8 thoughts on “Mannix Dropped Its Main Gimmick After Its First Season

  1. Um . . . the company for which Mannix worked (and almost was the show’s title) was “Intertect”, not Intercept.

    I’m in the minority, I suppose, because this was my favourite season of MANNIX. I rather enjoyed the friction between Mannix and his boss, Lew Wickersham. Because it wasn’t performed in the usual television trope. Mannix and Wickersham were friends and they respected each other. And Wickersham, as seen in a few episodes, was a capable detective himself, who could do old-style sleuthing when he had to do so.

    Lew simply saw computers as the leading edge of modern detective work, while Joe felt the job of investigations required more instinct than data.

    I lost a lot of interest in MANNIX when it changed formats. To me, it became the stereotypical P. I. series, in which the hero walked the “mean streets” alone, except for his loyal secretary and tolerant police contact. To wit, something I had seen a dozen times over.

  2. D’oh, thanks, Commander, silly typo! Fixed now!

    And I thought Campanella was really good in Season 1, as well. I always thought he was a fine performer.

  3. Aye, I figured you just had a brain synapse misfire. Happens to me all the time.

    I, too, thought Joseph Campanella was a talented performer. I was always glad to see his name in a show’s opening credits. He had considerable charisma on screen and a good chemistry with Mike Connors.

    Most write-ups of Mannix‘s first season (when one can find them) make it sound like Mannix and Wickersham were constantly at each other’s throats. But their relationship was more professional and complex than that. The show lost something when they no longer interacted.

  4. Most write-ups of Mannix‘s first season (when one can find them) make it sound like Mannix and Wickersham were constantly at each other’s throats. But their relationship was more professional and complex than that. The show lost something when they no longer interacted.

    Fair point, but I think Wickersham was still mostly there as a foil. I do agree that it is fair to say that he gets portrayed too much as a sort of dick boss, when really it was just a clash of styles (he still supported Mannix when the chips were down, of course).

  5. do any episodes in the later seasons have any interactions with Intertect? Like on the Equalizer McCall quit Control but still interacts with them in some episodes

  6. After the change of formats, Mannix’s time with Intertect was referenced only three times that I know of, with one of them indirectly as an in-joke. All three occasions occurred early in the second season.

    in the first episode of the second season, “The Silent Cry”, first aired on 28 September 1968, Mannix is interviewing his client and it lapses into casual conversation.

    “Well, I guess I’ve always been a loner. Even when I was with Intertect,” Joe tells her, and when she is confused by the referrence, he adds:

    “Intertect? Oh, well, that’s a big detective agency. Big building, y’know, lots of machines, computers all the time. Tick–tick–tick–tick all the time! Well, one day I cussed at the machine, and I think I heard it cuss back, so I quit.”

    The third episode of the season, “Pressure Point”, first aired on 12 October 1968, gives us the most direct link between the old format and the new. When Mannix is unable to find any leads to a subject for whom he has only a name, if it is a name—“Kelly Green”—his secretary, Peggy Fair, takes it upon herself to turn to Intertect’s resources. For one last time, we see the familiar Intertect computer room, and actor Martin Braddock reprises his first-season recurring character of computer programmer Parker.

    After Peggy tells Parker what she needs, he replies, “That’s all very well, Peggy, but we have to have a charge number. Now if I don’t, Wickersham will have my head. As a matter of fact, ever since Mannix left Intertect, one hour of every day is devoted to hating him.”

    But Parker does come through with a viable lead, which Peggy gingerly reports to her boss:

    “I took the liberty of going to, uh, well, y’know, a certain organization and now don’t be angry because it worked! Intertect put ‘Kelly Green Frame’ through the computer and what do you think?”

    Joe suggests,”That I’m gonna strangle you.”

    The last reference is, as I said, oblique. In “The End of the Rainbow”, the fifth episode of the season, first aired on 26 October 1968, Mannix is seeking information from a woman at her place of business, a computer company. They talk while she works. After she loads her deck of punch cards (remember those?) into the computer tray, Joe pushes the run-job button, to the lady’s surprise.

    “I used to work in a place like this,” he tells her.

    Obviously, this was a nod to the show’s fans who’d been there from the first season.

    Other than that, though, I don’t know too much about it. Hope this helps, ma’am.

  7. I wholeheartedly agree with Commander Benson’s assessment of Mannix. I just finished watching the debut episode of Season 2, and WHAT A DISAPPOINTMENT!!!😭
    I loved the hilarious rivalry between Mannix and the computer guys. And Lew Wickersham was awesome.😎 I miss the “high tech” gadgets, the training sessions, self-defense courses, and the spycraft of Season 1 that set ‘Mannix’ apart from the other run-of-the-mill detective shows of that era. It sounds silly, but I’m genuinely sad that we’ll never see the character of Lew Wickersham in Mannix ever again.😔 I truly find it hard to believe that ‘Mannix’ continued for an additional seven seasons after abandoning everything that made it cool. I’ll continue to watch for as long as I can, but I’m not holding out much hope. Who knows? I am a HUGE fan of ‘The Rockford Files’ TV series, but that’s probably because I’m a big fan of James Garner, the show had a phenomenal supporting cast, and the series also benefited from the outstanding writing of Stephen J. Cannell. I doubt that ‘Mannix’ Seasons 2-8 will generate that much enthusiasm from me, but I’ll give it a shot and hope for the best. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  8. I loved the hilarious rivalry between Mannix and the computer guys. And Lew Wickersham was awesome.

    A few years back, after viewing the entire DVD collexion of Mannix‘s first season, I posted a three-part article on the show’s inaugural year on my “home” site, captaincomics.ning. I devoted considerable copy to the character of Lew Wickersham and his interaction with Joe Mannix. One of the undertones that the show depicted so well was that, despite their different approaches to investigations, Mannix and Wickersham were true friends who respected each other.

    The plots also took pains to show that Wickersham, with his belief in modern technology, was a capable sleuth in his own right. And sometimes—not often, because he wasn’t the star—his methods would prove handy.

    One instance, for example, in the episode “License to Kill—Limit Three People”, Mannix is trying to locate a man who has deliberately gone missing. Wickersham virtually drags Mannix into the computer room, Joe griping the whole time. Lew interrupts his tirade, telling him, “You’re the one who’s always saying that when a man disappears on purpose, he falls back on something from his past.”—Lew hands him a two-inch-thick print-out—“There it is, Mannix, information on every home, job, hobby, and personal friend and acquaintance David Tate ever had.” It’s a rare occasion when Joe has to eat his own words.

    Mannix the loner, of the subsequent seasons, had its virtues. But it was never as good as that first season.

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