RICHARD DIAMOND. “The Sport.” CBS. 15 February 1959 (Season 3, Episode 1). David Janssen (Richard Diamond), Barbara Bain (Karen Wells), Mary Tyler Moore (Sam; uncredited). Guest Cast: Ross Martin, Ed Kemmer, Irene Hervey, Mort Sahl. Written by Richard Carr, based on the character created by Blake Edwards. Directed by Alvin Ganzer. Currently available on YouTube.

   After two years of PI Richard Diamond being based in New York, this first episode of the third season has him relocated to L.A., in all likelihood hoping to pick up some of the glamour if not (hopefully) the success of another TV show taking place there, namely 77 Sunset Strip, as a prime example. He also has a luxurious place on the beach, and a telephone messaging service, that service provided by the seductive voice of Sam, never quite seen, but what is seen hints at something quite special. And so is the byplay on the phone.

   Also introduced is a girl friend for Mr. Diamond, a lovely beauty in her own right by the name of Kitty Wells (Barbara Bain). As one of several players in the episode,, we the viewer do not know that she will turn up again, but she did, making five appearances in this third season in all. (And all to the good, I’d say.)

   Adding to the special flavor of this episode are guest appearances by Ross Martin (always welcome) and Mort Sahl (even though the portion of his night club act that we are allowed to see is rather lame). And of course, David Janssen’s portrayal of a wonderfully laconic PI is, as always, spot on perfect.

   As for the story itself, I have to say it isn’t much, having to do with a missing race car driver, later found dead it what is at first assumed to be a terribly unfortunate automobile accident. Oh, well. In a PI show only thirty minutes long, you can’t have everything.