I was looking for inspiration for some fan fiction plots for shows that are action-adventure-y with maybe a mystery to solve. I searched through the episode descriptions of some old TV shows, and I collected quite a few ideas, so I thought I’d share them, sorted by source. (Needless to say, any of the details can be changed to fit your fandom’s situation: if he’s not a detective, it wouldn’t be a case that gets him into the given plot but maybe his work, or a friend/neighbor…)
1a. The Silent Partner – To avoid being arrested for fraud, a country western singer frames his chauffeur for the murder of his ghost writer.
1b. The Meek Shall Inherit Rhonda – Milton Bach is a computer hacker who ripped off the bank and ran. His wife, Rhonda, and friend Jerry stole the money and went to Mexico. He wants her back.
1c. Olympic Quest – [Hero]’s sister inadvertently tapes a kidnapping at the Winter Olympics in Sarajevo. [Hero] comes to her assistance when she is threatened by two thugs who want the tape.
1d. The San Francisco Caper – A bored teen-aged girl stows away in [Hero]’s truck while he is searching for a diamond thief
1e. Dead Bounty – [Hero] has to leave his prisoner in the care of the local sheriff and finds that, during the night, his prisoner has been severely beaten and is in a coma. The sheriff accuses [Hero] of brutality and [Hero] becomes a fugitive.
1f. Terror U. – [Hero] hides in a frat house from hit men, after he picks up his latest case, who was turning state’s evidence in a money laundering case.
2a. The Dog Who Knew Too Much – [Hero(es)] are stalked by dangerous industrial spies after they are entrusted with a dog that happens to be carrying a valuable biogenetic formula.
2b. Death Set – [Hero(es)] are caught up in a tangled scheme when a wealthy playboy attempts to take over the family fortune using his brother’s wife as his unknowing pawn.
2c. Night Horrors – The [Hero(es)] are invited to a unique, off-beat party — a treasure hunt at a haunted house. When another guest is murdered, [Hero(es)] race against time to find the murderer before someone else becomes victim.
2d. Cop Out – An article written by [Hero] leads a prostitute to ask for her help and the [Hero(es)] go under cover to bait a killer who is murdering prostitutes.
2e. Slow Boat to Murder – Chief accountant of [Hero’s Company] is set up to take a murder wrap after an evening on the town. In an attempt to clear him, the [Hero(es)] retrace his steps (and act as singles) which leads them to discover a gambling ring using the Nightlife as a cover.
2f. Murder is a Drag – At the opera, [Hero] is mistaken for a hitman and is given an envelope containing $100,000 for the job. When the messenger is murdered, [Hero] poses as the hitman in an attempt to save the victim’s life.
2g. The Shooting – [Hero] takes on a glamorous modeling assignment, not knowing that the camera is rigged with an explosive device, as [Someone Else] races to stop the deadly scheme concocted by a vengeful man from her past.
2h. Hearts Held Hostage – [Hero] fears for [Someone Else]’s life when ruthless jewel thieves take him hostage during a robbery while he’s on a business trip in Paris.
2i. You Made Me Kill Me – A deranged woman who works for Hart Industries has an obsession for [Someone or Hero]. She sees [Hero’s love interest or co-worker] as a threat to her fantasies of love and finds it essential to eliminate her.
2j. This Lady is Murder – [Hero] is mistaken for her look-alike, Dominique, and is kidnapped by ruthless killers. With the help of an unscrupulous columnist, the police, and the real Dominique, [Someone Else] devises his plan to save [Hero].
2k. Double Jeopardy – [Hero] returns from a case to find that [place] is being used by a film team to shoot a new movie, and his being roped into being a stuntman soon turns into a new case when a prop gun fires real bullets, leaving the star hanging on for his life.
2l. Ghost Writer – [Hero] is hired by an attractive “ghost writer” who is writing a biography of eccentric millionaire Harold Farber whom she has never met in person, communicating only via phone when all her notes on Farber are stolen, in an attempt to stop the book ever being written.
3a. On Face Value – [Hero] is left guilt-ridden after he returns gunfire during a high-speed chase, only for it cause another car to crash and severely injure the young woman driving it.
3b. Ms. Jones – A reluctant [Hero] is hired by Ms. Jones—the clerk at the Hall of Records who often aggravates him with excessive red tape—to help her find her husband, Ray, an expert computer programmer who has disappeared after completing work on a valuable new artificial intelligence formula.
3c. Murder101 – At the urging of the students in the private investigation class that [Hero] is teaching at a local college, he takes on the investigation into the disappearance of a student’s fiancé as the class’ field work.
3d. Kapu – Injured while helping rescue a young girl who witnessed a murder, [Hero] wakes up on a remote island with only a hazy memory of what transpired.
3e. The Black Orchid – [Hero] is hired to participate in a rich woman’s theatrical fantasy game, but things become complicated when her disapproving husband gets involved and the game turns deadly.
4a. The Javelin Catcher – While investigating a gang shootout, [Hero] discovers that the weapon used for the job is the Army’s recently disappeared man-portable, anti-tank system: The Javelin.
4b. Lady Killer – [Someone Connected to Hero] is accused of killing a high-class call girl. Only [Hero] can help him find out who framed him for murder.
4c. Live Shot – While drinking with a young biker couple, [Hero]’s drink is spiked with LSD at the same time Geraldo Rivera comes to interview him and Joe.
4d. Blackout – [Hero], on the verge of closing a case, narrowly avoids getting killed in an explosion, losing a week’s worth of memory as a result. With Joe’s help, he has to retrace his steps, resolve the case, and deal with the various personal snafus resulting from his memory loss.
4e. Boomtown – A sleep-deprived [Hero] must track down an ingenious bomber targeting a corporation he feels has wronged him.
4f. Kill Switch – A juror becomes a vigilante avenging murder victims.
4g. TITLE- [Someone or Hero] finds an apartment, only to be mistaken for the previous renter who has stolen money from drug dealers.
4h. Blood Bots – [Hero] goes up against a gang of ruthless techno-geeks who are designing robots to perform robberies.
4i. Something Borrowed – [Hero]’s former lover forges his name on a marriage license and claims to be married to him in order to protect herself from a thug out to kill her.
1. THE FALL GUY
2. HART TO HART
3. MAGNUM PI
4. NASH BRIDGES