Jake and the Fatman
Jake Styles and J.L "Fatman"McCabe

Created by Dean Hargrove and Joel Steiger

William Conrad was no stranger to playing detectives on television by the time he starred as J.L. "FATMAN" McCABE. He'd already played Nero Wolfe and Frank Cannon. Playing a tough, curmudgeonly, slovenly former Hawaiian cop turned Los Angeles (and in the third season, Honolulu) district attorney named "Fatman" seemed like a natural. They teamed McCabe up with a brash, hip young special investigator, JAKE STYLES (Joe Penny, of Riptide), and the dramatic sparks were supposed to fly. I dunno. Sometimes it worked, more often it just collapsed under the weight of its own blandness, and enforced cuteness.

The switch from LA to Hawaiioccured the same year that Magnum P.I. was cancelled -- evidently CBS wanted to keep using the studio facilities (which were in fact a holdover from Hawaii 5-0).

The show was actually spun off from a Matlock episode called "The Don". William Conrad played his character, who was prosecuting Matlock's case, and Alan Campbell was along as his assistant, although Joe Penny was also in that episode. But Penny's character was the son of a Mafia boss, not Jake Stykes.

And Jake and the Fatman spawned a spin-off of its own: on one episode, Dick Van Dyke appeared as Dr. Mark Sloan, who went on to star in his own series, Diagnosis Murder, a lighthearted piece of fluff, sort of a Murder, He Prescribed.



Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Thanks to Ron Murillo for filling us in.

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