Full Name: Robert Gavilan
Nationality: American
Organization: CIA
Occupation Former Agent

Creator: Tom Mankiewicz
Time Span: 1982 - 1983


Robert Gavilan is a former CIA agent.

I would normally have addressed him as a oceanographic trouble-shooter, as he sometimes implies, but that designation really does not tell much about what he does and would likely be argued by his boss at the Oceanographic Institute, Marion Jaworski. Truthfully just about anything he might say would be probably challenged by her since she seems to spend most of their little time together fussing about one thing or another regarding him.

Yet another reason for promoting his once Agency ties is the fact that on numerous occasions, he is approached by this old associate or that one for one little job to be done. Either Jaworski is a whole lot more lenient in his 'side-trips' than she lets on or the Agency must be providing financial incentives (purely my supposition) because despite his grousing about them, he goes off on these excursions easily enough.

When he is not returning to his old roots, the work at the Institute that Gavilan takes part in is, despite what his boss might say, is that largely of a trouble-shooter in that whenever there is anything at all out of the ordinary (i.e., non-research related) he is the one to get the call. He shows himself to be quite good at such matters as well as being an expert in underwater activities.

He also teaches a college-level class at the Institute and being a very good looking, physically fit bachelor around 25 years old, he is extremely popular with the young female members who invariably fill his lectures. From what we see of him, though, he is very friendly with them and appreciative of their attention but not enough to partake of their obvious offers.

Sharing his home, for reasons that even he would be hard pressed to explain, is Milo Bentley, an old friend of Gavilan's father who showed up needed temporary lodging and never left. Bently is a conman at heart and frequently getting into trouble but he has some good feelings towards Gavilan and does, a time or two, try to help out with this or that. Luckily Gavilan is good enough at his work to survive this assistance.


Number of Episodes:13
First Appearance:1982
Last Appearance:1983

Robert UrichRobert Gavilan [ 1 ]
Kate ReidMarion Jaworski [ 1 ]
Patrick MacneeMiles Bentley [ 1 ]

Robert Urich was a very hot television commodity having just ended a three-year sting at Vega$. Making him another private eye like before was apparently worrisome so they gave it a twist by making him a trouble-shooter for a marine institute.

There were 13 episodes made but only 10 of these actually got aired.

1 Sarah and the Buzz
Episode 1-1, first aired 10/26/1982
Director: -
Writer: -

Gavilan is approached by the wife of a scientist who has been kidnapped, seeking his help in freeing her captive husband.

2 Pirates
Episode 1-2, first aired 11/09/1982
Director: Cliff Bole
Writer: Mark Frost

A young and beautiful scientist hires the Institute to help her locate a treasure that sank on the old ship King Midas. Gavilan is the man assigned to help. A very nasty pirate and his bloodthirsty crew learn of her plans and want the proceeds.

3 By the Sword
Episode 1-3, first aired 11/16/1982
Directors: Paul Krasny, Winrich Kolbe
Writers: Chris Bunch, Allan Cole

A beautiful woman convinces Gavilan to help her get back a Japanese sword stolen by the Yakuza some time back. They do not like his meddling.

4 A Matter of Geography
Episode 1-4, first aired 11/23/1982
Director: -
Writer: -

Gavilan allows himself to be snatched and carried off to Cuba to help develop a new type of turbine. His real mission is to assist a scientist's daughter defect.

5 The Hydra
Episode 1-5, first aired 11/30/1982
Director: -
Writer: -

Gavilan is given the mission of breaking into the high security fortress of an arms dealer who is rebuilding fast boats to be gunships.

6 A Drop in the Ocean
Episode 1-6, first aired 12/07/1982
Director: Alan Cooke
Writer: Tom Sawyer

Unless Gavilan can find and recover $3 million in heroin, his kidnapped friend, Milo, will be killed.

7 Designated Hero
Episode 1-7, first aired 12/14/1982
Director: Charles Picerni
Writer: Nicholas Corea

An old friend of Gavilan, a man who once saved his life, is about to be executed in a Turkish prison. A beautiful spy from both their pasts calls on Gavilan for help freeing him.

8 The Best Friend Money Can Buy
Episode 1-8, first aired 12/21/1982
Director: -
Writer: -

Gavilan agrees to be the scuba instructor for a rich but perpetually drunken man. He hopes to get the man straight as well as stop the man's whaling operation.

9 The Guns of Harry August
Episode 1-9, first aired 12/28/1982
Director: Charles Picerni
Writer: Robert Van Scoyk

Harry August is an American out to sell stolen NATO armaments to terrorists. Gavilan is picked to be the one stopping him.

10 The Midas Keys
Episode 1-10, first aired 03/18/1983
Director: Paul Krasny
Writer: Bruce Cervi

Members of a Nazi organization believe that Gavilan is in possession of a mysterious crystal pyramid that they lost in a plane crash. They want it back.

11 The Diamond Goddess
Episode 1-11, Unaired
Director: -
Writer: -

[plot unknown]

12 The Proteus Affair
Episode 1-12, Unaired
Director: -
Writer: -

[plot unknown]

13 Rios En La Mar
Episode 1-13, Unaired
Director: -
Writer: -

[plot unknown]


I had loved the previous show Robert Urich was in, Vega$, so I, just a couple years younger than he at the time, watched eagerly the first episode or two. Maybe more but I cannot really remember. Since I also cannot remember any disappointment at its cancelling, I doubt its leaving affected me any. That seemed to be the case uniformly.

I thought Urich was good at just about everything he did in front of the camera which meant that it was fun to watch him do things as Gavilan but the plots were weak and even the wonderful Patrick Macnee could not bring it up enough to last.


My Grade: B-

Your Average Grade:   B-


Derrick B- 2020-12-17

Derrick B- 2020-12-17

It would have been a much better series if it had been more pulpish. Terrific theme song, tho.

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