25 February 2020 | gerdeen-1
The show that might have been . . .
In this episode, Barnaby and J.R. investigate a jewel theft and find that it's linked to a kidnapping. They also find themselves working with two feisty newcomers to the sleuthing business, lawyer Alexander Street (Felton Perry) and investigator Stanley Donaldson (Sam Weisman). These two young men, who met while fighting in Vietnam, make a few rookie mistakes in the course of the story, generating some laughs, but they learn fast and their banter is fun. Given the prominence of these characters in the plot, and the detailed history that's revealed about them, it's clear that this episode was a backdoor pilot, a test run for a proposed TV series that never got made. Perhaps the concept of wisecracking buddies solving crimes and reminiscing about Vietnam was just slightly ahead of its time, or maybe the network bosses were slow to realize its potential. But Street and Donaldson were the forerunners of "Magnum" and related hits in the 1980s.