Once upon a time, there were three little girls who went to the Police Academy; and they were each assigned very hazardous duties.
Three women, the Angels (originally Kate Jackson, the late Farrah Fawcett-Majors, and Jaclyn Smith), graduated from the Los Angeles police academy only to be assigned such duties as handling switchboards and directing traffic. They quit and were hired to work for the Charles Townsend Agency as private investigators. Their boss, Charlie (voiced by John Forsythe), is never seen full face (in some episodes the viewer gets to see the back of his head and his arms, talking through a phone while surrounded by beautiful women) assigning cases to the Angels and his liaison, Bosley (played by David Doyle), via a speaker phone.
Charlie's Angels is episodic in nature, as opposed to serial, thus each episode shows the Angels finding themselves in new situations in which they would go undercover to investigate. The undercover aspect of the show creates much of the plot interest and tension. In the early seasons of the show, the Angels, under their assumed identities, use a combination of sexual wiles and knowledge learned for the situation in which they are being placed, but by the third and fourth seasons, the writing has a tendency to stray from the sex appeal and focus more on the case at hand. The fact that those women changed so often is purely irrelevant.
- Angels Pose
- Jiggle Show: Along with Three's Company, this was one of the programs responsible for the coining of this term.
- Absentee Actor: Charlie may not be seen (except for the Series Finale), but "Avenging Angel" is the only episode in which he also isn't heard.
- Action Girl: Well, obviously.
- All Women Are Lustful: Kris Munroe.
- Amazon Brigade
- Bare Your Midriff: Kris Munroe and Julie Rogers.
- Beach Episode: "The Mexican Connection", "Angels in Paradise", "Angels of The Deep", "Hula Angels", "Island Angels" and "Waikiki Angels".
- Beauty Contest: "Pretty Angels All in a Row".
- Chippendales Dancers: "Toni's Boys".
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: In the pilot movie, Bosley has an assistant named Woodville (played by David Ogden Stiers, who would wind up at the 4077th MASH a year later). The character was eliminated without explanation when the series proper began.
- Cleavage Window: Kris.
- Crossover: An episode of the original series had the girls going on a Caribbean cruise and encountering the cast of The Love Boat (both shows were produced by Aaron Spelling).
- An episode of another Spelling show, Fantasy Island, had three secretaries arriving on the island wanting to become, well, Charlie's Angels.
- Eating the Eye Candy: In the "Toni's Boys" episode, Kris watches male Angel Bob Sorenson take his shirt off and then watches a male stripper rehearse.
- Fan Service: Infamously so; this was one of the programs which spawned the term "Jiggle Show".
- Girls Behind Bars: "Angels in Chains" and "Caged Angel". "Angels in Chains" also featured Chained Heat, with the three angels chained together while trying to escape from the prison warden.
- Grilling the Newbie: New girl Tiffany is grilled by Kelly & Kris when they learn that she's actually met Charlie.
- Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: "Hunted Angels".
- I'll Kill You![context?]
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Many, many episodes have "Angels" in the title.
- Knife-Throwing Act: "Circus of Terror".
- Multiple Demographic Appeal: Depending on who you ask, the show was either a landmark step forward for feminism by showing smart, tough women defying the traditional roles of wife/secretary/housekeeper, or a slightly sexist Jiggle Show which consisted solely of hot women running around in bathing suits. They're kinda both right. (Even Farrah Fawcett once said that when the show reached #3 in the ratings, she thought it was because of their acting ability. When it reached #1, she admitted it was probably because they didn't wear bras.)
- Mysterious Employer: Charlie. Pretty much the premise.
- Obfuscating Disability: "Angels in Springtime".
- Obstacle Exposition
- Opening Credits Cast Party
- Pilot Movie
- Poorly-Disguised Pilot: "Toni's Boys", featuring three hunky guys working for a female mastermind (Barbara Stanwyck, no less) - who, unlike Charlie, actually shows up on screen.
- Pre-Ass-Kicking One-Liner[context?]
- Pretty in Mink[context?]
- Put on a Bus: Happened numerous times on the original show.
- Jill Munroe leaves at the end of season 1 to pursue a career in auto racing. She would return for several guest appearances in later seasons, however.
- Sabrina Duncan leaves to get married after the third season.
- Tiffany Welles leaves after the third season, said to have returned home to Boston.
- Shirtless Scene: "Angels On Wheels", "Lady Killer", "Love Boat Angels", "Toni's Boys" and "Mr Galaxy".
- Slow Motion: Baywatch style.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: All the "replacement" Angels on the original show, but Kris Munroe (Jill's kid sister) in particular.
- Undercover Model: The Angels seem to get a lot of these jobs.
- Unique Pilot Title Sequence: The TV movie that served as a pilot has a different opening, as well as different bumpers showing the three Angels standing side by side.
- The Voice: Charlie.
- Willing Suspension of Disbelief[context?]