Episodes

McMillan And Wife: Once Upon A Dead Man (NBC 17 Sep 1971, Rene Auberjonois)

Once Upon A Dead Man

In the pilot episode of McMillan and Wife Sally is working at a major San Francisco auction house as part of a charity event she is helping organise, one of the major exhibits is an Egyptian Sarcophagus worth half a million dollars, during the auction even though the artifact is stolen by a gang of crooks and later one of the chief suspects, antique dealer Edmond Corday, is found murdered.

Mac finds events increasingly convoluted as the case seems to have either a multitude of suspects or none at all and to make matters worse his boss Chief Yeakel believes that Mac’s driver (who is an ex-con on parole) may be mixed up in the case too.

This is the pilot episode try out for the show and it’s easy to see that a series would be a shoo-in based on this excellent opener. The very easy going but very loving relationship between Mac and Sally is set out nicely as is the witty dialogue. The McMillan’s house is somewhat different and Mildred doesn’t make an appearance (although she is mentioned) and Enright is also on board. Once the series started Mac would be the boss and Chief Yeakel didn’t appear

Watch out too for a great “action” sequence, the winding streets of San Francisco have featured in many a super fast car chase but this is probably the only time a drama has featured a high speed bicycle chase!

classic quote
“Take care of her Patterson, she’s a nut… But she’s my nut”

production details
USA / NBC – Universal / 1×75 minute episode / Broadcast September 17, 1971

Writers: Leonard B. Stern, Chester Krumholz / Costumes: Burton Miller / Producer: Paul Mason / Director: Leonard B. Stern

guest cast
JACK ALBERTSON as Chief Andrew Yeakel
RENE AUBERJONOIS as Andre Stryker
KURT KASZNAR as Edmond Corday
JONATHAN HARRIS as Mr Wortzel
HERB EDELMAN as Gregory Constantine
JAMES WAINWRIGHT as Patterson
LILYAN CHAUVIN as Madame Jarnac
LINDA WATKINS as Emily Hull
FRANK ORSATTI as Dewhawk
STACY KEACH SR as Dr Hinton
GRETCHEN KANNE as Ann
JERRY HARPER as George
GERALD HIKEN as Etienne Jacoby