T.H.E. Cat, or Thomas Hewitt Edward Cat, to give him his full name, is a professional bodyguard who offers protection to those who need it-generally those who are marked for death. The reformed cat burglar didn't start out his professional career in a life of crime but as a circus performer, which stood him in good stead when he decided to work on the right side of the law. For as a bodyguard he needed to be silent, stealthy and ruthless as he moved through the night dressed in black with only a knife for protection.
He lives in San Francisco where he maintains an office at the Casa del Gato nightclub, owned by his friend Pepe, a Spanish gypsy whose life Thomas once saved. From here he undertakes cases that fall outside the normal province of the police, but the police are more than happy to employ his services. His closest ally at the SFPD is a one-armed police officer; Captain MacAllister. T.H.E. Cat, which aired on NBC from September 1966 to 1967 and was seen in the UK on the Rediffusion network, made a star of good-looking, rugged Robert Loggia. By the time Loggia came to the role he had already appeared in hundreds of television roles, as well as stage and screen parts. But interviewed at the time he said that T.H.E. Cat was by far the most strenuous part he'd ever played. Loggia turned down the offer of a stunt double to undertake some of the more tricky or dangerous sequences himself.
"I don't think audiences are as easily fooled today as they were years ago," he said. "They know when they're being cheated. By doing these stunts myself we are able to give the show far more realism, and surely that's what every producer wants, and every actor, too." The show demanded that he kept himself in tiptop condition. "I have to be fit for those things the script calls for," he said. "But I've always believed in keeping fit. I've been keen on athletics and sport all my life."
Published on February 6th, 2019. Written by Laurence Marcus (20 February 2005) for Television Heaven.