Jake and the Fatman is a TV Crime Series starring William Conrad as prosecutor J. L. (Jason Lochinvar) “Fatman” McCabe and Joe Penny as investigator Jake Styles. The series ran on CBS for five seasons from September 26, 1987, to May 6, 1992. Diagnosis: Murder was a spin-off of this series.
Here is the Jake and the Fatman Intro from November 1989
Everything began in 1986 with Jake and the Fatman
Jake and the Fatman started during “Matlock’s” first season which went on TV for the first time back in 1986. The sixth episode of that series featured William Conrad as District Attorney James “Fatman” McShane. The next year the producers took this character, changed his name slightly to Jason Lochinvar ‘Fatman’ McCabe, and with Conrad created the long-running series “Jake and the Fatman”.
Conrad’s deep voice gave him quite a radio/television career, much of it unseen as he played Matt Dillon on the radio version of “Gunsmoke” and did voice-over commentary for “The Fugitive” and “Rocky and Bullwinkle”.
Running worldwide for a very very long time
The hour-long episodes of this police drama series were broadcast on several tv stations around the globe. CBS in the states. TV3 here in Scandinavia and many others in other countries. There is also a DVD set that contains the first half of the 23 episodes from the first season. 21 regular episodes and a two-part pilot, which actually ran “after” the show had premiered.
In some ways the two title characters in the first season of “Jake and the Fatman” could be considered the most authentic looking of any police drama. While Conrad’s character on “Cannon” was dubbed “Cannonball” by Mad Magazine, lampooning was unnecessary with the “Fatman” character and Conrad actually seemed to gain weight with each passing episode during the first season. For the second season he slimmed down a bit for their move from Los Angeles to Hawaii, everything is relative. Like “Cannon” he groans and complains but manages to get his man by the end of each episode. But while “Cannon” at least looked presentable, the “Fatman’s” grooming makes him look he’s been staying in a homeless shelter and staining his tie in soup kitchens.
Of course this was supposed to contrast with his suave police associate Jake Styles (Joe. E. Penny), who cruises for babes in a silver Porsche speedster. But this guy isn’t like the squeaky clean detectives on “Hawaiian Eye”. As Harry and Wally said: “Jake is some young, oily hotshot who works undercover to do the legwork….Jake looks like the kind of guy who would proposition your fourteen-year-old sister”. He did seem slightly more wholesome once the two moved to the Islands but for DVD buyers that won’t be until Season Two.
Jake and the Fatman was one of the most popular action drama series and we need to really thank the producers of this tv series. It was entertainment! What happened to that in newer tv series productions? Where did it go?