Search (TV series)

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Search title.jpg
Search title screen
Genre Science fiction
Created by Leslie Stevens
Starring Hugh O'Brian
Tony Franciosa
Doug McClure
Burgess Meredith
Angel Tompkins
Byron Chung
Albert Popwell
Ginny Golden
Theme music composer Dominic Frontiere
Composer(s) Dominic Frontiere
Country of origin USA
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 23
Executive producer(s) Leslie Stevens
Producer(s) John Strong
Robert H. Justman
Anthony Spinner
Editor(s) Nick Archer
Joseph Dervin
Cinematography John M. Stephens
Running time 45 minutes approx.
Production company(s) Leslie Stevens Productions
Warner Bros. Television
Distributor Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Original network NBC
Audio format Monaural
Original release September 13, 1972 – August 29, 1973
Preceded by Probe

Search is an American science fiction series that aired on Wednesday nights on NBC at 10 pm ET, from September 1972 to August 1973.[1] It ran for 23 episodes, not including the two-hour pilot film originally titled Probe. When picked up for series production, the title had to be changed because Probe was the name of an existing PBS series. In the UK the series aired on BBC 1 under the title Search Control.

The show was created by Leslie Stevens, and produced by Stevens, Robert Justman, John Strong and Anthony Spinner. The high concept was described as "science fiction in today's world" and the episodes featured many high-tech elements which are now considered common in current science fiction shows.


The series centers on World Securities Corporation, a high-tech international private investigation company that employs field operatives — the elite of whom are aided by implanted audio receivers and who carry Scanners, tiny video camera/telemetry units which can be attached to tie clips or other jewelry. The most common method is to wear the Scanner on a ring, enabling it to be discreetly aimed.

Each episode features one of three primary agents on a particular investigation, which often have political or organized crime elements.


Search was featured in the November 1972 edition of TV Guide, with an illustration of the three actors playing the show's "Probes" on the cover.[2]

Probe field agents[edit]

  • Hugh O'Brian as Hugh Lockwood, Probe One - Lead Operative
  • Tony Franciosa as Nick Bianco, Head of Omega division, which specializes in organized-crime cases.
  • Doug McClure as C.R. Grover, standby Probe - emergency backup agent.

Probe control staff[edit]

  • Burgess Meredith as V.C.R. Cameron, Director of Probe Control Unit 1
  • Angel Tompkins as Gloria Harding, senior technician monitoring pulse, respiration, and temperature
  • Albert Popwell as Albert Griffin, linguist and code-breaker; former chief translator at the United Nations
  • Byron Chung as Kuroda, telemetry and electronics specialist
  • Amy Farrell as Amy Murdock, medical doctor
  • Ginny Golden as Ginny Keach, data specialist
  • Ron Castro as Carlos Lobos, technician

Probe Control[edit]

Probe agents reported to V.C.R. Cameron (Burgess Meredith), the "director" of the investigations, who ran Probe Control, a center reminiscent of the NASA Mission Control Center. "Cam" was the leader of the expert team who monitored and provided the agent with intelligence.

On-duty experts included a translator fluent in several languages, and a medical-telemetry specialist.

Early in the series the Probe Control set was placed in a darkened isolated space, alluding to a large-scale operations center. By the middle of the season, the control room was scaled down and relocated to a well-lit but smaller "bunker" room. According to the show's credits, the computer equipment was provided by Control Data Corporation.

The building shown as the headquarters for World Securities Corporation is at 555 California Street in San Francisco, and was once the headquarters building for Bank of America.

Probe hardware[edit]

Each field agent is outfitted with a miniature scanner disguised as a piece of jewelry, which can be magnetically attached to special cuff links, tie clips, or pendants. This device continuously monitors the agent's progress, transmitting audio, video, and physical telemetry to Probe Control. These images were stabilized and rotated to permit real-time observation by a team of specialists at Probe Control who analyze the data, consult databases worldwide, and immediately provide information covertly to the field agent via a subcutaneous ear piece (or "earjack") implanted in the agent's mastoid process. (First-generation earjacks had platinum housings, later replaced with zirconium for unspecified reasons.[3]) The agent can respond to Probe Control either audibly (via the microphone in the scanner) or by tapping out code with a dental implant, even when they don't have their scanner operating.

The technology portrayed in the show was twenty to thirty years ahead of its time, and some of the technology was difficult for the viewers to identify with.[4]

Probe Scanner.

Episode list[edit]

# Title Starring Director Writer Original air date Production code DVD
0 "Probe (pilot)" Hugh O'Brian Russ Mayberry Leslie Stevens February 11, 1972 (1972-02-11) Unknown n/a
Original pilot film (DVD available separately). Lockwood hunts for missing diamonds stolen by Hermann Goering during World War II.
1 "The Murrow Disappearance" Hugh O'Brian Russ Mayberry Leslie Stevens September 13, 1972 (1972-09-13) 166-111 1
A mysterious individual known only as "Saratoga" hires Probe Division to investigate a State Department official's disappearance.
2 "One of Our Probes is Missing" Tony Franciosa Phillip Leacock Leslie Stevens September 20, 1972 (1972-09-20) 166-114 1
When Arthur Burrell, the Probe assigned to a counterfeiting case, disappears, Nick Bianco is assigned to find both Burrell and the counterfeiters, whose $100 bills are so perfect that they could cause an international monetary crisis.
3 "Short Circuit" Doug McClure Allen Reisner Leslie Stevens September 27, 1972 (1972-09-27) 166-116 1
The brilliant but mentally unstable inventor of a device capable of remotely overloading and destroying any active electrical or electronic circuit is attempting to destroy Probe Control.
4 "Moonrock" Hugh O'Brian William Wiard Leslie Stevens October 4, 1972 (1972-10-04) 166-113 1
A highly classified lunar sample -- a large cluster of diamonds -- disappears immediately after delivery by a World Securities courier, and Lockwood is sent to retrieve it.
5 "Live Men Tell Tales" Tony Franciosa Marc Daniels Irving Pearlberg October 11, 1972 (1972-10-11) 166-118 2
Bianco is assigned the double task of investigating an international organized crime coup, and investigating the death of a Probe who had previously been assigned to the case.
6 "Operation Iceman" Tony Franciosa Robert Friend S.S. Schweitzer October 25, 1972 (1972-10-25) 166-115 2
Bianco is in charge of a team of Probes, including his old mentor, David Pelham (Edward Mulhare), and Stephanie Burnside, the first female Probe seen in the series, to track down an assassin known only as "The Iceman." But why is the assassin always one step ahead of them?
7 "The Bullet" Hugh O'Brian William Wiard Judy Burns November 1, 1972 (1972-11-01) 166-119 2
Lockwood is sent to find and retrieve an Eastern Bloc scientist who developed a highly toxic bullet coating, and wants to defect. Unfortunately, Lockwood is wounded by such a bullet, and has less than twelve hours to obtain the formula for the antidote.
8 "In Search of Midas" Doug McClure Nicholas Colasanto J. Christoper Strong III & Michael R. Stein November 8, 1972 (1972-11-08) 166-117 2
Grover, assisted by gossip columnist Kate Dawes (Barbara Feldon), is sent to verify the continued existence of a reclusive billionaire industrialist. Grover's given names is established, along with the reason he goes by initials.
9 "The Adonis File" Hugh O'Brian Joseph Pevney Jack Turley November 15, 1972 (1972-11-15) 166-120 3
A late night talk show host's secretary is kidnapped shortly before he announces his candidacy for the U. S. Senate, backed by a secretive and wealthy think-tank. So why is he (and the think-tank) in such a hurry to pay the five million dollar ransom? Deanna Lund co-stars as another medical telemetrist sent out to join a Probe in the field (albeit this time apparently without her own scanner and earjack).
10 "Flight to Nowhere" Hugh O'Brian Paul Stanley Brad Radnitz November 22, 1972 (1972-11-22) 166-122 3
Lockwood is working for himself this time (with comparatively little backup from Probe Control): a cargo pilot friend has disappeared near Reno, aircraft, cargo, and all. So why are so many people suddenly out to kill him? Lockwood's first name reestablished (earlier scripts called him "John Lockwood," although "Hugh Lockwood" had been established in the pilot). Early appearance by Cheryl Ladd as Probe Control technician Amy Love. (Credited as Cheryl Stoppelmoor.)
11 "The Gold Machine" Hugh O'Brian Russ Mayberry Leslie Stevens December 20, 1972 (1972-12-20) 166-112 3
This time, Gloria Harding (Angel Tompkins) makes it out into the field (without scanner or earjack), and Arthur Burrell (David Gilliam), the "missing" Probe from "One of our Probes . . . ," takes over her console, as Lockwood searches for a lost gold mine in Northern California. Mark Lenard ("Sarek" from Star Trek) guest-starred. This episode (severely condensed) became the Search ViewMaster packet. This episode also established Cameron's initials (though they had previously been established in the pilot, first early in the narrative, and again later in dialogue when Cameron introduces himself to the character of Streeter: "Mr. Streeter. V.C.R. Cameron director of Probe Control, Unit One.").[5]
Had this and "One of our Probes . . ." been aired in production number sequence, this would have introduced Burrell; dialogue when Burrell takes over Harding's station suggests this was the intent.
12 "Let Us Prey" Tony Franciosa Russ Mayberry Don Balluck January 3, 1973 (1973-01-03) 166-123 3
Hell hath no fury like the woman Bianco scorned, nor like the wealthy megalomaniac who jealously desires her, and has the technical chops to reconfigure Bianco's earjack and use it against him in a most dangerous game.
13 "A Honeymoon to Kill" Doug McClure Russ Mayberry S.S. Schweitzer January 10, 1973 (1973-01-10) 166-124 4
Grover is tasked with first finding, then protecting, the pacifistic, race-car-driving, "madcap heiress" of an Italian weapons magnate, on the run from a family bent on stopping her from formally taking possession of a trust that would give her control of the family business.
14 "The 24 Carat Hit" Tony Franciosa Russ Mayberry Jack Turley January 24, 1973 (1973-01-24) 166-126 4
Bianco is on the case when Probe Ed Bain (Dane Clark) gets in over his head on a gold smuggling case: Bain's wife is killed, his daughter kidnapped, and he tries to rescue her on his own, with a bullet in his arm. Debut (at least in aired order) of the "brightly lit" Probe Control (though the lowest floor level in front of the main consoles is still black, leading one to believe this was the first episode filmed on the new bright set), and of two new technicians there.
15 "Numbered for Death" Doug McClure Allen Reisner S.S. Schweitzer (teleplay),
Lou Shaw and S.S. Schweitzer (story)
January 31, 1973 (1973-01-31) 166-127 4
A blackmailed in-law pulls Grover, assisted by European Probe Trudi Hauser (Lauri Peters) into a case involving a compromised Swiss bank. (In this episode the lowest floor level of Probe Control is now white like the rest of the room.)
16 "Countdown to Panic" Hugh O'Brian Jerry Jameson Judy Burns February 7, 1973 (1973-02-07) 166-128 4
Three divers came back from an experimental undersea outpost with a lethal virus. Now one of them, a friend and colleague of Lockwood's, has become paranoid, and escaped quarantine. Establishes that Lockwood was once an astronaut. Now the "brighly lit" Probe Control set is less-brightly-lit.
17 "The Clayton Lewis Document" Tony Franciosa William Wiard Norman Hudis February 14, 1973 (1973-02-14) 166-129 5
Bianco is called in by the wife of an old friend, a Presidential aide who is being blackmailed by those who want inside information on a disarmament conference. Rhonda Fleming guest stars. Rare scene of Cameron outside of Probe Control.
18 "Goddess of Destruction" Doug McClure Jerry Jameson Irving Pearlberg February 21, 1973 (1973-02-21) 166-130 5
Searching for a stolen statue of Kali, Grover finds himself battling an apparent resurgence of the Cult of Thugs.
19 "The Mattson Papers" Tony Franciosa William Wiard S.S. Schweitzer and Don Balluck (teleplay),
Don Balluck (story)
February 28, 1973 (1973-02-28) 166-131 5
Terry Carter (Broadhurst, from McCloud, and Col. Tigh from Battlestar Galactica) guest stars as an executive (and ex-basketball player) being chased by gangsters because of evidence he'd uncovered. Bianco is assigned to find both him and the evidence.
20 "Moment of Madness" Doug McClure George McGowan Richard Landau March 14, 1973 (1973-03-14) Unknown 5
Cameron is kidnapped by an insane former POW of the North Koreans (Patrick O'Neal), who blames him for his imprisonment, and hopes to drive him insane.
21 "Ends of the Earth" Tony Franciosa Ralph Senensky Robert C. Dennis March 21, 1973 (1973-03-21) Unknown 6
The apparent suicide of an alleged embezzler, whose widow hires Probe to investigate, leads Bianco to infiltrate a most unusual travel agency: a front for a criminal counterpart to the Witness Protection Program. Diana Muldaur and Sebastian Cabot are prominent guest stars.
22 "Suffer My Child" Hugh O'Brian Russ Mayberry Norman Hudis March 28, 1973 (1973-03-28) 166-121 6
Lockwood investigates the disappearance of a rich girl, on the occasion of her 21st birthday. Turns out she staged her own kidnapping, only to be kidnapped for real just as Lockwood is about to take her home. It also turns out that she has a secret.
Note that this episode was held back from the first half of the season: the "dark" Probe Control is seen, complete with Kuroda, Murdock, and Griffin.
23 "The Packagers" Doug McClure Michael Caffey Robert C. Dennis April 11, 1973 (1973-04-11) 166-125 6
Grover is assigned to investigate the disappearance of an exiled revolutionary from a third-world country: kidnapped, assassinated, or planning a coup? And how do a retired general and his chauffeur fit in?
Also held back from the first half of the season, with Griffin's cryptographic skills featured.

DVD release[edit]

On February 4, 2014, Warner Bros. released Search: The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1, via their Warner Archive Collection.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Search Episode Guide". Classic TV Archive. Retrieved 2006-11-28. 
  2. ^ Stephen Hofer, ed., TV Guide: The Official Collectors Guide, Braintree, Mass.: BangZoom Publishers, 2006. ISBN 0-9772927-1-1.
  3. ^ episode, "Operation Iceman", in which Pelham's platinum earjack becomes a Chekhov's Gun
  4. ^ Search
  5. ^ Probe Control Site Archives, Scripts, PROBE script text file. PROBE Script
  6. ^ Warner Archive Releases 'The Complete Series': Cost, Box, More!

External links[edit]