I seem to recall that in the early books, Mason was more willing to bend rules like bribing people or such than in later books. Sort of like how early issues of Batman had him carry a gun before DC thought that it wasn't a good look for him.
In the books, Paul Drake had always been a PI. Sometimes he had operatives working under him, depending on how busy he was.
I also seem to recall that he ran into some dirty cops now and then, but the main ones (Lt. Tragg and DA Hamilton Burger) were always honest, even if sometime a pain in the butt to Mason.
By the way, has anyone else ever noticed the irony of somebody named Burr playing somebody at odds with someone named Hamilton?
Interesting that Mason's rough edges were smoothed for later books. I think Rockford was created out of all the discarded rough edges, lol.
It makes more sense for Drake to be a P.I., I'm not sure why I thought he was police.
Hamilton and Burr, that's funny. I remember my friends and I being pleased with ourselves when we realized Mason's opponent was named Ham Burger.