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Simon and Simon

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Simon and Simon

Simon & Simon
Title screen from Season 1
Format Drama
Created by Philip DeGuere
Starring Gerald McRaney
Jameson Parker
Mary Carver
Eddie Barth
Jeannie Wilson
Tim Reid
Joan McMurtrey
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 8
No. of episodes 156 (List of episodes)
Running time 45–48 minutes
Original channel CBS
Original run November 24, 1981 (1981-11-24) – January 21, 1989 (1989-01-21)
Related shows Magnum, P.I.
Whiz Kids

Simon & Simon is an American detective television series that originally ran from November 24, 1981 to January 21, 1989. The series was broadcast on CBS and starred Gerald McRaney and Jameson Parker as two brothers who run a private detective agency together.


The show revolves around polar opposite Simon brothers, Rick (McRaney) and Andrew Jackson, a.k.a. A.J. (Parker). Rick was a United States Marine Corps Vietnam veteran and had much more street sense, while A.J. went to college and had book smarts. Rick preferred things that were viewed by his brother as lower-class, like pickup trucks (Rick's Dodge Power Wagon is notable for its dull paint and large metal bumper used in one episode to crush the engine of a car), while A.J. took care of his money and could afford to be more fashionable (A.J. often drove a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible, and later, a customized Chevrolet Camaro Z28 and also drove a 1968 Chevrolet Camaro RS convertible in the two-part episode, "Pirate's Key"). A.J. was a practicing Catholic, while Rick was not. Rick lived on a boat in A.J.'s yard. A.J. preferred to first try to do things by the rules while Rick was much more of a free spirit, using a classic P.I. type of justice. Even their guns are different: Rick has a .45 Colt Mod.1911 and A.J. has a .357 Magnum revolver.

The two went into business together, running a private detective service; the contrasting ways that the brothers went about their investigations and the subsequent conflicts between them provided much of the story each week, in addition to the plots of solving the cases. Although the premise in the series is that Rick is older and A.J. is younger, in fact McRaney and Parker were both born in 1947 with only a four-month age difference.


  • Gerald McRaney as Richard "Rick" Simon
  • Jameson Parker as Andrew Jackson "A.J." Simon
  • Mary Carver as Cecilia Simon, the brothers' mother.
  • Eddie Barth as Myron Fowler (episodes 1–36), A.J.'s ex-boss and their more successful competitor.
  • Jeannie Wilson as Janet Fowler (episodes 1–31, 35, 43, 48, 126 & In Trouble Again), Myron's daughter. She works for her father, attends law school and helps the Simons from time to time, much to her father's annoyance. During season two, she works as an assistant D.A.
  • Tim Reid as Lieutenant Marcel Proust "Downtown" Brown (episodes 43, 47, 49–52, 54-127 & In Trouble Again), the Simons' friend in the police department.
  • Joan McMurtrey as Lieutenant Abigail Marsh (episodes 128–157)

Guest stars

Eddie Albert, Richard Anderson, John Astin, G.W. Bailey, Jonathan Banks, Scott Brady, Delta Burke, Darlene Carr, Michael Constantine, Alex Cord, Pat Corley, Olivia d'Abo, Patti Davis, Britt Ekland, Andrea Elson, Rob Estes, Gene Evans, Morgan Fairchild, Fionnula Flanagan, Dennis Franz, Kathleen Freeman, Kathy Garver, Henry Gibson, Clarence Gilyard, Don Gordon, Don Grady, Peter Graves, Kevin Hagen, Alan Hale, Jr., Marcia Gay Harden, Noah Hathaway, Richard Herd, Penny Johnson, Clyde Kusatsu, Matthew Laborteaux, Robert Lansing, Kay Lenz, Anne Lockhart, Gary Lockwood, Joe Mantegna, Kenneth Mars, Kevin McCarthy, Eve McVeagh, Vera Miles, Charles Napier, Kip Niven, Jerry Orbach, Joe Pantoliano, John M. Pickard, Todd Porter, Markie Post, J.A. Preston, Linnea Quigley, Giovanni Ribisi, Gregory Sierra, Tom Simcox, Marc Singer, Olan Soule, Jerry Stiller, Guy Stockwell, Robert Totten, Harry Townes, John Vivyan, Ray Walston, Susan Walters, Vanna White, Stuart Whitman, James Whitmore, Jr., George Wyner, and Cassie Yates



The original 1978 pilot called Pirate's Key was set in Florida. When the show was picked up by CBS, the characters' home was changed from Florida to San Diego, California, where the show's storyline remained for the course of its eight-year run on CBS. The series was created by executive producer Philip DeGuere, who credited his inspirations as being a request from a CBS executive to create something like a modern "Butch and Sundance" and a spec pilot DeGuere had recently read about a divorced husband and wife detective team that was written by Bob Shayne who DeGuere hired to write several of "Simon's" first two seasons' episodes. Shayne wrote off and on for the series during its run, and Shayne and DeGuere went on to create the CBS series Whiz Kids.

Original run

Simon & Simon was almost canceled in 1982 due to low ratings. However, at DeGuere and Shayne's request, CBS decided to give the series another chance by moving it to Thursday nights at 9 p.m. following Magnum, P.I. Simon & Simon became an instant hit in that slot, and continued to draw ratings for the next several seasons. The new season began with a two-hour cross-over episode with a story that began on the already popular "Magnum" and continued on the, to that moment, mostly unknown Simon & Simon, in an attempt for the audience for Magnum to carry on over into Simon & Simon. The effort worked and ratings quickly rose. The cross-over episode was written by Shayne and DeGuere along with Simon & Simon producer Richard Chapman. The Magnum, P.I. first hour, entitled "Ki'Is Don't Lie", had two versions produced - in the original broadcast version, the character of Higgins from Magnum joins Simon & Simon in pursuing the woman who has tricked him. For repeat and syndication purposes, a second conclusion was also shot, where the fleeing villain is caught, allowing the Magnum episode to be wrapped up and that it may later be rerun as a "stand alone" episode. Due to this, the Simon & Simon concluding hour, "Emeralds Are Not a Girl's Best Friend", did not appear in reruns for many years, nor the original broadcast version of "Ki'Is Don't Lie". Both original versions have since been released on DVD.

Simon & Simon moved to Saturday nights late in its run, and the ratings dropped considerably. CBS only committed to a 13-episode season for fall of 1988, but cancelled the series with two episodes left unaired, including the series finale. That episode did not air until the show entered syndication.

Theme music

For the first season, the song "Best of Friends" performed by the Thrasher Brothers served as the theme song for the series (with the exception of the fourth episode entitled "A Recipe For Disaster", which briefly debuted the second theme song written by Barry De Vorzon[1] and Michael Towers). More specifically, the instrumental version of "Best of Friends" appeared at the beginning of each episode (with short clips of the instrumental version occasionally appearing within episodes, even after the first season) and the lyrical version appeared at the conclusion of each episode.

At the beginning of the second season, the second and more recognizable instrumental theme song composed by Barry De Vorzon[1] (who had previously composed the theme to the 1970s police drama, S.W.A.T.) and Michael Towers was permanently inserted. The theme consists primarily of an electric bottle-slide guitar lead with a saxophone interlude and remained until the last episode of the final season.

Home media

On October 10, 2006, Universal Studios Home Entertainment released the first season of Simon & Simon on DVD in Region 1.[2] Due to poor sales, no subsequent seasons were immediately released.

In Fall 2008, Shout! Factory announced that they had acquired the distribution rights through an agreement with Universal. They have subsequently released seasons 2-8 on DVD.[3][4][5][6][7][8]

Mill Creek Entertainment released two "best-of" collections of Simon & Simon. On January 18, 2011, they released Simon & Simon - The Best of Season Two,[9] while on July 19, 2011 they released Simon & Simon - The Best of Season Three.

In Region 4, Madman Entertainment released Season 1 on DVD in Australia on July 6, 2011.

DVD Name Ep # Release Date
Season 1 13 October 10, 2006
Season 2 23 February 10, 2009
Season 3 23 August 18, 2009
Season 4 21 April 6, 2010
Season 5♦ 24 July 20, 2010
Season 6♦ 22 February 21, 2012
Season 7♦ 16 October 16, 2012
Season 8♦ 13 January 15, 2013

♦- Shout! Factory select title, sold exclusively through Shout's online store

Crossovers, reunion movie and cultural references

As noted above, Simon & Simon did a crossover with Magnum, P.I. The episode "Emeralds Are Not a Girl's Best Friend" concludes the pursuit of a con woman that begins in the Magnum, P.I. episode "Ki'is Don't Lie", which featured Jameson Parker and Gerald McRaney as A.J. and Rick, while Tom Selleck and John Hillerman respectively guest starred as Magnum and Higgins.

Jameson Parker's character, A.J. made a crossover appearance on an episode of Philip DeGuere's other executive produced detective series Whiz Kids entitled "Deadly Access". In return, the Whiz Kids characters, Richie Adler, Hamilton Parker, Jeremy Saldino, Alice Parker and Irene Adler made a crossover appearance on the Simon & Simon episode "Fly the Alibi Skies" the following night.

Simon & Simon: In Trouble Again (1995)

This reunion movie premiered on February 23, 1995. Some years have passed and a now divorced (ex-wife Janet Fowler from original series) A.J. works in Seattle as an attorney. Rick stops by to visit en route to delivering an expensive yacht. The trouble starts when the yacht is hijacked—with mom Cecilia on board.

The Greatest Event in Television History (2012)

On October 12, 2012, Adult Swim aired The Greatest Event in Television History. Hosted by Jeff Probst, the program went behind the scenes during the making of a shot-for-shot remake of the Simon & Simon opening sequence. With Adam Scott and Jon Hamm respectively in the roles of A.J. and Rick, the special also featured the appearances of Paul Rudd, Gus van Sant, Megan Mullally, Paul Scheer, and Kathryn Hahn.[10]



External links

  • Internet Movie Database
  • at
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