Hey fans, VoyagerG here! I was kindly asked to contribute to this page, so I hope after reading you are all Cover Up experts! I'm seriously not, I only watch the Pilot and Jon's six episodes over and over. Wait, I take that back, I rarely watch Golden Opportunity. Everyone already knows that is the episode where Jon's tragic accident occurred off-screen. Judging the episode on its own merit…it stunk. But it was no fault of Jon's. And that's all I will say about that. This page is strictly to discuss the series and Jon's contribution to it for all its fun and flaws, and it had both!
Mac looking super studly as he mounts the crane for a dive into the harbor.
Mac Harper is a former Green Beret who belongs to an offshoot team of the CIA known as Out Riders. An Out Rider is a house expression for agents who are put in a critical situation, with no outside help. They are granted a certain authority to do whatever they must to solve the problem.
Danielle 'Dani' Reynolds is a former model and renowned fashion photographer based in New York City. She is played by the beautiful Jennifer O'Neill, who also had a career as a model. It was said Jennifer inspired the name of the series because she had been a model for Cover Girl. That works! The original name of the series was something along the lines of 'Harper's Bizarre.' How cute is that one? It certainly would have put more emphasis on the lead character Mac, and Jon-Erik.
One day to Dani's shock, she learns of her husband's murder and his secret life as a C.I.A. agent and Out Rider. Dani promptly requests help from their friend, American Ambassador Henry Towler. Henry caves in and tells her about the Out Rider team and their purpose. It turns out he's the big boss behind the Unit.
Mac and Henry strike a pose.
Oscar and a Fembot strike a pose! Those girls were scary! Richard Anderson likes striped ties.
Recognize Richard Anderson? He's been acting in movies since the late fifties and making numerous appearances on hugely successful TV shows like The Fugitive. He is probably best known for playing Oscar Goldman on both the Six Million Dollar Man and Bionic Woman series in the seventies.
And anyone recognize the talented Mkelti Williamson as Dani's personal photography assistant, Ricky? He went on to play the touching role of Bubba in Forrest Gump. You all have to remember him! His character became so famous, they opened a chain of restaurants across the country called the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
"…like I was sayin', shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. Dey's uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There's pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That- that's about it."
Dani is adamant about seeing justice carried out. Mac comes to Dani per her request after having modeled a recruitment poster for the army. (See the opening wallpaper!)
Let's face it. The army never looked so good. Now that we've seen the fatigues, can you imagine Jon-Erik in a cute white Navy uniform, complete with the little cap?
Due to his stunningly gorgeous looks and covert training, Dani wants him to go undercover as a model and to help her solve the murder. I love that kind of plot! Fashion! Espionage! Danger! It's so eighties! I can be a sucker for the spy action/undercover premise and I think with better direction and aesthetics all around, the show would have found a real audience.
So, once Mac got the job he had to be cleaned up. And that meant first and foremost getting rid of the horrible wig Jon-Erik wore early on in the Pilot. You know the one that kept appearing and disappearing when it wasn't supposed to throughout the movie? Dani wisely had him wear charming side-parted hair. (My favorite!) And for some reason made him use the cover name 'Lance.' That name stuck for all of ten seconds.
Jon-Erik wore the wig because his hair had not fully grown in from the crew cut he sported in The Bear.
And just in case you don't remember how bad it is…Would they seriously allow that for a fashion magazine?!? Maybe. It was the eighties. Anything goes.
Mac tamed his mane, but alas, the side-part was only for the 2-hour Pilot movie and some photos and celeb appearances Jon made throughout the year. I think he looked classy and debonair. Check that bad boy out! I would have swooned! Oh wait, I do swoon!
It looks to me like it took too much effort to style it on the side, because Jon didn't seem to have a natural part in his hair. That was obviously a sign of a weak CBS budget from the start. For the remainder of his episodes he wears his familiar thick 'do.
But getting back to the plot! Mac and Dani's very first case involved retrieving a stolen super computer that could control the world if put into the wrong hands! The wrong hands being the dastardly and vicious Louis Jourdan and Catherine Oxenberg! There was a host of familiar TV faces in the Pilot, including Mary 'She shot J.R' Crosby and veteran movie and TV actor Doug McClure.
You can watch a fun, semi-rundown of the pilot episode in a very early fan-video I created.
Mac in a stunning silver tuxedo with models Billie and Ashley.
And Mac in a horrendous Bill Cosby style sweater with Model Gretchen. Mac and Gretchen are my favorite 'dream couple' and 'pairing' if the series had decided to go in that direction. As you can see, she is totally into him.
How about another of Mac and Gretchen? They just look hot together.
Dani had some strict rules for Mac about fraternizing with her girls and Mac was quite the gentleman about it. He played bodyguard and goofed around with them like a fun-loving brother. Though off-screen I can only imagine the pitter-patter of those girl's hearts on the Cover Up set every day! Were they clamoring to drive him home like the ladies on the Voyagers! set?
Dani's models were often used as part of the cover operations, and they were always ready and willing. It was fun and exciting for them. Gretchen was somewhat used as bait to trap a serial killer, in Death in Vogue–the best episode of the series. Rachel, the model on the right, was only in that episode, and she was almost a victim. The models got involved in forms of subterfuge–the random models in the Pilot episode, and Billie (the blonde) played Mac's girl in Sudden Exposure–Poor Ashley was kidnapped due to mistaken identity in Nothing to Lose.
Here's another VoyagerG Fan-video using all clips from Nothing to Lose! The old lady's opening line is a crack-up! You'll notice something else too. Jon got in a lot of Kung-fu action in this role. He managed to kick someone or something in nearly every episode. Watch the video for proof. What young man wouldn't find a heroic part like that fun?
Mac and Dani make an interesting and very glamorous team. Knowing television, they eventually could have developed a romance. However, my personal thought is that Mac and Dani had a professional relationship. Dani treated Mac like a bossy, but loving older sister and Mac was the charming, protective kid brother. I hardly saw any hearts and flowers chemistry there. They often butted heads on situations and Dani hated being left out of the loop when it came to Out Rider matters. Jennifer O'Neill was about ten years older than Jon, but I get the impression that Mac Harper was supposed to be older than Jon. Possibly early to mid thirties. Jon certainly looked mature enough to pass. He is even shown busting chops in the opening credits in what resembles Vietnam (Glen Larson's property!) In another episode, Mac makes an off the cuff comment about flying choppers there. Vietnam? Seriously? I don't like when shows get all inconsistent with ages and dates. I'll give Mac a clean 32 years if I must.
In the opening credits to Cover Up, the shooting gun and cross-hairs over Jon's name is unsettling, but let's be real here. Who would have known? At least it uses the great rock song Holding out for a hero. However, it's being screeched in that obnoxious, cutesy baby-doll style by EG Daily. It's a shame they couldn't have used Bonnie Tyler's powerhouse version. On this show you will notice a ton of famous eighties songs in the background. But they're all cover versions and somehow hits like Karma Chameleon and Let's hear it for the boy are turned into lounge music. I thought that was really quirky. I love the way they manipulate Holding out for a hero into different musical styles. It's all a very charming way to 'cover' the music issue. Sad to say, even with covers, that is still a death knell for any hope of getting official Cover Up DVDs. Unless they replace all the music. I must say they picked a perfect song for Mac Harper and the show. Whenever I hear it, it is undoubtedly in my mind, Jon's theme.
We all love a good hero, and Jon fit the bill perfectly. That's the face of a real hero.
The question remains why Dani, who has no formal spy or covert training whatsoever, was allowed to be an Out Rider in the first place? The CIA was short recruits that year? To be fair, it must have been her social status, higher-up connections, and a bit of legal maneuvering on Henry's part that kept her on the team. Otherwise, just live with it. It's television!
Mac and Dani–no doubt ready to disagree on something…
Another dreamy Mac and Gretchen moment brought to you by VoyagerG
Mac had a girlfriend in one of the better episodes, Harper-Gate, however she was just a plot device and was killed. Mac was promptly accused and arrested and had to prove his innocence and solve the crime with Dani's help. That's okay Mac, even though you banged shopping carts in the supermarket when you met, Cindy wasn't the one. (Psst…It's Gretchen, Gretchen, Gretchen! Open your eyes, Mac!)
Let's not forget that Mac's supposedly a loose cannon, he was kicked out of army service for insubordination. Dani had made mention of his 'R&R' exploits in Taiwan. As in, the dude was no prude. Still, Mac is the best of the best. Sometimes it's his way or the highway. Henry pretends to balk at his methods, but keeps giving him assignments. Go figure. Naturally in Harper-Gate he has major run-ins with the real killers and cops alike after Henry pulled every legal string to get him out of jail.
Mac and the unfortunate Cindy. "What do you mean I only get to be his girl for 5 minutes?"
Jon-Erik played distraught very well.
But we already knew that from Making of a male model, didn't we?
Dani and Mac often go above and beyond their specific assignment to bring guilty parties to justice. This is to Henry's dismay and the poor ambassador is always left out of their plans. However, he trusts his team to get the job done and fast.
Watch my little set of funny Mac scenes taken from the episode, Million Dollar Face? You could really see Jon's knack for comedy, he would have been perfect for a romantic comedy movie with slapstick thrown in!
Are you a reader? Do you like Fan-Fiction? How about some Cover Up Fanfic written by yours truly under the pen name Mrs.Phineas Bogg? Check out the section, I sort of own it for now with six stories-featuring two different 'series.' The Mac and Gretchen series and 'The Depot-Mr. and Mrs. Delancey' series and one stand-alone story. I hope to write more in the future.