Crazy Like a Fox is an American television series set in San Francisco, California, that aired on CBS from December 30, 1984 to May 3, 1986. The series starred Jack Warden as Harry Fox, a free-spirited private detective who lived by his wits and John Rubinstein as his high-strung attorney son Harrison who unwillingly and frequently found himself dragged into his father's cases.
The show was a hit, breaking the Nielsen Top 10 in its first season and continued to receive respectable ratings in the second season, airing between Murder, She Wrote and Trapper John, M.D.. However, midway through season two, CBS brought back its Sunday Night Movie, displacing the show from its regular period. This caused it to jump around to different timeslots, hurting its ratings and eventually leading to its cancellation. Ironically enough, one of the Sunday night movies the year afterward was the reunion movie/pilot Still Crazy Like A Fox.
- And Starring: After Jack Warden's billing, it reads 'Starring John Rubinstein, Penny Peyser, Robby Kiger'.
- Billed Above the Title: "Jack Warden in... Crazy Like a Fox".note
- Conman: Harry Fox Sr., to varying degrees. Hilarity Ensues.
- Creator Cameo: Director Paul Krasny appears in an episode he directed, "Fox in Hollywood", in a cameo as a director whose shot is interrupted by Harry chasing the bad guy across the movie set.
- Cunning Like a Fox:
- Drives Like Crazy: Harry Fox, Jr. crashes into a trash can in the opening titles.
- Exact Eavesdropping: In "Hearing is Believing", a blind woman having dinner at a restaurant overhears two men plotting murder.
- Faking the Dead: In the series pilot, a man is freed from prison after serving 12 years for the murder of his wife, then finds out she's still alive.
- Frameup: A recurring plot point of several episodes, including "Is There a Fox in the House?" and "Suitable for Framing".
- Genre Mashup: One part Mystery of the Week, one part Sitcom. Not so surprising when you realized that it was co-created by the minds behind Three's Company and NCIS. Warden was even nominated twice for an Emmy in Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy.
- Happily Married: Harrison and Cindy.
- The Informant: "The Man Who Cried Fox" features a former mobster who's written a tell-all book.
- Killed Mid-Sentence: Starts off the events of "Wanted — Dead and Alive".
- Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: In "Sunday in the Park with Harry," finding a pickpocketed wallet leads to the discovery of a murder scheme.
- Mystery of the Week
- One Steve Limit: Not only is it averted, it's also the plot point of "Wanted — Dead and Alive," where a dying man asks for "Harry Fox" and the two leads need to figure out who he wanted.
- Outside Ride: Harrison ends up clinging to the windscreen of a car during an chase in one episode. The scene is used in the show's Title Sequence.
- Poorly Disguised Pilot: The Reunion Movie "Still Crazy Like A Fox," filmed a year after the show was cancelled, was intended to revive interest in the concept.
- Punny Name: Many of the episode titles play on the word "Fox".
- Reunion Show: "Still Crazy Like a Fox".
- Screwed by the Network: Originally airing in a plum Sunday, 9:00 PM (EST) slot, the series proved a hit in its first season, where it finished at #10, and was renewed for a second season, initially continuing to pull the same high ratings. However, just after 1986 began, CBS decided to bring back its "Sunday Night Movie", and the series was initially moved to Wednesday at 9 PM, where ratings promptly tanked opposite Dynasty, then was later bounced around to various other timeslots, with each move further eroding the ratings and ultimately leading to its cancellation at the end of the season.
- Sequel Goes Foreign: The made-for-TV movie "Still Crazy Like a Fox" takes place during a family vacation to England.
- Serial Killings, Specific Target: A variation. A doctor is blown up in his car and Harry and Harrison are baffled as the many suspects all have alibis. Going over the records, they find the doctor was supposed to operate on a woman the day he died but the surgery was delayed and the woman died with her husband inheriting both money and life insurance and suing the hospital for negligence. Harry relates "We've been investigating the wrong murder." The husband knew if anything happened to his wife directly, it'd be suspicious. By killing the doctor, he ensured his wife died anyway, and doing it in such a public matter put all the focus on him and his wife's "accidental" passing a footnote.
- Silly Will: In "Turn of the Century Fox," a friend of Harry dies and leaves behind several cryptic items, along with a challenge for Harry to discover the key of his success.
- What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: Referred to in the Title Sequence:Harrison: (answers phone) Hello?Harry: Harrison, I need your help.Harrison: Dad, you keep forgetting I'm a lawyer. You're the detective.Harry: Oh, come on son, all I need is a ride. What could possibly happen?