There have been many drama TV programmes over the years which deal with the subject of murder. Quite why such a grizzly subject is watched and enjoyed by so many people I don’t know (surely we should all be turned off by the very idea, but it would seem not) but they always seem to do well in the rankings, which is probably why there are so many to choose from.
Your typical show revolving around murder normally fits into one of three categories. It’s either the modern day, realistic drama (e.g. Taggart, Morse) or the Agatha Christie-esque meddling old investigator in a sleepy village (e.g. Miss Marple, Poirot) or the “Invesigative Couple”, where two people form a team to solve murderous crimes that they always just stumble across during their normal lives. Todays post subject falls squarely into that last bracket.
Hart To Hart is a US show about amateur detectives Jonathan and Jennifer Hart. Jonathan (Robert Wagner) is a self made millionaire, whilst his wife Jennifer (Stefanie Powers) is a freelance journalist. The pair travel the world living the high life, but keep finding themselves getting involved in mysteries that more often than not end up with someone getting murdered. The Harts then take it upon themselves to bring the culprit to justice.
Assisting the Harts in their endeavours was the gravelly voiced Max (Lionel Stander) who was a sort of butler come housekeeper come chauffeur, and their dog Freeway.
The title sequence for the show consisted of Jonathan and Jennifer driving their open top cars up a mountain road, whilst Max provided a very memorable voice over explaining the premise, describing Jonathan as “quite a guy” and Mrs. H as “gorgeous” and “a lady who can take care of herself”.
By far the most memorable part of this speech was the end bit, which stated “when they met, it was murder”. It’s funny how your memory can be wrong though. I always thought Max had much more of a drawl in his accent, so that what he said sounded more like “when dey met, it waz moider”, but sadly this isn’t the case, as you can hear for yourself in the clip below.
The show ran from 1979 to 1984, and was so memorable that in 1993 the first of eight TV movies was made with further adventures of the well off detective duo, with the three main cast members reprising their roles. Sadly, Lionel Stander died late in 1994, so he only features in the first five of these.