|Craig Stevens as Peter Gunn|
The third and final season of the popular private eye program was unexceptional but entertaining. "Mother" is gone, and Peter's girlfriend, Edie (Lola Albright) opens her own restaurant-club, and hires a maitre'd, Leslie (James Lanphier), after the man's own restaurant is bombed. Although well-played by Lanphier, the character did little more than interrupt Edie and Peter (Craig Stevens) to tell the latter that he had a phone call. Edie herself only appeared sporadically [giving Gunn a girlfriend never made much sense, as it would have been more fun to have him involved with a different "dame" each week, which only happened on occasion]. Hershel Bernardi as Lt. Jacoby appeared in virtually every episode, again functioning practically as Gunn's partner. Late in the season four episodes in a row took place in Acapulco, to which Peter flew for one case and remained for several more. It seems clear that Gunn must have been a wealthy man slumming as a private dick because he rarely makes a lot of money and is always giving away very large bills to his informants. The most memorable episodes this season include: "A Kill and a Half," in which a midget hit man pretends to be a trick or treater; "A Matter of Policy" involving an insurance scheme and a bomb on an airliner; and "Than a Serpent's Tooth," in which Pamela Britton [DOA] is notable as a woman who is carrying a secret in regards to her husband's death. The final episode -- although it has a standard plot of a millionaire wanting Peter to deal with a blackmailing female -- is very entertaining and features Peter Gunn director (and actor) Robert Gist and the show's executive producer Gordon Oliver in main roles, and both are excellent. Guest-stars for the third season include John Fieldler, Tommy Rettig, Jack Lalanne (who proves to be a terrible actor although he looks fit), Regis Toomey (in a very good turn as a desperate, aging P.I.), Ann Robinson, Kent Taylor [The Day Mars Invaded Earth], Hayden Rourke, Virginia Grey, and Patric Knowles. Robert Altman [That Cold Day in the Park] directed a couple of energetic episodes.
Verdict: Not a true classic, perhaps, but it has its moments. **1/2.