Switch (TV series)

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This article is about the US TV series. For the unrelated UK TV series of the same name, see Switch (UK TV series).
Eddie Albert Robert Wagner Switch 1975.JPG
Eddie Albert and Robert Wagner, 1975.
Created by Glen A. Larson
Starring Eddie Albert
Robert Wagner
Charlie Callas
Sharon Gless
William Bryant
James Hong
Mindi Miller
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 70 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Glen A. Larson
Jon Epstein
Matthew Rapf
Running time 60 minutes
Original channel CBS
Original release September 9, 1975 (1975-09-09) – August 20, 1978 (1978-08-20)

Switch is an American action-adventure, tongue-in-cheek detective series starring Eddie Albert and Robert Wagner, who work as private eyes, for a deceptive sting operation. It was broadcast on the CBS network for three seasons between September 9, 1975 and August 20, 1978, bumping the Hawaii Five-O detective series to Friday nights.

TV series[edit]


Switch was inspired by the 1973 movie The Sting and was similar to The Rockford Files, which debuted a year earlier. It was created by Glen A. Larson. Donald P. Bellisario was one of the writers.

The short-lived ABC crime drama The Feather and Father Gang of 1976-1977 was an unsuccessful attempt to imitate Switch.[1][2]


The series focused on two main characters, Frank MacBride (Eddie Albert), a retired bunco cop who once arrested Pete Ryan (Robert Wagner), who was an ex-con, before he served as his trusted crime-fighting partner. After Ryan's release, the two open up their own detective agency in Los Angeles that specializes in "out-conning the cons" by using the same sorts of double-crosses and deceptions used by con men in order to capture criminals. Assisting them is another former con man of Mac's, restaurant owner Malcolm Argos (Charlie Callas) who went straight and Maggie Philbin (Sharon Gless), Mac's and Pete's young receptionist who helps them out in each of the cases, known as the all-around girl Friday.

Originally, Switch started out as an adventure series, it did pretty well in the ratings at the end of the first year, in addition to Charlie Callas's contribution to the show. Midway through the second season, the show turned into a crime drama, playing second-only to shows like: Kojak, Hawaii Five-O, McMillan & Wife, Police Woman, The Streets of San Francisco, The Rockford Files, among many others. The series pilot for CBS aired on March 21, 1975, as a 90-minute made-for-television movie.

During the show's run the series became more serious in tone and more of a traditional crime drama.[citation needed] William Bryant joined the cast as Lt. Shilton. In the final season, Pete moves into an apartment above Malcolm's bar and Mindi Miller and James Hong joined the cast.

The modestly successful show was put on hiatus in early 1978, being replaced by The Incredible Hulk; it came back during the summer to air its final 10 episodes before ultimately being canceled that August because of low ratings.


  • Eddie Albert - Frank "Mac" MacBride - A retired police officer
  • Robert Wagner - Peterson T. "Pete" Ryan - Mac's ex-con man turned partner
  • Charlie Callas - Malcolm Argos - Mac's ex-con man who worked at the restaurant recruited by Mac & Pete
  • Sharon Gless - Maggie Philbin - Mac's & Pete's classy receptionist who worked at MacBride & Ryan investigations
  • William Bryant - Lt. Shilton - Mac's & Pete's partner (seasons 2-3)
  • James Hong - Wang - Malcolm's cook (season 3)
  • Mindi Miller - Revel - Waitress who work at Malcolm's restaurant (season 3)
  • Anne Archer - Laurie - played one of the semi-regular cast of grifters who helped Mac and Pete with their sting operations. Although only seen in a handful of Season One episodes, she and her bikini stayed in the title sequences for all of Season One and at least part of Season Two.

Eddie Albert and Robert Wagner are the only two actors to appear in every episode. Sharon Gless appeared in all the episodes with the exception of three, and Charlie Callas missed four episodes during the run.


See also[edit]

  • McCoy, a similarly themed TV series that also debuted in 1975.


  1. ^ McNeil, Alex, Total Television: The Comprehensive Guide to Programming From 1948 to the Present, New York: Penguin Books, 1996, p. 282.
  2. ^ The New York Times: The Feather and Father Gang

External links[edit]