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Series: Charlie's Angels
Once upon a time, there were three little girls who went to the Police Academy; and they were each assigned very hazardous duties.

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

1976-1981 ABC TV series about three female private eyes, who would receive their briefings from The Voice, "Charlie", as well as a 2011 series with the same theme.

Also spawned two feature films in the early 2000's.
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 sex appeal and focus more on the case at hand. The fact that those women changed so often is purely irrelevant.
The Revived Series

Brought back to television in The New Tens, 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:


The original series provides examples of:

  • Absentee Actor: Charlie may not be seen (except for the Series Finale), but "Avenging Angel" is the only episode in which he also isn't heard.
  • Angels Pose: The Trope Namer. The Angels' action scenes were choreographed for this.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Kris Munroe and Julie Rogers.
  • Beach Episode: "The Mexican Connection", "Angels in Paradise", "Angels of The Deep", "Hula Angels", "Island Angels" and "Waikiki Angels"
  • Beauty Contest: "Pretty Angels All in a Row"
  • Berserk Button: The normally calm and docile Bosley completely loses it when he witnesses Kelly being shot in the head in the final episode of the series.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: 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.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: "The Seance" and "Attack Angels"
  • Chippendales Dancers: "Toni's Boys"
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: In the pilot movie, Bosley has an assistant named Woodville (played by David Ogden Stiers, who would wind up at the 4077th MASH a year later). The character was eliminated without explanation when the series proper began.
  • Cleavage Window: Kris
  • Cross Over: An episode of the original series had the girls going on a Caribbean cruise and encountering the cast of The Love Boat. (Both shows were produced by Aaron Spelling.)
    • An episode of another Spelling show, Fantasy Island, had three secretaries arriving on the island wanting to become, well, Charlie's Angels.
  • Dirty Harriet: Many of the Angel's assignments were of this type.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: In the "Toni's Boys" episode Kris watches male Angel Bob Sorenson take his shirt off and then watches a male stripper rehearse.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Although the cast of angels has changed drastically, the 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.
  • Girls Behind Bars: "Angels in Chains" and "Caged Angel". "Angels in Chains" also featured Chained Heat, with the three angels chained together while trying to escape from the prison warden.
  • Grilling the Newbie: New girl Tiffany is grilled by Kelly & Kris when they learn that she's actually met Charlie.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Future James Bond Timothy Dalton guest stars in a 1979 episode. Early on, his character is described as a man of "James Bondian tastes."
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: "Hunted Angels"
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Many, many episodes have "Angels" in the title.
  • Is Nothing Sacred?; The episode "Night of the Strangler"
    Jill Munroe: Do you know when Trigger died, they stuffed him! [laughs] Is nothing sacred anymore?
  • Jiggle Show: The original and canonical example. Women running without bras tend to jiggle, and the show made a point of playing this for Fanservice.
  • Knife-Throwing Act: "Circus of Terror"
  • Multiple Demographic Appeal: 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 Jiggle Show 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.)
  • Obfuscating Disability: "Angels in Springtime"
  • Opening Credits Cast Party
  • Personal Arcade: The episode "Homes, $weet, Homes" had a pinball machine in the house of a wealthy real estate agent.
  • Pilot Movie
  • Poorly Disguised Pilot: "Toni's Boys," featuring three hunky guys working for a female mastermind (Barbara Stanwyck, no less) - who, unlike Charlie, actually shows up on screen.
  • Put on a Bus: 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 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.
  • The Seventies: The series is quite a period pieces, with lots of 70's fashions, designs and sets that may seem either cool or cheesy today.
  • Shirtless Scene: "Angels On Wheels", "Lady Killer", "Love Boat Angels", "Toni's Boys" and "Mr Galaxy".
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: All the "replacement" Angels on the original show, but Kris Munroe (Jill's kid sister) in particular.
  • Unique Pilot Title Sequence: 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.
  • Vapor Wear: The Angels' trademark. Sometimes averted by Sabrina, who not only tended to wear less Stripperific clothing than her colleagues, but occasionally actually seemed to be wearing a bra.


The revived series provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: 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.
  • The Alcatraz: 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.
  • Bilingual Dialogue: 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.
  • California Doubling: 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.
  • Classy Cat-Burglar: Abby. Not anymore when she was caught by police.
  • Cold Sniper: The Chechen guerrilla turned terrorist when he tried to assassinate the Russian First Lady.
  • Dirty Cop: 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.
  • External Combustion: How this happened to Gloria when her sedan was destroyed in a car bomb.
  • Framing the Guilty Party: How the Angels did about with the Cuban mission when they were accused of having cocaine by having planted evidence.
  • Laxative Prank: In the pilot, Abby does it to a pair of Rich Bitches.
  • My Greatest Second Chance: How most of the Angels (and Bosley) work for Charlie.
  • Mythology Gag: 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.
  • Shout-Out: In the episode "Angel with a Broken Wing", the Angels mention Call of Duty after they find a disassembled sniper rifle.
  • Why We Can't Have Nice Things: In "Bon Voyage, Angels", the Angels meet with Scott Foster. They all "like him", until Bosley tells them that he's engaged.

Burkes LawCreator/Aaron SpellingCharmed
By Any MeansCrime and Punishment SeriesThe Equalizer
CastleCreator/ABCChina Beach
The Bucket ListRoger Ebert Most Hated Film ListDeath Race
Candid CameraTropeNamers/Live-Action TVCharmed
CentennialThe SeventiesCentennial
CentennialThe SeventiesCentennial
The CalvinverseAction Adventure SeriesCleopatra 2525
Charles In ChargeAmerican SeriesCharmed
You Are What You HateImageSource/Live-Action TVAngels Pose
Who's the Boss?Creator/Columbia PicturesHart to Hart

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