Harry O

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Harry O
Harry O.png
Title screen
Also known as Harry-O
Genre Crime drama
Created by Howard Rodman
Written by Robert C. Dennis
Robert Dozier
Larry Forrester
Herman Groves
Stephen Kandel
Joanna Klasson
John Meredyth Lucas
Howard Rodman
Michael Sloan
Norman Strum
Gene Thompson
Directed by Richard Benedict
Daryl Duke
Harry Falk
Richard Lang
Jerry London
Joseph Manduke
Russ Mayberry
John Newland
Jerry Thorpe
Paul Wendkos
Don Weis
Starring David Janssen
Henry Darrow
Anthony Zerbe
Farrah Fawcett-Majors
Les Lannom
Tom Atkins
Bill Henderson
Theme music composer Billy Goldenberg
Composer(s) Billy Goldenberg
Kim Richmond
John Rubinstein
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 44
Executive producer(s) Jerry Thorpe
Producer(s) Alex Beaton
Robert Dozier
Buck Houghton
Robert E. Thompson
Running time 60 mins. (approx)
Production company(s) Warner Bros. Television
Original channel ABC
Original release September 12, 1974 – April 29, 1976
Preceded by Such Dust as Dreams Are Made On (1973)
Smile Jenny, You're Dead (1974)

Harry O, sometimes spelled Harry-O, is an American crime drama series that aired for two seasons on ABC from 1974 to 1976. The series starred David Janssen and was executive produced by Jerry Thorpe. Harry O followed the broadcast of two pilot films: Such Dust as Dreams Are Made On (airing March 11, 1973) and then the second (with noticeable retooling), Smile Jenny, You're Dead (airing February 3, 1974), both starring Janssen.[1]


Janssen starred as the title character Harry Orwell, a San Diego cop forced into retirement when he is shot in the back. To support himself, he sets up a private investigation practice out of his beach house on Coronado Island, in San Diego. Henry Darrow originally starred as Lt. Manny Quinlan.

For the second half of the first season, the series was retooled, with the location of the series shifted to Los Angeles, California, due to the high production costs of filming in and around San Diego.[2] The retooling consisted of more than just a location change: a revised theme song and incidental music were composed and new supporting characters were added, notably Lt. Trench of the Santa Monica Police Department, who became Orwell's new foil/contact. (Henry Darrow's character Lt. Manny Quinlan was killed off in a crossover episode.) Most noticeably a lighter tone for the scripts and acting was adopted. Harry would still live in a beach cottage−this time somewhere along the PCH between Santa Monica and Malibu. (This beach location was the same location used for both pilot movies.)

The second season would see a further reworking of the opening credits and theme song and recurring characters added. Anthony Zerbe, who played Lt. Trench won a Primetime Emmy Award for his role on the series.

Recurring characters included Farrah Fawcett-Majors, as Harry's attractive next-door neighbor and sometime girlfriend Sue Ingram; Paul Tulley as Sgt. Don Roberts, Lt. Trench's assistant; Les Lannom as Lester Hodges, a bumbling private-eye wannabe; Tom Atkins as Sgt Frank Cole; and Bill Henderson as Spencer Johnson, Harry's frustrated car mechanic.

Harry's small Austin-Healey, which spent almost all of the first season in non-running condition, would later see more time on the road, and Harry himself would have an operation to remove the bullet in his back, that improved his ability to get around.

Reception and cancellation[edit]

Ratings for the series were initially fair and got a boost after the series was retooled in January 1975. Harry O was picked up for a second season and continued to gain viewership and critical acclaim; however, then-ABC president Fred Silverman decided to take the network in a different direction and canceled the series in favor of Charlie's Angels. The last original episode aired on April 29, 1976.[3] The series cancellation greatly disenchanted star Janssen, who vowed never to participate in a television series again. Reviewing the 2012 Warner Bros.' Archive Collection DVD release of the first season, Paul Mavis of DVDTalk.com wrote, "Unlike the spit-and-polish, no-nonsense defenders of the California Penal Code over on Adam-12, or the glamorous, almost-Bondian cops and detectives of Hawaii Five-O or Mannix, or even the portly-but-pleased-with-himself Cannon, Harry O was a mess, an existential character in constant physical pain and frequent psychological distress. He didn't have a lot of money, he didn't seem to have very many prospects, and that bullet in his back wasn't ever going to go away. Too bad the ABC "suits" and the producers tinkered their way right out of what could have been one of best detective series of the 1970s."[4]


Pilot Movies[edit]

Both pilot movies are set and shot in Los Angeles.
With the exception of Harry Orwell, none of the recurring characters that would feature in the series appear in the pilot movies. However, two of the actors who would feature in the series play different roles in "Such Dust As Dreams Are Made On": Les Lannom (who played Lester Hodges in the series) plays a student, while Mel Stewart (seen as Harry's mechanic Roy in the series) plays Harry's police contact Sgt. Granger.
No. in
Pilot # Title Directed by Written by Original air date
0 1 "Such Dust As Dreams Are Made On" Jerry Thorpe Howard Rodman March 11, 1973 (1973-03-11)
Harlan Garrison (Martin Sheen), a member of the gang that shot Harry in a drug store robbery four years earlier, hires Harry to find Garrison's two accomplices. With Sal Mineo, Will Geer, Margot Kidder, and Mel Stewart.
0 2 "Smile Jenny, You're Dead" Jerry Thorpe Howard Rodman February 3, 1974 (1974-02-03)
Harry is hired to protect Jennifer English (Andrea Marcovicci), a model being tailed by a deranged stalker who also appears to have murdered Jennifer's estranged husband. With Clu Gulager, Zalman King, and Jodie Foster as Liberty Cole, a homeless girl who takes up residence in Harry's boat.

Season 1: The San Diego episodes[edit]

Episodes 1-13 are set and shot in San Diego.
The supporting cast for the San Diego episodes includes:
  • Henry Darrow as Lt. Manny Quinlan, Harry's sometimes antagonistic police contact
  • Tom Atkins as Sgt. Frank Cole, Quinlan's none-too-bright assistant (5 episodes)
  • David Moses as Officer Billings, a patrolman often seen performing crime scene duties (4 episodes)
  • G.W. Bailey as Officer Remsen, a patrolman also often seen at crime scenes (3 episodes)
  • Mel Stewart as Roy Bardello, Harry's sarcastic mechanic (seen in 2 episodes, referenced in others)

No. in
No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
1 1 "Gertrude" Jerry Thorpe Howard Rodman September 12, 1974 (1974-09-12)
The sister of an AWOL sailor hires Harry to find him, and his only clue is one of his shoes mailed to her. With Julie Sommars. Les Lannom, later a series regular in a different role, plays the AWOL sailor. Henry Darrow debuts as Lt. Quinlan.
2 2 "The Admiral's Lady" Paul Wendkos Del Reisman September 19, 1974 (1974-09-19)
Harry is hired to find an Admiral's wife who is presumed dead by the police, but who turns out to be alive and in genuine danger. With Leif Erickson and Sharon Acker.
3 3 "Guardian at the Gates" Jerry Thorpe Stephen Kandel September 26, 1974 (1974-09-26)
Harry must protect an obnoxious, self-centred architect (Barry Sullivan) who witnessed a murder and is oblivious to attempts on his own life. This was the first episode filmed for the regular series. With Linda Evans, Anne Archer and Gordon Jump.
4 4 "Mortal Sin" Paul Wendkos Teleplay by Stephen Kandel and Robert Malcolm Young;
Story by Robert Malcolm Young
October 3, 1974 (1974-10-03)
A man confesses to murder to a priest and Harry is brought in to help stop the man from killing again. With Laurence Luckinbill.
5 5 "Coinage of the Realm" Richard Lang Elroy Schwartz October 10, 1974 (1974-10-10)
Harry must find a man who is needed to donate a kidney to his daughter, and who also has two hired killers on his trail. With Kenneth Mars, Joan Darling, and Florence Stanley.
6 6 "Eyewitness" Richard Lang Herman Groves October 17, 1974 (1974-10-17)
A blind teenager is the only witness to a murder. With James McEachin and Rosalind Cash. Margaret Avery, later a series regular in a different role, plays the teenager's older sister.
7 7 "Shadows At Noon" Paul Wendkos Robert Dozier October 24, 1974 (1974-10-24)
Harry infiltrates a mental hospital that holds people as prisoners. With Diana Ewing and Guy Stockwell.
8 8 "Ballinger's Choice" Jerry Thorpe Gene Thompson October 31, 1974 (1974-10-31)
Harry is hired in a divorce case that turns into a murder. With Juliet Mills, Paul Burke and Lisa Gerritsen.
9 9 "Second Sight" John Newland Teleplay by Gene Thompson and Barry Trivers;
Story by Barry Trivers
November 7, 1974 (1974-11-07)
Fay Conners, a psychic, predicts a series of murders that all come true amid Harry's search for a missing psychiatrist. With Stefanie Powers and Robert Doyle.
10 10 "Material Witness" Barry Crane Richard Danus November 14, 1974 (1974-11-14)
Harry is hired to protect Dr. Noelle Kira, a witness to crimes by one Joe Kiley; Kira hates Harry and the police and it impedes Harry's efforts as he discovers a mole in the department. With Barbara Anderson and Mike Farrell.
11 11 "Forty Reasons to Kill (Part 1)" Daryl Duke Stephen Kandel December 5, 1974 (1974-12-05)
A friend of Harry's is framed for drug dealing when he tries to purchase a parcel of land. With Joanna Pettet, Broderick Crawford, Craig Stevens and Paul Benedict.
12 12 "Forty Reasons to Kill (Part 2)" Daryl Duke Stephen Kandel December 12, 1974 (1974-12-12)
Harry finds himself framed for murder as his investigation of a 40-acre purchase continues. With Joanna Pettet, Craig Stevens and Bill Quinn.
13 13 "Accounts Balanced" Robert Michael Lewis Teleplay by Michael Winder and Herman Groves;
Story by Michael Winder
December 26, 1974 (1974-12-26)
Harry is hired by a woman who believes her husband is having an affair. With Robert Reed, Gerrit Graham and Jerry Hardin. This was the last episode shot in San Diego, and the final episode for Lt. Quinlan as a regular.

Season 1: The Los Angeles episodes[edit]

Beginning with episode 14, there was a change in format. Behind the scenes, new production staff members were brought in, and on-camera, the entire supporting cast was dropped. Filming moved from San Diego to Los Angeles.
Episode 14 was a stand-alone story that sent Harry out to perform his investigations in a remote desert location.
From episode 15, Harry relocated to Los Angeles, moving his residence to the same location seen in the pilot movies.
The cast for the Los Angeles episodes (from episode 15) includes:
  • Anthony Zerbe as Lt. K.C. Trench, Harry's new police contact
  • Paul Tully as Sgt. Roberts, Trench's quiet assistant
  • Hal Williams as Clarence, Harry's new mechanic (3 episodes)
  • Kathrine Baumann as Betsy, one of a group of friendly stewardesses who live next door to Harry (3 episodes)
  • Farrah Fawcett-Majors as Sue Ingram, another stewardess-next-door seen after Betsy leaves to marry her boyfriend (3 episodes)
  • Sue's huge dog Grover appears in two episodes, as Harry is often forced to look after him while Sue's away
  • Betsy's massive boyfriend Walter is often mentioned, but never seen
Seen in one episode each were two characters who would become recurring players in season 2: Les Lannom as amateur criminologist Lester Hodges, and Margaret Avery as friendly informant Ruby Dome. Henry Darrow would also return for one episode ("Elegy For A Cop") as Manny Quinlan.

No. in
No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
14 14 "The Last Heir" Richard Lang Gene Thompson January 9, 1975 (1975-01-09)
Harry is hired to smoke out a killer of a woman's heirs. With Jeanette Nolan, Clifford David and Whit Bissell.
15 15 "For the Love of Money" John Newland Teleplay by David P. Harmon;
Story by Skip Webster
January 16, 1975 (1975-01-16)
A woman helps her boyfriend steal $25,000 and now the boyfriend has disappeared. This is the first episode with Anthony Zerbe as Lt. Trench and Paul Tully as Sgt. Roberts, and the first episode actually set in Los Angeles. The opening theme song is also completely reworked for this and all future season 1 episodes. With Mariclare Costello, Bernie Kopell and Sharon Farrell.
16 16 "The Confetti People" Richard Lang Teleplay by Mann Rubin and Herman Groves;
Story by Mann Rubin
January 23, 1975 (1975-01-23)
An arthritic painter and his wife frame his brother, a mental patient, for murder, until the plan goes awry and the painter is shot dead by the brother. With Diana Hyland, Scott Hylands and Marsha Hunt.
17 17 "Sound of Trumpets" John Newland Teleplay by Robert Pirosh and Larry Forrester;
Story by Robert Pirosh
January 30, 1975 (1975-01-30)
A recently released jazz trumpeter is pursued by a vengeful record executive who has a left-handed knife killer take the trumpeter's daughter hostage. With Julius Harris, Brenda Sykes, Jim Backus and jazz legend Cab Calloway.
18 18 "Silent Kill" Richard Lang Teleplay by Steven Kandel;
Story by John Meredyth Lucas
February 6, 1975 (1975-02-06)
A deaf-mute janitor is framed for arson. With Kathleen Lloyd, Gail Strickland, Lawrence Pressman and Jack Riley.
19 19 "Double Jeopardy" John Newland M. Gluck February 13, 1975 (1975-02-13)
A former crime boss mistakenly believes Todd Conway, an aspiring actor, killed the man's daughter, and the evidence points to Conway when it is found the girl was pregnant. With Kurt Russell, Will Kuluva and Ben Piazza; Linda Dano appears very briefly as the murder victim. This is also the first episode with Farrah Fawcett, who plays the semi-regular role of Orwell's neighbor Sue Ingram.
20 20 "Lester" Richard Lang Robert C. Dennis February 20, 1975 (1975-02-20)
A college student who wants to be a detective becomes a suspect in the murder of two coeds. With Richard Schaal and Scott Newman. Debut of Les Lannom's character of Lester Hodges, who became a recurring character in the series' second season.
21 21 "Elegy for a Cop" Jerry Thorpe Howard Rodman February 27, 1975 (1975-02-27)
Harry pursues the killer of his former police friend, Manny Quinlan. About 15 minutes of this episode (all contained in the show's final 20 minutes) consists of reused and re-purposed footage from the pilot film "Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made On". Kathleen Lloyd and Sal Mineo appear in both the newly-shot and recycled footage; Henry Darrow receives "Special Guest Star" billing for his reprisal of the role of Lt. Quinlan (all in newly-shot footage).
22 22 "Street Games" Richard Lang Herman Groves March 2, 1975 (1975-03-02)
The mother of a teen-age girl who is an addict hires Harry to find her after her boyfriend is murdered by a narcotics dealer. With Maureen McCormick and Philip Sterling.

Season 2[edit]

Season 2 remained in Los Angeles.
The season 2 supporting cast includes:
  • Anthony Zerbe as Lt. K.C. Trench, Harry's police contact
  • Paul Tully as Sgt. Roberts, Trench's assistant
  • Farrah Fawcett-Majors as Sue Ingram, Harry's neighbor (5 episodes)
  • Les Lannom as Lester Hodges, an amateur criminologist who gets mixed up in Harry's cases (3 episodes)
  • Margaret Avery as Ruby Dome, an informant Harry is friendly with (3 episodes)
  • Bill Henderson as Spencer Johnson, Harry's frustrated mechanic (3 episodes)

Episode # Episode title Original airdate Summary Notes
2-1 "Anatomy of a Frame" September 11, 1975 Lt. Trench is framed for murder and must hire Harry Orwell to clear his name Guest stars Gordon Jump and Rene Auberjonois
2-2 "One for the Road" September 18, 1975 A beautiful lawyer is framed for drunk driving by her deranged husband, who when cornered tries to kill himself Janssen reteams with Carol Rossen, a periodic guest star on The Fugitive. Also co-stars Larry Hagman
2-3 "Lester Two" September 25, 1975 Lester Hodges gets mixed up with Harry when diamond smugglers kidnap Harry's neighbor Sue Ingram Ina Balin guest stars. Loni Anderson makes an early appearance in her career
2-4 "Shades" October 2, 1975 A housekeeper is accused of killing a small-time hood; Harry is hired to clear her name and must work with the hood's ex-partner to find the real killer David Janssen's wedding to Dani Crayne Greco occurred two days after this episode aired. The episode co-stars Lou Gossett, Jr.
2-5 "Portrait of a Murder" October 9, 1975 Harry must clear a retarded young man accused of a series of murders he says were committed by "a lion," which turns out to be the shirt of the actual murderer Co-stars Adam Arkin and Katherine Helmond
2-6 "The Acolyte" October 16, 1975 Harry must rescue a woman taken in by a religious cult The working title was "Image Of Murder"
2-7 "Mayday" October 23, 1975 A pilot friend of Harry's dies in a plane crash and Harry discovers he was involved in an attempted murder Co-stars Geoffrey Lewis
2-8 "Tender Killing Care" October 30, 1975 Harry must investigate a nursing home suspected of murder.
2-9 "APB Harry Orwell" November 6, 1975 Harry is framed for murder and must escape his cell to find the real guilty party The opening dialogue between Harry and Lt. Trench involves them eating crackers covered with peanut butter; this scene was ad-libbed by David Janssen
2-10 "Group Terror" November 13, 1975 A psychiatrist who takes a sensual liking to Harry hires him to help smoke out a killer among the members of her group Guest stars Linda Lavin
2-11 "Reflections" November 20, 1975 Harry must remember his bitter divorce when his ex-wife is taken hostage Guest stars Andrew Robinson and Felicia Farr
2-12 "Exercise in Fatality" December 4, 1975 A hotheaded policeman is accused of murder when the boyfriend who fathered his daughter's unborn child is found dead; making it worse for Harry a former lover returns to his life and gets swept into the case
2-13 "The Madonna Legacy" December 11, 1975 A former partner of Harry's is killed investigating an old murder, and Harry learns that a violent man convicted of the murder was recently released Guest starring John Colicos
2-14 "Mister Five and Dime" January 8, 1976 Harry, Lester, and Lt. Trench run into repeated cases of mistaken identity as they pursue a gang of armored car thieves Harry mentions Lester's mentor Dr. Crieghton Fong for the first time in the series
2-15 "Book of Changes" January 15, 1976 A gambling club owner is murdered and a book of clients must be found before extortionists get to it
2-16 "Past Imperfect" January 22, 1976 A con artist takes his ex-partner and Harry hostage to get back a suitcase he claims contains several thousand dollars, and they are themselves pursued by two mob hitmen
2-17 "Hostage" February 19, 1976 Harry must intervene to help settle a hostage crisis in which Lt. Trench is one of the hostages
2-18 "Forbidden City" February 26, 1976 Harry investigates the killing of a private detective in Chinatown.
2-19 "Victim" March 4, 1976 A rape victim hires Harry This was the final episode shot
2-20 "Ruby" March 11, 1976 Harry must help one of his informants after a youth gets mixed up in a car theft that results in the death of a policeman.
2-21 "The Mysterious Case of Lester and Dr. Fong" March 18, 1976 Lester Hodges and his mentor, Dr. Creighton Fong (Keye Luke), must find the murderer of members of Lester's family Harry's role is little more than a cameo as the episode was intended to launch a spin-off series titled "Fong and Hodges"
2-22 "Death Certificate" April 29, 1976 Harry investigates a doctor suspected by two women of fatal malpractice.

DVD release[edit]

On July 11, 2012, Warner Bros. released Harry O: The Complete First Season on DVD in region 1 via their Warner Archive Collection. This is a manufacture-on-demand (MOD) release, available exclusively through Warner's online store and only in the US.[5] The 6-disc set features all 22 episodes of the season as well as the original pilot tele-film "Such Dust as Dreams Are Made On". The second and final season was released by Warner Archive on February 5, 2013.[6]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Result Category Recipient
1975 Edgar Award Nominated Best Television Episode Howard Rodman
(For episode "Gertrude")
1976 Primetime Emmy Award Won Outstanding Continuing Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Anthony Zerbe


  1. ^ "Television Obscurities - Fall 1974: ABC". tvobscurities.com. Retrieved 2009-04-21. 
  2. ^ Snauffer, Douglas (2006). Crime Television. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 87. ISBN 0-275-98807-4. 
  3. ^ Snauffer, Douglas (2006). Crime Television. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 87–88. ISBN 0-275-98807-4. 
  4. ^ "Harry O: The Complete First Season". DVD Talk. 
  5. ^ "Harry O DVD news: Announcement for Harry O - The Complete 1st Season - TVShowsOnDVD.com". tvshowsondvd.com. 
  6. ^ "Harry O DVD news: Announcement for Harry O - The Complete 2nd Season - TVShowsOnDVD.com". tvshowsondvd.com. 

External links[edit]