Silk Stalkings logo
|Created by||Stephen J. Cannell|
|Starring||Rob Estes (1991–95)
Mitzi Kapture (1991–95)
William Anton (1991–96)
Charlie Brill (1993–99)
Tyler Layton (1996)
Nick Kokotakis (1996)
Chris Potter (1996–99)
Janet Gunn (1996–99)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||8|
|No. of episodes||176 (List of episodes)|
|Running time||48 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Stu Segall Productions
Stephen J. Cannell Productions Inc. (1991-1993)
Cannell Entertainment (1993-1999)
New World Entertainment (1995-1997)
20th Century Fox Television (1997-1999)
|Original channel||CBS (seasons 1–2)
USA Network (seasons 3–8)
|Original run||November 7, 1991 – April 18, 1999|
Silk Stalkings is a crime drama television series. The series premiered on CBS on November 7, 1991 as part of the network's late-night Crimetime After Primetime programming package. It originally aired on CBS for two seasons until June 1993 when CBS ended the Crimetime experiment. After this, the series ran exclusively on USA until its finale in April 1999. The show was creator Stephen J. Cannell's longest-running series. Its title is wordplay on silk stockings.
The series portrays the daily lives of two detectives who solve sexually-based crimes of passion ("silk stalkings") among the ultra-rich of Palm Beach, Florida. Most episodes were shot in San Diego, California, while others were filmed in Scottsdale, Arizona.
- Rob Estes - Sgt. Chris Lorenzo (1991–95)
- Mitzi Kapture - Sgt. Rita Lee Lance (1991–95)
- William Anton - Assistant D.A. George Donovan (1991–96)
- Charlie Brill - Capt. Harry Lipschitz (1993–99)
- Nick Kokotakis - Det. Michael Price (1996)
- Tyler Layton - Det. Holly Rawlins (1996)
- Chris Potter - Det. Sgt. Tom Ryan (1996–99)
- Janet Gunn - Det. Sgt. Cassandra "Cassy" St. John (1996–99)
- Jamie Rose - Jasmine / Catherine Hayworth / Patricia von Barrow / Jacqueline "Jackie" Webster
- John Byner - Cotton Dunn (1992–94)
- Sandra Ferguson - Jennifer "Jen" McNeil (1994–95)
Chris and Rita
From 1991–95, the lead characters were played by Rob Estes and Mitzi Kapture, as detectives Christopher Lorenzo and Rita Lee Lance, respectively. Early in the series, Ben Vereen played Rita's boss Captain Hutchinson ("Hutch"). Vereen was compelled to retire from the show during the second season due to an off-screen accident, but he returned for a few guest appearances. His successor was Lt. Hudson, played by Robert Gossett, who stayed on until the third season. Chris and Rita's new boss, who would stay with the show for its duration, was Charlie Brill as Captain Harry Lipschitz. Brill would go on to appear in the most episodes of any actor, 129, ahead of Kapture's 101 and Estes' 100. He was promoted to the opening credits starting with season six.
Brill's real-life wife Mitzi McCall played Lipschitz's free-spirited wife Frannie on the series, and the two provided some occasional comic relief amid the dramatic tension of the storylines. They also appeared in the second season playing completely different characters. Working prominently with Lorenzo and Lance was assistant district attorney George Donovan (William Anton). Various recurring characters came and went, notably Dennis Paladino as a mob boss named Donnie "Dogs" DiBarto; John Byner as Cotton Dunn, a cunning but likable con artist; Scott Atkins as Officer Perry, a rookie cop; Kim Morgan Greene as Mellisa Cassidy, a late night radio talk show host, sex therapist, and old flame of Chris's; Danny Gans as Roger, a coroner who frequently (and unsuccessfully) tried to get Rita to go out with him; Marie Marshall as Solange, a local photographer with a faux French accent who crossed paths with Chris and Rita in the second season; and Lucy Lin, who played forensic expert Dr. Noriko Weinstein. Actress Freda Foh Shen took over Lin's role in later episodes. In the first season, it was shown that Rita suffered from occasionally intense headaches, which were caused by a blood bubble in her brain. Rita opted not to have surgery to fix this because it was deemed too high-risk. However, as the series went on, this condition was gradually phased out of the plot and was never mentioned again.
Estes and Kapture were equal co-stars. The opening credits would alternate, one week showing Estes first and then Kapture, the following week showing Kapture first and then Estes. The opening montage of quick cuts were "teasers" that suggested the sexy and violent subject matter of the show, but were not taken from any of the show's actual episodes. According to Stephen Cannell, in a DVD extra, they were developed initially as a promo, filmed and assembled by Ralph Hemecker in a single day of filming, and featuring a leggy blonde actress/model whom Cannell said was named Avalon Jones.1 In the very first two episodes of the series, Kapture was shown first, and then Estes; they alternated after that, except for Kapture's final episode, in which she (and not Estes) appeared in the opening montage, followed by the two new co-stars.
Two off-screen events in the summer of 1995 were pivotal to the show and were worked into the storyline. Both actors were ready to leave the series, Estes to pursue other acting opportunities and Kapture to take time off for her first child.
Estes had first flirted with departure at the end of the third season (spring of 1994). The season ended in a cliffhanger episode, "Dark Heart", with Chris being shot by an obsessed woman, played by Crystal Chappell. Chris was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance as the closing credits rolled. After negotiations, Estes decided to renew his contract, and the fourth season (fall 1994) began with Chris' recovery from his near-fatal wounds in a two-part episode, "Natural Selection", that was later released on VHS as a two-hour film.
In the fifth season (fall 1995), Chris and Rita's mutual attraction finally moved from friendship to love in a two-part episode in November, called "Partners". Nick Kokotakis, as detective Michael Price, was introduced during that episode. Rita was soon confirmed to be pregnant (as was Kapture in reality), and Chris and Rita were married in an early December episode titled "Till Death Do Us Part". The very next week's episode, "The Last Kiss Goodnight", ended with Chris being shot and killed in the line of duty. Kapture appeared in one more episode, "Dead Asleep". This episode's credits featured Kapture but not Estes, for the only time in the series; and also Kokotakis, along with Tyler Layton, who was introduced in the previous episode as detective Holly Rawlins. Most of the episode was spent focusing on Michael and Holly's first case. At the end of the show, the grief-stricken Rita spends one final scene talking to Chris at his gravesite, says goodbye to Captain Lipschitz, and leaves the force for parts unknown.
Tom and Cassie
With Estes and Kapture gone from the show, Kokotakis and Layton took over the lead roles. Fans of the show did not embrace the new characters, and they were replaced after that half-season by television veterans Chris Potter and Janet Gunn. Unlike the transition that was played out between Chris and Rita and Michael and Holly, no on-screen explanation was given for Michael and Holly's departure.
The romantic chemistry between Potter and Gunn's characters, Tom Ryan and Cassandra St. John respectively (who, according to the story line, had been married to and divorced from one another before their arrival on the series), revived interest in the show and it rebounded in the ratings. After three additional seasons, USA canceled the series in 1999. The final episode of the final season, in spring 1999, placing Tom's career and relationship with Cassie on the rocks, was a cliffhanger with no resolution.
Anchor Bay Entertainment released the first 5 seasons of Silk Stalkings on DVD in Region 1 between 2004 and 2006. As of 2010, these releases have been discontinued and are out of print.
On October 14, 2009, it was announced that Mill Creek Entertainment had acquired the rights to several Stephen J. Cannell series including Silk Stalkings. Season 1 was re-released on DVD on March 9, 2010.
On October 22, 2013, Mill Creek Entertainment released seasons 6, 7 & 8 together in one collection entitled: Silk Stalkings - Seasons 6, 7 and 8: The Ryan and St. John Cases.
- Mill Creek Gets DVD Rights to 14 More Classic Stephen J. Cannell TV Programs! Archived 14 February 2011 at WebCite
- Silk Stalkings DVD news: Early Box Art for Silk Stalkings - Season 1 | TVShowsOnDVD.com Archived 14 February 2011 at WebCite