Mannix: The Final Season
Directed by Arnold Laven et al
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Running Time: 1,214 minutes
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 mono English
Release Date: December 4, 2012
Review Date: November 28, 2012
L.A. detective Joe Mannix (Mike Connors) and his Girl Friday Peggy Fair (Gail Fisher) have a rough and tumble final season courtesy of the show’s writers. In addition to the standard murder cases, there are plots that involve hostage taking, blackmail, assassination attempts, and smuggling with Joe often at the center of the mayhem. Among the outstanding cases of this season are the premiere episode where Joe tries to help two musicians who seem under fire, a clever plot that traps Joe inside a building that’s being robbed by a team of bandits (this was more than a decade before Bruce Willis had the same problem in Die Hard though the surprise ending here is easily spotted), a fun episode where Joe works with his Tokyo counterpart, and an unusual kidnapping scenario in which the ransom is paid by playing and losing at gin rummy. The series finale is a bit of a bummer since Gail Fisher’s Peggy doesn’t even appear and thus get a final fade-out, but she does get mistakenly abducted earlier in the season in one of the more exciting episodes. Joe finds time to fall in love this season in a story that’s very indebted to the movie Laura with Joe falling for an assumed dead woman in a picture who’s actually very much alive. The growing drug problem in the United States is also apparent in that more of the cases this season involve drug dealing, smuggling, and distribution.
As always, CBS managed to attract a large quantity of top-notch guest stars to the program. Among some of the personalities who graced this season of the show (which includes a surprising number of award-winning actors) are Larry Storch, Barry Gordon, Rue Maclanahan, Norman Alden, James Olson, Katherine Helmond, James Naughton, Kim Hamilton, Anna Lee, Russell Johnson, Elisha Cook, Scatman Carothers, Lynn Carlin, Mako, Jay Robinson, Rosemary Forsyth, Leif Erickson, Carol Lawrence, Paul Burke, George Wyner, Rona Barrett, Vincent Baggetta, Anthony Zerbe, Tim Thomerson, Erik Estrada, Pamela Bellwood, Stafford Repp, Madlyn Rhue, Harriet MacGibbon, Geoffrey Deuel, Lurene Tuttle, Frank Aletter, Gerald McRaney, Dabney Coleman, Howard Hesseman, Diana Hyland, Alan Oppenheimer, Bill Bixby (who also directed four episodes this season including the series finale), Pippa Scott, Robert Loggia, Andrea Marcovicci, Dimetra Arliss, Barbara Rush, Tom Selleck, John Hillerman, Paul Mantee, John Ritter, James Hampton, and William Windom. This season, Ward Wood plays Lt. Art Malcolm who assists Joe in all but a couple of the episodes. Robert Reed who had been a recurring police lieutenant in previous seasons does not appear in this final season.
Here are the twenty-four episodes contained on six discs which comprise the final season of Mannix:
1 – Portrait in Blues
2 – Game Plan
3 – A Fine Day for Dying
4 – Walk on the Blind Side
5 – The Green Man
6 – Death Has No Face
7 – A Small Favor for an Old Friend
8 – Enter Tami Okada
9 – Picture of a Shadow
10 – Desert Sun
11 – The Survivor Who Wasn’t (my favorite episode of the season will keep you guessing)
12 – A Choice of Victims
13 – A Word Called Courage
14 – Man in a Trap
15 – Chance Meeting
16 – Edge of the Web
17 – A Ransom for Yesterday (a cold case of kidnapping revives after six years in an unusual story)
18 – The Empty Tower
19 – Quartet for Blunt Instrument
20 – Bird of Prey Part I
21 – Bird of Prey Part II
22 – Design for Dying
23 – Search for a Dead Man
24 – Hardball
The transfers have faithfully adhered to the original 1.33:1 television aspect ratio. The liner notes mention that these episodes have been digitally remastered, and they certainly look it with clear and mostly clean images being the order of the day. Sharpness is very good to excellent, and color is nicely saturated but always under control. Flesh tones are very appealing. Black levels vary from okay to very good. The weakest episode in terms of quality is “Walk on the Blind Side” which seems to have the greatest amount of age-related damage and debris. There are incidents of aliasing and moiré patterns on and off, but these are never distracting. Each episode has been divided into 6 chapters.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound mix is decoded by Dolby Prologic properly into the center channel. Dialogue is well recorded and resides comfortably with the music and sound effects which occupy the same track. Age-related problems with hiss or crackle are simply not present. There are some episodes which feature some rather strained ADR work which doesn’t balance well with the directly recorded dialogue, but that doesn’t happen very often.
There are no bonus features at all apart from some promo trailers for the DVD releases of the original Hawaii Five-O, Bonanza, and The Wild Wild West.
3.5/5 (not an average)
So, goodbye to Joe Mannix and Peggy Fair in the entertaining crime drama Mannix. Eight seasons was a long and worthwhile run for the show which went out while still offering intriguing mysteries and good action for its fans.