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Series / Longstreet

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Longstreet was a short lived TV series starring James Franciscus of Beneath the Planet of the Apes fame. It was created in 1971 by Stirling Siliphant, starting from a pilot movie and lasting for one season before it was cancelled in 1972.

Franciscus plays the title role of Mike Longstreet, a renowned insurance investigator. During a night of partying with his wife, Ingrid, the latter discovers a champagne bottle, addressed to Mike with only the word "Because" on the note. Thinking nothing of it, Ingrid was about to open the bottle, when a bomb rigged to it blows up. The explosion kills Ingrid and robs Mike of his sight. As he tries to cope with both losses, Mike is determined to track down Ingrid's killers. He is helped by Nikki Bell, his therapist, who he later hires to be his personal assistant. As well as Duke Page, his boss at the insurance company and best friend. Lastly, Pax, his seeing eye dog, A white German Shepherd and best companion. After solving his wife's murder, Longstreet continues his old job, while overcoming obstacles in his new life.

Bruce Lee guest stars as Li Tsung, an antiques dealer and Jeet Kun Do practitioner who teaches Mike how to utilize his remaining senses to defend himself. Much of Tsung's sayings are taken directly from Lee's book, Tao of Jeet Kun Do.

Tropes included in Longstreet:

  • Berserk Button: Don't hurt or threaten Longstreet in front of Pax. Mike even had to calm him down, when he thought Li was hurting him during training. Hurting Pax in turn is a good way to get on Mike's bad side.
  • Don't Think, Feel: Li insists on this, when training Mike.
  • Defective Detective: Longstreet is this one, much to his annoyance.
    Li Tsung: You think a fight is one blow, one kick? Until you can put combinations together without even thinking, until you can learn to keep moving and endure, hire a bodyguard or choose a less aggressive lifestyle.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: In the pilot movie, Longstreet is equipped with a cane that has a proximity detector to make sure he doesn't bump into things. In the actual show, the cane does not show up and is replaced with a regular blind man's white cane.
  • Face Death with Dignity / Graceful Loser: Another one of Li's philosophies.
    Li Tsung: Like everyone else, you want to learn the way to win, but never accept the way to lose. To accept defeat, to learn to die, is to be liberated from it. So when tomorrow comes, you must free your ambitious mind and learn the art of dying.
  • Handicapped Badass: In spite of his blindness, Longstreet is an amazing detective, a somewhat good shot with a gun and was trained in Jeet Kun Do.
  • Heroic Bystander: Li's first appearance started with him saving Longstreet from a gang of longshoremen. This inspires Mike to learn from Li.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: Mike doesn't hate dogs, but at first he felt the idea of having a seeing eye dog as a reminder of his blindness. However, he loves Pax and is devastated when Pax gets almost fatally stabbed.
  • One-Word Title
  • Prison Episode: In "The Shape of Nightmares", a young widow asks Mike to look into the apparent suicide of her husband, who died in prison. Mike enters the prison to investigate, and discovers evidence that he was actually murdered. A convict that Mike had sent to jail is now the "Head of the Yard," running the other inmates like a mob-boss from inside the prison walls, intent on getting revenge on Longstreet. Mike must use all his wits to solve the murder and stay alive.
  • Protagonist Title
  • Short-Runner