$100 bills are still in circulation and common, and remain the largest denomination of US currency at this time.
The episode deals with a $1000 bill and that's a large denomination that's no longer made. Large currency denominations were once used principally by banks in their transactions with each other, but after a time, that practice was discontinued and so were the large bills.
The US Federal Reserve effectively withdrew these large bills back in 1969, just a few years before this MANNIX episode ("Man In A Trap"), so Joe is aware that in order to be passing around such large denominations, someone had to jump through some hoops somewhere.
I've not actually completed the episode, but I saw enough of it before nodding off to see the seen of Joe deducing the relative rarity of the $1000 bill as a piece of currency.
John McLiam played the PI who gets knocked off in the opening scene by Erik Estrada. McLiam was a character actor whose face was everywhere in television. Madlyn Rhue makes an appearance here - she who captivated the mighty Khan in STAR TREK's "Space Seed."
In reading through THESE ARE THE VOYAGES PART 1 about the first season of STAR TREK, I learned that Joe d'Agosta, the casting manager for Desilu came up with a scenario where he'd hire guest stars on a three-fer basis. That is, instead of paying them say $1500 for a guest shot on STAR TREK, he'd double the price and get them on three different series. So instead of the going rate, he'd actually pay them less per appearance, but guarantee them work in three different series, which explains why there are so many cross-series appearances of these actors on STAR TREK, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE and MANNIX.
Well, a $1000 bill makes a lot more sense than a $100 bill -- not sure what I was thinking!
Yes, Peggy makes fun of the way she is paid -- but, she winds up owning her own home season 6, and we get to see its interior in a later episode ("Chance Meeting" -- one of your later posts.). One gets the clear impression that Peggy ultimately does better, financially, by working for Joe than she would have by staying, for example, in the DMV -- and the series makes it clear that not all PIs treat their secretaries that way, or even have one in the first place. Notice, however, that mention was also made that Joe did not pay her every week, when she first started to work for him!
But that is one of those structural things that make the show so brilliant. Joe and Peggy can tease each other -- like loving adults do (loving in the sense of friendship or otherwise). But, Joe the employer clearly treats Peggy well, even though no big deal is made of this. It is simply there, as a part of the structure of the show -- to be inferred, not to be spelled out.
And, as a result of this, you get the sense that even though Peggy's husband died (a heroic death), Peggy sort of gets a life as a result. You get the sense that she is exposed to more and experiences more by working for Joe than if she had stayed a conventional policeman's wife. Now, of course, we do not know what would have happened to Peggy if her husband had lived -- she may have gone on to do great things. But, a lot of people in stable situations don't tend to move from them. The structural premise of her backstory is that she was forced into something she may not have otherwise chosen -- and something good came of it, even better, much more than the might have imagined, far more than she might have hoped for.
That is a big part of the American story -- the way it used to be. Bad things happen to people -- but, they can encounter good people, like Joe, and live fuller lives as a result.
Notice how we don't have that kind of backstory so much. These days, our backstories have more to do with enmeshment and entanglements (the product of family values -- the politics of these past decades) -- stories about dealing with issues that pertain to being stuck. This is a subtle, but important, difference in our own backstories.
Then again, one could argue that there used to be more Joe Mannix types in our culture.
But, of course, those types were also influenced by story.
I'm absolutely fascinated by the "big three" Desilu productions of Star Trek, Mission: Impossible, and Mannix. There were so many shared sets, behind the scenes people, and guest stars. But, the three shows are distinctly different in gimmick. Even the original gimmick of Mannix was distinctly different from the other two. But, then Mannix dumped that gimmick -- and became about something else.
It's difficult to point to Mannix (seasons 2-8) what its gimmick is -- its structure does not distill to a logline. The closest we can get is that Joe Mannix is an LA-based, tough PI. But that says so little, the younger generation will not bother. The seek gimmicks first, and structural elements second. And yet, Mannix' structural elements are brilliant -- rich and varied. They include (among many other things) Peggy's backstory which involves the premise of her having a fuller life because her husband died than she might have otherwise. She winds up helping a purely heroic type, a singular good guy, in situation after situation -- the premise that suffering and loss can lead to better things, bigger purpose. Suffering and loss can lead to redemption. This type of backstory is almost like heresy in today's culture. But, it is a rich back story -- and we lose it at our peril.
And, it was right there, in the background of Mannix.
Oh, how I love this series!