Bret Maverick was a Syndication network western series and spin-off of the Syndication series "Maverick", developed by Gordon Dawson, starring James Garner in the lead role.
The show aired from December 1, 1981 to May 4, 1982, lasting for one season & 18 episodes.
Bret Maverick has settled down in Sweetwater, Arizona Territory where he is the owner of a ranch called The Lazy Ace and is also the co-owner of the town's saloon, The Red Ox. However, he is still on the lookout for his next big score, and continues to gamble & practice various con games.
- James Garner as Bret Maverick
- Ed Bruce as Tom Guthrie
- Ramon Bieri as Elijah Crow
- John Shearin as Mitchel Dowd
- David Knell as Rodney Catlow
- Richard Hamilton as Cy Whittaker
- Stuart Margolin as Philo Sandeen
- Darleen Carr as Mary Lou Springer
- Jack Garner as Jack
- Tommy Bush as Deputy Sturgess
- Jack Kelly as Bart Maverick
Although the ratings for "Bret Maverick" were respectable, the show was canceled by NBC at the end of the first season.
Writer/producer Roy Huggins, original creator of the titular character but otherwise unconnected with this series despite James Garner's request that he come aboard mid-season, speculated that one reason the new show didn't quite work was that Maverick (who was traditionally a drifter) had settled down in one place.
Jack Kelly (who had alternated the lead with Garner and later Roger Moore in the original 1957-62 "Maverick" TV series) had been slated to return as Bret's brother Bart Maverick in the second season, and briefly appeared at the very end of the only season.
A number of scripts for the following season had been written and presented to Kelly, according to subsequent interviews; Bart was going to look after the saloon in Arizona while Bret ranged across the West, thereby making this series closer in conception and tone to the original Maverick.
The series' final episode also included a number of other changes to the series set-up: notably, Tom Guthrie was re-elected as sheriff, and sold his interest in the Red Ox to Kate Hanrahan, who immediately reinvented the establishment as an upscale brothel.
As well, Mitchell Dowd was appointed to a government position as an inspector of bars and hotels throughout the Arizona territory, where he promised to remain a thorn in Maverick's side.
The two-hour first episode was eventually trimmed and repackaged as a TV movie for rerunning on local stations under the title "Bret Maverick: The Lazy Ace". Additionally the series' only two-part episode was similarly repackaged as "Bret Maverick: Faith, Hope and Clarity".
NBC took the unusual step of rerunning the episodes two additional times: in the summer of 1988 to help provide "new" programming during a writers strike, and in the summer of 1994 to play off publicity surrounding the Mel Gibson movie remake of the original Maverick series (which also featured James Garner).