Hart to Hart was an American mystery television series starring Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers as Jonathan and Jennifer Hart which ran from 1979 to 1984.
Jonathan Hart was the CEO of Hart Industries whilst Jennifer was a freelance journalist. They had a glamorous lifestyle which often resulted in them taking on the role of amateur detectives, as they became embroiled in cases of smuggling, theft, espionage and more often than not – murder!
They lived in Bel Air, Los Angeles with their beloved dog Freeway (a stray they found on the freeway) and their butler, cook and chauffeur Max (Lionel Stander) who often helped them with their cases.
In the opening credits we are told by Max that his boss Jonathan is a self-made millionaire and that Mrs. H was gorgeous and knew how to look after herself. He looked after both of them which wasn’t easy as when they met, it was murder!
The series was created by novelist and television writer Sidney Sheldon. Initially Sheldon had written a script in the 70’s called Double Twist about a married couple who were also spies. The script was never filmed until producers Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg decided to update the idea for a television series.
They offered the script to screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz asking him to make it more contemporary and suitable for a television series which he reworked and renamed as Hart to Hart. Changing the name helped to emphasise the romantic aspect of the couple.
Spelling and Goldberg’s first choice to play Jonathan was Cary Grant but at the age of 75 he had more or less retired from acting so the producers decided instead to find a younger actor who embodied the same traits as Grant – suave, attractive and perfectly dressed – with Robert Wagner being offered the role.
Once Wagner was cast, ABC were keen for his real life wife, Natalie Wood, to take on the role of Jennifer Hart but Wagner wasn’t keen on the idea and suggested Stefanie Powers instead. They had previously worked together in an episode of the series It Takes a Thief in 1970.
A large part of the success of the series was down to the great on-screen chemistry between Wagner and Powers, alongside the glamour, mystery and fun in each episode!
The series ended after 5 seasons in 1984 but the popularity of the characters continued resulting in Wagner and Powers reprising their roles in eight 90 minute Hart to Hart television movies between 1993 and 1996.