Before the Bionic Woman and Alias... there was Honey West!
Honey West (Anne Francis), sensual and glamorous female private eye, was something of a trendsetter, she was one of television's first liberated females. In an era when actresses were restrained to sedate housewives and girlfriend roles, this series marked an exceptional and original departure. In 1965 the character was introduced to television audiences in a Burke's Law episode, "Who Killed the Jackpot?" and true to form, Honey outwitted the suave detective played by Gene Barry.
Producer Aaron Spelling spun the character off into a separate thirty-minute series which premiered in the fall of 1965. Honey West was the first dramatic TV show with a female star in an action-adventure role. In the show, Honey inherited her spying business from her late father, a top private eye. She also got his partner in the deal, rough and handsome Sam Bolt, played by John Ericson. There was a strong attraction between the partners, but Honey West's only true love was the thrill of adventure - and her pet ocelot, Bruce.
In addition to being television's first modern, independent, self-sufficient woman, Honey frequently engaged in fight scenes and shootouts. She was expert at judo and held a black belt in karate. She is also the first character, male or female, on U.S. television to use martial arts as self-defense. A la James Bond, she also owned an arsenal of weapons filled with "scientific" gadgets including an exploding compact, a garter belt gas mask, teargas earrings and a lipstick microphone. Although short-lived, this series broke the mold and paved the way for future female action heroines such as The Girl from U.N.C.L.E., The Bionic Woman, and Alias.