Simon & Simon

Simon & Simon is an American detective television series that originally ran from 1981 to 1989. The series was broadcast on CBS, and starred Gerald McRaney and Jameson Parker as two disparate brothers who run a San Diego private detective agency.

Simon & Simon
Title screen from Season 1
Created byPhilip DeGuere
StarringGerald McRaney
Jameson Parker
Mary Carver
Eddie Barth
Jeannie Wilson
Tim Reid
Joan McMurtrey
Music byJoseph Conlan
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons8
No. of episodes156 (list of episodes)
Running time45–48 minutes
Production company(s)Universal Television
DistributorNBCUniversal Television Distribution
Original networkCBS
Original releaseNovember 24, 1981 (1981-11-24) 
January 21, 1989 (1989-01-21)
Related showsMagnum, P.I.
Whiz Kids


The show revolves around the decisively polar-opposite Simon brothers, Rick (McRaney) and Andrew Jackson/"A.J." (Parker). Rick is the less-refined, but still pleasant, United States Marine Corps Vietnam veteran with a penchant for cowboy boots, denim and four-wheel drive pickups. However, A.J. Simon, a college graduate with a Wall Street look, is a polished fellow with a taste for classic cars and tailored suits. A.J. was a practicing Catholic; Rick was not. Rick lived on a boat in A.J.'s waterfront property. A.J. preferred to follow the rules, while Rick was much more of a free spirit, using a classic P.I. type of approach. Rick's Dodge Power Wagon is notable for its dull paint and conspicuously large metal bumper/ramming device, used in one episode: "Love, Christy" (Season 1, Episode 2) to crush the engine of a car. A.J. could afford to be more fashionable in his 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible, and later, a customized Chevrolet Camaro Z28 or 1968 Chevrolet Camaro RS convertible in the two-part episode, "Pirate's Key".

Together, they run a private detective service in San Diego, California during the 1980s; the contrasting ways in which the brothers go about their investigations and the subsequent personality conflicts between them provided much of the dramatic dialectic each week.

Although Rick is a few years older, in fact McRaney and Parker were both born in 1947 with only a three-month age difference.



  • Gerald McRaney as Richard "Rick" Simon
  • Jameson Parker as Andrew Jackson "A.J." Simon
  • Mary Carver as Cecilia Simon, the brothers' mother
  • Eddie Barth as Myron Fowler (seasons 1–2), A.J.'s ex-boss and their more successful competitor
  • Jeannie Wilson as Janet Fowler (season 1–2, regular; seasons 3 and 6, guest), Myron's daughter. She works for her father, attends law school and helps the Simons from time to time, much to her father's annoyance. During season two, she works as an assistant D.A.
  • Tim Reid as Lieutenant Marcel Proust "Downtown" Brown (seasons 3–6), the Simons' friend in the police department
  • Joan McMurtrey as Lieutenant Abigail Marsh (seasons 7–8)


  • Daphne Reid as reporter Temple Hill (1983–1987)
  • Scott Murphy as Police Officer Nixon (1984–1988)
  • Donna Jepsen as Officer Susie Jepsen (1985–1989)


SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
113November 24, 1981 (1981-11-24)March 16, 1982 (1982-03-16)
223October 7, 1982 (1982-10-07)March 31, 1983 (1983-03-31)
323September 29, 1983 (1983-09-29)March 29, 1984 (1984-03-29)
422September 27, 1984 (1984-09-27)March 28, 1985 (1985-03-28)
524October 3, 1985 (1985-10-03)May 1, 1986 (1986-05-01)
622September 25, 1986 (1986-09-25)March 26, 1987 (1987-03-26)
716December 3, 1987 (1987-12-03)April 7, 1988 (1988-04-07)
813October 8, 1988 (1988-10-08)September 16, 1989 (1989-09-16)



The original 1978 pilot, called Pirate's Key, was set in Florida. When CBS picked up the show, the characters' home was changed from Florida to San Diego, California, where the show was filmed for the first season. Due to the production costs and low ratings, filming and production moved to Los Angeles, although the show continued to be set in San Diego for the course of its eight-year run on CBS.

The series was created by executive producer Philip DeGuere, who credited his inspirations as a request from a CBS executive to create something like a modern "Butch and Sundance", and a spec pilot DeGuere had recently read about a divorced husband and wife detective team written by Bob Shayne, whom DeGuere hired to write during the first two seasons. Shayne continued to write episodes for the series during its run, and together, they went on to create the CBS series Whiz Kids.

Original run

Simon & Simon was almost canceled in 1982 due to low ratings. However, at DeGuere and Shayne's request, CBS decided to give the series another chance by moving it to Thursday nights at 9 p.m., following Magnum, P.I. The new season began with a two-hour cross-over episode with a story that began on the already popular Magnum and continued on (the mostly unknown) Simon & Simon, in an attempt to carry Magnum's audience over to Simon & Simon. (see below) The effort worked, and the show's ratings quickly rose; it became a hit in that slot and continued to draw ratings for the next several seasons. Simon and Simon's peak years in the ratings where seasons 2-4, where it landed at no. 7, no. 5 and no. 7 respectively. In September 1984, the Cosby Show premiered in the 8 p.m. time slot against "Magnum" and was an immediate ratings hit and also substantially increased the ratings of the following NBC comedy shows, such as Cheers airing at 9 p.m. against "Simon & Simon". "Simon & Simon" fell to 29th in the 85-86 season and never recovered.

Simon & Simon moved to Saturday nights late in its run, and the ratings dropped considerably. CBS only committed to a 13-episode season for the fall of 1988 but cancelled the series with two episodes left unaired, including the series finale. That episode did not air until the show entered syndication.

Theme music

For the first season, the song "Best of Friends", performed by the Thrasher Brothers, served as the series' theme song. More specifically, the instrumental version of "Best of Friends" appeared at the beginning of each episode (and short clips of the instrumental version occasionally appeared within episodes, even after the first season), while the lyrical version appeared at the conclusion of each episode.

At the beginning of the second season, the second and more recognizable instrumental theme song, composed by Barry De Vorzon[1] (who had previously composed the theme to the 1970s police drama, S.W.A.T.) and Michael Towers, was introduced. The theme consists primarily of an electric bottle-slide guitar lead with a saxophone interlude and remained until the last episode of the final season.

Both theme songs had extended versions released; the Thrasher Brothers in 1982, and De Vorzon/Towers's version in 1984.[2][3]

Crossover with Magnum, P.I.

The episode "Emeralds Are Not a Girl's Best Friend" concludes a crossover that begins on the Magnum, P.I. episode "Ki'is Don't Lie", wherein Higgins helps the Simons track the woman with stolen Hawaiian artifacts to Latin America. For repeat and syndication purposes, a second conclusion was also shot, wherein the fleeing villain is caught, allowing the Magnum episode to be wrapped up and the episode to be rerun as a "stand alone" episode. Consequently, the Simon & Simon concluding hour, "Emeralds Are Not a Girl's Best Friend", did not appear in reruns for many years, nor did the original broadcast version of "Ki'Is Don't Lie". Both original versions have since been released on DVD.[4][5]

Additionally, A.J. Simon appeared on the Whiz Kids episode "Deadly Access". In return, the Whiz Kids characters Richie Adler, Hamilton Parker, Jeremy Saldino, Alice Parker, and Irene Adler appeared on the Simon & Simon episode "Fly the Alibi Skies" the following night.

Home media

On October 10, 2006, Universal Studios Home Entertainment released the first season of Simon & Simon on DVD in Region 1.[6] Due to poor sales, no subsequent seasons were immediately released.

In Fall 2008, Shout! Factory announced that they had acquired the distribution rights through an agreement with Universal. They subsequently released seasons 2–8 on DVD, with seasons 5-8 originally released as Shout! exclusives.[7][8][9][10][11][12]

Season 5 was re-released as a general retail release on May 9, 2017.[13] Season 6 was re-released in general retail on September 19, 2017.[14] Season 7 was re-released on November 14, 2017,[15] Season 8 was re-released on December 12, 2017.[16]

Mill Creek Entertainment released two "best-of" collections of Simon & Simon. On January 18, 2011, they released Simon & Simon – The Best of Season Two,[17] while on July 19, 2011 they released Simon & Simon – The Best of Season Three.[18]

In Region 4, Madman Entertainment released Season 1 on DVD in Australia on July 6, 2011.

DVD Name Ep # Release Date
Season 1 13 October 10, 2006
Season 2 23 February 10, 2009
Season 3 23 August 18, 2009
Season 4 21 April 6, 2010
Season 5 24 July 20, 2010♦
May 9, 2017 (re-release)
Season 6 22 February 21, 2012♦
September 19, 2017 (re-release)
Season 7 16 October 16, 2012♦
November 14, 2017 (re-release)
Season 8 13 January 15, 2013♦
December 12, 2017 (re-release)

♦- Shout! Factory Exclusives title, sold exclusively through Shout's online store

Reunion movie and cultural references

Simon & Simon: In Trouble Again (1995)

In this reunion movie, which premiered on February 23, 1995 some years have passed, and a now divorced A.J. (whose ex-wife is Janet Fowler from original series) works in Seattle as an attorney. Rick stops by to visit en route to delivering an expensive yacht. The trouble starts when the yacht is hijacked—with Rick and A.J.'s mother Cecilia on board.

The Greatest Event in Television History (2012)

The Greatest Event in Television History premiered on Adult Swim, on October 12, 2012. Hosted by Jeff Probst, the program went behind the scenes during the making of a shot-for-shot remake of the Simon & Simon opening sequence with Adam Scott and Jon Hamm in the roles of A.J. and Rick, respectively. The special also featured the appearances of Paul Rudd, Gus van Sant, Megan Mullally, Paul Scheer, and Kathryn Hahn.[19]



  1. Barry De Vorzon on IMDb. Retrieved on 2008-08-12.
  4. Magnum P.I. TV Shows on DVD. Archived from the original on 2016-11-21.
  5. "Simon & Simon, Season 2 Extras". TV Shows on DVD. Archived from the original on 2016-11-21.
  6. Lacey, Gord (27 July 2006). "Simon & Simon – Season 1 Cover Art Changed". TV Shows on DVD. Archived from the original on 16 September 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  7. Lambert, David (21 January 2009). "Simon & Simon – Official Studio Press Release for Simon & Simon – Season 2". TV Shows on DVD. Archived from the original on 14 September 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  8. Lambert, David (15 May 2009). "Simon & Simon – Details, Pricing and Package Art for Shout!'s Season 3 DVDs". TV Shows on DVD. Archived from the original on 15 September 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  9. Lambert, David (21 December 2009). "Simon & Simon – The Season 4 Set is On the Way to DVD This Spring!". TV Shows on DVD. Archived from the original on 14 September 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  10. Lambert, David (23 June 2010). "Simon & Simon – Details and Box Art for Season 5, a 'Shout! Select' Online Title". TV Shows on DVD. Archived from the original on 14 January 2012. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  11. Lacey, Gord (20 December 2011). "Simon & Simon – Season 6 Announced for Feb". Archived from the original on 10 March 2012. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  12. Lambert, David. "Simon & Simon – The 8th and Final Season is Scheduled as a 'Shout! Select' Set". TV Shows on DVD. Archived from the original on 30 December 2012. Retrieved 20 December 2012.
  13. A General Retail Release for 'Season 5' DVDs as Shout! Sells it 'Wide' Archived 2017-02-15 at the Wayback Machine
  14. A General Retail Release for 'Season 6' DVDs as Shout! Sells it 'Wide' Archived 2017-06-15 at the Wayback Machine
  15. A General Retail Release for 'Season 7' DVDs as Shout! Sells it 'Wide' Archived 2017-09-03 at the Wayback Machine
  16. Simon & Simon - A General Release for 'Season 8: The Final Season' DVDs, as Shout! Sells it 'Wide' Available in a participating store near you this December Archived 2017-09-08 at the Wayback Machine
  17. Simon & Simon – The Best of Season 2
  18. Simon & Simon – The Best of Season 2
  19. Khatchatourian, Maane (12 October 2012). "Jon Hamm and Adam Scott film 'The Greatest Event in Television History' – VIDEO". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
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