Mannix is an American television detective series that ran from 1967 through 1975 on CBS. Created by Richard Levinson and William Link and developed by executive producer Bruce Geller, the title character, Joe Mannix, is an Armenian-American private investigator. He is played by Mike Connors, an actor also of Armenian heritage. Mannix was the most-recent series produced by Desilu Productions.
During the first season of the series Joe Mannix worked for a large Los Angeles detective agency called Intertect, which was the planned original title of the show. His superior was Lew Wickersham, played by Joseph Campanella with the agency featuring the use of computers to help solve crimes. As opposed to the other employees who must wear dark suits and sit in rows of desks with only one piece of paper allowed to be on their desk at one time, Mannix belongs to the classic American detective archetype and thus usually ignores the computers' solutions, disobeys his boss's orders and sets out to do things his own way. He wears plaid sport coats and has his own office that he keeps sloppy between his assignments. Lew has cameras in all the rooms of Intertect monitoring the performance of his employees and providing instant feedback through intercoms in the room. Unlike the other Intertect operatives, Mannix attempts to block the camera with a coat rack and insults Lew, comparing him to Big Brother.
To improve the ratings of the show, Desilu head Lucille Ball and the producer Bruce Geller brought in some changes making the show more similar to other private eye shows. Lucille Ball thought the computers were too high tech and beyond comprehension for the average viewer of the time and had them removed.
From the second season on, Mannix worked on his own with the assistance of his loyal secretary Peggy Fair, a police officer's widow played by Gail Fisher (one of the first African-American actresses to have a regular series role). He also has assistance from the L.A. police department, the two most prominent officers being Lieutenant Art Malcolm (portrayed by Ward Wood) and Lieutenant Adam Tobias (portrayed by Robert Reed). Other police contacts were Lieutenant George Kramer (Larry Linville) and Lieutenant Dan Ives (Jack Ging). The secretary in the first season was played by Doris Roberts.
Joseph R. "Joe" Mannix is a regular guy, without pretense, who has a store of Armenian proverbs to rely upon in conversation. What demons he has mostly come from having fought in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. Unfortunately a sizable percentage of his old Army "buddies" turn out to have homicidal impulses against him. In the episode The Cost of a Vacation it is revealed that Mannix worked as a mercenary in Latin America.
Joe Mannix is notable for taking a lot of physical punishment. During the course of the series he is shot and wounded (over a dozen separate times) or is knocked unconscious (around 55 times). Whenever Mannix gets into one of his convertibles he can expect to be shot at from another car, run off the road by another car, or find his vehicle sabotaged. Nevertheless he keeps his cool and perseveres until his antagonists are brought down. While making the television pilot My Name is Mannix, Connors dislocated his shoulder running away from a From Russia With Love type pursuit from a helicopter  and broke his left wrist punching a stuntman who happened to be wearing a steel plate on his back.
Mannix lives at 17 Paseo Verdes West Los Angeles. Following military service in the Korean War, Mannix attended Western Pacific University on the GI Bill graduated in 1955 and obtained his private investigator's licence in 1956. In the first season he used a Walther PPK and a Colt snubnosed revolver in .38 calibre.
Gary Morton, the husband of Lucille Ball and head of Desilu Studios, noticed a 1937 Bentley convertible being driven by Mike Connors. A car enthusiast, Morton began talking about cars to Connors when he remembered a Desilu detective show coming up that he thought Connors would do well in.
Mannix featured a dynamic split-screen opening credits sequence set to theme music from noted composer Lalo Schifrin. Unusual for a private detective series, the Mannix theme is in triple time, the same signature used for waltz.
The show's title card, opening credits and closing credits roll are set in variations of the City typeface, a squared-off, split-serif face that was long used by IBM Corporation as part of their corporate design and still appears in their logo. This refers to the computers used by Intertect in the first season.
Theme music composer Lalo Schifrin
No. of seasons 8
No. of episodes 194
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 45–48 minutes
Production company(s) Desilu Productions (1967)
Paramount Television (1967–1975)
Original channel CBS
Original run September 7, 1967 (1967-09-07) – August 27, 1975