This episode of Maverick reused sets (and a plot) from Casablanca

By: H&I Staff     Posted: August 4, 2022, 2:13PM   

The second-season episode of Maverick "Escape to Tampico" follows Bret as he travels south of the border to bring back a man wanted for murder in New Orleans. What prompts this escapade? Money, of course. Specifically, money he desperately needs after an uncharacteristic losing streak at the poker table.

Gerald Mohr plays Steve Corbett, the man Bret is hoping to find. Corbett is an American expatriate living in Tampico, Mexico, who started a gambling establishment named La Cantina Americana. In years past, he was paid handsomely for services he provided to the Confederacy during the Civil War. He is wanted for murder in his home country, he never drinks with the patrons of his establishment and he likes a good white suit.

Notice any similarities to a certain American in the classic 1942 film Casablanca? Humphrey Bogart's character, Rick Blaine, owns Rick's Café Américain and fought in the Spanish Civil War (for the losing side). Rumors indicate he may have killed a man before arriving in Casablanca and he never shied away from an all-white tuxedo.

Gerald Mohr even looks like Humphrey Bogart! Not to mention the most concrete (no pun intended) connection of them all — parts of the Café Américain set were used to make La Cantina Americana for this episode of Maverick.

One clear difference between the two stories? Blaine decides to stay in Morocco while Corbett follows the woman he loves back to the States, willing to face his past.

Sometimes TV shows took stories or characters from other places in ways that felt like a cheap copy. Though, at a time when writers had to come up with roughly 30 episodes per season, it's hard to really blame them.

"Escape to Tampico" is different. It’s a clear homage to the original material with connections ranging from story arcs to the actual set.