"There's an old Armenian proverb: the man works best who works alone."
--Private Eye Joe Mannix from "The Color of Murder".
Los Angeles cop characters from the Homicide Division return:
Lt. Ira Deegan (actor Dane Clark in "A Ticket to the Eclipse", "With Intent to Kill")
Lt. Adam Tobias (actor Robert Reed in "One for the Lady", "Duet for Three", "The Crime That wasn't", "A Day Filled with Shadows", "Voices in the Dark")
Lt. Art Malcom (actor Ward Wood in "Time Out of Mind", "Figures in the Landscape", "The Mouse That Died", "The Other Game in Town", "Sunburst", "To Cage a Seagull", "Déjà Vu", "With Intent to Kill" , "The Color of Murder", "Overkill")
Lt. Mitch Webster (Jerry Douglas in "The World Between", "Round Trip to Nowhere")
Lt. George Kramer (actor Larry Linville in "Bang, Bang, You're Dead")
Lt. Maurie Strauss (actor Milton Selzer in "What Happened to Sunday?")
One have a country cop as Chief of Police Carl Yaring (actor Robert Lansing in "The Judas Touch") or no guest cop as "The Lost Art of Dying", "A Gathering of Ghosts", "Shadow Play".
A whole episode ("With Intent to Kill") is dedicated to the tough-as-nails Lt. Deegan in which Mannix is hired by his wife to spy on his activities related to a robbery and it even features Lt. Malcom.
After the season 2 "End Game", find another fine plot about a Korean War veteran with a revenge: "A Ticket to the Eclipse", directed by John Moxey (see "Kolchak: The Night Stalker") and guest starring Darren McGavin (see "Kolchak: The Night Stalker") as long hair Karate teacher Mark training kids who behaves as weirdo Max Cady from "Cape Fear" (1962); pay attention to the hectic swimming pool fight that shows laughing Mark warning Mannix: "Hey Lieutenant! You blew it! You should've killed me! You're going to pay for it. You're going to pay for it." The second entry ("One for the Lady", directed again by John Moxey) is also good because Mannix poses as a framed turncoat working first as a bodyguard and then as a demolition expert for an Italian female gangster leader ordering her gang of "Mission: Impossible"-like con men (electronics expert, master of disguise/voice imitator, coordinator) to rob the safe of a naval air station. One of the best episode is an oddity: "A Gathering of Ghosts" (directed by Reza Badiyi) that is huit-clos taking place in a ghost town in the middle of the desert where Mannix is welcomed by a group of old friends who play a joke on him with bogus gunshots and a murder. The hoax quickly degenerates into real drama and then we follow a dark whodunit. The guest cast is fabulous: Robert Webber, Jason Evers, Charles Aidman, Alan Oppenheimer, Diana Muldaur and Marj Dusay.
But the finest adventure is "The Mouse That Died"--a variation on the film noir "D.O.A." (1950)--: Mannix is poisoned with a nerve drug on his coffee by a third party who hides his illegal espionage activities about the stealing of a military project called "Fishnet" and Mannix has only 24 hours to nail him and to get the antidote. Director Sutton Roley's film-making is inspired by showing the symptoms of the main character, pale as a zombie, through three vivid hallucinations: the meeting with a satanist sect in a crummy building, the attack at the Puritan Laundry Service and the helicopter chase at the exit of a tunnel. Incidentally, one year later, Sutton Roley and composer Laurence Rosenthal will work again but on a supernatural pilot entitled "Sweet, Sweet Rachel". Another wild entry related to visions is "What Happened to Sunday?" (directed by Paul Krasny) in which Mannix looses the memory of the previous day after running away and being chased by two cars. It's filled with subliminal shots to emphasize the quick flashes of memory undergone by the leading man who investigates from place to place: The Monkey Bar, The Beauty Parlor, The Sea Breeze Dancing. "Voices in the Dark" (directed by Paul Krasny and guest starring Carol Lynley) is a tense thriller not to miss about a former swimmer for the Olympics who becomes disabled after a car accident (notice the quick subliminal montage during the prologue), lives reclused in her apartment and is threatened by a mysterious man but everything indicates it's all in her imagination when Mannix takes the case. One episode ("Déjà Vu") makes a loose reference to the "Twilight Zone" segment "Spur of the Moment": a young woman witnesses twice the death of Mannix (in dream and for real) while going horse-riding in the countryside. The intriguing political-oriented "To Cage a Seagull" (directed by Paul Krasny) features two noteworthy scenes: a treacherous and militant secretary leading Mannix to an ambush and the escape of Mannix from the high cell with crude rock walls.
You can also appreciate two engrossing Syndicate in the countryside episodes: "Sunburst" (directed by John Moxey)--that starts as a season 2 "Mission: Impossible" holiday episode entitled "The Town"--in which Mannix stops at a gas station held by a mobster (played by Barry Atwater) and his two henchmen on their way to eliminate a big brass (played by Brad Dexter) willing to testify against his people; "Shadow Play" (directed by Paul Krasny) tells the story of crooked chief of police Belden (played by John Vernon) and investment broker Sargent on the payroll for the Syndicate and run the operations in a small country town when Mannix steps in to solve the murder of a woman.
Secretary Peggy Fair has an entire episode to her: "The World Between" (directed by Paul Krasny and guest starring Hari Rhodes and Albert Popwell) in which she ends up in the hospital after getting a missing bullet in the Paseo Verde office and falls in love with the Premier of an African nation.
Graphic design-wise: each prologue starts now with the MANNIX logo. The opening titles remains unchanged except the footages from "Time Out of Mind" recycled for the credits of actress Gail Fisher, wearing a yellow dress. Same previous configuration for the end titles which now gains yellow fonts instead of the white ones. Season 4 is yellow all the way.
Fashion-wise: Mannix carries his usual Italian Persol sunglasses in "Round Trip to Nowhere", changes them to some huge fancy plastic Ray-Ban in "Sunburst", "Déjà Vu", "What Happened to Sunday?" and also a pair of metal framed orange shades in "The Judas Touch".
For the music lovers, the orchestration tends to contrast with the past of the series by the introduction of two music supervisors: Leith Stevens (see "A Ticket to the Eclipse", "One for the Lady", "Time Out of Mind", "Round Trip to Nowhere") and Kenyon Hopkins (from "Figures in the Landscape"). Lalo Schifrin makes his comeback after a season of absence and the first sign of change is the opener score ("A Ticket to the Eclipse" with its dissonant organ music a la "THX 1138" that prefigures the theme of "Scorpio" from "Dirty Harry" combined with the "Mannix" theme rearranged a la "Bullitt", a drop of "Charley Varrick" and some harpsichord use from "The Beguiled") which paves the way for the rough Seventies leaning to come. For his last score ("One for the Lady") on the series, Jerry Fielding lets a strong imprint due to his big band trade mark, tense martial drumbeats a la "Hunters Are for Killing/McMillan&Wife" combined with some moody cimbaloms, the stings of "Kolchak" and some soft romantic music for the Italian female leader foreshadowing "Susan's Apartment" and "The Aircraft" from "Scorpio"; the score is well-tracked in "To Cage a Seagull" when Mannix meets leader Leonard Brix in his headquarters. Other composers contribute: Richard Hazard ("Time Out of Mind", the dissonant and hip ethnic "Shadow Play" that foreshadows his music scores for "Mission: Impossible" between "Kitara" and "The Bride"), Fred Steiner ("Figures in the Landscape" is made in the same cloth as the season 3 "The Playground"), Lawrence Rosenthal (the weird score "The Mouse That Died" that features an action-packed cue that is a proto-version of The Sandmen Theme from "Logan's Run: The Series"; it's well-highlit in "What Happened to Sunday?"), Joseph Mullendore (the retro 50's crime jazz score "The Lost Art of Dying"), Lyn Murray (the sentimental and martial ethnic score "The World Between"), Duane Tatro ("The Invaders" type of lowkey score "Round Trip to Nowhere").
Unlike previous season sets, these season 4 discs feature English subtitles for the Deaf and Hard of hearing (English SDH) instead of closed captions (CC).
PICTURE QUALITY NOTES
The transfers oversaturate reds to such a degree that interlaced artifacts rear their ugly heads constantly when something which is colored richly red starts moving.