1 9 8 9 – 1 9 9 1 (USA)
43 x 45 minute episodes
Even though it was cancelled by NBC after only three months, The Father Dowling Mysteries was picked up by ABC the following year and ran for two years.
When the series left the air in 1992 many viewers expressed their disappointment at the cancellation and wrote letters of protest to ABC.
Amiable, unassuming Catholic priest Father Frank Dowling (Tom Bosley from Happy Days) had a talent for stumbling upon murders, in addition to carrying out his sacred duties in Chicago.
He was assisted in his crime-solving activities by young Sister Stephanie (aka Sister Steve) – played by Tracy Nelson, daughter of pop star Ricky Nelson – who had a rather worldly background and could pick locks, cut a deck of cards like a professional dealer, and was totally streetwise.
Father Dowling and Sister Steve managed to gain entry to many places that ordinary folk might not infiltrate so easily, which made their mystery-solving much more successful.
Working at St Michael’s rectory, where Father Dowling lived, was Marie, a busybody housekeeper played by veteran character actress Mary Wickes. Marie often became involved in Father Dowling and Sister Steve’s various sleuthing capers.
Also living at the rectory was young Father Philip Prestwick (James Stephens) who was in a world of his own and never understood what was going on around him.
The Father Dowling Mysteries was based on the mystery novels of Ralph McInerny.
Released in the UK as Father Dowling Investigates.
Father Frank Dowling
Sister Stephanie ‘Steve’ Oskowski
Father Philip Prestwick