Add a Review

  • This was and is the best series about PI's ever, Robert Urich and Avery Brooks where what made this series great also Richard Jaeckal and Ron McLarty were great support, The episodes of the first season were the best of the series, the 2nd season had standout episodes, but was not as good as the first, the third season started to show the shows age but I can't think of a bad episode, I love a show which surprises you and causes the hair on the back of your neck to stand up!!, and this show did, Hawk was such a great character and there is only one Hawk!!(Avery Brooks), This show had the human touch which is lost on shows today, this show is not dated it looks as though it was released today

    It is my desire to own all three seasons on DVD someday when they are released, Robert Urich was a TV god to me and he is truly missed, this is TV to be remembered, Oh yeah Barbara Stock was OK!(No Truly great acting there) and Carolyn McCormick had bite in **Eye For An Eye** but after that she was dull and un-interesting

    Over all a truly great show!!
  • Great, really great - in my opinion one of the best Crime-TV-Series ever made. Robert Urich plays - again - a private investigator who solves his cases with help of his friend "Hawk" (Avery Brooks, "Ben Sisko" from "Deep Space Nine"). I have not seen one episode of this TV-Series which was boring. Great stories, quite enough action, social aspects - and of course two really superb playing actors (Robert Urich, Avery Brooks). That's what makes this TV-Series from the 80's a classic one.
  • How to wrap up in summation thoughts and feelings for what started out as viewing a tremendously enjoyable series that has led to a desire to know the Spenser universe as well as creator Robert B. Parker? Two words: Intelligent, non-pandering. Every so often the rarity of a great ensemble cast manages to translate story-to-screen week-after-week in a way that induces the viewer to come back. Robert Urich as Spenser brought an intellect mind to the P.I. genre as no one had prior and his partnership-friendship with long-time associate Hawk (as played by Avery Brooks in the role he shall forever shine in [versus his "Deep Space Nine" stint] displayed, without ever coming right out and stating it, that men being close with other men is not only O.K.- it (friendship) is what life is all about (and that you don't discuss it- you live it AND accept it). The third ingredient, Spenser's paramour, shrink Susan Silverman (as played by the ravishing Barbara Stock) makes for a group of impenetrable smarts and savvy to tackle the most twisted of crimes and criminals. Spenser's police associates, Sergeant Belson (Ron McLarty) and Lt. Quirk (long-time renown actor Richard Jaeckel) complete the team- and... the complement. As portrayed in the novels, they each ultimately are part of a crime-fighting machine, only not in the TV-formulistic manner. One doesn't feel as though the producers of the show have a checklist being annotated during planning and blocking meetings. Stories feel real, with a human flair versus a TV production mill affair. Being set primarily in the Massachusetts-centered New England, and MUCH of the time on location also gives the series a freshness. Invariably "Spenser for Hire" will air in re-runs again. My recommendation: watch it, then go get the novels (there are now 20+). As for the "TV movies" that were on and produced by Lifetime- they are just O.K., each came directly from a Parker Novel (with screenplays authored or co-authored by the creator himself) but other than Urich and Brooks, the remaining principles are cast with different people and the "magic" never quite propagated. But even change can be surprising- which is what I am hoping the upcoming new A&E production of one of the more recent Parker novels, "Small Vices" will be.
  • Fans: Quite often I go on-line to check for the much anticipated release of this intelligent detective series. So far my face is dragging the ground. I loved this show when it was on and could not for the life of me understand why it was canceled. Let us not go there. So shows the fans just loved seemed to generate no love with the network Execs. I guess wit, intelligence, and great plots are not where we are going. And by the way only the the late Robert Eurich could ever play the character of Edmond Spenser, and Avery Brooks as Hawk. Never knew if Hawk had another name, like Jason, or Daniel etc.

    But if there is a petition we can sign to try to get Spenser: For Hire on DVD somebody please point the way, and I will be sure to add my name.
  • What can I say? This series captured the essence of the Spenser novels, written by the one man selected by the Chandler estate to finish the unfinished Philip Marlowe novel (Robert B. Parker). Robert Urich's portrayal of Parker's updated version of "the last good man" is unmatched, and I can't imagine any other actor in this role. Avery Brooks brings out the human side of Hawk, whose humanity developed in the Parker novels. Even Susan, although played by an actress far too young for the role, works.

    All in all a fine tribute to Parker and his best known character.
  • Here's what can happen when intelligent people put together a show and keep up the quality thru its run. Spenser, though it only lasted three short seasons was a witty, intelligent, and suspensful show. The chemistry between Ulrich and Brooks (Spenser and Hawk) made the show...It was shown those two guys (while often dissagreeing about things) genuinly respected and cared about each other. The show was superbly shot in and around Boston, though a few locations (the abandoned Navy Yard especially) were used a bit to often, but at least it was Bosten, and not LA. The only weak link was Barbara Stock. Her continual "hampster in heat" acting mared the series, and Carolyn MacCormick (as Rita Fiori) was a far more interesting love interest for Spenser. Like "Harry-O" (w/ David Janssen) Spenser's adventures ended far to soon.
  • Several weeks before posting this review, I visited Boston for the first time. While riding the city's MBTA Red Line across the Longfellow Bridge, I could not help but hum variations of the theme song from "Spenser: For Hire," which aired over 25 years ago. I never read the Spenser books written by Robert B. Parker so I have no idea if the show ever captured the essence of the novels. The series never ranked in the top 20 and was switched to several time slots during the show's three seasons. The show's major strengths were Robert Urich as Spenser, Avery Brooks as Hawk and the incredibly strong on location production values that made the show better than some current and past detective shows, depending on the episode.

    Some episodes, especially within season 1, had strong, intriguing plot twists that kept my interest. Three of my personal favorites were "The Choice," (which starred Patricia Clarkson and Sam Robards as thrill killers), "When Silence Speaks" (with Phyllis Frelich as a newspaper columnist who hires Spenser to locate a letter writer) and "Discord in a Minor," in which the teenage daughter of the city's symphony director tries to run away with the son of a local crime boss.

    The show was far from perfect. Both of Spenser's love interests, Susan Silverman (played by Barbara Stock, seasons 1 and 3) and Rita Fiori (played by Carolyn McCormick, season 2) were generally thankless, underdeveloped roles. Arguably, both actresses tried their best with the material given but, more often than not, the dynamic between Spenser and Hawk was more interesting. In addition, several episodes depended more on chase scenes and stunts instead of correcting plot deficiencies, great stunt work notwithstanding.

    I watched "Spenser: For Hire" on and, as of this post, over 50 of the show's 65 episodes are available for streaming. Overall, the show was a nice diversion and a better-than-average detective series.

    Update (6/14/2012): Sadly, with AOL ending, Spenser: For Hire is not being streamed as of this update. I hope Warner Brothers will reconsider and stream and/or release the program on DVD in the future.

    Update (2/3/2015): The WB Shop has released season 1 of "Spenser: For Hire" on a made-to-order DVD basis.
  • Forget Sherlock Holmes. Forget Magnum. Robert Urich was Spenser (with a "s" like the poet) and his legend lives on. Spenser shaped a generation of viewers by his interpretations of character and integrity. Urich was the best and so was the character.

    Spenser for Hire played on the ABC Friday night line-up at 10pm (pst) following O'Hara and Starman. The show had a grass roots following that protested its initial cancellation during the mid 1980s.

    On a scale of 1 - 10, this show is an 11. Spenser displayed the wisdom of a poet, the tenaciousness of a tiger, and culinary talents of a chef all wrapped up into the body of an ex- policeman turned private investigator. He even boxed as part of his exercise. What more of a tough, clever, fast-talking bulky investigator who will turn any thing or one over to solve a case?

    If you ever had an interest in mysteries (Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew) as a youth, then this series is something you may start to view, teenager through adult.
  • Spenser For Hire was an excellent show!

    Warner Brothers has released Season 1 on DVD, but has stalled at allowing the last 2 seasons for purchase.

    The fans deserve the whole series on DVD!

    If anyone wants to purchase Seasons 2-3 of this great TV series, could they please sign this petition?

    Also, letters to Warner Brothers, positive reviews on the WB Shop website, requesting the rest of the series, Tweets and Facebook posts would help, too!

    Thanks for all of your support!
  • I think Spenser for Hire is the best shows I've ever watched. The books that Robert Parker wrote are excellent. Just recently been able to purchase all of his shows and watch them non-stop on weekends. Spenser and Hawk were great team partners, Robert Urich is surely missed and Avery Brooks, well he's great also. I have read all of books that Robert Parker wrote about Spenser for Hire. The movie Hawk is also excellent to watch as well. If you have not seen any of the movies and your a fan of both Robert Urich and Avery Brooks, then you should take the time to watch the shows. As for the movies that were released, okay, didn't particularly care for the actor that played Susan Silverman.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    During 1997 and 1998 our national television blessed us with another good work form the 1980s, where big part of being good is just by belonging to the 1980s and its TV values.

    Spenser was a prince. I mean who would be the other detective that you know who read all of these books and is ready to quote from them anytime ?! The character was confident, friendly, and not that violent too.

    ..Speaking of which, we come to the matter of his guarding angel, the darkest sidekick in the history of TV, Mr. Hawk himself. Hawk was the evil man who had gone wrong turning into good guy. Spooky good guy to be precise. At that time, there were so many good detectives on TV, but Hawk was totally unprecedented character that still is incomparable till now. He stole the lights especially with his distinctive marks and remarks, plus his forever vagueness' halo, his sudden appearances to rescue his friend, his undefeatable persona, and the fact that he's capable of doing what Spencer can't (being nasty, fierce, or scary).

    It was winning deal to watch them both; 1) What a complete friendship, 2) What a perfect force, 3) What a philosophical look into the human being whereas we're half good and half evil so what a great thing to have the best of both sides, 4) It assured that one kind intellectual man must have a wicked streetwise half to get through life.

    The attraction's factors are many : The start's combination of always very well made teaser, great music theme, and catchy opening credits—was highly enjoyable; I recorded it back then to watch it endlessly. Then the narration of Robert Urich as Spencer. The sexy Barbara Stock, and the tender Carolyn McCormick, OK, both were so right for what they were, yet McCormick's character started as the sharp intense Assistant District Attorney Rita Fiore to end up as the soft delicate Rita or Spencer's girl ! Although Richard Jaeckel was fine, but I didn't like Ron McLarty as the fat sloppy Sgt. Frank.

    The music score captured my heart, to the extent that I longed for a soundtrack for every episode. The cinematography was sensitive at times, with fascinating look to Boston all the time. The scripts were never formulaic; a lot of previous and next shows like (Columbo), (The A-Team), and (Walker Texas Ranger) got stuck into the tragedy of "if-you-see-one-you've-seen-them-all", however Spenser was different. Yes, not ALL the episodes was so perfect, but at least it had certain amount of fun. It wasn't about sexy girls or car chases; it was about crime, mystery and a continuous conflict that needs brains and some muscles too.

    Some episodes managed to be above average : Spenser's house is burned, Spenser's hand becomes paralyzed, Spenser kills a young assassin and must face his kids, Spenser vs. Hawk himself as a bodyguard of some villain, Spenser and Hawk babysitter a marked witness.

    For me, the best of it was the rare chemistry between the 2 leads as characters before as actors which made the show one of the most important buddy-cop shows ever. Actually waiting for Hawk to show up was some treat for every episode, so how about his lines and attitudes also.

    I've always believed that Robert Urich is a star more than an actor, and how his powers as an actor lacked a lot to be more effective. He used to deal with the performance by his heavy charisma, a smile, and touch of elegance. Anyhow, that wasn't a show about acting in the first place. Avery Brooks was the kindest ogre you would ever see. He provided the show with great appeal, despite that his role wasn't deep at all; it was just tough menacing and funny lines which he mastered to the utmost. Obviously, the 2 characters consummated each other perfectly, and maybe that was one of the reasons why the spin-off (A Man Named Hawk), starring Hawk only, didn't find the same success, you'd feel all the time something like : Where is his other half ?!

    Skip the 4 TV movies of the 1990s utterly; they're nothing like the original show. Watching them is like watching ghosts from the 1980s through cold tasteless movie of the week stuff. I still ask myself not which one was their best ? No, but which one was worse than the other ?! Worth the look if only you're a big BIG fan of the 2 leads.

    True that Spencer was the prince of detectives, but hey.. Magnum, at the time and till now, was / is the king. Nevertheless, whatever.. for the 1980s' nostalgia; when the TV shows were legendarily nice and entertaining, the friendship, the mystery, your love for the leads.. for any of these reasons or all.. you've got to miss (Spencer : For Hire).

    P.S : I wrote another IMDb review about the spin-off (A Man Named Hawk) entitled "The Most Evil Good Hero Ever" where I talked more elaborately about his relationship with Spencer.
  • wkozak22112 August 2015
    Warning: Spoilers
    I love(d) this series. When this was on regular TV I videotaped every episode. I found it extremely well written. The actors/actresses brought the characters to life. Each episode had bits of drama, humor, pathos and anguish. I tbought the writers followed the books feel very well. They conveyed the sense of the novels to TV. I think they should have stopped when the series was cancelled. I have seen the movies with joe mantenga and the others. I did not feel intimidated at all. When I saw robert urich and avery brooks I felt the you were watching spenser and hawk in person on the screen. It was fun to watch Spenser driving his reliable classic mustang while Hawk kept getting another new car. The series was very well done. I got used to watching Carolyn McCormack instead of Barbara Stock. Too bad they don't rerun the series.
  • I never liked VEGA$ very much, never read any of Parker's books, had never heard of Parker before, and found myself watching almost every episode of SPENSER only because TV GUIDE described it as a conventional cop show. (Not that VEGA$ was unconventional, but SPENSER was the first such show I ever watched without considerable parental guidance.) What I didn't expect were Spenser's delightful literary meditations. They (along with the beauty of Barbara Stock) made this show not just a rite of passage (for me) but one of my all-time favorites.

    However, there was one Shakespearean passage I waited to hear and never did. Given Spenser's apparent compassion for all those involved in his cases, when he had to kill someone or witness a scene of massive killing I kept waiting for him to quote Fortinbras' lament for both the innocent and the guilty dead at the end of HAMLET:

    "Take up the bodies. Such a sight as this

    Becomes the field, but here shows much amiss."
  • I don't remember too much about this as a child, only that I used to like it, then I watched it on one of the many re-runs and it really is special. I always found Robert Ulrich to be a high quality actor. I'd see him in stuff on TV and refer to him as Spenser and my friends would say "who?". The series was very well acted and was different to the usual American cops show we were used to in the 80's. Spenser was a man of great integrity and Hawk his side kick was a man who might not agree with Spenser but would do everything in his power to support his friend. Just a very clever programme.

    I'm sure it won't be long before we see repeats of the show on one of the sky channels, It will be worth buying Sky+ for. I won't miss an episode this time around and nor should anyone else.
  • Avery brooks first said " fortune favors the bold" on "spenser for hire" not "star trek deep space nine" ... i always hated that phrase'..when you think about it closely, it should anger you ... fortune favors those that don't seek it but live full clean lives and find fortune in the end
  • sly_puss26 December 2007
    My brother and I LOVED watching this series, probably one of the only ones my father recommended that ended up being a truly great series. Robert Urich played Spenser magnificently - the understated, under appreciated, well-read, HUGE hottie of the time. Avery Brooks as Hawk was magnificent casting. Couldn't wait for him to show in each episode and say, '....Spen-SAH....' Killer detective-cop show. It was the predecessor to what you see now as Law & Order, L&O Criminal Intent, etc. Can't wait, and don't understand why it's not out on DVD yet to buy for my brother and me. You're missing out if you haven't seen any of this series yet.
  • The DVD for the Spenser series is now available. The version I bought for $99.95 US contained 67 episodes on 17 discs. There were no "extras" such as: menus or scene selection. The episode guide promised in the add was not included When I enquired, I was told it was available on the internet! Anyway, the color is OK, the sound is a bit wonky. The screen is the standard screen. No subtitles. Looks like it was taped off the air and downloaded on DVD. Some bits of the original commercials pop up. Otherwise, enjoyable. Urich and Brooks are excellent in their roles. However, the Spenser character seems to kill a lot of people every week.
  • Anyone knows of any other movies with Evelyn Moore...she had a small part in Spenser back in December 1985 (I believe as Spensers assistant or a lawyer of some sort) called Resurrection and never heard from her again...has anyone seen her in any other TV shows or movies...the bio does not seem to be correct in IMDb... i believe at the time of airing she was African American and seemed to be around her mid 30's to early 40's...thought she had a promising career in front of her but maybe she assumed a different stage name or something. I know she was from the Boston area and that series was filmed there so maybe after it ended so did her career....
  • yeah, what can be more relaxing after coming home from school or work than tuning in into another episode of spencer. although this guy has probably too much luck (when someone tries to shoot him for example), he's also got this detective gene and a cool expression on his face that makes viewers addicted. so sit back and enjoy.