Father Dowling Mysteries
|Father Dowling Mysteries|
|Developed by||Dean Hargrove
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||43 + 1 TV movie (List of episodes)|
|Running time||60 minutes (per episode)|
|Original channel||NBC (season 1)
ABC (seasons 2-3)
|Original run||November 30, 1987– May 2, 1991|
Father Dowling Mysteries (also known as Father Dowling Investigates in the UK) is an American television mystery series that aired from January 20, 1989 to May 2, 1991. Prior to the series, a TV movie aired on November 30, 1987. For its first season, the show was on NBC; it moved to ABC for its last two seasons. It is based on the adventures of the title character created by Ralph McInerny, in a series of mystery novels.
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 a brother, Blaine, who, although they are different ages, looks exactly like him (also played by Tom Bosley). Blaine 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.
A famous catchphrase of Father Dowling is when he is recorded asking Father Phil: "Father Phil, could you take 10 o'clock Mass? I've got a murder to solve."
- Tom Bosley as Father Frank Dowling/Blaine Dowling
- Tracy Nelson as Sister Stephanie "Steve" Oskowski
- James Stephens as Father Philip Prestwick
- Mary Wickes as Marie Murkin
The program featured many notable guest stars, some before they had achieved fame, including: Leslie Nielsen, Laurie Holden, William R. Moses, John Slattery, Andreas Katsulas, Diane Ladd, Anthony LaPaglia, Yaphet Kotto, Steven Culp, Brenda Strong, Stacy Edwards, Stanley Kamel, Robin Thomas, Roscoe Lee Browne, David McCallum, Colm Meaney, Fionnula Flanagan, David Warner, Tony Todd, Michelle Forbes, Kate Vernon, John Astin, Grant Heslov, Jack Bannon, Ethan Phillips, Kurt Fuller, Scott Marlowe, Robert Walden, Craig Richard Nelson and Ivan Dixon.
After its first season NBC cancelled the show. It was picked up by ABC and aired for two more seasons. In total Father Dowling Mysteries had one TV movie and 43 episodes in three seasons.
The pilot was a TV movie entitled Fatal Confession, which originally aired on NBC on November 30, 1987.
Regular series 
The show was due to begin in 1988, though because of a writer's strike in 1988, it did not begin to air weekly until 1989.
DVD releases 
In Region 2, Acorn Media will release the first season on DVD in the UK on June 18, 2012. However, it will be released under the title Father Dowling Investigates.
In Region 4, Madman Entertainment released the first season on DVD in Australia on November 2, 2011.
There was also a VHS released in region 1 on the 24 of January 2000 of the TV movie a fatal confession.
|DVD Name||Ep #||Release dates|
|Region 1||Region 2||Region 4|
|The First Season||9||February 7, 2012||June 18, 2012||November 2, 2011|
|The Second Season||13||July 10, 2012||N/A||N/A|
|The Third Season||22||March 12, 2013||N/A||N/A|
- Lovece, Frank, The Television Yearbook: Complete, Detailed Listings for the 1990-1991 Season (Putnam / Perigee, 1991) ISBN 0-399-51702-2