It’s been a few decades since Dennis Weaver first rode onto television screens as Deputy Marshal Sam McCloud, but anyone familiar with the fish-out-of-water police procedural wasn’t quick to forget some of his best-known traits. Beyond the signature western jacket and cowboy hat, McCloud’s mannerisms (or McCloudisms, if you will) set him apart from his urban contemporaries perhaps even more than his unusual attire. As VisionTV welcomes this much loved classic into its Mystery Movie slot on Thursdays at 9pm ET/6pm PT, now is as good a time as ever to get reacquainted with TV’s quintessential cowboy in the city.
From the beginning, McCloud has an unconventional way of carrying out his duties – one that doesn’t always square with the NYPD’s procedures – and often finds himself defending his methods to an impatient Chief Clifford. With an easygoing demeanour that could be confused with a lack of urgency, the marshal from Taos, New Mexico may do things differently, and though he’s typically headstrong, the results of his rogue investigations often force his superior to grudgingly accept his actions.
Though McCloud was ostensibly sent to the big city to broaden his horizons, he finds himself crossing paths with New Yorkers whose views of him are nothing if not narrow. Unassuming but astute, he manages to use their underestimation to his advantage (not unlike another one of Vision’s favourite detectives), as their preconceptions often aid him in his police work.
Still, while McCloud’s distinctive behaviours, and even appearance, became synonymous with the character over the series’ original run, it was perhaps his personal catchphrase that elicits the strongest memories. Generally exclaimed just as the pieces of a particular mystery were coming together in his mind (and often met with confusion by characters not quite so quick on the uptake), his rousing “There ya go!” always signaled a case-breaking epiphany. Though not present in every episode, for many viewers, those three words are among the series’ most enduring.
But, if you were a fan of McCloud back in the day, you’ll remember that the western lawman turned city officer wasn’t the only character on the show to favour a particular phrase. Though certainly not as iconic as the title character’s most quoted line, honourable mention should be granted to Chris Coughlin’s emphatic (and memorable) insistence of her role as a newspaper reporter – and “never a reporter”. A regularly recurring character, Chris (played by Diana Muldaur) provided a quick-witted counterpoint, and love interest, to McCloud, as well as more than a few notable quotes of her own.
Sound familiar? Starting on Thursday, Feb. 19, you can continue to refresh your memory with weekly episodes of McCloud on VisionTV at 9pm ET/6pm PT. McCloud’s west coast contemporaries, McMillan and Wife, will return to Thursday nights later this year.