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DVD Review: Burke’s Law: Season One, Volume Two

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While all of the big companies out there seem to be pulling out all the stops in an effort to put every single television show (good or bad) on DVD and raking in the dough in the process, it’s nice to see one of the smaller, more “indie” companies like VCI Entertainment showing that they’re just as capable of running with the big dogs by providing quality, remastered episodes of a cult fave like Burke’s Law to their loyal fans without charging an arm and a leg.

For some of you, the title may prompt an error command from your memory, and so please allow me to give you a brief rundown of Burke’s Law. Produced by TV guru Aaron Spelling (who would later bring us shows like Dynasty and Beverly Hills 90210 among several dozen other series), Burke’s Law is a wonderful example of mid-'60s television programming from a time when things like sex and death were still somewhat “taboo” to viewers. Nevertheless, sex and death are two of the most fundamental factors that television producers loved to explore — even in the '60s — and so we have Amos Burke (played to the hilt by Gene Barry), a millionaire playboy detective with the Los Angeles PD who always has a different woman in his arms and a dead body on his mind.

His regular posse of assistants consists of Detective Tim Tilson (Gary Conway), an educated and handsome young lad who still has a bit to learn about being a cop; Detective Les Hart (Regis Toomey), a wise and experienced man on the force; and Burke’s faithful (and often cranky) manservant, Henry (Leon Lontoc). The title of every episode started with a simple “Who Killed…” (the rest of the words being filled in with the name of the deceased — when applicable) while every episode itself began with a seductive-sounding woman announcing “It’s Burke’s Law.”

Throughout the course of each outing, Captain Burke always managed to keep his wits, his charm, and his “coolness” about him (after all, he was a millionaire detective and a swinger!) and always had a nugget of his inspired wisdom to offer us, too (the series also led to a short-lived but still popular spin-off, Honey West with Anne Francis).

With this second half of season one, Burke’s Law: Season One, Volume Two brings us a plethora of timeless whodunits with such great guest stars as Dick Clark, Gena Rowlands, Spike Jones, Kevin McCarthy, Carolyn Jones, Dorothy Lamour, William Shatner, Jim Backus, Telly Savalas, Mickey Rooney, Jayne Mansfield, Tab Hunter, Barbara Eden, Don Ameche, John Cassavetes, and Buster Keaton, too!

Like their previous release of Season One, Volume One, VCI’s Burke’s Law: Season One, Volume Two brings us 16 episodes of the fun series on four discs, each episode digitally remastered from the original 35mm fine grain masters by the good folks at Blair & Associates. The quality on these discs is simply stunning when you stop and think just how old this show is now (45 and counting) and the mono stereo soundtrack that accompanies the episodes does not disappoint.

Usually, when it comes to special features for vintage TV-On-DVD releases, the bigger companies tend to say “Who cares?” and release their season sets bare bones. But VCI doesn’t roll like that, kiddos — and Burke’s Law: Season One, Volume Two carries a selection of classic commercials that are sure to blow your mind and delight your palate.

Bottom line: It’s Burke’s Law. Get it.

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About Luigi Bastardo

Luigi Bastardo is the disgruntled alter-ego of a thirtysomething lad from Northern California who has watched so many weird movies since the tender age of 3 that a conventional life is out of the question. He currently lives in Chico, CA with four cats named Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Margaret. Seriously.