guest appearance.

Neil Young does not seem like a likely suspect for a Mannix cameo, but there he is, on the right, ripping through "Bluebird" in the 1967 episode "Warning: Live Blueberries!"

Enjoy even more classic shows on-air! Find where to watch MeTV in Washington, DC