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Shamus: A Matter of Wife ...
and Death (1976)

Rod Taylor played private eye Shamus McCoy in this pilot for a series that never came to be.  

The show aired April 10, 1976, on NBC and was a follow-up to a 1973 film called "Shamus" that starred Burt Reynolds.

Marvin Chomsky directed this TV movie, just a couple of years before his work on "Roots" and a couple of years after directing Taylor in "Family Flight."

Lynda Carter has a small role as Shamus' girlfriend -- one of her first roles before becoming Wonder Woman. The "wife" in the title is played by Anita Gillette.

The show also features Anne Archer in an early role, and Joe Santos as Lt. Vince Promuto -- a character similar to his Lt. Dennis Becker in "The Rockford Files." 

In fact, the whole show has a very "Rockford" feel to it. Shamus McCoy is a scuffling private investigator who gets help from his friend on the force -- Promuto -- and a collection of semi-shady characters.

The show opens with the apparent murder of a friend of Shamus'. Shamus has to deal with an assortment of underworld types as he uncovers a gambling scheme.

In the course of the story, his romancing of (a) Zelda (Lynda Carter -- the future Wonder Woman) and (b) Carol (Anne Archer) is continually cut short when duty calls. Shamus also shows of his prowess at playing pool and making scrambled eggs. He also changes his shirt a lot.

A big difference between the Burt Reynolds movie and the Rod Taylor TV show is the location.

"We've moved the locale from New York to Los Angeles, and we have more high comedy than low," Rod said in an April 1975 interview. But then, here's a similarity between the actor and his character: "Shamus is a guy who is gentle with women and tough with guys." 

The DVD is available through Sony's made-on-demand Choice Collection, and it's great quality, getting a full frame transfer from 35mm.

Hard-hitting football hall-of-famer Dick Butkus is the owner of the pool room where Shamus hangs out.




IMDb // Wikipedia

Rod Taylor Glad to Be Back: Interview from April 5, 1975

Wonderland -- The Ultimate Wonder Woman Site has a page and gallery for this telemovie.

CinemaRetro review



DVD from TCM Shop

Video clip on YouTube