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Series / Vega$

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Vega$ was a television series from ABC that aired from 1978 to 1981. It revolved around the life of Las Vegas private investigator Dan Tanna (Robert Urich) who went around solving various crimes. He drives around in a classic car and has a secretary that probably has a bit of a crush on him.


This series provides examples of:

  • All Bikers Are Hells Angels: Averted in "Death Mountain" when a local biker gang becomes infuriated by three bikers killing an Indian chief, as it could give them a bad reputation. They offer to help Tanna and the gang leader assists in the final showdown.
  • Alliterative Name: Bobby 'Binzer' Borso - played by actor Bart Braverman!
    • "Mother Mishkin" had not only a villain named Werner Worthmeyer but the victim is only known by Mother Mishkin.
  • And Starring: Midway through season 1 Tony Curtis was added to the main credits roll- despite his character Roth only having very sporadic appearances afterwards.
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  • As Himself: Name any major headline act in Las Vegas in the 1970's - chances are they popped up on the show. A notable example was Wayne Newton playing himself, terrorized by a psychopath who believed he was the real Wayne Newton.
  • Benevolent Boss: Philip "Slick" Roth is incredibly kind-hearted and generous despite his outward demeanor of being tough.
  • Berserk Button: Tanna has a specific hatred for rapists and pimps.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Most injuries have none at all, and if blood must be shows it's a few drops worth at most.
  • Characterization Marches On: Binzer appeared briefly in the pilot, having been hired by the crooks to tail Tanna, but managed to be caught quickly. In the first episode he's been hired on at the Desert Inn as a pool boy, giving up crime. By the second episode Tanna has hired him as an assistant though he's largely used as a Butt-Monkey character early on. After the events of "Doubtful Target" however his character status was raised considerably.
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  • Cool Car: Dan's red Thunderbird. Which actually got fan mail!
  • Driving a Desk: Close-up driving shots are obviously done this way.
  • Dumb Blonde: Angela largely gives off this impression, though she usually proves to be much smarter than the stereotype.
  • Fanservice: All over the place. Bikini girls by the hotel pool, Vegas showgirls in skimpy suits, and any excuse to get Tanna shirtless(Robert Urich put on 40 pounds of muscle before the series began). Unfortunately the moral guardians going after such content on television was largely what got the show cancelled after the 3rd season.
  • Friend on the Force: Lt. Nelson was a no-nonsense copper, but always had Tanna's back and handed him cases Las Vegas Metro couldn't touch. There was also Bella, who worked in records and often helped Tanna find information or look up suspects.
  • Jack the Ripoff: Season 1's "The Ripper" has a killer following the original 1888 murders carefully, sticking to the same timeline and even selecting victims with similar names. Due to schizoprenia and a deteriorating state of mind he actually believes he is Jack, or at least Jack reincarnated.
  • Kitchen Chase: In "The Pageant", Dan Tanna chases a rapist through a casino kitchen.
  • Letters 2 Numbers: It is spelled "Vega$" after all.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Inverted- Philip Roth hates being called "Slick" but allows Dan to use it as they've known each other for many years.
  • Running Gag: "Paging Mr. Cohen, Mr. Burt Cohen" is heard over the Desert Inn's intercom constantly throughout the series. The man himselfnote  finally shows up at the end of season 2 in "Siege of the Desert Inn".
  • Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace: Dan tries to stop his secretary Bea from marrying a man who is only doing so in order to raid the trust fund for her daughter, which he will do by killing her and her daughter after they're married, a particular practice he did at least once before.
  • Split Personality: The man threatening stage performer Jeremy Welles in "The Man Who Was Twice" turned out to be an alternate personality. Guilt over his sister's death and refusal to work the family farm caused a second persona to develop in him that blamed Jeremy for her death- however while the second "Martin" persona was fully aware of the situation, Jeremy had no idea of what was going on even when Martin was sending him death threats.
  • Whole Plot Reference: "Golden Gate Cop Killer" takes a lot of cues from Dirty Harry especially in its decision to cast Andrew Robinson as a mentally unstable serial killer.
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