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Father Dowling Mysteries

A TV Show that aired on NBC and ABC from 1987 to 1991.

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  • Jun 26, 2010
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I always enjoyed watching the Father Dowling Mysteries when the series was on TV.  Tom Bosley made a very believable priest and Tracy Nelson was a charming foil to his sensible character.  Tracy's character made me laugh - she was so earnest, so excited about solving crimes and so often ended up in trouble.  While I didn't think she made a very believable nun, I enjoyed the character she portrayed.

As a long-time resident of Denver, however, I got a kick out of the on location shoots.  The show was supposedly set in Chicago, but was actually filmed in Denver.  I well remember various traffic jams and other delays when they were filming onsite.  It was fun to watch them going down well-known East Colfax or shooing scenes around what every Denver resident would recognize as the county courthouse, whle listening to dialogue claiming they were in Chicago.  It was the sort of insider information that actually made the show a little more interesting to me.  I always tried to identify - and often succeded in indentifying - where they were actually filming.

As with shows like Columbo and Murder She Wrote, the Father Dowling Mysteries presented clever plots with very little violence, little or no profanity and none of the "blood and gore"  that are omnipresent in every crime and police show in TV today.  While that may seem old fashioned and boring to many young viewers, I think it offers a refreshing change of pace.  The show worked hard to capture and hold its audience without the shock value and special-effects mentality of today's shows.

Bring it back ... I'll watch all the episodes again.

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June 26, 2010
I'm with you. This was an excellent show. Would also like to see these again. You also mentioned "Murder, She Wrote." I am a big fan of that series as well. Good stuff!
June 26, 2010
My husband and I often discuss what makes some shows watchable over and over again. Series like The Golden Girls or M.A.S.H. You've seen the episodes so often you can quote parts of the dialogue, yet you don't mind watching them again. Shows like Murder, She Wrote and The Father Dowling Mysteries fall into this category. Law & Order is one of the few current series I can say that about.
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Jenny Margotta ()
Ranked #1801
I'm self-employed andwork out of my home providing editing, proofreading, and ghostwriting services, as well astranscribing audio and handwritten manuscripts and providing accounting services for … more
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About this tv show


Father Dowling Mysteries (also known as Father Dowling Investigates in the UK) is an American television mystery series that appeared between 30 November 1987 and 2 May 1991, for its first season the show was on NBC, and on the ABC network for its last two seasons. It is based on the adventures of the title character created by Ralph McInerny, Professor of Philosophy, Director of the Jacques Maritain Center, and Michael P. Grace Professor of Medieval Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

Father Frank Dowling is a Catholic priest who continually stumbles over murders, abductions, and other high crimes in his hometown, Chicago, Illinois. He is assisted by Sister Stephanie "Steve" Oskowski, who does much of the legwork for Frank. Sister Steve is a streetwise nun who grew up in a rough housing project nearby, so she can hotwire a car and handle firearms with ease. She knows the language of the streets and converses in it fluently.

Father Philip Prestwick is the ladder-climbing assistant to the Archbishop, who just happens to drop in before meals, prepared by housekeeper Marie Murkin, who provides comic relief.

Father Dowling has an identical twin brother named Blaine (played by the same actor), who appeared in only three episodes: "The Face in the Mirror Mystery," "The Woman Scorned Mystery," and "The Fugitive Priest Mystery." Blaine Dowling is a thief and con artist who isn't above framing his brother for his crimes.
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