Switch is an American action-adventure, tongue-in-cheek detective series starring Eddie Albert and Robert Wagner, who worked as private eyes, for a deceptive sting operation. It was broadcast on the CBS network for three seasons between September 9, 1975 and August 20, 1978, bumping the Hawaii Five-O detective series to Friday nights.
It was inspired by the 1973 movie The Sting and was similar to The Rockford Files, which debuted a year earlier. It was created by Glen A. Larson. Donald P. Bellisario was one of the writers.
The series focused on two main characters, Frank MacBride (Eddie Albert), a retired bunco cop who once arrested Pete Ryan (Robert Wagner), who was an ex-con, before he served as his trusted crime-fighting partner. After Ryan's release, the two open up their own detective agency in Los Angeles that specializes in "out-conning the cons" by using the same sorts of double-crosses and deceptions used by con men in order to capture criminals. Assisting them is another former con man of Mac's, restaurant owner Malcolm Argos (Charlie Callas) who went straight and Maggie Philbin (Sharon Gless), Mac's and Pete's young receptionist who helps them out in each of the cases, known as the all-around girl Friday.
During the show's run the series became more serious in tone and more of a traditional crime drama. William Bryant joined the cast as Lt. Shilton. In the final season, Pete moves into an apartment above Malcolm's bar and Mindi Miller and James Hong joined the cast.
The modestly successful show was put on hiatus in early 1978, being replaced by The Incredible Hulk; it came back during the summer to air its final 10 episodes before ultimately being canceled that August because of low ratings. Years after the show was canceled, it began airing in reruns.
* Eddie Albert - Frank MacBride - A retired police officer
* Robert Wagner - Det. Pete Ryan - Mac's ex-con man turned partner
* Charlie Callas - Malcolm Argos - Mac's ex-con man who worked at the restaurant recruited by Mac & Pete
* Sharon Gless - Maggie Philbin - Mac's & Pete's classy receptionist who worked at MacBride & Ryan investigations
* William Bryant - Lt. Shilton - Mac's & Pete's partner (seasons 2-3)
* James Hong - Wang - Malcolm's cook (season 3)
* Mindi Miller - Revel - Waitress who work at Malcolm's restaurant (season 3)
* Anne Archer - Laurie - played one of the semi-regular cast of grifters who helped Mac and Pete with their sting operations. Although only seen in a handful of Season One episodes, she and her bikini stayed in the title sequences for all of Season One and at least part of Season Two.
A roster of guest stars
During its three season run, numerous familiar and/or unfamiliar actors who guest-starred on the show went on to become successful actors, among them appearing in Switch episodes: Kim Cattrall, Richard Masur, Mark Goddard, Stefan Arngrim, Florida Friebus, Barbara Anderson, Granville Van Dusen, John Vernon, Dionne Warwick, Lola Falana, Wayne Newton, William Schallert, Lorenzo Lamas, Lynda Day George, Robert Loggia, Beverly Garland, Morgan Fairchild, John Fiedler, Jim Bailey, Sherry Jackson, Margot Kidder, Greg Mullavy, Julie Sommars, Kelly Harmon, Rance Howard, Vic Tayback, Ida Lupino, Chuck McCann, Ricardo Montalban, Richard Mulligan, Dick Sargent, Dick Gautier, Paul Koslo, Gerald McRaney, George Wyner, Val Bisoglio, Len Lesser, Graham Jarvis, Howard Hesseman, Eddie Ryder, Charles Haid, Sid Haig, Veronica Hamel, Val Avery, Bernie Kopell, Kathleen Quinlan, Dabney Coleman, Don Porter, Norman Fell, Pernell Roberts, Martin Kove, Robert Webber, Don Gordon, Bill Dana, Frank Campanella, Jeff Corey, Sonny Bono, Bill Quinn, David Wayne, Richard Kiel, Jack Colvin, Penny Peyser, Anne Schedeen, Rene Enriquez, Charles Durning, June Allyson, Joshua Bryant, Gordon Jump, David White, Buddy Lester, Eileen Heckart, Philip Sterling, Argentina Brunetti, Noble Willingham, Stanley Kamel, Jared Martin, Bruce Glover, Jayne Meadows and Jason Bernard, among many others.
Future Charlie's Angels stars, Cheryl Ladd along with Jaclyn Smith made cameo appearances, as well as future Dallas stars, Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray made guest appearances. In addition, future The Young and The Restless stars, Eric Braeden and Jess Walton, and Dynasty stars, John Forsythe and Joan Collins also guest starred in the show. Veteran radio disc jockey Casey Kasem made a guest appearance, and Natalie Wood, who was Wagner's real-life second wife also made a cameo appearance.
Created by Glen A. Larson
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 70
Glen A. Larson
Running time 60 min.
Original channel CBS
Original run September 9, 1975 – July 9, 1978