Did you ever notice they swapped wives on Officer Reed in Adam-12?
Oddly, they both had romantic ties to Ricky Nelson, too.
Look, we get that continuity was not a high priority for creators of classic television. Producers hardly envisioned people repeatedly watching episodes or recording them, let alone nitpicking little details half a century later. Still, it's always a little surprising and exciting when you catch an inconsistency in a rerun.
Different actors would often play the same character without a costar doing a double-take or making note of the change. Take Adam-12, for example. Officers Reed and Malloy were tight-knit partners, but they certainly had their differences, right down to their love lives. Pete Malloy (Martin Milner) was a bachelor, showing up with different women on his arm throughout the series. (We'll talk about a particular Mayberry woman in a minute.) Jim Reed (Kent McCord) was a married man.
Jean Reed appeared in a handful of episodes over the course of seven seasons. Did you notice that two actresses played his significant other?
Mikki Jamison was the first Mrs. Reed. You can see her wearing the orange dress on the upper right. She popped up in three episodes of season two. For whatever reason, we saw nothing of Jim's wife for five years.
Then, in "Ladies' Night," a lighthearted episode in season seven, Jean returned. Only, she was portrayed by Kristin Harmon.
As you might guess from her last name, Kristin is the sister of Mark Harmon. But you might know her better as Kristin Nelson, onetime wife of teen idol Ricky Nelson. She married Nelson at the age of 17.
Here's the fun coincidence that classic television so often provides: Mikki Jamison also had a link to Ricky Nelson! In "Rick Sends a Picture," an episode of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, Jamison guest-starred as Betty, a blind date for Rick. She would return (as a different girl) for a double date with Rick and Wally in "Any Date in a Storm."
While we are on the topic of sitcom connections, let's go back to "Ladies' Night." Loverboy Pete Malloy turns up with a date in that episode, too — Aneta Corsaut, best known as the lover of Sheriff Andy!
Kristin Nelson would not appear on television again after Adam-12. Jamison would make just one more appearance on a series, in Wonder Woman.