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Featured TV on DVD Review: Mannix: Season Seven

July 1st, 2012

Mannix: Season Seven - Buy from Amazon

Season Seven is the penultimate season for Mannix. It's an old show, both in terms of how long it remained on the air, and by how long ago it first came out. So has it aged well? And does it avoid feeling stale seven years into its run?

The Show

I've reviewed Mannix so many times in the past that there's little that needs to be said about the show's basic setup. Mike Connors plays Joe Mannix, a P.I. who gets shot a lot and knocked out even more often, but who still manages to get the job done.

The season begins with The Girl in the Polka Dot Dress. Here a psychic tells him he saw a woman, the titular Girl in the Polka Dot Dress, getting shot and he thinks it is going to happen tonight. When it comes true, Mannix tries to figure out if it was a real vision or if the psychic is a fraud. The question becomes more complicated when it turns out the woman is the mistress of one of Mannix's old friends, who is currently going through a divorce. Mannix travels to a small town to help an old friend find her missing son in A Way to Dusty Death. He was mixed up in the wrong crowd, a motorcycle gang. The same gang harasses Mannix as he comes into town. However, it seems the cops are less interested in the gang and more interested in getting Mannix out of town. Mannix has a top secret gig and he doesn't know what it is about or even where the job is. He's got $5,000 in advance and a plane trip somewhere. Wherever it was, he doesn't get there, as the plane crashes. He is rescued by an escaped convict, Greg Morris. They agree to help each other, but it could be costly for Mannix, as the local cops are not interested in capturing him, but silencing him and anyone he's talked to. A newspaper reporter is shot right in front of his young daughter and Mannix thinks it has to do with a story he was working on dealing with organized crime.

In The Gang's All Here, Mannix gets into a shootout with the former leader of The Nomads, a street gang. Now the Nomads want to kill Mannix, partly for revenge and partly to intimidate a rival gang. Desert Run has Mannix looking for a pilot who crashed during a storm. He finds nothing, except a weird tiny town. When he comes back to talk to the wife, he finds out the woman who talked to him wasn't the real Mrs. Slocum. In Silent Target Mannix takes a well deserved vacation. However, his car overheats while driving through the desert and when he walks to a house to ask for help, the owner, John Hillerman, is the head of a hitmen-for-hire organization. Talk about bad luck. (These hitmen include Frank Langella, so it's a guest shot two-for-one.) A World Without Sundays has a man and a woman driving along the back roads from Vegas when they run out of gas. He walks back to get some gas when he spots a cop, who recognizes the man as Marty Hatch, an ex-football player. When the pair get back to the car, the woman is gone. This would be a pretty normal setup for a missing persons case, except the man doesn't tell the cop there was a woman. The missing woman's roommate calls Mannix to get him to look for her. When he asks Marty about the missing woman, he finds out she's the girlfriend of a mobster. No wonder he didn't tell the cops.

In Sing a Song of Murder, Mannix is looking forward to seeing Barbara Sonderman singing, as he's a big fan of hers, but he gets a chance to meet her in person, after someone tries to shoot her. There's a list of suspects, including her understudy or one of many ex-lovers. Search in the Dark involves a case of stolen gems, ones that Mannix previously tried to find. It's one of the most complicated cases. Anne Baxter stars as an actress in The Deadly Madonna. Her character suffered from a breakdown after her husband died in a car crash, but was getting back into the business. Now someone's threatening her... or maybe it's a relapse. Diana Muldaur plays an ex-girlfriend of Mannix in Cry Danger. Mannix bumps into her at the airport, only to learn she's married, and was married from before. That's not the worst bit of news Mannix learns that day. She's apparently involved in something illegal that's worth $14 million, and now some of her partners think he is involved and try to beat some information out of him.

In All the Dead Were Strangers, several people are murdered and they seemingly have no connection, except they all survived a plane crash. Race Against Time is a rare two-parter. Victor Lucas is a revolutionary trying to end a military dictatorship in his home country, but he's dying and needs heart surgery. Mannix is needed to escort the doctor to Victor Lucas and get him out again, but first he has to convince the doctor, John Colicos (he played Kor in the original Star Trek). It's a good change of pace for the show. At the beginning of The Dark Hours, Mannix is knocked unconscious, kidnapped, shot, and left for dead. Stuck in a hospital bed, Mannix tries to remember what happened to him that led to him being shot. Another good change of pace for the show.

In A Night Full of Darkness, Lt. Art Malcolm gets married, but it is a short honeymoon, as he and his new wife are shot just after leaving the reception. He survives, she doesn't. Now he's bent on bringing in the man he thinks is responsible, John Sato. But when Sato is killed, all the evidence points to the Lieutenant and he is arrested. He claims he doesn't remember what happened. It's going to be tough to prove he was framed. In Walk a Double Line a man walks into his boss's office for what should be a promotion, but instead shoots him. Now he is on the run and his wife wants Mannix to help. She only wants him to bring her husband in before he's shot by the cops. However, Mannix knows there's something fishy. In The Girl from Nowhere a young girl is killed in an accident, but the cops don't know who she is. No one has claimed the body and there are no missing person reports. This of course gets Mannix interested. In Rage to Kill, a famous psychiatrist kills himself, but not everyone thinks it was suicide. He wrote a book on three murderers, but he hid their identities. However, anyone of them could have found out they were one of the subjects and killed him.

A loan shark is killed in a drive-by shooting in Mask for a Charade, and a cop, Sergeant. Al Reardon (Claude Akins) is arrested for the crime. His car was used in the crime and the witnesses did pick him out of a lineup. Worse still, Al was in debt to the loan shark. It seems like a clear-cut case. A Question of Murder starts with an aging boxer losing a fight before being killed in a hit-and-run. However, he lives long enough to tell a young fan of his who killed him. Now the kid hires Mannix to prove it was murder and not an accident. Trap for a Pigeon begins with a robbery. One of the things stolen was a briefcase belonging to a lawyer representing Adente, a known Mafia currently on trial. The lawyer claims the briefcase has evidence that will prove he is innocent and wants Mannix to find it. Despite misgivings, Mannix takes the case. The season ends with The Ragged Edge, which has Mannix as a heroin addict. It's an excellent episode and a great way to end the season. Then again, there isn't a single bad episode all season.

The Extras

As is the norm for this so, there are no extras on the 6-disc set, but there are subtitles, proper chapter placements, and play all buttons. On a side note, Paramount digitally remastered the show and sometimes the video quality is amazing. Other times, it is really showing its age.

The Verdict

As I've pointed out before, Mannix's great strength has been its consistency. Episode after episode has the right mix of mystery and action and there's enough variation in the cases to not seem repetitive. Every single episode in season seven is worth watching and all have some replay value. Fans of the show should be happy to add this season to their collection.

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