About Charlie’s Angels
What do you get when you have three beautiful crime fighting ladies and a boss that is a total recluse? The most successful series of the 1970’s, Charlie’s Angels. Charlie’s Angels aired on ABC from September 1976 to June 1981, producing five seasons and 110 episodes. The series was created by Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts and was produced by Aaron Spelling.
It plotted the adventures of three females working in a private detective agency in Los Angeles, California, and initially starred Kate Jackson, Farrah Fawcett-Majors, and Jaclyn Smith in the leading roles. David Doyle co-starred as a sidekick to the three women and John Forsythe played the voice of their boss. Later additions to the cast included Cheryl Ladd, who entered the series in season two, Shelley Hack, in season four, and Tanya Roberts, in season five. Despite mixed reviews from critics and a reputation for merely being “Jiggle TV,” the show enjoyed an astonishing popularity with audiences, and was a top ten hit for its first few seasons. Because later cast changes were not well-received and the public’s taste changed, the show concluded a five-year run in the spring of 1981. The series continues to have a cult and pop culture following through syndication, DVD releases, and subsequent film remakes.
Three women, the intelligent Sabrina Duncan (Kate Jackson), the alluring and tomboyish Jill Munroe (Farrah Fawcett-Majors), and the sensitive Kelly Garrett (Jaclyn Smith) graduate from the Los Angeles police academy only to be assigned duties such as handling switchboards and directing traffic. However, they were hired to work for the Charles Townsend Agency as private investigators. Their boss, Charlie (voiced by John Forsythe), who nicknames them “angels,” is never seen full-face. In a few episodes the viewer sees the back of his head and his arms, and he is often surrounded by beautiful women. Charlie assigns cases to the Angels and his liaison, John Bosley (David Doyle), via a speaker phone.
Fawcett-Majors and Jackson eventually left the series during its run. Fawcett-Majors was replaced by Cheryl Ladd as Kris Munroe, Jill’s sister and a former police officer from San Francisco in season two. Jackson was replaced by Shelley Hack as Tiffany Welles, a former police officer from Boston in season four. In the fifth and final season, Tanya Roberts replaced Hack as Julie Rogers, a former model. Jaclyn Smith was the only original female cast member to remain with the series during its entire five-year run. Like other American TV crime shows of the 1970s, Charlie’s Angels was generally formatted in the way of a procedural drama. Most episodes followed a regular structure whereby a crime is committed, the Angels are given the case details by Charlie and Bosley at the Townsend office and the trio go undercover, usually involving something skimpy to wear for Kelly and Jill (later Kris). Toward the end of the episode one of them is uncovered and it is a race against time for the others to rescue their friend before they meet some horrible fate. Inevitably, the final scene would be back at the Townsend office with Charlie offering his congratulations for a job well done.