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Featured TV on DVD Review: Mannix: Season Four

January 3rd, 2011

Mannix: Season Four - Buy from Amazon

I was getting worried there. Normally TV on DVD releases for catalog titles come out every six months, but it has been more than a full year since the Third Season of Mannix was released. Now Season Four is coming out this week, but was it worth the wait?

The Show

The titular Mannix is Joe Mannix, played by Mike Connors. He's a Korean War vet, which comes into play in the first episode of the season. In A Ticket to the Eclipse an army buddy asks him to investigate the murder of his niece, but when the obvious suspect (her ex-boyfriend) has an alibi, the trail leads to another former army mate of his, who is more than a little unstable. One for the Lady has Mannix on his way to his office for a late meeting, only to walk in on a jewel robbery. When the client turns out to be a phantom, the D.A. suspends his detective license while they investigate. And it's a doozy of a frame-up. Loretta Swit makes a guest appearance in Figures in a Landscape, in which Mannix is being stalked by an assassin.

In The Mouse That Died, Mannix is looking into the case of a student that has gone missing, but he finds himself in a much bigger case and the people involved have dosed him with a slow-acting poison. There are some trippy scenes in this episode. The Lost Art of Dying starts with a hostage taking on death row and their one demand is to see Mannix. When he gets there, he finds out the convicts want him to investigate the case of one of their fellow inmates, whom they believe is innocent. That's a pretty unique setup for this type of show. In The Other Game in Town, Mannix invest-- How did Rich Little get famous? As soon as I saw him in the show, I couldn't concentrate on the story. At least Canada does not have to take the blame for him, as he is an American citizen now. ... Moving on. At the beginning of The World Between, Peggy is shot and while recuperating in the hospital, she notices something strange going on with the patient across the hall.

Sunburst starts with Mannix driving down a desert highway when he pulls over to a gas station for some fuel and some water for the radiator. However, he accidentally puts himself in the middle of a robbery. At least that's what it looks like at first. A helicopter pilot flying for a local radio gets shot down in To Cage a Seagull, but it's bad news for the bad guys, as he was a friend of Mannix. In Bang, Bang, You're Dead a little girl witnesses someone planning an assassination, and claiming they will have help from the police. When her mother gets her to talk to Mannix about it, no one really believes here; after all, it is a rather unbelievable story. But when someone tries to run her over, that convinces them right away.

Duet for Three has a twist that's soo preposterous it hurts an otherwise strong episode. In Round Trip to Nowhere , a man hires Mannix to check in on someone who has been harassing his wife, but when the man is killed shortly afterward, Mannix learns nothing about the case is real, except the wife. While being chased by thugs, Mannix takes a bad fall and suffers memory loss, which leaves him asking, What Happened to Sunday? Now he's got to use his P.I. skills to retrace his steps. A few years before, Mannix cleared a guy who was wrongfully convicted. Now in The Judas Touch, the former con turned cop is suspected of killing his former cellmate and stealing the loot.

In With Intent to Kill, a cop on a big case is getting death threats but refuses to back down. Mannix is on the same job for a mystery client and he's trying to solve it before anyone gets killed. Of course, the cop is not happy someone it messing around on his case. A young boy hires Mannix in The Crime That Wasn't because he's worried that his parents are in trouble, but his parents say it was just a misunderstanding. But when someone tries to kill him, it's clear something it up. Doctor Pulaski makes a guest appearance in A Gathering of Ghosts, which has Mannix conned into going to a reunion setup by his old college football team. However, not everyone is there for good times and someone has a score to settle. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar guest stars in the next episode, A Day Filled with Shadows. He plays a basketball star whose teammate is mixed up in an organized crime syndicate. Mannix is hired by his father to find him, but the disappearance could be linked to a recent syndicate hit job.

The final disc starts with Voice in the Dark, in which a diving champion who was paralyzed in a car crash is receiving death threats, but no one believes her. Diane Keaton plays the daughter of a murdered anti-crime crusader in The Color of Murder. At the beginning of the episode she is contacted by someone who claims to know who the real killer is. At first Mannix thinks it's a con, but a gun shot convinces him otherwise. Dean Vernon Wormer shows up in Shadow Play. In this episode, Mannix is hired to deliver a package to the Los Angeles police and he's paid a lot of money to do so. When trouble starts, he learns the person who hired him was killed in a hit-and-run a number of days ago. A serial killer who goes by the name Overkill takes his eighth victim, who happened to be a friend of Mannix. While investigating the case, Mannix learns that Overkill might not have killed all of the seven previous victims.

The Extras

There are no extras on the 6-disc set. There are proper chapter placements and a play all button, but the only subtitles are in Spanish.

The Verdict

There are only a few episodes of Mannix: Season Four that are not noteworthy in some way. The vast majority have are very strong, with only a few that were less interesting. Watching the whole season in one marathon session does make a few patterns obvious, like how after the big reveal, there tends to be a gun fight. Or how easily Mannix is knocked out. But overall it is worth checking out for fans of the genre, despite the lack of extras.

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