SIMON & SIMON was never a show that 'blew it's own horn' too loudly; tucked in neatly behind megahit MAGNUM, P.I., the (usually) easy-going adventures of private eye brothers Rick and A.J. Simon (Gerald McRaney and Jameson Parker), with it's Joe Walsh-inspired slide guitar theme, loopy humor, and occasionally off-the-wall resolutions was often as light-hearted as a day at the beach, and was largely ignored by critics during much of it's run...until it began appearing as a 'Top 20'-rated show, even without the benefit of Tom Selleck and his Corvette. True, by the series' end, after seven seasons, it had lost nearly all the charm and humor that had endeared it to the public for so long, but in it's prime, SIMON & SIMON was a blast!
Originally conceived as a Jimmy Buffet-influenced detective show set in the Florida Keys (the series' pilot would be integrated in several later episodes, and the original theme song would pop up, occasionally), the show ultimately called San Diego home, with it's easy accessibility to Tijuana. Rick Simon (McRaney), mutton-chopped, mustached, biker/Vietnam vet, was a usually in debt, often in trouble 'free spirit', his broken-down boat parked next to his younger brother's home, who believed in conspiracy theories and never saw a case (or a 'sure-thing' bet) he could pass up. Younger brother Andrew Jackson Simon, (A.J.), portrayed by Jameson Parker, was a buttoned-down, conservative college graduate with Robert Redford blond hair, a budding stock portfolio, and a girlfriend (Jeannie Wilson) who was the daughter of the head of the biggest detective agency in town (Myron Fowler). Less trusting than his older brother, A.J. preferred clients that paid 'up front', and didn't use police 'rap' sheets as a form of I.D.! (A piece of trivia: McRaney and Jameson, in real life, were the same age). Keeping the brothers from killing one another was their beautiful, long-patient mother, Cecilia (Mary Carver), who would often find 'victims' needing their assistance.
As the series progressed, A.J. lost his girlfriend and her father's agency, the brothers would move into more 'upscale' offices, and a new 'contact' would be acquired, the irrepressible Police Lt. M.P. 'Downtown' Brown (Tim Reid), who seemed to spend half his life getting the brothers out of scrapes with the law. The Reid seasons offer the very best episodes of the series, with the most outrageous, entertaining plots and humor.
After Reid left the series, in 1987, "Simon & Simon" dropped the humor, choosing to become a dramatic, 'message'-oriented program (with one episode devoted to the rape of their mother), and the show quickly lost their audience base. When it was canceled, in 1988, "Simon & Simon" disappeared as quietly as it had first appeared.
While the loyalty of it's fans would produce two TV-movie reunions, in 1994 and 1995, the series was truly a product of the eighties, a simpler time that best suited two unconventional guys, and their VERY unconventional cases!