Joe Mannix is a Los Angeles-based detective who ends up taking a lot of punishment. When the show starts, he works for a large L.A. detective agency, Intertect. But beginning in season two, he sets out on his own and becomes a private investigator, assisted by loyal secretary Peggy Fair, the widow of a police officer. In the course of solving crimes, he can be expected to be shot, beaten, knocked unconscious, driven off the road or similarly injured. But despite all the bodily trauma, Mannix always gets his man.
Police Capt. Adam Greer recruits a trio of "hippie cops" with checkered pasts to infiltrate the counterculture and nail the adult criminals preying on clueless young Southern Californians. This "youth squad" is made up of Pete, whose wealthy parents kicked him out of their posh Beverly Hills home; Linc, a survivor of the ghetto; and Julie, a former hooker arrested for vagrancy.
Dr. Mark Sloan is chief of Internal Medicine at Community General Hospital -- and sometime consultant to the local police department. When he's drawn into a case, he combines sleuthing and medicine to solve the crime. That crime is usually one his detective son, Steve, is working on as a member of the local police department. Dr. Sloan's medical colleagues, including doctors Amanda Bentley, Jack Stewart and Jesse Travis, are also frequently drawn into his investigations.
"Columbo" isn't the typical detective whodunit TV show. On most detective shows, viewers don't know who committed the crime until the detective pieces the clues together and figures it out. On this show, however, viewers see the crime unfold at the beginning of most episodes, including who the perpetrator is. The mystery and fun for viewers is trying to spot the clues that will lead Lt. Columbo (Peter Falk) to discover the culprit and watching the tricks he uses to get a confession. Episodes of "Columbo" were movie-length and ran sporadically on multiple networks during its run.
The series took a look at how private detectives work in Los Angeles, based out of an office located at 77 Sunset Strip. Detectives Stu Bailey and Jeff Spencer worked together as PI's for most of the show's run but by the final season, Bailey worked alone.
Brothers Rick and A.J. (short for Andrew Jackson) Simon run a private detective agency in San Diego. Rick is a street-smart, good-old-boy Vietnam vet, while A.J. is a book-smart, by-the-rules type. The two have to balance their head-butting with their completely opposite styles while solving crimes and busting bad guys. The brothers have so little in common that they even use different guns -- Rick carries a .44 Magnum while A.J. uses a .357 Magnum. Rick, who prefers things that his brother deems to be lower class, lives on a boat in A.J.'s yard.
Dr. Richard Kimble is wrongly convicted for the murder of his beloved wife. Kimble, determined to track down the real killer, escapes from custody following a train crash while being transported to death row. What follows is a game of cat-and-mouse -- for both the true murderer and the good doctor. But while Kimble searches for the real killer, the authorities -- notably Lt. Philip Gerard -- are on the hunt for him.