Series: The Hardy Boys Nancy Drew Mysteries
aka: Hardy Boys Nancy Drew Mysteries
How do we do it? How do we keep getting ourselves in these situations?
It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it.
— Joe Hardy
Based on the two famous children's book series, The Hardy Boys
and Nancy Drew
, this 1970s
TV show on ABC
starred Parker Stevenson and Shaun Cassidy as the amateur detective brothers
Frank & Joe Hardy, and Pamela Sue Martin and Janet Louise Johnson
as the intrepid girl detective, Nancy Drew.
The Hardy Boys are brother amateur detectives, Frank (Parker Stevenson) and Joe (Shaun Cassidy). The two boys live in the fictional city of Bayport, MA (not the NY of the books) with their famous father, Fenton Hardy (Ed Gilbert), a private detective who'd spent 20 years with the New York Police Department and who seemingly has connections everywhere. The brothers can't seem to go anywhere without having a mystery drop into their laps; even driving down a road heading for home means they'll get stopped by a young woman running away from an angry mob. In the third season, the focus of the series moved exclusively to them as they become professional agents for the Justice Department.
Nancy Drew (usually Pamela Sue Martin, but Janet Louise Johnson in her last few appearances) is the amateur sleuth — she insists on the term "part-time investigator" — daughter of attorney Carson Drew (William Callert). She lives with her father in the fictional River Heights, NY (not Illinois, as in the books). Her stories feature her close friend George (Georgia) Fayne (Jean Rasey and, later for three episodes, Susan Buckner) and Ned Nickerson (George O'Hanlon Jr., and later Rick Springfield
in second season). Another prominent character from the Nancy Drew books, Bess Marvin (Ruth Cox), made only two appearances in two-part episodes.
This show provides examples of:
- Adaptation Distillation: The show cuts most of The Hardy Boys books' supporting cast. The Hardys' mother, Laura, is dead, and the boys live with their widowed father and Aunt Gertrude, and the only friends from the books that show up are Callie Shaw and Chet Morton — and Chet, only in two episodes. For the Nancy Drew side, it cuts out the Drews' ubiquitous housekeeper Hannah and Nancy's two gal pals, George and Bess, are never seen in the same episode together.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: In the books, Frank's hair is dark. TV Show, inexplicably blonde.
- Adorkable: The show tried to do this to Joe Hardy in 1st season: nerdy argyle sweater, check. Heavily into forensics and fingerprints and likely to start expounding on fingerprints at the drop of a hat, check. Portrayed as socially awkward younger brother, check. But then the writers realized they were up against Shaun Cassidy and gave it up as a lost cause.
- Amateur Sleuth: No matter where the Hardy brothers go, they end up involved in a mystery...though the show sometimes plays with it by having the cops or others get real suspicious about the Hardys' involvement, up to and including tossing them in jail. Nancy's amateur status is questionable, as she often implies that she's working for her father.
- Artistic License – Gun Safety: Many of the bad guys throughout the show are shown carrying guns without holsters and simply tuck the guns into their waistbands. A couple even have the gun tucked into the front of their pants...
- The Cast Showoff:
- Shaun Cassidy's singing career. A number of episodes featured Shaun singing whatever his latest hit single was. Luckily, the show worked around this by having Frank never stick around to hear his younger brother perform. Plot follows Frank, with cut-backs to Joe's performance.
- Parker Stevenson was also a good surfer in real life. One episode, "Wipe Out" had a silly contrived mechanism of Frank Hardy placing in a national surfing competition, just to get the boys to Hawaii and in the middle of a hotel theft ring.
- Casual Danger Dialog
(the Hardys are about to walk into a mausoleum holding god-knows-what)
Joe: (gesturing Frank ahead) Well...you're the oldest.
Frank: Yeah, but you're more agile on your feet, and stronger.
Joe: Since when?
(as the brothers are about to pry open a coffin containing god-knows-what)
Joe: Open 'er up, Frank.
got to hold the light...
(spooky cursed house has opened up a door all by itself to let the Hardys in)
Frank: Well, at least the place is hospitable...
- Catch Phrase: See the page quote.
- Darker and Edgier: The first two seasons had a very light-hearted, humorous tone. Season Three, though...dear GOD. It not only dropped Nancy Drew completely, but started off by killing Joe's fiancée in a car wreck (complete with Joe weeping over her body) and having Joe go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge in response (Last Kiss of Summer). Season Three ditched almost all the light-hearted humor, showed actual dead bodies, and involved more dangerous situations (including references to selling off Joe and a missing woman to white slavers in China — huhwhat?) and more conflict between the brothers ("Game Plan" had Frank pulling a gun on Joe). The turn confused the show's teen audience, and lost viewers.
- Deadpan Snarker: Both Frank and Joe did this, but Joe had the majority of the snark — probably due to Shaun Cassidy taking a hand in rewriting the scripts.
(The brothers have just been tossed in jail for disturbing the peace in a cemetery)
Joe: How do we do it? How do we keep getting ourselves into these situations?
(Joe's getting hit on by a much older woman in a bar)
Woman: So...what's your sign?
(Joe's getting hit on by another woman)
Woman: You've got beautiful eyes, anyone ever told you that?
(The Hardys have just burst in to rescue Nancy Drew; ND's ready to beat the first thing that moves)
Hold up, we're the good guys — (points to Frank's face)
(Joe's just found a way to fake evidence.)
Frank: Joe, we're supposed to solve crimes, not find ways to help perpetuate them.
Yeah, well, it's been a slow week.
(Joe's trying to talk Frank into investigating a supposedly cursed house.)
Joe: Frank, you're not scared of going there at night, are you?
Frank: Yeah, that about captures the spirit of it.
Joe: Okay. Okay. I guess I can face the demons of the night alone. See you in the morning.
- The Determinator: Frank Hardy. Once he latches onto a mystery, absolutely nothing stops him from pursuing it...not his brother Joe, especially not even the supposed victim:
- Mystery of the Flying Courier: Frank spots a girl who looks like someone he went to school with (someone who ran away and whom his father, Fenton, could not find). The girl denies being that person several times, tells him to shove off and leave her alone, tells him she neither wants nor needs his help, denies knowing him...and Frank continues to butt into her life and hound her until she finally confesses — in a police station, in front of the chief — that yes, she is that girl...and still wants nothing to do with the Hardys, especially Frank. It doesn't matter that she had a good reason to run away (the show implies controlling, abusive parents); Frank is going to hunt her down.
- Creatures Who Came On Sunday: Everyone is convinced that the missing man just ditched his girlfriend, even Joe, and offers reasonable, likely explanations for what's happened to the Damsel in Distress, Sharon...except Frank, who obsesses on tracking Sharon's boyfriend down despite being warned off by the sheriff, so-called government agents, and even Sharon herself, to the point that Frank's determination is responsible for leading mob killers onto the boyfriend (who is in a witness protection program) and nearly getting himself, Joe, and Sharon killed. Joe has severe doubts and questions Frank's persistence throughout the episode, to the point of dragging Frank away when Frank tries to shout to the missing boyfriend despite being surrounded by armed guards:
Joe: No. No, Frank. I'm not going back to that ranger station.
Frank: Look, I want to find out what happened to him. I want to find out what happened to Sharon's boyfriend.
Joe: The answer is not on the top of that mountain. Is the answer on the top of that mountain? You tell me.
- Dramatic Sit-Down: "Last Kiss of Summer". Joe Hardy's fiancé is killed in a car wreck; she dies in his arms. In the next scene he is sitting in a police waiting area, staring into space, fighting the urge to cry, trying to process what just happened, and he doesn't snap out of it until Frank comes in and talks his brother down.
- Fanservice: Too many incidents to count, but hey, we can try:
- "Mystery of the Hollywood Phantom" had a half-naked Frank Hardy stepping out of the shower, Joe tied up and writhing around (see entry below), and Frank walking in on a topless Nancy Drew. Woohoo!
- Any episode showing the brothers in swim trunks. Like "Wipe Out". Dear GOD, especially "Wipe Out".
- Not to mention "Death Surf", where Frank spends easily the first 10 minutes of the episode in swim trunks and no shirt.
- "The Mystery Of The Haunted House" showed Frank in a tight white t-shirt and boxer shorts, riding a motorcycle.
- "Sole Survivor": the opening shots had a helpless Joe Hardy lying on a hospital gurney and getting his shirt stripped off.
- "Life on the Line" had Frank stripping his shirt off to show his awesome bare chest.
- Hollywood Psych
- "House on Possessed Hill" features a psychiatrist hypnotizing a young psychic woman so she can wander an old house like she was four years old.
- "Campus Terror" is just full of this, with a multiple personality who is going on a kidnapping spree, but snaps out of it just because Joe yells in her face.
- Mystery Magnet: Frank and Joe just can't seem to stay out of trouble. From diamond-laden jade statues landing on them in the middle of the ocean ("Secret of the Jade Kwan Yin") to accidentally renting a hotel room that the villains are trying to use to poison an ambassador ("Voodoo Doll"), no wonder they joined the Justice Department in Season Three — at least then they're getting paid.
- Lampshaded in the Campus Terror episode:
(The Hardys are discussing why a mysterious kidnapper mentioned them by name, in an area where they don't know anybody)
Joe: I think I've got it all figured it out.
Frank: You do?
Joe: Trouble follows us wherever we go. New Orleans, Mardi Gras? Trouble. Hawaii, Marianne? Trouble. Los Angeles, burning building? Nearly fatal. And here we are at some college in the middle of the boonies...
- Not Allowed to Grow Up: Averted for the Hardy Boys in the third season considering they became professional Justice Department detectives.
- Police Are Useless: Not ONE episode on the Hardy Boys' side in season one or two had a single case of the cops ever believing what the brothers' said. At least, not at first. Usually, said cops were just as likely to toss the Hardys in jail for disturbing their peace. Eventually averted in the third season when Boys become Justice Dept. police detectives themselves.
- Still played mostly straight in Season Three, as the Hardys often took on assignments that the regular Justice Department couldn't figure out. "Last Kiss of Summer" is the best example: the Feds have wasted 7 years trying to bust a pair of robbers and stonewall the Hardys with a lazy, pro-forma explanation of "priorities" when Joe asks why they won't bust one of the robbers for the hit-and-run of his fiance. Naturally, Joe and Frank manage to nail the crooks in just a few days.
- Subverted in Season Three's "Defection to Paradise", with Harry Hammond apparently giving Frank and Joe an stupid-easy assignment to find a missing amplifier and playing up an image of an bumbling, old-fogey Fed who can't manage such a "hip" assignment. Of course, Harry's really set up the whole thing as a smokescreen to hide the defection of a young Russian woman, and the Hardys are his unwitting fall-guys.
- The episode "Creatures who came on Sunday" subverted this by having the sheriff be in on the whole secret operation. He was stonewalling the Hardys with his useless act to deliberately keep them away from the top secret plot.
- "Mystery of the Jade Kwan Yin" inverts this: the Hardys find a valuable jade statue that's apparently been dumped in the bay. Rather than turn it in to the police, the brothers investigate it themselves, only for the statue to be stolen from their home. Bayport's police chief promptly chews them out for not turning it in immediately — the police had already been notified of the statue's disappearance by the FBI, that there was a smuggling ring operating in the area, and who the statue's rightful owner was.
- Pretty Boy: Joe Hardy, aka Shaun Cassidy.
Joe: Just because I'm smaller, younger than you are, and more easily intimidated...?
- Real After All: Poor Joe got the brunt of this.
- "Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Meet Dracula": In the episode, the Hardy Boys suspect a man of being Dracula, but this is apparently dis-proven. At the end, the villain is in handcuffs and standing in front of a mirror, and Joe Hardy notices that the villain has no reflection, while the other characters conveniently not look at the mirror. The villain is taken away by the cops before Joe can get anyone else to notice.
- "House on Possessed Hill": The Hardy Boys have supposedly dis-proven a haunted house. Final scene is the brothers driving by the house in their van; Frank is giving logical common-sense explanations for all the haunted phenomena. Cue Joe looking towards the house just as they drive away, in time to see a ghostly figure walk out of the house...which disappears when Frank stops the van to look.
- "The Creatures Who Came on Sunday" features supposed flying saucers that have abducted a woman's boyfriend. When the villains are caught and it turns out that said saucers are just helicopters and part of a Witness Protection Program, the Hardys are trying to joke with the local sheriff and the Feds about the "aliens", and the officials clam up, with serious we're-not-talking-about-this faces, implying heavily that yup, guess what...
- "Voodoo Doll" has the main villain use "real" voodoo and magic to turn into a snake at the end of the show — naturally, Joe's the only one who sees it, but still somehow manages to convince the cops that he should be taken seriously.
- Subverted in Strange Fate of Flight 608. The Hardy Boys are taking a plane home that will be flying directly through the infamous Bermuda Triangle. A new stewardess freaks out over it; naturally, Joe believes in the Triangle and starts to freak as well, while Frank blows it off with his usual "there's scientific explanations" line. Then all the male pilots get sick and fall unconscious, leaving Frank (a private-licensed pilot) to fly the plane through a hurricane, unable to radio-contact any help, and crashing it into the ocean near a deserted island...then it's revealed that nope, nothing to do with the Bermuda Triangle, the pilots were only poisoned by diamond smugglers and the island is within a day's cruise of civilization. Psych!
- Even Nancy Drew had one: "Will The Real Santa Claus Please Stand Up" has Nancy trying to save an old man accused of theft. Said gentleman claims to be Santa Claus and is assumed to not be playing with a full deck, until the very end...
- Running Gag: Just TRY to get Frank to stick around to listen to Joe sing. Go on. I dare you. Joe even taped himself and tried to play the tape for Frank, which only resulted in Frank telling him bluntly to turn it off (and a hotel security officer telling him to shut that noise off, too, for that matter. At least the scriptwriters had a sense of humor about their Teen Idol.)
(Frank and Joe are talking a ragtag group of buskers into letting the brothers travel with them as a cover)
(aka Bernie Taupin
, pointing at Joe): Either you're really desperate to get into show business, or he must be awful
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Almost right down to a T: Frank Hardy, Manly (Parker Stevenson being the muscled prep-school jock into surfing), aggressive, and likely to get into a fight. Younger Brother Joe, Sensitive (Shaun Cassidy, slender teen-idol musician) who tries to avoid trouble at all costs. Though the show occasionally subverted it by having Frank shove Joe out front in dangerous situations. See Casual Danger Dialog entry for example.
- Season Three really subverted it. Joe Hardy went from Sensitive Guy to the guy most likely to chase down the villain and get into a fight. This might just have been Character Development, but still...
- Ironically, the later Casefiles novels had Frank as the sensitive intellectual and Joe as manly and impulsive.
- '70s Hair: For young Gen X'ers first introduced to the Hardy Boys through this show with their long hair, seeing the contemporary covers of the books with them with their short hair was a shock.
- Sibling Rivalry: Of the good-natured, teasing variety between Frank and Joe Hardy, though all bets tended to be off when both brothers were interested in the same female...and Frank wasn't above shoving all the heavy physical work off on Joe, either. And don't get Joe started when Nancy Drew and Frank were anywhere in the same room together...
- Special Guest: the show is FULL of these. "Mystery of the Hollywood Phantom", in particular, seemed to be just an excuse for ABC to work in as many of their B-list stars as possible.
- "Assault on the Tower" had a very cool appearance by Patrick Macnee, recreating his John Steed role to help Joe rescue his father and brother.
- Teen Idol: Shaun Cassidy, who used the show as a vehicle to promote his musical career at the time.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: Frank Hardy and Nancy Drew, in all the eps that featured all three detectives. The show's take on this predates all the current books.
Episodes of this series provide examples of:
- All Animals Are Domesticated: Averted in "Mystery of Witches Hollow", where a trained panther is guarding a missing man (Callie Shaw's uncle) that the Hardys are trying to find. A very, very nervous Joe Hardy tries to trap it (the cat decidedly NOT cooperating) by working a broom under its collar, but only succeeds in making it angry and attacking until the uncle distracts it with a piece of meat — and the uncle warns both Frank and Joe the whole time to keep away and that it's not a house cat. Joe (ie, the actor Shaun Cassidy) looks far too relieved when he finally succeeds: Enforced Method Acting, perhaps?
Joe: (picking up broom) I've got a way with animals...
Frank: (panicked) Yeah, so did Jonah!
Joe: Nice kitty...
Uncle: Careful, son, that's no house pet...
Joe: No need to tell me.
- Always Save the Girl: Last Kiss of Summer. Joe Hardy comes very close to this, though the girl in question is dead; he wrecks a federal undercover sting operation and throws over his father and brother, all in the name of vengeance.
- Artistic License – Cars: Silent Scream has Joe Hardy calling the Bureau of Motor Vehicles for information on a license number...and the BMV tells him that the owners are staying in the same hotel as the Hardys. Aside from the fact that no BMV in the world could possible know that, they also would not release information over the phone to regular civilians, and there are strict paperwork procedures that the cops have to follow to get the information.
- Artistic License – Geography:
- "Mystery of King Tut's Tomb" states that the Hardy Boys are driving down to meet their father in Kenya — from Cairo, in Egypt, and the brothers talk about it as if it's just a small jaunt. That's a trip of over two thousand miles, at least an 8-day road trip, in a little beat-up VW microbus, through rather inhospitable terrain, little to no tourist facilities, and through countries that — at the time — were hostile towards the US.
- Creatures Who Came On Sunday has the Hardys driving from Massachusetts to New Mexico, just to help a friend, while supposedly en route to Las Vegas; that's at least a 5 day road trip — but comments from Joe during the episode make it seem as if the Hardys have only been on the road a day or so. Then they start talking as if Las Vegas is just a short distance away...when it's easily a 10 hour drive. And we won't mention that Frank's using a map of Montana to get through New Mexico...
- Bavarian Fire Drill: subverted in the third season episode "Game Plan". Joe pretends to be a hotel maintenance man to get into a room where Frank and the Big Bad are talking. Joe puts on a phony redneck accent, pushes right into the room past Frank and shoves his ballcap into Frank's hands (the ballcap containing a note warning Frank of a federal raid) and proceeds to completely confuse the Big Bad with pseudo-technical-babble about the AC being on the fritz (taking the thermostat apart with his screwdriver as he does so)...until Frank blows it out of the water by showing the Big Bad the note, then pulling a gun on Joe. The federal agents eventually find Joe tied up and gagged in the apartment's closet.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Frank Hardy and Nancy Drew. The first time the Hardys and Nancy Drew met, Nancy throws Frank to the floor. All episodes featuring the trio inevitably have Nancy and Frank getting seriously on each others' nerves — until they finally share a kiss in "Mystery of the Hollywood Phantom".
Nancy: ARGH!!! Frank Hardy is the most exasperating... annoying... frustrating...
Nancy: NO! (pause) Well, maybe a little...
- Beneath Suspicion:
- Campus Terror: Joe Hardy's old flame Wendy calls the brothers in to help solve a series of kidnappings and disappearances taking place in an East Coast women's college, as she's the next targeted victim. She barely escapes an attack as the Hardys rush in moments after the attacker has fled & both the Hardys & the police treat her as just another victim. While suspicion falls on various men around campus (a young man who's stalking one of the female students, a professor with a history of evil experiments, the school's male self-defense teacher), it turns out that Wendy herself is the kidnapper, suffering from delusional split-personality episodes. Her "other personality" faked the attack to throw the police off and was staging the attacks in an attempt to get Joe back with her.
- Bound and Gagged:
- The Mystery of the Hollywood Phantom has an extended sequence of Joe Hardy tied hand and foot and gagged in an abandoned backlot of a movie set. Yeah. Exactly.
- Game Plan in third season also has Joe bound and gagged — by Frank, no less — and shoved in a closet.
- The Butler Did It: Played with in "Dangerous Waters" — the kidnap victim doesn't recognize her mother's supposed "butler" when he greets Frank and Joe at the door, and said butler turns out to not be a butler at all, but married to a woman pretending to be the victim's mother and the instigator of another plot to get the victim.
- Captain Obvious:
- Voodoo Doll
(empty coffin has been open the whole time, in full view of the cops have been in crypt, with Hardys standing nearby)
Frank: You can't rob a grave if there's nothing in it.
Obvious Cop: Coffin's empty, captain.
- Chekhov's Skill:
- "Acapulco Spies": Joe discovers a technique for planting fingerprints at the scene of the crime. Guess what the Hardys use to trick the Big Bad into revealing where Fenton's being held prisoner?
- Convection Schmonvection: abused twice:
- "Mystery of the Flickering Torch" has Frank and Joe trapped inside a small closet while a fire rages outside; they break out and dodge through the flames to the outside without even a singe to their clothing.
- "Arson & Old Lace" has Frank, Joe, and Nancy all trying to escape a burning office building. To be fair, Joe nearly gets blown to kingdom come when he almost opens a door that has smoke pouring from under it (Frank knocks him out of the way), but then both Hardys are shown entering rooms with raging flames to rescue people, with no ill effects beyond a bit of smudge and coughing.
- Crash Course Landing: The Strange Fate of Flight 608 has all three pilots knocked out by some weird drug...leaving Frank and Joe to fly the plane. In a hurricane. In the middle of the Bermuda Triangle. Without any radio help, and the one semi-conscious pilot falls asleep mid-instruction. Guess who manages to crash-land in the middle of the ocean? Of course, they do make it to a deserted island and find themselves all alone with an ex-plane full of of young stewardesses, so I guess it wasn't too hard on them.
- Creepy Doll: the episode "House on Possessed Hill" has Joe Hardy walking into a room of a cursed house...with a creepy-as-hell animated toy doll nodding its head in time to tinkly music box chimes.
- Crying Wolf: This happened in The Flickering Torch Mystery when the Brothers suspect that their client is going to be killed with a bomb on stage. To prevent that, Frank and Joe storm the stage during the concert and rip up the equipment, but find nothing. After that fiasco, the Hardys have a much harder time convincing anyone of a real murder threat on the client's plane, especially since it was already searched and came up clean. Acting on instinct, the Hardy Boys stop the plane and the plane is discovered to be much more subtly sabotaged: with a special radio designed to interfere with the plane's navigational equipment to make sure it goes off course over water and crash when it runs out of fuel with no land in sight...not to mention a missing technician who discovered the plot and tried to warn of the problem is found tied up in the empty spare fuel tank.
- Defector from Commie Land:
- Sole Survivor revolved around East Germans trying to stop the defection of a Chinese scientist, using a Mind Screw to get Joe Hardy to spill his guts.
- Mystery On The Avalanche Express had a side plot of a ski champion wanting to defect to the West, and dragging Joe into the matter.
- Defection To Paradise had the daughter of a top Russian Official being chased down by Russian assassins, and Frank and Joe trying to help her escape.
- Damsel in Distress: Nancy Drew was reduced to this in second season, once Janet Louise Johnson took over the character, in cross-over episodes with the Hardys. Nancy was constantly being placed in situations that required Frank Hardy to rescue her:
- Arson & Old Lace: Nancy gets kidnapped (see Distress Ball entry below) and needs Frank to rescue her.
- Voodoo Doll: Nancy wanders into the Big Bad's lair, gets caught, and needs Frank and Joe to rescue her.
- Mystery on the Avalanche Express: Nancy gets cornered on a train by two men — a passenger train, in a hallway where there's plenty other passengers in compartments — and can't simply push past them until Frank comes to her rescue.
- Game Plan: 3rd season episode has Frank Hardy meeting the Big Bad in an Atlantic City disco, complete with trippy flashing floor lights, disco ball, obnoxious muzak (not even real disco music!), and fashion victims that looked like rejects from Saturday Night Fever.
- Distress Ball: Nancy Drew. Dear GODS, Nancy Drew in 2nd Season.
- "Arson & Old Lace": Nancy goes off to solve an embezzlement case on her own, without the Hardys, and gets grabbed...then is held captive for six months. By an old man in his 70s. In a penthouse. With a phone and an intercom to a secretary who's not in on the plot. With an elevator that doesn't require any special code to operate, that leads right down to a very public and open office area. No, she's not tied up. She's not held under lock and key. And somehow the elderly gent is able to force her into an elaborate dress and hairstyle, too. She just passively waits for Frank Hardy to rescue her as the building is burning down.
- Ditto "Voodoo Doll". Nancy goes off on her own to investigate the Big Bad. Yup, gets caught. Yup, is held captive (again, untied up) with two other women, similarly untied, in an open warehouse with tons of crates. The only door INTO the warehouse area is locked. On Nancy's side of the door. With the hinges on HER side, too. Her one attempt to escape involves her climbing UP crates to go through a window, and is promptly caught. It takes the Hardys breaking into the warehouse through said door before Nancy can escape. *sigh*
- The Dulcinea Effect: the show mostly avoided this by having the girls in question be friends from school or former girlfriends, but a couple eps stand out:
- House on Possessed Hill, where Joe champions a supposedly psychic girl who's just flagged him down, jumped into his van, and gets him running for his life from a lynch mob...
- Death Surf — this time Frank falls in love with a girl he's seen for only three or four seconds...and who's supposedly dead for most of the episode.
- Subverted in The Mystery of King Tut's Tomb, where the brothers are trying to get out of helping the stranger-girl, but are finally forced into it because the Egyptian police hold their passports. Frank even threatens to kick said girl's teeth in, at one point. Subverted even further when it turns out that the girls don't want the Hardys' help at all, as they're the ones who set up the initial con & purse-snatching to begin with.
- Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male:
- "Death Surf". An older waitress (Bernie) seriously hits on Joe, despite Joe being visibly and highly uncomfortable with this, and keeps hitting on him even though Joe puts her off several times; though the actor (Shaun Cassidy) is 19 at the time, in the show, Joe is supposed to be underage, which just heightens the creep factor, and Bernie is fully aware of this, making reference at a later point to Joe's "mom" saying it's okay for him to come out and play. The show tops this by having Joe going out with Bernie at the end of the episode! Gender-flip this — if it'd been Nancy Drew getting highly unwanted advances from a male waiter, and we'd be rooting for Nancy to deck the guy.
- "Life on the Line". Frank gets unwanted attention and harrassment by a psychotic motorbike racer, who is insanely jealous of Frank protecting one of her fellow racers. The psychotic woman invades Frank's trailer, spies on him as he's changing clothes, and tries to get him drunk, all of which make Frank very, very uncomfortable. But the show then shows Frank as feeling guilty that he had to turn the woman in for attempting to murder the other racer. Yeah. Right.
- Faked Rip Van Winkle: See the You Wake Up in a Room entry below. Sole Survivor. Joe Hardy.
- Fingertip Drug Analysis: "Mystery on the Avalanche Express". Frank pulls this with a compact of makeup powder suspected of containing drugs.
- Heroic BSOD: "Last Kiss of Summer". Joe Hardy's fiance is killed in a car wreck; she dies in his arms. Next scene is Joe sitting in a police waiting area, staring into space, fighting not to cry, trying to process what just happened, and not snapping out of it until Frank comes in and very, very gently talks his brother down.
- Hollywood Fire: See Convection Schmonvection entry above.
- Hollywood Voodoo: Voodoo Doll, an episode that has to be seen to be believed. A white stuffy English professor is somehow a Voodoo High Priest (with the Haitian Voodoo Priest stated to be his "protoge"), tarot cards called "Voodoo cards" (though their apparent accuracy is actually a Mind Screw used by the villain to psych the Hardys out), and stage magic presented as the real thing. Though the episode does have one point in its favor: Baron Samedi is not mentioned at all, and during a fake Voodoo ceremony, the practitioners summon "Papa Legba" instead.
- Impersonating an Officer: "Mystery of the Hollywood Phantom". The Hardy Boys see Nancy Drew unsuccessfully trying to talk her way out of trouble at an airport, and go over to help. On the spur of the moment, Joe pretends to be undercover airport security, and the brothers "apprehend" Nancy:
Nancy: (to another traveler) I'm telling you there was another man here trying to get into your suitcase!
Frank: Excuse me, what seems to be the trouble here?
Traveler: (suspicious) Is she with you?
Joe (flipping open his wallet and flashing an ID too quick to see): Airport police. Juvenile Division. I thought we told you to never work this airport, Trixie.
Frank: We'll take care of this, sir. I'm sorry there's been any inconvenience to you. (grabbing Nancy by the shoulder) Come with me, thank you very much...
Traveler: You're probably all in this together!
- The Infiltration: "Game Plan", in Season 3, has Frank going deep undercover and joining with a criminal organization. At one point, he seems to have gone totally over and sold out the Feds, to the point of pulling a gun on Joe.
- Magic Plastic Surgery: "Creatures Who Came On Sunday" (aired in 1978, mind) has its whole plot revolve around a secret installation of the Federal Witness Protection Program, where protected folks get plastic surgery to totally change their looks. All the folks in said camp are swathed in bandages while playing baseball with no apparent pain or lack of agility.
- Moment Killer: "Mystery of the Hollywood Phantom" has Frank Hardy and Nancy Drew finally sharing a kiss and making plans to go see the sights together... only for an Annoying Younger Brother Detective to ruin it:
Nancy: What I'd like to do is thank you... for saving my life. (kisses Frank)
Joe: (butting in out of nowhere) Hi there! Where we off to?
- Mythology Gag: the show itself gets referenced in the book series:
- "Last Kiss of Summer" gets myth-gagged in spades by the books in the Casefiles debut, "Dead on Target". In "Last Kiss", Joe Hardy's fiance is killed in a car wreck by a drunk driver, and Joe goes on a Roaring Rampageof Revenge to bring the killer to justice. In "Dead on Target", they not only kill off Joe Hardy's longtime girlfriend in the series, Iola Morton, but do so in a car...and Joe subsequently goes on a revenge kick to bring down the Assassins who did it.
- "The Hardy Boys & Nancy Drew Meet Dracula" is myth-gagged in the Super Mysteries book series, "Terror on Tour", where Nancy and the Hardys meet at a rock show — and in the episode, the Hardys and Nancy meet while following a rock tour, and join forces to solve a series of art thefts. This is also the episode that started Frank and Nancy's romance in the show...a relationship that continues through the Super Mysteries series.
- The first season episode Wipe Out does this to the books. In the books, Frank is a black belt in karate. In the episode, Frank and Joe are ambushed by a pair of tough hotel thieves; Joe bluffs them by saying that Frank is a "black belt, a master of the martial arts". The thieves believe it and leave, but then we get this exchange:
Frank: What made you think of that black belt business?
Joe: I thought it was a pretty good bluff.
Frank: Some bluff. He would've chewed me up in little pieces.
Joe: It was a chance I had to take...
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
- Creatures Who Came on Sunday. Frank Hardy is so determined to find out what happened to Sharon's missing boyfriend that he not only ignores three back-off warnings from the local sheriff, supposed government agents, and Sharon herself, he then ends up leading mob killers (masquerading as those government agents) onto the boyfriend, who is in the Witness Protection Program and in hiding in a facility up on the mountain. This results in the mob killers taking Frank, Joe, and Sharon hostage, then forcing Joe at gunpoint to lead them back to the facility to point the boyfriend out so they can shoot him.
- Death Surf. Once more, Frank Hardy starts asking questions to find out more about a woman who's been killed in a drowning accident while he was wind-surfing nearby. Granted, he's doing so at the behest of the woman's father, but only to find out what the woman was like. Frank receives two back-off speeches that he's going too far, one from the owner of a bar where the woman worked and the second from his brother Joe, but Frank is so obsessed with finding out about the woman that he not only ignores the warnings and finds the woman is still alive...but has led a criminal who is trying to find her to kill her directly to her. Nice job, hero!
- No Guy Wants to Be Chased: "Death Surf". The older waitress Bernie seriously hits on Joe, who is shown to be highly uncomfortable and not interested — then the trope gets averted at the end, with Joe and Bernie going out on a date. Also see the Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male entry above.
Joe: (trying to get information on a missing girl) Can I talk to you for a second?
Bernie: Suuuurrre!!! (sitting down eagerly) You've got beautiful eyes. Has anyone ever told you that?
Joe: (uncomfortable) Not today.
Bernie: They're kinda melty...so warm and green. You're so nice and handsome...
Joe: (seriously at a loss for words, visibly backing away in his chair): Ah...
- Reading Lips: In the episode "Silent Scream", a deaf girl finds out about a Las Vegas bomb plot by reading the lips of a man in a phone booth. Of course, the woman, the Hardys, the villains and the casino owners then spend the rest of the episode passing around the Idiot Ball, but no one's perfect.
- Revenge: Last Kiss of Summer has Joe Hardy going after the criminals who killed his fiancee' in a drunk-driving accident.
- The Runaway: "Mystery of the Fallen Angels" referenced the "Circus Runaway" trope. Nancy tries to get a job at a travelling carnival to investigate a lead on a burglary ring. The carnival's owner exasperatedly says that she has to deal with "runaways" asking for work at every town the carnival visits, and tells Nancy to go home and try to work things out with her family instead.
- Screaming Woman: Voodoo Doll has Nancy Drew. Dear Gods, it has Nancy Drew, who is reduced to screaming endlessly and uselessly...at the sight of a man in an obvious skull mask who is merely standing there. In a brightly lit room.
- Shirtless Scene: Hoo, brother, where to start? Luckily, Parker Stevenson had a great body for it.
- Mystery of the Hollywood Phantom: Frank Hardy walks into the room fresh from the shower, clad only in a towel.
- Life on the Line: Frank strips off his shirt inside his trailer.
- Sole Survivor: Joe Hardy spends most of the episode in a sweat-jacket unzipped halfway down.
- Wipe Out: for some odd reason, Frank (the so-called surfing champion who spends most of the ep on the surfboard) is always shown with a shirt on, even in the water. But Joe gets a glorious, shirtless, wet-chest scene, shortly after saving Frank from two feet of water.
- Mystery of the Jade Kwan Yin: Ditto on the Joe-Hardy-In-Halfway-Zipped-Sweats.
- House On Possessed Hill, which features a demon-haunted house, uses the house from Psycho, complete with a fast drive-by-glimpse of a boarded-up, one-story building that looks suspiciously like the Bates Motel:
(the Hardys are walking up to the house on a stormy night, to investigate the "ghosts")
Joe: Wonder if Hitchcock's seen this place?
- Mystery on the Avalanche Express: The title is a shout to Agatha Christie's "Mystery on the Orient Express", complete with an avalanche threatening the train.
- Mystery of the Haunted House (which features the above Psycho house as the titular haunted house): the "haunted house" is a restaurant...complete with waiters dressed as Hermann and Lily Munster. And the Hermann Munster also pulls a convincing Lurch imitation, right as the Hardys are entering the restaurant.
- Stalking Is Love: "Oh Say Can You Sing" has the female lead singer of a rock band being stalked by her ex-husband and has a court order of protection against him — the Hardys initially think the man is out to hurt the woman, but when he says "I'm her husband" and admits to having the restraining order, the Hardys still treat him as an okay guy and immediately take him off their suspect list, believing his explanation of following her around because he still loves her.
- Stock Footage: while the show used stock footage to open many episodes to establish locale, there were several painfully obvious uses..
- The Strange Fate of Flight 608: stock footage is clearly used to show the evacuation of the jet after it crashes into the ocean. What makes it really painful? In the episode, the male pilots have all been poisoned and knocked out; the Hardy Boys are the only conscious males on board. Yet the stock footage clearly shows wide-awake male pilots helping passengers crawl out over the wing to the waiting rafts.
- The Disappearing Floor uses obvious stock footage of a wolf charging to "attack" the Hardy brothers.
- Mystery of the Jade Kwan Yin also uses stock footage to show a boat explosion in Bayport's harbor...a different make and style of boat, which despite the episode showing it docked, is out at sea in the footage.
- Voodoo Doll fairs better, using stock footage to show New Orleans on Bourbon Street to open the episode...though the subsequent sets in the episode didn't even try to look like the French Quarter.
- Mystery of Witches Hollow also uses painfully obvious stock footage of a panther charging in a field...to show a panther attacking Callie, who's in heavy forest, at night.
- Television Geography:
- The episode "Voodoo Doll" is just painful. Despite having a stock footage opening shot of the real Bourbon Street in New Orleans during Mardi Gras...the Hollywood backlot not only didn't bother to make buildings that looked like New Orleans, but the ep also refers to addresses that don't exist and has the Hardys wandering through a wide, spacious, bury-them-below-ground cemetery...never mind that cemeteries in NOLA in the Quarter are all bury-them-above-ground due to the high water table and jammed-packed. And we won't go into the total lack of any believable accents (What are LAPD doing in NOLA?) and black people in general.
- "Creatures Who Came On Sunday" has the hills of southern California substituting for the "mountains" of New Mexico. Um...
- The Hardy Boys & Nancy Drew Meet Dracula shows the correct stock footage shots of Dracula's Castle (there's actually several, but they use Poenari Castle in Romania)...but then show people driving cars right up to the castle entrance for a major rock festival. In reality, the castle is only accessible by climbing a long, narrow, zig-zaggy staircase up the wooded mountain.
- Mystery of the African Safari has Kenya, Africa looking amazingly like the San Diego Zoo; the episode was shot in the zoo, uses the zoo's boat ride, and even uses stock footage of the monkey exhibit as "wild monkeys".
- Thriller on the Express: "Mystery on the Avalanche Express". Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
- Überwald: "The Hardy Boys & Nancy Drew Meet Dracula" had the plucky detectives going into Transylvania for a Halloween music festival — cue the old spooky castle and villagers who still wear medieval peasant folk costumes who give the warnings about the vampire in the castle...
- Virtual Reality Interrogation: "Sole Survivor". See entry for You Wake Up in a Room below.
- What the Hell, Hero?:
- Last Kiss of Summer: After blowing an undercover federal agent's cover, not only wrecking the government's operation, but putting that agent at risk, since the Big Bads are stated to be ruthless killers, Joe gets three of these: one from the federal agent himself (who runs Joe off the road to deliver it), the second from his brother Frank, and the third from his dad, Fenton.
- Game Plan: Deep undercover, Frank has apparently fallen in love with the woman behind a securities scheme and tips the woman off to an impending federal raid after Joe goes in to warn Frank to get out. Frank pulls a gun on Joe, apparently severing ties with the feds, resulting in Joe delivering this.
- Threatening Shark: Last Kiss of Summer has one of the bad guys trying to kill off Frank Hardy by taking him surfing at a university breeding area for great whites.
- Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?:
- Voodoo Doll: even though the Big Bads have already killed several people who've gotten in the way, they tread very lightly with the Hardy Boys. The villains lure the brothers to a fake Voodoo ceremony and chloroform them, yet the Hardys only wake up the next morning in coffins next to the bayou. Untouched, unhurt, and definitely un-dead (though confused and freaked-out). Y'know, Mr. Villains, coffins work so much better if the heroes are dead when you put them in.
- Witness Protection: "Creatures Who Came On Sunday" revolves around a secret installation of the Federal Witness Protection Program, where protected folks get plastic surgery to totally change their looks. The Hardys and the suspicious girlfriend of one of the witnesses soon blow all that out of the water, endangering quite a few people, and barely get off with a lecture at the end — though in the course of the episode, the Hardys get three "back-off" speeches, including one from the Big Bad trying to track a witness down.
- You Wake Up in a Room: "Sole Survivor", where Joe wakes up in a hospital room with no clue where he is or how he got there, only to be told that he's not only been in a coma for a year, but that his father and brother are dead. Cue fake newspapers, fake newscasts, and forged letters from all his surviving relatives and friends. Of course, Frank and Fenton are very much alive, and the whole thing is a Mind Screw to get Joe to reveal information on a defection attempt.