(TV Series)

(1969)

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8/10
Great episode, but beware syndication cuts
jivers0110 March 2016
One of the best episodes thanks to a lively story, fun Hollywood studio setting, and Robert Conrad as self-centered, macho jerk Mitch Cantrell. That any fan of the series would enjoy this one is a given. Am only writing this to point out two things.

First up is Conrad's full-on performance as an unsympathetic, swaggering creep that appears to be an unflattering portrait of himself. This was done shortly after his CBS series "The Wild Wild West" ended. Conrad was known for doing dangerous stunts and using his star power to influence the series. He and his stunt-men pals more or less dictated the direction of the show. Mitch Cantrell is a fearless star of a Western show/film (we see him shooting a scene), hangs out with his stunt-men buddies, and acts like he owns the studio. Cantrell, like Conrad, is also from Chicago -- which leads to our second point.

Cantrell often visits the "Chicago Street" on the fictional Majestic Studios (Paramount) lot because it reminds him of his hard-scrabble childhood. A key scene between him and Mannix has been unwisely trimmed down for syndication (recently by Heroes & Icons and probably other networks). The truncated version just shows Cantrell starting to talk about his past then abruptly ends with him staring at an alley across the way with no explanation. In the original uncut version he recalls being chased by a street gang and hiding in an alley, scared out of his wits. This was the turning point where he decided to rise above his fears to the point of being a reckless, selfish jerk. Without this dialog, his breakdown in the finale -- cowering in the alley -- comes out of nowhere and makes no sense. Too bad the need to shoehorn in more commercials gutted this episode, robbing it of any meaning. (Thanks, Heroes & Icons -- you suck.)
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9/10
Wow....Robert Conrad really plays a HUGE jerk in this episode! Such a big jerk that you wonder who WOULDN'T wan to kill him?!
MartinHafer23 October 2013
Robert Conrad is the guest star in this episode of "Mannix" and unlike the usual guest stars, he completely upstages everyone. Now I am NOT saying it's because he overacted but because his character is a bigger than life jerk--a guy you just love to hate! And, wow, does he play him with a gusto!!

The show begins with an attempt on Mitch Cantrell's life. Mitch (Conrad) was apparently the object of the attempt yet, inexplicably, he seems completely unconcerned. So it's obvious HE didn't hire Joe Mannix to investigate. However, the studio doesn't want to lose their big star and they pay the the investigation--though considering how difficult Cantrell is, you really wonder why they bother! It's because Cantrell is so self-absorbed and awful, you'd think they'd WANT him to die. In fact, EVERYONE in this film hates the guy, and so it's tough for Mannix to solve a case where EVERYONE could easily be the assailant!

I really liked this episode--and it's one of the best of the series. In addition to a neat plot, the characters are fascinating and the twists quite satisfying. Well worth your time....and a case that Mannix probably DIDN'T want to solve!

Best lines from the show:

Mannix: "You're losing friends, Mitch"

Cantrell: "I'll buy a bushel more!"
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