MSRP: $29.98
STUDIO: Paramount
RUNNING TIME: 623 minutes

  • Original episodic promos

The Pitch

Crime doesn’t have a prayer.

The Humans

Tom Bosley, Tracy Nelson, James Stephens, Mary Wickes, Robert Clohessy

The Nutshell

Father Frank Dowling (Tom Bosley) and Sister Stephanie (Tracy Nelson) solve crimes by clearing the innocent and bringing the guilty to justice.

The Lowdown

Father Dowling Mysteries was an hour long drama that aired from 1987 to 1991 and starred Tom Bosley who leads a Church in Chicago. For a series that was about solving crimes involving gangs, the mafia, and drug smugglers this series was as lighthearted as they come, which in some small part is the reason it became a family favorite. Although the show ended 21 years ago, from reading the rave reviews on Amazon, Father Dowling Mysteries has a considerable number of fans who still love this series. I get the nostalgia factor but I could understand it more if this was a show that held up after a couple of decades. Unfortunately, FDM does not hold up that well and is just too simple and corny (I hate this word but it is appropriate in this case) for my taste.

Season 2 episodes

  • The Visiting Priest Mystery
  • The Exotic Dancer Mystery
  • The Sanctuary Mystery
  • The Stone Killer Mystery
  • The Woman Scorned Mystery
  • The Ghost of a Chance Mystery
  • The Blind Man’s Bluff Mystery
  • The Falling Angel Mystery
  • The Perfect Couple Mystery
  • The Confidence Mystery
  • The Solid Gold Headache Mystery
  • The Legacy Mystery
  • The Passionate Painter Mystery

My dislike for the series has nothing to do with Tom Bosley as he is one of the most appealing and reliable television actors of all time. His work on Happy Days, Murder, She Wrote, and appearances in several television shows has always been enjoyable. Mary Wickes who portrays housekeeper Marie Murkin is another television actress who was perfect as the nagging complainer. Tracy Nelson is the main reason this show does work for me. She is just too silly and aggravating for a role that would have been in better hands with an older actress. Some of the situations she gets herself in is laughable and for the life of me I just do not understand why people to this day give this show rave reviews.

“Come on! We’ll just have a quickie. We need to do something to add some heat to this show.”

Not all is lost with the show as there are actually a couple of decent episodes (The Visiting Priest Mystery, The Ghost of a Chance Mystery) that had some solid acting and suspense. In these episodes the main cast had great chemistry and they had a true feel of suspense to them. Several other episodes would have been just as good except for the silliness that seems to be a running theme the producers decided to go with. Father Dowling Mysteries is too dated and was an absolute chore to get through after a few episodes. Sorry FDM fans.

The Package

When studios crank out these older shows on DVD I would appreciate it if they would spend some money on the transfer. Considerable grain throughout and there is just no excuse for this, especially when they are charging $30 per season.


Out of a Possible 5 Stars