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.
|Created by||Richard Levinson|
|Developed by||Bruce Geller|
|Theme music composer||Lalo Schifrin|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||8|
|No. of episodes||194 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||approx. 50 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Desilu Productions|
|Distributor||Paramount Television Domestic Distribution|
CBS Television Distribution (2007–present)
|Original release||September 16, 1967 –|
April 13, 1975
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. Intertect uses computers to help solve crimes.
As opposed to the other employees, 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 the Intertect offices 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 questions 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 theme song composed by Lalo Schifrin at the beginning and conclusion.
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. The design for the 17 Paseo Verde set is based on a Santa Barbara, CA, building that still exists.
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.
Appearances on other shows
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:
- Season 1 – 1966 Mercury Comet Caliente convertible (pilot episode: "The Name Is Mannix"), 1967 Mercury Comet Cyclone convertible (one episode only: "Skid Marks on a Dry Run"), 1967 Ford Galaxie 500 four-door hardtop then a 1967 Ford Fairlane 500 four-door sedan after the Galaxie got shot up – both were Intertect company cars (one episode only: "The Cost of a Vacation"). In all other season-one episodes, Mannix drove a 1967 Oldsmobile Toronado customized into a roadster by George Barris, builder of TV's Batmobile from the 1960s Batman ABC series, since the producers wanted a convertible and Oldsmobile never produced an open-topped Toronado. Due to a change in episode run order ("The Cost of a Vacation" was the second episode of Mannix shot after the pilot, although it was the sixth episode CBS broadcast), the one-shot appearances of the Galaxie and Fairlane were after the Toronado had been established as Mannix's car.
- Season 2 – 1968 Dodge Dart GTS 340 convertible "kustomized" by George Barris with functional hood scoops, Lucas Flamethrower driving lights, blacked-out grille, racing-style gas filler cap, molded-in rear spoiler, blacked out tail light panel, and custom tail light lenses. The car was originally red, but Executive Producer Bruce Geller wanted it changed to a British Racing Green, which Barris did. (This car still retains its original red paint under the carpet.) A Motorola car-phone (a remarkably expensive and rare item in 1968) was installed. Rader mag wheels like those on the Batmobile were originally installed by Barris, but changed later in the 1968 season to Cragar S/S chrome wheels. George Barris also installed his own "Barris Kustoms" emblem on the lower part of each front fender. No duplicate 1968 Mannix Darts were built; it is a "1 of 1" car. This car was used in both the 1968 and 1969 seasons of Mannix.
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 Southern 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 3 – 1969 Dodge Dart GTS 340 convertible "kustomized" by George Barris to replicate the 1968 Dart: This car was totalled in a wreck soon after being sold, following its use on the series.
- Season 4 – 1970 Plymouth Cuda 340 dark green convertible.
- Season 5 – 1971 Plymouth Cuda convertible, actually, three 1971s (all dark green with green interiors and black soft tops), were supplied by Chrysler Corporation, and all had differently sized (318, 340, 383) engines. One was wrecked, but later repaired. One episode the hood is raised, dynamite discovered, and the air cleaner reads 383.
- Season 6 – 1973 Plymouth Cuda convertible (actually two of the 1971 cars updated with 1973 grilles, headlamps, front fenders, front/rear bumpers, and tail lights.)
- Season 7 – 1974 Dodge Challenger 360 Coupe: Two were built especially for the show, and had every available option installed, including the rare factory sunroof. Mild Barris customizing included Cragar S/S 15-inch chrome wheels, G60x15 Goodyear radial tires, and an upper body pinstripe.
- Season 8 – Chevrolet Camaro LT, and a red 1975 Chevrolet Impala 2 door with a white convertible.
|Season||Episodes||Originally aired||Rank||Rating||Tied with|
|First aired||Last aired|
|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|
Mannix featured hundreds of guest stars:
Awards and honors
For his work on Mannix, Mike Connors was nominated for six 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.
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. Recently, all 194 episodes currently air on MeTV.
It is currently showing on the British Network Forces TV.
- After playing Mannix's boss in Season 1, he returned as a different character, a client, in a 1972 episode.
- Snauffer, Douglas (2006). Crime Television. Westport, Connecticut: Praeger Publishers. p. 40. ISBN 0-275-98807-4.
- "The Name Is Mannix". Mannix. Season 1. Episode 1. September 16, 1967.
- p.41 Snauffer, Douglas Crime Television 2006 Greenwood Publishing
- "Merry Go Round for Murder". Mannix. Season 2. Episode 24. April 5, 1969.
- Snauffer 2006, p. 41.
- "Odds Against Donald Jordan". Mannix. Season 2. Episode 21. March 1, 1969.
- "The Silent Cry". Mannix. Season 2. Episode 1. September 28, 1968.
- "The Solid Gold Web". Mannix. Season 2. Episode 23. March 22, 1969.
- "Death in a Minor Key". Mannix. Season 2. Episode 18. February 8, 1969.
- "Last Rites for Miss Emma". Mannix. Season 2. Episode 22. March 8, 1969.
- "To Catch a Rabbit". Mannix. Season 2. Episode 25. April 12, 1969.
- "To Kill a Memory". Mannix. Season 6. Episode 7. October 29, 1972.
- "Return to Summer Grove". Mannix. Season 3. Episode 3. October 11, 1969.
- "End Game". Mannix. Season 2. Episode 19. February 15, 1969.
- "Deathrun". Mannix. Season 2. Episode 13. January 4, 1969.
- "A Ticket to the Eclipse". Mannix. Season 4. Episode 1. September 19, 1970.
- "The Man Who Wasn't There". Mannix. Season 6. Episode 16. January 7, 1973.
- "A Small Favor for an Old Friend". Mannix. Season 8. Episode 7. November 10, 1974.
- "A Word Called Courage". Mannix. Season 8. Episode 13. January 5, 1975.
- "The Danford File". Mannix. Season 6. Episode 24. March 11, 1973.
- "The Cost of a Vacation". Mannix. Season 1. Episode 6. October 21, 1967.
- "Coffin for a Clown". Mannix. Season 1. Episode 10. November 25, 1967.
- "Wine from These Grapes". Mannix. Season 5. Episode 4. October 6, 1971.
- "Harvest of Death". Mannix. Season 6. Episode 10. November 19, 1972.
- Neely Tucker (November 18, 2007). "Mannix Was the Man". Washington Post. Retrieved November 18, 2007.
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?
- Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle F. (2009). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946–Present (9th ed.). New York: Ballantine Books. p. 851. ISBN 978-0-345-49773-4.
- "The Many Deaths of Saint Christopher". Mannix. Season 1. Episode 4. October 7, 1967.
- "Lucy and Mannix Are Held Hostage". Here's Lucy. Season 4. Episode 4. October 4, 1971.
- "Hard-Boiled Murder". Diagnosis: Murder. Season 4. Episode 17. February 13, 1997.
- Aaker, Everett (2006). Encyclopedia of Early Television Crime Fighters. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. p. 140. ISBN 0-7864-2476-1.
- Payne, D. Lalo Schifrin discography accessed March 14, 2012
- Belloni, Matthew (May 19, 2011). "'Mannix' Star Mike Connors Sues CBS, Paramount for Unpaid Profits (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
- Johnson, Ted (July 6, 2012). "Studios, stars tussle over enduring value of hit TV shows". The Hollywood Reporter.
- "Mannix DVD news: Announcement for The Complete Series - TVShowsOnDVD.com". tvshowsondvd.com. Archived from the original on March 15, 2017.
- "MANNIX". syndicationbible.cbstvd.com. Archived from the original on September 9, 2017.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mannix.|
- Mannix on IMDb
- Mannix at TV.com
- Mannix official site at Nick at Nite
- DVD review of series and production history