1 9 9 1 – 1 9 9 9 (USA)
176 x 60 minute episodes
Glamour, murder, and sex – especially sex – were the focus of this entry in the CBS Crimetime After Primetime late-night lineup.
The setting was fabulously wealthy Palm Beach, Florida, where young, handsome Chris (Rob Estes) and sexy Rita (Mitzi Kapture) were the police department’s leading experts on “crimes of passion” among the rich and famous. They certainly had plenty to do, as kinkiness and homicide seemed to be the resort’s leading sports.
Rita narrated each episode with a world-weary tone and bantered with Chris in a sort of hip code (“silk stalkings” was their term for society murders). She relished the excitement of operating on the edge in a world of power and psychopaths since her own life was on the line in an unusual way – she had an inoperable brain aneurysm that might “pop” and kill her at any time.
Chris, her “best pal” (no romance on the job), worried about this constantly, to no avail.
Hutch (Ben Vereen) was their grumpy captain, who complained about the ultra-stylish station house the citizenry gave him to work out of.
Numerous recurring characters were seen, including politically ambitious Assistant DA Donovan (William Anton); radio talk-show shrink Melissa (Kim Morgan Greene) – who bedded Chris – and morgue attendant Roger (Danny Gans) – who had the hots for Rita.
Later characters tended to add comic relief; among them were hypochondriac Capt. Lipschitz (Charlie Brill); his bossy wife, Fran (Mitzi McCall); playboy con man Cotton Dunn (John Byner) and cheerful mobster Donnie “Dogs” DiBarto (Dennis Paladino).
Chris was shot in 1994 and almost died, later falling in love with, and almost marrying, the doctor who attended him. The sexual chemistry between Chris and Rita finally began to heat up in 1995, and in November they were married, only a week before he was killed in a shootout.
Rita, devastated, left the force (both stars had decided to leave the series).
A new team then took over – Michael (), a former Chicago cop, and Holly (), a Southern-born officer haunted by her sister’s death from an overdose. Fans of Silk Stalkings sometimes refer to them as “the lost cast” since they lasted only a few months, disappearing without a trace in the spring.
Another new team was then introduced – with no explanation of what had happened to the previous one. Tom () and Cassy () had once been married, for seven stormy months, but they didn’t let their divorce get in the way of their new working relationship.
However, the jibes flew thick and fast, and their former intimacy left neither with any secrets from the other.
In the last original episode, Tom was framed for murder by a new girlfriend, and in the course of trying to clear him, Cassy was suspended from the force and Capt. Lipschitz forced to resign.
In the final scene, with vengeful Internal Affairs officers on their way to arrest him, Tom revealed to Cassy that he loved her, adding, “So where do we go from here?” She responded, “I don’t know”. Fade to black.
Silk Stalkings was at first jointly produced by CBS and USA Network and ran concurrently on both, a most unusual arrangement for those traditional rivals. After the cancellation of CBS’ Crimetime After Primetime late-night lineup in 1993, it continued with new episodes seen exclusively on USA.
Sgt. Chris Lorenzo
Sgt. Rita Lee (“Sam”) Lance
Capt. “Hutch” Hutchinson
Capt. Harry Lipschitz
Assistant DA George Donnovan
Kim Morgan Greene
Donnie “Dogs” DiBarto
Det. Michael Price
Det. Holly Rawlins
Det. Sgt. Tom Ryan
Det. Sgt. Cassandra (Cassy) St. John