It's All in the Game: P.I. TV Tie-Ins

77 Sunset Strip
1958-64, ABC
Banyon
(1972-1973, NBC)

Harry O
1974-76, CBS

Staccato
1959-60, NBC/ABC
77 Sunset Strip
(1959 by Roy Huggins;
collects three previously-published short stories that formed the basis of the series)

Banyon
(1971, by William Johnston; based on a screenplay by Ed Adamson)

The High Cost of Living
(1976; by Lee Hays)
Staccato
(1960, by Frank Boyd, pseudonym of Frank Kane)

The TV tie-in paperback, like it's movie counterpart, has always been a profitable branch of the publishing industry. The typical perception is that they're quickie cash-in novelizations of previously aired episodes or lame-duck "original" novels, almost always by some author you've never heard of (whatever happened to Robert Weverka?) and sure enough, that's what most of them are.

But there have also been some glorious exceptions, an occasionally a novelization or original novel that actually improves upon the source material, or adds new light and texture to characters we though we already knew. Hell, some of 'em are even written by authors you know. Lawrence Block, Frank Kane, Lee Goldberg, Henry Kane, Richard Deming, Christa Faust and Max Allan Collins are among those private eye writers who have also written tie-ins, both novelizations and original novels. In fact, Stuart Kaminsky's two original The Rockford Files novels, The Green Bottle and Devil On My Doorstep (1996 and 1998, respectively) are the gold standard for tie-ins, two moving and powerful works that resonate with emotional and psychological depths that the much-loved show rarely touched upon.

Other tie-ins have been "real" novels and stories, re-released to cash in on the currently popular TV shows they inspired, such as the 77 Sunset Strip paperback that collected three short stories featuring Stuart Bailey or the reprint of The Dain Curse by Dashiell Hammet that sought to cash in on the mis-guided mini-series starring James Coburn as The Continental Op.

But the literary quality of these things is almost beside the point -- as long as there's a photo on the cover, the industry wisdom goes, the duffers will line up to buy 'em. And even the worst of them are usually a passable way to while away a few hours. Plus, of course, with those photo covers of once-beloved shows that are long, long gone, they're collectible as hell.

The Rockford Files
1974-80, NBC

Las Vegas
2003-06, NBC

The Equalizer
1985-89, CBS

Cannon
1971-1976, CBS

The Rockford Files #1: The Unfortunate Replacement
(1975, by Michael Jahn, from the pilot episode)

Las Vegas: High Stakes Game
(2006; by Jeff Mariotte)

The Equalizer #2: To Even the Odds
(1987, by David Deutsch)
The Golden Bullet
(1973, by Paul Denver)

And so, with that in mind, here are a few television private eyes who've been "honoured" with TV tie-ins: Of course, if I missed any, I'm sure you guys will lemme know...

Peter Gunn (1958-61, NBC/ABC)

  • Peter Gunn (1960, by Henry Kane; an original story written by Henry Kane)

77 Sunset Strip (1958-64, ABC)

  • 77 Sunset Strip (1959, collects three previously-published short stories that the series was adapted from)

Staccato (1959-60, NBC/ABC)

  • Staccato (1960, by Frank Boyd, pseudonym of Frank Kane)

Markham (1959-60, CBS)

  • The Case of the Pornographic Photos (1961, by Lawrence Block, aka "You Could Call It Murder")

The Brothers Brannagan (1960, syndicated)

  • The Brothers Brannagan (1961; by Henry Edward Helseth)....Buy this book

Hawaiian Eye (1959-1963, ABC)

  • Hawaiian Eye (1962, by Frank Castle)

Surfside Six (1960-1962, ABC)

  • Surfside 6 (1962, by J. M. Flynn)

Public Eye (1965-69, ITV)

  • Marker Calls the Tune (1968, by Anthony Marriot)
  • Cross That Palm When I Come to It (1974; by Audley Southcott)

Mannix (1967-75, CBS)

  • Mannix (1968, by Michael Avallone)
  • Mannix #1: The Faces of Murder (1975, by J.T. MacCargo)
  • Mannix #2: A Fine Day For Dying (1975, by J.T. MacCargo)
  • Mannix #3: A Walk on the Blind Side (1975, by J.T. MacCargo)
  • Mannix #4: Round Trip to Nowhere (1975, by J.T. MacCargo)

Man in a Suitcase (1967-68, ITV)

  • The Sleeping Cupid (1967; by E. G. Whitney)

The Outsider (1968-69, NBC)

  • The Outsider (1969, by Lou Cameron)

My Friend Tony (1969, NBC)

  • My Friend Tony (1969, by William Johnston)

Cannon (1971-1976, CBS)

  • Murder By Gemini (1971, by Richard Gallagher)
  • The Stewardess Strangler (1971, by Richard Gallagher)
  • The Golden Bullet (1973, by Paul Denver)
  • The Deadly Chance (1973, by Paul Denver)
  • I've Got You Covered (1973, by Paul Denver)
  • The Falling Blonde (1975, by Paul Denver)
  • It's Lonely On The Sidewalk (1976; by Paul Denver)
  • Farewell, Little Sister (1978, by Douglas Enfer)
  • Shoot-Out! (1979, by Douglas Enfer)

Banacek (1972-74, NBC)

  • Banacek (1973, by Deane Romano; based on "Let's Hear It for a Living Legend" episode)

Banyon (1972-1973, NBC)

  • Banyon (1971, by William Johnston; based on a screenplay by Ed Adamson)

Search (1972-73, NBC)

  • Search (1973, by Robert Weverka; "Based on the TV Movie Starring Hugh O'Brian")
  • Moonrock (1973, by Robert Weverka)

Griff (1973-74, ABC)

  • Griff (1973, by Robert Weverka).

The Rockford Files (1974-80, NBC)

  • The Rockford Files #1: The Unfortunate Replacement (1975, by Michael Jahn, from the pilot episode)
  • The Rockford Files #2: The Deadliest Game (1976, by Michael Jahn, based on "The Kirkoff Case" and "This Case is Closed")
  • The Green Bottle (1996, by Stuart Kaminsky). Buy this book
  • Devil On My Doorstep (1998, by Stuart Kaminsky). Buy this book

Harry O (1974-76, CBS)

  • Harry-O (1975, by Lee Hays)
  • Harry-O #2: The High Cost of Living (1976; by Lee Hays)

Charlie's Angels (1976-1981, ABC)

  • Charlie's Angels (1977, by Max Franklin)
  • Charlie's Angels #2: The Killing Kind (1977, by Max Franklin)
  • Charlie's Angels #3: Angels in Chains (1977, by Max Franklin)
  • Charlie's Angels #4: Angels on a String (1977, by Max Franklin)
  • Charlie's Angels #5: Angels on Ice (1978, by Max Franklin)

Switch (1975-1978, CBS)

  • Switch (1976, by Mike Jahn, based on the pilot)
  • Switch #2: Round Up the Usual Suspects (1976, by Mike Jahn)

Vega$ (1978-81, ABC)

  • Vega$ (1978, by Max Franklin, based on pilot by Michael Mann)

Shoestring (1979-80, BBC)

  • Shoestring (1979; Paul Ableman; novelization)
  • Shoestring's Finest (1980; Paul Ableman; original)

Boon (1986-95, ITV)

  • Boon (1986; by Anthony Masters; novelization based on a composite of several Series 1 episodes)

Bulman (1985-87, ITV)

  • Bulman (1984, by Robert Holdstock)
  • Bulman #2: One of our Pigeons is Missing (1984, by Robert Holdstock)
  • Bulman #3: Thin Ice (1987, by John Raymond)

The Equalizer (1985-89, CBS)

  • Equalizer (1987, by David Deutsch)
  • Equalizer #2: To Even the Odds (1987, by David Deutsch)
  • Equalizer #3: Blood and Wine (1988, by David Deutsch)

Private Eye (1987-88, NBC)

  • Private Eye #1 (1988, by T.N. Robb)
  • Private Eye #2: Blue Movie (1988, by David Elliot)
  • Private Eye #3: Flip Side (1988, by T.N. Robb)
  • Private Eye #4: Nobody Dies in Chinatown (1988, by Max Lockhart)

Monk (2002-08, USA Network)

Las Vegas (2003-07, NBC)

Burn Notice (2007-11, USA)

Psych (2006-12, USA Network)

Leverage (2008 --, TNT)

  • Leverage: The Con Job (2012; by Matt Forbeck).. Buy this book
  • Leverage: The Zoo Job (2013; by Keith R.A. DeCandido).. Buy this book
  • Leverage: The Bestseller Job (2013; by Greg Cox).. Buy this book

Monk
2002-06, USA Network
Charlie's Angels
1976-1981, ABC

Search
1972-73, NBC

Public Eye
1965-69, ITV

Mr. Monk Goes to the Fire House
(2006; by Lee Goldberg)

Angels on Ice
(1978, by Max Franklin)
The Golden Bullet
(1973, by Paul Denver)

Cross That Palm When I Come to It
(1974; by Audley Southcott)

See also It's All in the Game: P.I. Movie Tie-Ins.


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