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  • Series Premiere Date: Sep 20, 1985
  • Season #: 1 , 2 , 3
Spenser: For Hire Image

Mixed or average reviews - based on 7 Critics What's this?

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  • Starring: William Petersen, Marg Helgenberger, George Eads
  • Summary: Robert Urich plays the single-named detective in this Boston-set adaptation of Robert B. Parker's Spenser novels. The series, which also starred Avery Brooks (whose character later got a short-lived spinoff series, A Man Called Hawk), ran for three seasons on ABC, though it was later followed by four made-for-TV movies that aired on Lifetime in the early 1990s. Expand
  • Genre(s): Drama, Suspense
  • Creator: Ann Donahue, Anthony E. Zuiker
  • Show Type: Ended
  • Season 1 premiere date: Sep 20, 1985
  • Episode Length: 60
  • Air Time: 10:00 PM
  • More Details and Credits »
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 7
  2. Negative: 2 out of 7
  1. Reviewed by: John J. O'Connor
    Jul 24, 2014
    Mr. Urich is the perfect television-series star, appealing without being overwhelming or threatening.
  2. Reviewed by: Steve Sonsky
    Jul 24, 2014
    Credit is due here for crafting a show in which the relationships are at least as important as the chase scenes. [20 Sep 1985]
  3. Although it doesn't stint on action... the emphasis is more on character and plot. Add some urbane dialogue, solid performances and Boston as the novel setting, and Spenser may find its audience. [7 Sep 1985]
  4. Reviewed by: Steve Daley
    Jul 24, 2014
    In many respects, "Spenser: For Hire" is just another cop show. But the characters come on strong, speak in complete sentences, bleed when cut and offer us some humanity in a medium where linen jackets and Ferraris have assumed control. It's hard not to like Spenser, and it's hard not to like "Spenser: For Hire." [20 Sep 1985]
  5. 60
    If "Spenser" has a problem, it is that the detective's sensitivity is not treated very sensitively. As in most TV series, "subtlety" seems to be a foreign word. ... But the car chases and gunfights are staged pretty well, and some good stories and continued strong characterizations could help the show's appeal. [20 Sep 1985]
  6. Reviewed by: Howard Rosenberg
    Jul 24, 2014
    Spenser is played by Robert Urich, a capable actor who you always feel should be doing something better than he's doing, but he never does. The show is shot in Boston and has a nice cinematic look. But the writing is so bad and the role so camp that you could substitute Bill Murray for Urich and not miss a beat.
  7. Reviewed by: Tom Shales
    Jul 24, 2014
    The most charitable reaction to an enterprise this shallow yet pretentious is, "They've got to be kidding." [20 Sep 1985]