"Planned unreality" premise for the show


HOME

Hart to Hart ran to a formula, and it was the key to the romance and magic we saw week after week. 

Official summary


Publicity photos released by the networks were accompanied by a brief summary explanation. Some examples of this are:

  • "Jonathan and Jennifer Hart were rich, stylish and resourceful sleuths. He was a self-made millionaire, head of the huge Hart Industries conglomerate; she was an internationally known free-lance journalist. From their mansion in Beverly Hills, they rekindled their continuing love affair by setting out each week on a new adventure. They roamed worldwide glamour spots in their private jet, interacted with the rich, and along the way solved crimes that could baffle more pedestrian souls. Gravel-voiced Max was their chauffeur and confidant; Freeway, their dog." 
  • "Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers star as Jonathan and Jennifer Hart, a couple who have everything: money, diamonds and each other. In the ABC Television Network's adventure "Hart to Hart" airing SATURDAYS : 10.00- 11.00 pm (EDT). The loving couple also has an interesting vocation, they are private investigators with a taste for mystery, suspense and intrigue."

 

Premise for Hart to Hart; the key to the show.

In this series R.J, played a self-made millionaire whose wife, Jennifer, played by Stefanie Powers, is a journalist. Since they are rich and insatiably curious and love to travel, RJ says that they can "matriculate in and out of some rather stylish surroundings. In addition ," R.J. continued " because they are people of some wealth and celebration, they find themselves in exciting circumstances with exciting people. Their journalistic attitude makes them seek out the whys and wherefores of every situation. And what's most wonderful is that stories of this kind of set-up are plentiful." Every week the Harts found themselves in the midst of some high-class dirty dealings in which their friends would need help. The Harts would find out who the culprits were and solve the crime.

It was a partnership show, and the choice of his wife was crucial to its success. "I never thought of anyone else to play my wife other than Stefanie Powers," R.J. proclaimed. "We worked previously in an episode of It Takes a Thief and I liked her a lot. Her style of acting is perfect for me. She's a terrific contributor and a total professional. I'm thoroughly comfortable doing the show with her." She was his perfect compliment in their dangerous escapades because from her confident bearing "you had the sense that she could get out of anything," RJ. explained , "if she had to run through reeds or swim up a river she'd be there." As the lovable chauffeur/valet, who watched the Hart's antics with a raised eyebrow, the production company chose character actor Lionel Stander. R.J., who had the right to approve casting, wholeheartedly backed the decision.

The series had other less typical attributes to recommend it. "We create the sort of couple people would like to be," Powers explained. "they are two people having a love affair who happen to be married." "Dallas, Dynasty, Falcon Crest, they all depict the wealthy as nasty, conniving, trying to mess each other over", added scriptwriter Mankiewicz. "Hart is a warm fantasy of wealth. I think Americans right now aspire to wealth, and deep down, want to believe you can be rich and decent. The Harts address that wish." 1

Aaron Spelling talks about Hart to Hart
Aaron Spelling says, "Mr. and Mrs. H (as they were referred to by their chauffeur, Max) were a super-rich Beverly Hills couple who loved to travel to new exotic places every week in their private jet, and solve crimes when they got there. Jonathan was a self-made millionaire, the head of his own conglomerate, Jennifer was an international journalist, and Freeway was their dog.
 
I don't remember a drama on TV that had shown a couple could be married but still love each other very much, spend every day as if they were still on their honeymoon, be sensuous, and have fun together. The romance was a big part of the show, and that's why it worked. There wasn't anything like it on TV at the time. 2

 

 RJ talks about Hart to Hart

  • Robert Wagner said that the key to Hart to Hart was the relationship between Jonathan and Jennifer. "The relationship that we have is one of great admiration, great care, and great love, and that's what we started off to do. That was the whole idea of the show - to do this kind of relationship." 3
     
  • RJ told Larry King that he thought the show worked because "of the relationship and the chemistry between Stefanie and myself and Lionel Stander, who was absolutely wonderful". He then went on to say that " you know one of the things about this show, Larry, that always fascinates me? We never played kitchen-sink drama. We never got involved with another -- I never looked at another woman, she never looked at another man. There was never any sense of jealousy. We were in love with each other. And we went to all of these different places, and we took the audience with us. 4

     

  • "We went for the relationship. We went for the style... and I do think that people want romance and that they believe in a relationship that's good. You know, I never looked at another woman and Stef didn't get involved with another man." 5 
     

 
 "Heart of unreality" 
Stefanie talks about Hart to Hart

With reality television shows flooding out of our screens this year it's understandable that Stefanie Powers looks back at her time on the small screen with a great deal of fondness and satisfaction.

As Jennifer Hart, one half of the popular and glamorous crime-solving team of Hart to Hart (with Robert Wagner), she played one of the most successful- and furthest from reality- TV characters of the 1980s.

From the series' debut in 1979 to the official end in 1984, then through eight follow-up TV movies through to 1996, the Harts wandered the globe with their chauffeur Max, visiting the most exotic locations to solve crime.

Even now, with the series set to repeat, she's confident there's still enough appeal in watching someone whose life is very far removed from the everyday. "Hart to Hart was a good example of how people reflect their romantic side" Powers said." They were always slightly- and beautifully- larger than life.

That "unreality", Powers said was very much a planned part of the show. It was even she said, an order from director Tom Mankiewicz to the series' writers."He would always say an idea for the show has Jonathan and Jennifer in evening clothes stepping out from a luxurious restaurant, their chauffeur Max opens the door of their car but they decide to walk across the park instead," Powers said.

"They're a gorgeous couple, hand in hand, and as they stop to kiss, a dead body drops out of a tree at their feet. Jonathan bends down to examine the corpse, lights go on and it's the police yelling " Freeze! You're under arrest for the murder of this man."

"That in effect was the ideal circumstance for the Harts.. and it wasn't exactly your everyday set of circumstances." 6