Mannix is an American television detective series that ran from 1967 to 1975 on CBS. Created by Richard Levinson and William Link and developed by executive producer Bruce Geller, the title character, Joe Mannix, is a private investigator. He was played by Mike Connors.
During the first season of the series, Joe Mannix works for a large Los Angeles detective agency called Intertect, which was the planned original title of the show. His superior is Lew Wickersham, played by Joseph Campanella, with the agency featuring the use of computers to help solve crimes.
As opposed to the other employees who must wear dark suits and sit in rows of desks with only one piece of paper allowed to be on their desks at one time, Mannix belongs to the classic American detective archetype, thus he usually ignores the computers' solutions, disobeys his boss's orders, and sets out to do things his own way. He wears plaid sport coats and has his own office that he keeps sloppy between his assignments. Lew has cameras in all the rooms of Intertect monitoring the performance of his employees and providing instant feedback through intercoms in the room. Unlike the other Intertect operatives, Mannix attempts to block the camera with a coat rack and insults Lew, comparing him to Big Brother.
To improve the ratings of the show, Desilu head Lucille Ball and producer Bruce Geller made some changes, making the show similar to other private-eye shows. Ball thought the computers were too high-tech and beyond the comprehension of the average viewer of the time and had them removed.
From the second season on, Mannix works on his own with the assistance of his loyal secretary Peggy Fair, a police officer's widow played by Gail Fisher – one of the first black actresses to have a regular series role. He also has a working relationship with the Los Angeles Police Department, as he will often exchange information with his contacts. The first of these to have a featured role was Lieutenant George Kramer, portrayed by Larry Linville, who had been the partner of Peggy's late husband. Over the course of the series, Mannix's most frequently used contact is Lieutenant Art Malcolm, played by Ward Wood. Another semi-regular guest, although not as frequent, was Robert Reed, whose appearances as Lieutenant Adam Tobias coincided with his tenure on The Brady Bunch, which also was produced by Paramount Television. Jack Ging played another Mannix contact, Lieutenant Dan Ives, who made several appearances later in the series.
In the 1969 season, he also employs the services of a competitive private investigator, Albie Loos (performed by Joe Mantell), as a sort of investigative gofer. In the 1972 season, Albie returns, played by a different actor (Milton Selzer).
While Mannix was not generally known as a show that explored socially relevant topics, several episodes had topical themes. Season two had episodes featuring compulsive gambling, deaf and blind characters who were instrumental in solving cases in spite of their physical limitations, and episodes that focused on racism against Blacks and Hispanics. Season six had an episode focusing on the effects the Vietnam War had on returning veterans, including the effects of PTSD.
Joseph R. "Joe" Mannix is a regular guy, without pretense, who has a store of proverbs on which to rely in conversation. What demons he has mostly come from having fought in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, where he was initially listed as MIA while he was a prisoner of war in a brutal POW camp until he escaped. Over the length of the series, a sizable percentage of his old Army comrades turn out to have homicidal impulses against him, as does his fellow running back from his college football days.
During the series, Mannix is also revealed to have worked as a mercenary in Latin America. Like the actor who plays him, Mannix is of Armenian descent, despite the surname being traditionally an Irish one. He speaks fluent Armenian from time to time during the series, as well as conversational Spanish.
Mannix is notable for the high level of physical punishment he withstands. During the course of the series, he is shot and wounded over a dozen separate times, and knocked unconscious around 55 times. He frequently takes brutal beatings to the abdomen; some of these went on quite a long time, particularly by the television standards of the era. Whenever he gets into one of his convertibles, he can expect to be shot at or run off the road by another car or find his vehicle sabotaged. Nevertheless, he keeps his cool and perseveres until his antagonists are brought down.
While making the television pilot "The Name Is Mannix", Connors dislocated his shoulder running away from a From Russia with Love–type pursuit from a helicopter, and broke his left wrist punching a stuntman who happened to be wearing a steel plate on his back. This character aspect was lampooned multiple times by radio comedians Bob and Ray, as "Blimmix", portrayed as dim-witted, and ending with Blimmix being soundly beaten by his adversary. These parodies retained the Lalo Schifrin–composed theme song at the beginning and conclusion.
Connors later expressed his concerns over what he saw as the show's dismissive attitude toward violence and its consequences, citing the example of Mannix being thrown down a flight of stairs and appearing without a scratch almost immediately after.
Starting in season two, Mannix lives and works in West Los Angeles in a mixed-use development called Paseo Verde; his home at 17 Paseo Verde has an attached office out of which he runs his agency. Mannix grew up in a town called Summer Grove, where he was a star football and basketball player. Summer Grove had a thriving Armenian immigrant community. As of 1969, Mannix's mother had died 10 years earlier, and Mannix had not been back to the town since the funeral. Mannix's estranged father, Stefan, was still living in Summer Grove, and Mannix and his father would start a reconciliation. When Mannix returns to Summer Grove for a case three years later, his father and he are on good terms.
Following military service in the Korean War, Mannix attended Western Pacific University on the GI Bill, graduated in 1955, and obtained his private investigator's license in 1956. He is a black belt in karate. Throughout the series, he appears proficient in a variety of athletic pursuits, including sailing, horseback riding, and skiing. He is an accomplished pool player, golfs regularly, and is also a skilled airplane pilot. In the first season, he carries a Walther PP semiautomatic pistol. From the second season on, Mannix carries a Colt Detective Special snubnosed revolver in .38 Special caliber.
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In 1971, Connors guest-starred on an episode of Here's Lucy entitled "Lucy and Mannix Are Held Hostage".
In 1997, Connors reprised the role of Mannix on an episode of Diagnosis: Murder entitled "Hard-Boiled Murder", which serves as a sequel to the Mannix episode "Little Girl Lost".
"Mannix" was used as a reference several times by Mystery Science Theater 3000 when there was a foot chase or a fight.
Gary Morton, the second husband of Lucille Ball and head of Desilu Studios, noticed a 1937 Bentley convertible being driven by Mike Connors. A car enthusiast, Morton began talking about cars to Connors when he remembered a Desilu detective show coming up in which he thought Connors would do well.
Mannix was initially a production of Desilu Productions, which had been purchased by Gulf + Western earlier in 1967. During the first season, Gulf + Western integrated Desilu's operations into its Paramount Pictures subsidiary and the company became Paramount Television. The series featured a dynamic split-screen opening credits sequence set to theme music from noted composer Lalo Schifrin. Unusual for a private detective series, the Mannix theme is in triple time, the same signature used for waltzes.
The show's title card, opening credits, and closing credits roll are set in variations of the City typeface, a squared-off, split-serif face that was long used by IBM Corporation as part of their corporate design and still appears in their logo. This refers to the computers used by Intertect in the first season. The dot over the "i" in Mannix had the appearance of a computer tape reel. This was removed after the first season.
Over the life of the series, several famous entertainers were featured in one-time roles, including Neil Diamond and Buffalo Springfield as themselves and Lou Rawls as a club singer, Rich Little as an impressionist, and Milton Berle as a stand-up comedian. Essay humorist Art Buchwald also had a cameo role unrelated to journalism, and in another episode, Rona Barrett played herself.
The automobile was a focus of Mannix's professional life, and he had several of them as his personal vehicle in the eight-year run of the series. Those were:
Though a 1969 Dart was built by Barris to replicate this car in the show's 1969 season, the 1968 Dart was regularly seen during the 1969 season. (In the 1969 episode "A Penny for the Peep Show", both the 1968 and 1969 Darts are used in the same shot, to elude a police tail on Mannix, but no explanation in the episode was given for why or how two identically customized green Dart convertibles show up together.) In further tracing the car's history, the 1968 Dart was reportedly sold to a secretary at Paramount Studios and then was lost for decades until being discovered near a ranger station in the California mountains. It has since been restored to its original Mannix/Barris condition and was featured in Hemmings Muscle Machines, December 2009 issue.
The 1968 Mannix Dart and its intriguing history was also featured on the TV show Drive on Discovery HD Theater in 2010. The TV show reunited the car with Mike Connors for the first time in over 40 years. The car is currently owned by C. Van Tune, former editor-in-chief of Motor Trend magazine, who conducted the TV interview with Mike Connors and who also wrote an article on the Mannix Dart for the summer 2011 issue of Motor Trend Classic magazine. In that article, the Dart is reunited with Mike Connors, George Barris, and Mannix stuntman Dick Ziker.
Another article on the famous Dart was published in the October 2011 issue of Mopar Action magazine. An article in the New York Times (July 22, 2012) included information on the 1968 Mannix Dart and a recent photo of Mike Connors with the car. The Mannix Dart was also mentioned on Sirius/XM Radio's "60s on 6" channel by disc jockey Mike Kelly.
|Season||Episodes||Originally aired||Nielsen ratings|
|First aired||Last aired||Rank||Rating||Tied with|
|1||24||September 16, 1967||March 16, 1968||58||N/A||N/A|
|2||25||September 28, 1968||April 12, 1969||42||N/A||N/A|
|3||25||September 27, 1969||March 21, 1970||30||19.9||N/A|
|4||24||September 19, 1970||March 13, 1971||17||21.3||N/A|
|5||24||September 15, 1971||March 8, 1972||7||24.8||N/A|
|6||24||September 17, 1972||March 11, 1973||42||N/A||N/A|
|7||24||September 16, 1973||March 31, 1974||31||N/A||N/A|
|8||24||September 22, 1974||April 13, 1975||20||21.6||Cannon|
For his work on Mannix, Mike Connors was nominated for four Golden Globe Awards, winning once, and for four Emmy Awards. Gail Fisher was nominated for four Emmy Awards, winning once, and for three Golden Globe Awards, winning twice.
The series was twice nominated for the Emmy Award for Best Dramatic Series, and four times for the Golden Globe Award, winning once. In 1972, writer Mann Rubin won an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for the episode "A Step in Time".
Lalo Schifrin composed the music for the series. The theme "Mannix", with the B-side "End Game", was released as a single in 1969.
In May 2011, Connors filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court against Paramount and CBS Television Studios, claiming that he was never paid royalties from the Mannix series. With the release of the series on DVD, the case was later settled out of court in November of that year.
On May 9, 2017 CBS DVD released Mannix- The Complete series on DVD in Region 1.
In Region 4, Shock has released the first three seasons on DVD in Australia.
|DVD Name||Ep #||Release dates|
|Region 1||Region 4|
|The First Season||24||June 3, 2008||August 10, 2010|
|The Second Season||25||January 6, 2009||October 12, 2010|
|The Third Season||25||October 27, 2009||February 9, 2011|
|The Fourth Season||24||January 4, 2011||N/A|
|The Fifth Season||24||July 5, 2011||N/A|
|The Sixth Season||24||January 24, 2012||N/A|
|The Seventh Season||24||July 3, 2012||N/A|
|The Eighth and Final Season||24||December 4, 2012||N/A|
|The Complete Series||194||May 9, 2017||N/A|
CBS Television Distribution holds the distribution rights for Mannix, but does not offer the complete series (only 130 episodes) for local stations. Portions of season seven and the entire first and final seasons are not offered.
Mannix was, by one count, shot 17 times and knocked unconscious another 55 during the show's eight-year run, and how great is that?
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