6 April 2005 | louiepatti
A Short-Lived Gem
In the fine tradition of Jim Rockford, Harry McGraw was a real human being doing the work of a private investigator. When he got hit or otherwise attacked, he got hurt. He was a flawed but good-hearted guy with a strong streak of self-interest who nonetheless couldn't resist helping someone in a jam. Lovable Harry was introduced on "Murder, She Wrote", at first as a tough P. I. investigating his partner's homicide in the episode Tough Guys Don't Die. He reappeared in From The Horses' Mouth, Death Takes A Dive, One Good Bid Deserves A Murder, Double Exposure, and The Skinny According To Nick Culhane. The character was so appealing, the network tried to spin him off into his own series. Unfortunately, without the interplay between calm spinster Jessica Fletcher and the rougher-edged Harry McGraw, the character lost some of his appeal. The supporting cast for his show was competent but not as good as Jessica. Jerry Orbach was as usual brilliant as Harry; with his soulful large eyes, wide grin and lanky loose-jointed body, he breathed life into the flawed yet charming character and made him real. Alas, Harry died a premature death in the ratings and the show was yanked after too short a time. Curse network greed!