What Were They Thinking?

Miscast TV and Film Eyes

As seen by The Casting Ouch, film and television producers often make some pretty bizarre choices when casting actors in the role of private detective (Lorne Greene? Sammy Davis Jr.? The Hager Twins from Hee-Haw?) -- but there should be a special place in hell for those who cast somebody really unsuitable in the role of a beloved P.I. character. For example...

Not psychotic enough, too smarmy by half, with none of the passion that supposedly fuels Hammer. And what was with the cheesy 'stache? Whatever Spillane created, this wasn't it. Even more surprising, though, is that as the series and its various offshoots progressed, Keach actually got worse in the role.


Urich was, by all acounts, a nice guy, but for anyone who'd read the books before the TV show came along it was clear that Urich was too glib, too light, too pretty. At least they got Hawk right. He looked like he could hit someone, and could be hit back.

Nope, Baldwin was all wrong for Robicheaux. Too self-contained, too in control, too tight. Dave should have been played by someone slightly more worn, more rugged, more likely to explode. Baldwin is a good actor, and he might have been better cast as Sam Spade, or Marlowe, or maybe even Elvis Cole. Although Baldwin's aged well, and he might be ready for a rematch...

It's great that Turner bulldozed this project through. It's just too bad she decided to play the lead. She was all wrong for it, especially after a series of Hollywood screenwriters (all male) gutted the character and turned her into a 90's version of Honey West. Or was it Mae West? Ms. Turner, Sara Paretsky and V.I. all deserved better.

How could anyone cast McRaney? Jake's a man who played professional football as a linebacker, none the less. Sure, McRaney played the one Simon brother who could fight, but pro football? I don't think so! (suggested by Beeper)

This is like saying that being fat is a defining trait -- the only one that matters. Brains, sophistication, personality and, especially, class don't count. Well, it's TV. Maybe they don't. Still... (suggested by Paul Bergin)

  • Michael Richards as anyone.

After the embarrassing (for him) and painful (for viewers) crash and burn of The Michael Richards Show (2000), with Richards starring in A ROLE WRITTEN SPECIFICALLY FOR HIM, I can only shake my head and pray, "Never again."
EDITOR'S NOTE: This was written BEFORE Richards embarrassed himself out of a career.

Of course, with the relative dearth of new private eye films or television shows, this list isn't as lengthy as it could be. But surely I've missed some. Any takers? Don't be shy!

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