Do you remember the show 'Harry O'?
Former Fugitive David Janssen turned private eye alongside Farrah Fawcett.
Image: Warner Bros. Television
On a Tuesday evening in August 1967, nearly half of all television owners were tuned in to ABC to find out the fate of Richard Kimble and the One-Armed Man. Spoiler alert: the One-Armed Man falls to his death from a carnival tower and Dr. Kimble is finally exonerated. Part two of The Fugitive finale was the most watched television episode up to that point. Most of America was familiar with star David Janssen, who perfectly portrayed the titular man on the run.
After the series, Janssen filmed a handful of movies before returning to the small screen for the headline role in O'Hara, U.S. Treasury. The 1971–72 action series about a T-man was co-created by Jack Webb, the realism-loving TV guru behind Dragnet and Adam-12. Alas, they can't all be winners, and O'Hara lasted a mere season. Perhaps the U.S. Treasury is not as exciting as it sounds.
Janssen returned with another lead role in Harry O. The crime drama followed two pilot films, Such Dust as Dreams Are Made On (March 1973) and the subsequent Smile Jenny, You're Dead (February 1974). In a premise somewhat similar to Ironside, though not as tragic, a police officer, Harry Orwell, is forced to retire after being shot in the back. He sets up shop as a P.I. in San Diego.
Well, for a while. Halfway through the first season, the setting abruptly changed to Los Angeles. The tone also shifted to something lighter, as most of the grit came from the sand outside Harry O's beach pad. He must have been just down the coast from Rockford. Farrah Fawcett (then Fawcett-Majors) also joined the cast as the stewardess-next-door, certainly adding to the appeal.
The show continued to evolve, as the theme song changed in season two. In 1976, Anthony Zerbe, who played Harry's police contact, won the Emmy for Outstanding Continuing Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. In April of that year, Harry O aired its final episode.
Did you watch this brief, mercurial detective series?