Up until he tried his hand at situation comedy, it seems as though James Garner played virtually the same character in every one of his series.
Maverick started it all. Garner was Bret Maverick, a gambler by trade who'd rather run from trouble if he could. The format of the series allowed for an anthology format, with Jack Kelly appearing as brother Bart, and, for a while, a pre-The Saint Roger Moore as cousin Beau. Moore was available after The Alaskans had failed. Rare was the time when two of the three Mavericks were in the same episode.
Producer Roy Huggins later worked with Garner on not only The Rockford Files, but also Nichols, which was Garner's 1st attempt at revisiting Maverick. In the 80's, Garner was persuaded to revive Bret Maverick, but that series lasted maybe a year or two, with country singer Ed Bruce along for the ride. Nichols barely lasted a year, and thus was the worst of Garner's TV efforts.
I first discovered Maverick airing in daily repeats on WSBK out of Boston back in the 70's. Today, the series is airing on Encore Westerns, a premium service (check local listings).
SpudTV brings us the open & close:
Garner had a small role in the feature film version of Maverick, which had Mel Gibson in the lead. Gibson tried, but he just wasn't a perfect fit.