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->''Once upon a time, there were three little girls who went to the Police Academy; and they were each assigned [[StayInTheKitchen very hazardous duties]].''

->''But I took them away from all that, and now they work for me. My name is Charlie. ''

1976-1981 Creator/{{ABC}} TV series produced by Creator/AaronSpelling about three female private eyes, who would receive their briefings from TheVoice, "Charlie". It was later remade as a short-lived 2011 series with the same theme (there was also an aborted attempt at a remake in the early 1990s, but ''sans'' Charlie).

Also spawned two [[Film/CharliesAngels feature films]] in the early 2000's which were implied to share some continuity with the original TV series (and with Jaclyn Smith from the original series making a cameo in one).

[[folder: The Original Series ]]

Three women, the Angels (originally Kate Jackson, the late Farrah Fawcett-Majors, and Jaclyn Smith), graduated from the Los Angeles police academy only to be assigned such duties as handling switchboards and directing traffic. They quit and were hired to work for the Charles Townsend Agency as private investigators. Their boss, Charlie (voiced by John Forsythe), is never seen full face (in some episodes the viewer gets to see the back of his head and his arms, talking through a phone while surrounded by beautiful women) assigning cases to the Angels and his liaison, Bosley (played by David Doyle), via a speaker phone.

''Charlie's Angels'' is episodic in nature, as opposed to serial, thus each episode shows the Angels finding themselves in new situations in which they would go undercover to investigate. The undercover aspect of the show creates much of the plot interest and tension. In the early seasons of the show, the Angels, under their assumed identities, use a combination of sexual wiles and knowledge learned for the situation in which they are being placed, but by the third and fourth seasons, the writing has a tendency to stray from the [[{{Fanservice}} sex appeal]] and focus more on the case at hand. The fact that those women [[SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute changed so often]] is [[MST3KMantra purely irrelevant]].

[[folder: The [[Revival Revived ]]

Brought back to television in TheNewTens, the series uses the same premise as the original, with Annie Ilonzeh, Minka Kelly, and Rachael Taylor as the Angels, and Ramón Rodriguez as Bosley. With the passing of John Forsythe (Charlie), executive producer Leonard Goldberg is the only constant across all three iterations of the franchise. Where the original Angels were all frustrated policewomen, the new Angels are all convicts getting a second chance from Charlie.

Cancelled after four episodes (of eight produced).

!!Both series provide examples of:

* ActionGirl: Well, that was the point. The original Angels seem pretty tame by today's standard, but in the 1970's women were still supposed to leave the fighting to the men.
* {{Fanservice}}: Very prominent in both the movies and the TV shows.
* IdiosyncraticEpisodeNaming: Most episodes have "angel" in some form in their names.
* JiggleShow: The original series was the TropeMaker, with the Angels' ''very'' obvious [[VaporWear lack of bras]] a major selling point. The later works followed in the original's footsteps.
* MysteriousEmployer: Charlie. Pretty much the premise.
%% Not sure if this was very common in the series. It's hard to tell without context provided
%% * ObstacleExposition
* PowerTrio: The Angels fit several variations of this trope.
%% * PreAsskickingOneLiner
* PrettyInMink: A few episodes
* UndercoverModel: The Angels seem to get a lot of these jobs.
* TheVoice: Charlie.

!!The original series provides examples of:

* AbsenteeActor: Charlie may not be seen [[spoiler: (except for the SeriesFinale)]], but "Avenging Angel" is the only episode in which he also isn't heard.
* AngelsPose: The TropeNamer. The Angels' action scenes were choreographed for this.
* ATeamFiring: Occasionally invoked. A variant - where people are shot, but rarely fatally - is also invoked frequently during the show's run (which in some respects may actually be closer to TruthInTelevision), which make the occasions where the trope is averted (often, surprisingly, by Kelly, the angel with the highest single body count) stand out.
* AttemptedRape: In the early episode "Night of the Strangler", Sabrina comes surprisingly close to being "defiled" (as she calls it) until Kelly arrives and berates the guy for doing it. This is followed by some cringeworthy (by 2010's standards) joking around by Sabrina in which she states she might have let him go through with it if he was RobertRedford!
* BareYourMidriff: Virtually every regular cast member save for David Doyle got to do this at least once.
* BeachEpisode: "The Mexican Connection", "Angels in Paradise", "Angels of The Deep", "Hula Angels", "Island Angels" and "Waikiki Angels"
%% * BeautyContest: "Pretty Angels All in a Row"
* BerserkButton: The normally calm and docile Bosley ''completely'' loses it when he witnesses [[spoiler: Kelly being shot in the ''head'']] in the final episode of the series.
* BlondeBrunetteRedhead:
** This was what they originally intended; however, Jaclyn Smith was able to change their minds during her audition. They finally got there when Tanya Roberts joined in the last season.
** The season 1 episode "Night of the Strangler" has Smith playing a dual role; the second character is a redhead, so the producers still got what they wanted, sort of.
%% * BrainwashedAndCrazy: "The Seance" and "Attack Angels"
* TheCastShowoff: Before joining the series, Cheryl Ladd was already known as a singer (she was one of the singing voices in ''Series/JosieAndThePussycats'' and recorded an album with the group), and she used her fame on ''Charlie's Angels'' to launch a solo singing career that actually scored a few hits in the late 1970s. Not surprisingly, the series built an episode titled "Angels in the Wings" around Kris performing in a musical, allowing Ladd to sing several tunes.
* ChippendalesDancers: "Toni's Boys"
* ChuckCunninghamSyndrome: In the pilot movie, Bosley has a superior named Woodville (played by David Ogden Stiers, who would wind up at the [[Series/{{Mash}} 4077th MASH]] a year later). The character was eliminated without explanation when the series proper began.
%% * CleavageWindow: Kris
* CousinOliver: The viewing public treated Shelley Hack and her Tiffany Welles character this way when she came in to replace Kate Jackson's Sabrina.
* CrossOver:
** An episode of the original series had the girls going on a Caribbean cruise and encountering the cast of ''TheLoveBoat''. (Both shows were produced by AaronSpelling.)
** Dan Tanna, the hero of the Spelling detective series ''Vega$'', appears in an episode set in Vegas.
** The cast of ''Charlie's Angels'' also appeared in a cameo on another Spelling-produced show, ''SanPedroBeachBums''.
* DirtyHarriet: Many of the Angel's assignments involved going undercover as exotic dancers, masseuses, or even call girls.
* EagleEyeDetection: All the Angels possess this ability to a degree, but in the early episode "Lady Killer," Sabrina is able to instantly realize that a bed has been hooked up to electrocute a man just by glancing at it, warning the guy in time.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness:
** Early episodes featured a running gag in which Charlie would continually be shown in provocative circumstances with various women (usually accompanied by a GettingCrapPastTheRadar quip or two). Soon, it was decided that Charlie too closely resembled HughHefner and this aspect was downplayed considerably.
** The pilot episode saw the Angels - and Bosley - taking their orders from a Jim Phelps-like character named Woodville. He was dropped without explanation and Bosley became the boss (or, rather, the liaison to the boss).
** In a carry over from the pilot, Bosley is depicted as being continually trying to ingratiate himself with Charlie and taking an "aw, shucks!" attitude whenever Charlie would deign to throw a compliment this way. This running gag faded as Series 1 progressed. Although still depicted as the occasional bumbler, Bosley would demonstrate himself to be a capable "male Angel" on more than one occasion.
* EatingTheEyeCandy:
** In the "Toni's Boys" episode Kris watches male Angel Bob Sorenson [[ShirtlessScene take his shirt off and then watches a male stripper rehearse]].
** It goes without saying that it's a rare episode indeed where a male character is not seen oogling one or more of the angels.
* FanService: One of the selling points of the series.
** The Angels often wore reveling clothes or swimsuits, and they were famous for [[VapourWear never wearing bras]] in a period where this was still uncommon on TV.
** Many scenes were set in places where there were many beautiful and scantily-dressed women around, such as at a swimming pool or a beauty contest.
* FourTemperamentEnsemble: Although the cast of angels has changed drastically, the [[SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute replacement characters]] still fit their respective temperaments for the most part despite their personality differences. Sabrina/Tiffany/Julie are choleric, Jill/Kris are sanguine, Kelly is melancholic, and Bosley is just about as phlegmatic as they come.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar:
** Charlie himself sets a high bar in the first regular episode by working not one but two plain-as-day references to erections (while getting a massage from a sexy woman, yet!) into his initial mission briefing to the angels.
** Although much of the alleged explicitness of "Angels in Chains" comes downs to people's memories cheating, there are still a few racy moments (not to mention a blatantly lesbian prison guard) that might have been challenging to get on US network TV in the 1980s, never mind 1976.
* GirlsBehindBars: "Angels in Chains" and "Caged Angel". "Angels in Chains" also featured ChainedHeat, with the three angels chained together while trying to escape from the prison warden.
* GrillingTheNewbie: New girl Tiffany is grilled by Kelly & Kris when they learn that she's actually ''met'' Charlie.
%% * HuntingTheMostDangerousGame: "Hunted Angels"
* IdiosyncraticEpisodeNaming: Many, many episodes have "Angels" in the title.
* IsNothingSacred; The episode "Night of the Strangler"
-->'''Jill Munroe:''' Do you know when Trigger died, they stuffed him! [laughs] Is nothing sacred anymore?
* JiggleShow: The [[TropeMaker original and canonical example]]. Women running without bras tend to jiggle, and the show made a point of playing this for FanService (though not as much as you might think -- [[BestKnownForTheFanservice fans have selective memories]]).
* KnifeThrowingAct: "Circus of Terror" (with footage from this recycled for Cheryl Ladd's part of the opening credits thereafter)
* LingerieScene:
** Although the Angels never wore lingerie under their clothes, they sometimes went undercover as underwear models, which resulted in many scenes with them wearing only lingerie.
** Kelly is seen wearing rather skimpy lingerie in the pilot movie. Unusually, she's actually shown sleeping (or, at least, pretending to sleep) in the sleepwear.
* MoodWhiplash:
** In "Angel Baby," Kris shoots a bad guy and there is an unexpected WithTheseHands moment afterwards. Unfortunately the writers or producers got cold feet about this because in the very next scene this dramatic moment is undermined when Charlie states that the guy Kris shot will recover.
** "Angels on Vacation" plays out like a standard "city girls meet country bumpkins" storyline, rather lighthearted, until two men attempt to kill the Angels. In the ensuing gunbattle, Kelly shoots the two men to death (unlike Kris, she displays no remorse suggesting ItGetsEasier is in play) and the episode takes a sharp turn from there.
** "To Kill an Angel" followed a string of typically light-hearted episodes with a dead serious episode about Kelly being accidentally shot by an autistic boy and the subsequent search for the kid. Sabrina breaks down in anger, Jill avoids making any jokes whatsoever, and pretty much the only time anyone cracks a smile is when the bad guy gets caught (granted, in a somewhat silly manner) at the end. Sometimes cited as an episode to show people who think "Angels in Chains" is all the show is about.
* MultipleDemographicAppeal: Depending on who you ask, the show was either a landmark step forward for feminism by showing smart, tough women defying the traditional roles of wife/secretary/housekeeper, or a slightly sexist JiggleShow which consisted solely of hot women running around in bathing suits. They're kinda both right. (Even Farrah Fawcett once said that when the show reached #3 in the ratings, she thought it was because of their acting ability. When it reached #1, she admitted it was probably because they didn't wear bras.)
* NeckSnap: in the 1970s the "grab the head and twist" type of neck-breaking was rarely shown on network TV. But a murder victim gets "the twist" by a bad guy at the start of "Angels on Wheels", though the editing downplays it as much as possible.
* {{Novelization}}: The pilot film was adapted as a novel.
%% * ObfuscatingDisability: "Angels in Springtime"
%% * OpeningCreditsCastParty
* PersonalArcade: The episode "Homes, $weet, Homes" had a pinball machine in the house of a wealthy real estate agent.
%% * PilotMovie
* PoorlyDisguisedPilot: "Toni's Boys," featuring three hunky guys working for a female mastermind (Barbara Stanwyck, no less) - who, unlike Charlie, actually shows up on screen.
* PutOnABus: Happened numerous times on the original show.
** Jill Munroe leaves at the end of season 1 to pursue a career in auto racing. She would [[TheBusCameBack return for several guest appearances]] in later seasons, however.
** Sabrina Duncan leaves to get married after the third season.
** Tiffany Welles leaves after the fourth season, said to have returned home to Boston.
* TheSeventies:
** The series is quite a period pieces, with lots of 70's fashions, designs, hairstyles and sets that may seem either cool or cheesy today.
** Several episodes also display the rampant discrimination against women that was still common in the era (usually in a lampshading manner as the Angels soon prove how outdated those viewpoints are).
** It's perhaps telling that the series didn't survive very long into the 1980s.
* ShirtlessScene: "Angels On Wheels", "Lady Killer", "Love Boat Angels", "Toni's Boys" and "Mr Galaxy".
* SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute: All the "replacement" Angels on the original show, but Kris Munroe (Jill's kid sister) in particular (at least at first, but Kris soon developed her own unique personality).
* TheVoice: Charlie makes a point of never showing himself in person to the Angels, though his motivation for this is never explained (it all makes very little sense in-universe). The audience, though, tends to get to see him in a short scene in many episodes, but even then his face is never shown. He appears in the series finale as one of the doctors tending to save Kelly's life, although he is wearing a surgical mask, and then only Bosley and Kelly see him.
* 'TisOnlyABulletInTheBrain: Happens to Kelly twice...and she survives both times.
* UniquePilotTitleSequence: The TV movie that served as a pilot has a different opening, as well as different bumpers showing the three Angels standing side by side. The closing credits also end with a still photo of the Angels (the same one used at the top of this article) as they say "Call us if you need us."
* VaporWear: The Angels' trademark. Averted by Sabrina, who not only tended to wear less {{Stripperific}} clothing than her colleagues, but actually even wore a bra sometimes.

!!The revived series provides examples of:

* AdaptationalAttractiveness: Some reviewers wondered if this might not lead to a major plot hole. In the original series, where Bosley was older and out of shape, it made sense for him to stay at headquarters and let the Angels to the work, but when the new series made Bosley young, buff, and handsome, it would look odd. Eventually averted as Bosley did do a lot of work in the field this time around. (As it happens, this was a misplaced trope as the original Bosley was often in the field and even shot a few bad guys to save the Angels.)
* TheAlcatraz: The prison in "Angels in Chains". Oddly for this trope, the Angels don't actually manage to escape and are instead caught during their escape attempt.
* BilingualDialogue: In "Angels in Chains" when Bosley in disguise talks in English to a Cuban National Revolutionary Police Force (Policía Nacional Revolucionaria) officer, who replied to the former in Spanish.
* CaliforniaDoubling: While the series is shot in Florida, there were some places (e.g. Cuba, some of the islands near Florida) that were shot in the state.
* ClassyCatBurglar: Abby. Not anymore when she was caught by police.
* ColdSniper: The Chechen guerrilla turned terrorist when he [[spoiler: tried to assassinate the Russian First Lady]].
* DirtyCop:
** The reason why Kate was off the force.
** Same happened to some Cuban Ministry of Interior officers. It wasn't the case however when the Angels found out about it.
* ExternalCombustion: How this happened to Gloria [[spoiler: when her sedan was destroyed in a car bomb]].
* FramingTheGuiltyParty: How the Angels did about with the Cuban mission [[spoiler: when they were accused of having cocaine by having planted evidence]].
* LaxativePrank: In the pilot, Abby does it to a pair of {{Rich Bitch}}es.
* MyGreatestSecondChance: How most of the Angels (and Bosley) work for Charlie.
* MythologyGag:
** The Townsend Agency's signage notes that it was founded in 1976.
** Same thing with the safe deposit box as it had the same numbers too.
* ShoutOut: In the episode "Angel with a Broken Wing", the Angels mention ''VideoGame/CallOfDuty'' after they find a disassembled sniper rifle.
* WhyWeCantHaveNiceThings: In "Bon Voyage, Angels", the Angels meet with Scott Foster. They all "like him", until Bosley tells them that he's engaged.