Written by Senora Bicho
Jake and the Fatman aired on CBS from 1987-1992. The crime drama stars William Conrad as J.L. “Fatman” McCabe, a Los Angeles District Attorney, and Joe Penny as his private investigator/sidekick Jake Styles. The series is a loose spin-off; Conrad played a similair character, district attorney James L. McShane on two episodes of Matlock. Jake and the Fatman spawned a spin-off of its own when Dick Van Dyke guest starred in Season Four, which resulted in Diagnosis Murder. TV trivia fans should keep that under their hat.
McCabe is a hardnosed police officer turned district attorney. He is a tough old bird who is stubborn and stuck in his ways. Styles is handsome, easy going, and quite the ladies’ man. Their personalities often clash as they try to solve the toughest of crimes. In Volume Two of Season One the crimes include, rape, theft, and lots of murder. All of the episodes start off with the crime taking place and the home viewer as an eyewitness. Then, it is up to Jake and McCabe to figure it out.
I have never been a fan of this format; I like to try and figure it out the mystery along with the crime fighters. I find it boring and anti-climatic but some viewers may enjoy waiting to see how the criminal messes up. It is also interesting to now watch a crime show that is devoid of forensics. Here, gut instinct and hunch detective work are the crime-solving methods and they usually work.
Season One was comprised of 23 episodes, this DVD collection contains the last 11, which aired from January through April 1988. The only extra included in the DVD collection is episodic promos for a select number of episodes.
If you never watched the show or are not a fan, I really see no reason to start now. There are so many better, more interesting crime shows worth trying out first. However, this is a non-graphic, simpler drama, so if you like the older style crime dramas in the vein of Murder She Wrote, Magnum P.I. or Matlock this just might be the show for you.