DVD Review: Mannix (The Seventh Season)

Joe Mannix (Mike Connors) took a beating each week as private eye, but he never considered a less punishing job like lion tamer. He ate knuckle sandwiches and drank split lips. Every episode had him either punched out or shot in non-vital parts of his body. He gave more than he took. The physical action is what made his series exciting for viewers. He wasn’t into the cerebral whodunits. He knew you had to get nasty to expose the truth. Mannix: The Seventh Season gives the penultimate 24 episodes that make the private eye go from Scotch on the rocks to China white to solve his cases.

“The Girl in the Polka Dot Dress” brings a psychic to Mannix’s office. Mannix predicts he needs a Scotch. The psychic has visualized a death. Mannix can’t help much except it turns out to be true. Now he has to take seriously the next death foretold involving Joan Van Ark (Knots Landing). Mannix hits to road to a lonely town in search of a missing boy in “A Way to Dusty Death.” The locals aren’t happy the man with the cool sportsjacket arriving on their streets. Anthony Geary (General Hospital) looks so young. “Climb A Deadly Mountain” starts out rough when Mannix’s plane crashes in the mountain. His only hope for survival is an escaped convict (Greg Morris of Mission: Impossible). Things get complicated since the people chasing Morris aren’t interested in taking him back alive. They might want to take out Mannix if he’s learned Morris’ secret. “Little Girl Lost” begins with a bang. A newspaper reporter is shot in front of his daughter. Was his upcoming scoop the reason for the murder? The suspects include Pernell Roberts (Bonanza), Sam Elliot (The Big Lebowski) and Beverly Garland (Scarecrow and Mrs. King).

Mannix can’t get a break when his vacation out to Turtle lake gets him booked into a hotel filled with hitmen. They don’t take nicely to him crashing their party. John Hillerman (Magnum P.I.) and Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon/) are part of the hired killers that need to pull a freebie to get Mannix out of their hair. “Search in the Dark” tangles Victor Buono (Batman‘s King Tut) into a caper involving jewels and an attack on a lady. Buono was one of the great guest stars of his era.

“Race Against Time” is a two parter with Mannix sneaking a heart surgeon into a Banana Republic to save the fearless leader’s life. “Mask for a Charade” brings out Claude Akins (Sheriff Lobo) as a cop in trouble. He needs Mannix to clear his name in the murder of a loan shark. “Trap for a Pigeon” is Robert Reed’s final appearance as Lt. Tobias. This was the same season of The Brady Bunch when he had the dadfro. That looked wouldn’t have worked for his cop role. The hair folks at Mannix appear to have used library paste to give him a straight hair look. “The Ragged Edge” opens with the shock of finding Mannix hooked on heroin and living like a junky. He’s doing favors for a mobster to get his fix. What has driven Mannix down this sad road? Is this the fault of Linda Evans (Dynasty)?

Mannix: The Seventh Season is still an exciting and complicated time for Mannix. The very cool thing about this collection is that many of the episodes weren’t included in the syndication package over the decades. This might be the first time for many non-original fans to see Mannix taking these body blows.

The Episodes
“The Girl in the Polka Dot Dress,” “A Way to Dusty Death,” “Climb a Deadly Mountain,” “Little Girl Lost,” “The Gang’s All Here,” “Desert Run,” “Silent Target,” “A World Without Sundays,” “Sing a Song of Murder,” “Search in the Dark,” “The Deadly Madonna,” “Cry Danger,” “All the Dead Were Strangers,” “Race Against Time” (Two-Parter), “The Dark,” “A Night Full of Darkness,” “Walk a Double,” “The Girl From Nowhere,” “Rage to Kill,” “Mask For a Charade,” “A Question of Murder,” “Trap for a Pigeon” and “The Ragged Edge.”

The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The transfers bring out the detail in Mike Connors’ hair. The audio is Dolby Digital Mono. The mix captures all the body blows and bullet shots. The episodes are subtitled in English.

No bonus features.

Mannix: The Seventh Season is more rough and tumble batch of cases. Mannix is the kind of private eye that no longer appears on TV which is a shame. He doesn’t mind getting messed up to expose the truth. Mike Connors looks convincing when he’s a junky.

CBS presents Mannix: The Seventh Season Starring: Mike Connors & Gail Fisher. Boxset Contents: 24 episodes on 6 DVDs. Released: July 3, 2012. Available at Amazon.com.

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