4 July 2006 | Cheyenne-Bodie
Change the title and hire Telly Savalas and Sherry Jackson
"Target: The Corruptors" was an ambitious, big budget series from Dick Powell's Four Star Productions ("Richard Diamond", "Wanted: Dead or Alive", "Trackdown", "Michael Shayne", "The Big Valley").
Stephen McNally ("Johnny Belinda", "Violent Saturday") played investigative reporter Paul Marino and Robert Harland was his undercover "legman" Jack Flood. The heroes investigated corruption in areas ranging from the garbage industry to law enforcement to the music industry.
The series was apparently based on real life writer/reporter Lester Velie, who was a co-producer. Velie had written articles about the slums of New York and organized crime's infiltration of the garment industry. He would go on to write stories about Jimmy Hoffa and Cuba.
The guest stars were top of the line. Walter Matthau and Peter Falk were in the pilot and Jack Klugman and Vic Morrow were in the second episode. Other guest stars included Gena Rowlands, David Janssen, Brian Keith, Robert Culp, Robert Vaughn, Richard Long, Steve Forrest and Edmond O'Brien.
Both series stars were fine actors but I might have tried to sex up the show a little with potentially more charismatic leads. My choices for Paul Marino would have been Peter Falk, Martin Landau, Charles Bronson or, best of all, Telly Savalas. For Marino's "legman" I would have checked out Joanna Moore, Joanna Barnes or Sherry Jackson.
One of the series original titles would have been more evocative: "The Muckraker".
"Name of the Game" (1968-71) worked a similar investigative reporter premise to better advantage, with Susan Saint James as the legman for Anthony Franciosa, Robert Stack and Gene Barry. Stephen McNally guest starred four times on "Name of the Game". McNally was more intriguing as an actor when he took of his toupee and played kinky character roles than he was as stolid, upright heroes like Paul Marino.