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Series / Switch (1975)

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Switch is an American action-adventure detective series that was broadcast on CBS for three seasons between 1975 and 1978.

As a cop, Frank MacBride (Eddie Albert) once arrested Pete Ryan (Robert Wagner), a con man. After MacBride's retirement and Ryan's release from prison, the two men open a detective agency in Los Angeles. Their specialty involves the use of confidence tricks to trap criminals into revealing evidence of their guilt.

This series features examples of:

  • And Starring: "Also starring Charlie Callas, Sharon Gless."
  • Billed Above the Title: Robert Wagner and Eddie Albert's names go before the title in the Title Sequence.
  • "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word: Pete isn't counterfeiting money, he's simulating it.
  • Bottle Episode: "The Siege at the Bouziki Bar" is a Clip Show featuring only three guest actors, with all but two scenes set in the titular bar.
  • The Cameo: Natalie Wood (Robert Wagner's then-wife) briefly appears in two episodes, "The Cruise Ship Murders" (1975) as a cruise ship passenger, and "The Cage" (1978) as the girl in the bubble bath.
  • Dirty Cop: The villain of the pilot is a police lieutenant who steals money so he can spend it on gambling and prostitutes.
  • Experienced Protagonist: Mac used to be one of the best bunco cops on the force, and Pete was a skilled con man.
  • Fashion Dissonance
  • Freeze-Frame Ending: Every episode ends with one.
  • Idiosyncratic Wipe: During scene transitions, the image shrinks to a small circle, which narrows and then widens like a spinning coin.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Eddie Albert is almost twenty-four years older than Robert Wagner. In "Stung from Beyond," Mac and Pete even pretend to be a father and son.
  • Latex Perfection: In "The James Caan Con," blackmailing actor Anthony Kirk disguises himself as a middle-aged British man with a beard when he meets his victims.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Pete's full first name, Peterson, isn't even used until the fourth episode.
  • Phony Psychic: "Stung from Beyond" involves a family of these who use fake séances to con people into investing in the stock market.
  • The Precarious Ledge: When Mac is almost caught snooping in an office, he has to climb out of the window and stand on the ledge, dozens of feet above the ground, while he waits for the office to be empty again.
  • Private Eye Monologue: During "The Late Show Murders," Pete occasionally reads aloud from a detective novel. The events of the novel match up suspiciously well with whatever the villain, a corrupt private eye, happens to be doing at the moment.
    Pete: I don't know what happened, but the lights went out. As I started to come around, my head felt like Chinese New Year and Mardi Gras all scrambled into one. I had only one thought: to find out who had given me the Pearl Harbor treatment.
  • Retool: During the second season, the series became more serious in tone and more of a traditional crime drama.
  • Saving the Orphanage: In "The Old Diamond Game" a million dollars are stolen from a nursing home, leaving it unable to pay its bills. Mac and Pete have ten days to retrieve the money before the place is shut down.
  • Show Within a Show: "The Saracen Horse," the detective novel Pete reads in "The Late Show Murders."