Running this blog, and putting together my TV Detective Database, has taught me a lot about the history of detective shows. More recently, I have become more and more fascinated with those detective shows that, for whatever reason, never stayed on TV screens for very long. Many of these short-lived detective shows have for the most part been forgotten; they are rarely found in syndication or on modern streaming services, and have never been released on home video. I think it’s a shame that detailed information about these shows is so hard to come by, so I’ve decided to devote some posts on my blog to compiling more information about them for posterity.
One such show is Crazy Like a Fox, which premiered on December 30th, 1984. The show starred Jack Warden as Harry Fox, a San Francisco-based private detective, and John Rubinstein as Harrison Fox, his long-suffering lawyer son who always gets roped into helping with his dad’s cases. (For the Murder, She Wrote fans that follow my blog: you might recognize John Rubinstein from the Season 9 episode “The Classic Murder”.) Additional regular cast members included Penny Peyser as Harrison’s wife Cindy, and Robby Kiger as Harrison’s son Josh.
The pilot episode of the show premiered on December 30, 1984. Although critical reception based on the pilot episode was mixed, it proved to be very popular with viewers during its first season. Many reviewers at the time, such as one from the New York Times, commented on the show’s lack of focus (as the show had been marketing itself as a “comedy/mystery/adventure”). However, the show did extremely well in the ratings, and was listed among the top shows of the 1984-1985 season. In fact, it did better in the ratings that year than other (more enduring) shows, like Cheers.
As further evidence of the show’s popularity, it was even featured on the cover of TV Guide on December 28, 1985; and Jack Walden was nominated for an Emmy for his role as Harry Fox twice (once in 1985 and again in 1986).
Unfortunately, the show suffered in its second season. Part of it may have been due to its shifting schedule. Throughout its first season, the show aired on Sundays at 9pm (right after Murder, She Wrote, which was also in its first season). However, in its second season, it was moved to Wednesdays in mid-season, moved again to Saturdays in the spring, and moved yet again to Thursdays in the summer.
Ultimately, the show was cancelled at the end of its second season, with the last episode airing on May 3rd, 1986. However, a reunion movie was produced within a year of its cancellation, and aired April 5th, 1987.
To my knowledge, the show was never released on DVD. It occasionally may appear in syndication, and you can find a few episodes of the show on my YouTube playlist.
Below, I have created a slide-show of some of the images and newspaper clippings relating to the show.