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Harry O

Harry O was a crime drama that ran for two years on ABC, from 1974 to 1976. It starred David Janssen and actually sprang from two pilots: Such Dust as Dreams Are Made On, and the noticeably retooled Smile Jenny, You're Dead, both of which starred Janssen as Harry Orwell, a San Diego cop forced into retirement after being shot in the back. To support himself, he sets up a private eye practice from his beach house on Coronado Island, in San Diego.

For the second half of season one, Harry O was retooled and the setting shifted to Los Angeles, due to the high production costs in and around San Diego. The makeover was more than just cosmetic: a revised theme song and incidental music were created and new supporting characters were written in, particularly that of Lt. Trench of the Santa Monica Police Department, who became Orwell's new foil/contact. The tone of the show's scripts became distinctly darker, and the actors' performances followed suit. Harry still lived in a beach cottage, but it had moved up the coast to an indeterminate location on PCH between Santa Monica and Malibu.

Season two saw further reworking of the opening credits and theme song, and new recurring characters were added. Anthony Zerbe, who played Lt. Trench, won an Emmy for his role.

Recurring characters most notably included Farrah Fawcett-Majors, (Harry's stunningly attractive neighbor and on-again/off-again girlfriend Sue Ingram), Paul Tulley (as Sgt. Don Roberts, Lt. Trench's assistant), Les Lannom (as Lester Hodges, a feckless private-eye wannabe), Tom Atkins (as Sgt Frank Cole), and Bill Henderson (as Spencer Johnson, Harry's perennially frustrated car mechanic).

Harry's Austin-Healey roadster, which spent almost all of the first season in the shop, later saw more time on the open road, and Harry himself had an operation to remove the bullet lodged in his back.

Ratings for the series were decent, and picked up after the show's mid-season refresh, which was successful enough to earn Harry O a second season, during which it continued to gain viewership and critical praise. In spite of this, ABC president and programming wizard Fred Silverman chose to take the network down a different road; he canceled Harry O in favor of Charlie's Angels. The last episode ran on April 29, 1976. The show's cancellation came as a particularly hard blow to Janssen, who vowed never to take part in a TV series again.

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