Jake and the Fatman

Not to be confused with Jake and the Phatman.
Jake and the Fatman

Title screen
Created by Dean Hargrove
Joel Steiger
Developed by Douglas Stefen Borghi
Starring William Conrad
Joe Penny
Alan Campbell
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 5
No. of episodes 106
105 when "Fatal Attraction" parts are combined (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Dean Hargrove
Fred Silverman
Joel Steiger
Producer(s) The Fred Silverman Company
Strathmore Productions (1987–1988)
Dean Hargrove Productions (1988–1992)
Viacom Productions
CBS Television Distribution
Location(s) Los Angeles, California
Oahu, Hawaii
Running time approx. 45 minutes
Distributor Viacom
Original network CBS
Original release September 26, 1987 – May 6, 1992
Related shows Diagnosis: Murder

Jake and the Fatman is a television crime drama starring William Conrad as prosecutor J. L. (Jason Lochinvar) "Fatman" McCabe and Joe Penny as investigator Jake Styles.[1][2][3]

The series ran on CBS for five seasons from September 26, 1987 to May 6, 1992. Diagnosis: Murder was a spin-off of this series.


Conrad guest starred as an aging prosecutor in a two-part episode of Matlock during its first season on NBC. Executive producers Fred Silverman and Dean Hargrove decided to use this character as a model for one of the main characters in a new show they were creating for CBS. Penny also guest starred in these episodes, but his character was not on the same side as Conrad's character in the storyline's legal case.

Following the departure of Hargrove, executive producers David Moessinger and Jeri Taylor were brought on to run the series with Silverman. They also hired J. Michael Straczynski as story editor and, later, co-producer. Taylor and Moessinger ran the show for two years before finally leaving in a dispute over control over the show.


Recurring guest stars

Guest stars on the series included Alex Cord, Robert Culp, Scott Marlowe, Leigh McCloskey, Ed Nelson, Leo Penn, Stephen Quadros, Robert Reed, Mitch Ryan, and David Soul.


Jake and the Fatman had a total of five seasons and 106 episodes that were broadcast on CBS between 1987 and 1992.



J. L. "Fatman" McCabe is a Hawaii-born, tough former HPD officer turned Los Angeles district attorney. He is teamed with a handsome, happy-go-lucky special investigator named Jake Styles. They often clash due to their different styles and personalities. "Fatman" hardly travels anywhere without Max, his pet bulldog.


The show was set in Los Angeles during the first season. After the end of Magnum, P.I., the show was moved to Hawaii. The second and third seasons and half of the fourth season were filmed in Honolulu. The show then returned to Los Angeles for the remainder of its run.


Joe Penny lost a large amount of weight after the show moved to Hawaii, which led to many rumors about his health, including the possibility that he had AIDS. In actuality, he had suffered from a gastrointestinal virus and was having difficulty regaining the weight he lost. When the show moved back to Los Angeles, it was also suspected that it was on Penny's urging. This was also not true, as the move was CBS's decision.[4]

DVD releases

CBS DVD (distributed by Paramount) released the first two seasons of Jake and the Fatman on DVD in Region 1 between 2008/2009. As of June 2015, these releases have been discontinued and are out of print.

DVD Name Ep # Region 1
Season One, Volume One 11 July 8, 2008[5]
Season One, Volume Two 12 December 2, 2008[6]
Season Two 10 May 5, 2009[7]


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