“This is my boss, Jonathan Hart.”  If you remember the gravelly voice of Max saying these words, then you’ve enjoyed some episodes of one of the most entertaining shows on television, “Hart to Hart.”  

With Robert Wagner (suave as always) and Stefanie Powers (“She’s gorgeous”, as Max says) in the two starring roles, odds were high that the show would be good.  Add into the mix Lionel Stander as the gravelly-voiced Max, chauffeur, butler, cook and general factotum (I love that phrase), and Freeway, the adopted stray dog, and things got even better.  Jonathon resorts to violence only when charm doesn’t work and Jennifer can run faster in a dressy dress and heels than I could, while still looking great doing it!

“Hart to Hart” might not do so well now, at least among a certain segment of the population.  Jonathan was a self-made millionaire, one of the 1%, and no one knows whether he paid more taxes than his secretary.  He was nice to his employees and everyone else, boosted the economy by having two cars and a private jet (whoops, back on the bad list there for using too much fuel) and didn’t have to work.  That allowed him and Jennifer to dabble in all sorts of mayhem and, mostly, murder.  Not that they went looking for it, mind you, but somehow, the bad guys and bad deeds showed up in their opulent backyard or where they were dining or taking a cooking class or…

Cary Grant was the original choice for Jonathan, but at 75, it’s hard to see how he could have chased down and fought with all the villainous rouges the Harts encountered.  Suzanne Pleshette and Lindsey Wagner were considered for Jennifer before Powers made the role her own.   Although the original idea was for two spies, the eventual formula worked well and “Hart to Hart” ran for five seasons, with a number of stand-alone follow-ups that I never even knew existed until reading about them today.

So why would you want to watch “Hart to Hart”?  There’s lots of action, but action that never takes itself too seriously.  It just plain fun!  There’s nothing too graphic, there are exotic locations and some great car/boat/jeep chases.  There are fights and guns displayed and sometimes used.  But the thing that makes “Mr. and Mrs. H” stand alone is that they are obviously (but not sickeningly) in love with each other and don’t mind showing it.  Since this thankfully was in the days before graphic, or somewhat graphic, sex scenes, there aren’t any.  There are plenty of humorous innuendoes, no infidelity (not even almost) and lots of (married) love.  Add that to all the rest and you have the formula for a great time, at least in my TV-viewing books.  “Hart to Hart” was also the precursor to “Remington Steele”, another action-packed, humorous show with a strong female lead and one that launched Pierce Brosnan’s career.

In the extras included on the first season DVD, you also get not only the pilot episode but the pilot episode with Wagner’s, Powers’, and the producer’s (I think) commentary about the show, which is not only unusual but really interesting.  I found the complete first season in a boxed set at (where else?) Half Price Books, but you can find the episodes on Amazon, too.  As usual, the library and probably Netflix will have the seasons, as well.  Wherever you get them, just get them.  Then sit down to watch with someone you love and enjoy a little H(e)art time.  But be careful because, as Max says, “When they met, it was murder.”

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