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Houston Knights

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Houston Knights
GenreCrime drama
Created byMichael Butler
Jay Bernstein
StarringMichael Beck
Michael Paré
Robyn Douglass
ComposersDennis McCarthy
George Doering
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes31
Running time60 minutes
Production companiesJay Bernstein Productions
Columbia Pictures Television
Original release
ReleaseMarch 11, 1987 (1987-03-11) –
June 7, 1988 (1988-06-07)

Houston Knights is an American crime drama television series set in Houston, Texas. The show ran on CBS from March 11, 1987 to June 7, 1988 and had 31 episodes.



The core of the series is the partnership between two very different cops from two different cultures. Chicago cop Joey LaFiamma, played by Michael Paré, is transferred to Houston after he kills a mobster from a powerful Mafia family and a contract is put out on him. Once there, he is partnered with Levon Lundy, played by Michael Beck, the grandson of a Texas Ranger.

Although as different as night and day, and after a rocky beginning (the two engage in a fist-fight) they form a successful partnership and become friends. This is aided to a certain extent by an event where a hitman from Chicago who holds the contract to shoot La Fiamma arrives in Houston and is ultimately killed by Lundy.

During the series, it is revealed that both La Fiamma and Lundy have their own personal demons. La Fiamma's Chicago partner had been killed when the partner went into a crime scene while La Fiamma had waited for backup to arrive. Lundy's wife had been killed by an explosion that was intended to kill him.



Producer Jay Bernstein said the show "goes against the grain of current television thinking. It's an hour-long episode show at a time when half-hour comedy is king. It features two male police officers when family situation stories are hot."[1]

Bernstein said the leads needed to say what America should be... Houston Knights was created on a formula that started with Columbia Pictures. They had these two-reelers during the 1930s using two leading men who always fought with each other. There was the same relationship between John Wayne and Randolph Scott in the 1940s in movies like 'Pittsburgh.' This is different for television, but has been used in the movies since the 1930s. These are principled men. They're in the 1980s but with the conservative morals of the 1940s."[1]

The show was renewed for a second season. Beck said his relationship on air with Pare would be "less abrasive... We used that as a starting-off point, but everyone now feels that coming into living rooms that way, week after week, might grow a little tiring for the viewer. We'll have more of a needling instead of an 'I-hate-your-guts' feel between them. There'll still be a rivalry and animosity there, but not quite so hard-edged."[2]



The theme music for the series was Texan blues-rock style, opening with a steamy saxophone then featuring slide guitar work and a heavy bass line. Dennis McCarthy and George Doering composed the music for the series. Lee Ritenour is also credited as a major contributor to the music featured in the series.



One of the key features of the show was the car driven by La Fiamma, an ice-blue 289 AC Cobra "replicar", credited as being provided by "North American Fibreglass". The car was yet another way to demonstrate that La Fiamma didn't "fit" in Texas, as most other characters on the show drove pickup trucks (including Lundy).

The wardrobe for La Fiamma consisted of well-cut and stylish Italian label clothing, another contrast to Lundy, who was always attired in typical Texas "cowboy" clothes.



The New York Times said the pilot "is so confused and confusing that it is impossible to tell whether this latest police-detective romp can pull itself together long enough to have a shot at surviving."[3]



The titles of the 31 episodes are listed below, along with their original TV air dates. Although they are listed separately, the first two episodes were originally screened as a movie-length pilot. The first 9 episodes comprised the first season, the remaining 22 episodes formed season two. The first season ranked 34th out of 79 shows with a 15.1/26 rating/share.

Season 1 (1987)

No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
"Mirrors: Parts 1 & 2"Gary Nelson & Richard LangMichael Butler & Eric Blakeney & Gene MillerMarch 11, 1987 (1987-03-11)
33"North of the Border"Mike VejarClyde Phillips & Stan BerkowitzMarch 18, 1987 (1987-03-18)
44"Houston's Hero"Thomas J. Wrightteleplay: Joseph Gunn and Eric Blakeney & Gene Miller; story: Joseph GunnMarch 25, 1987 (1987-03-25)
55"Single in Heaven"Richard ComptonMichael AhnemannApril 1, 1987 (1987-04-01)
66"Yesterday's Gone"Thomas J. WrightShel WillensApril 8, 1987 (1987-04-08)
77"Bad Girl"Georg Sanford BrownMichael AhnemannApril 15, 1987 (1987-04-15)
88"Scarecrow"David JacksonMichael Butler, Paul DiamondApril 22, 1987 (1987-04-22)
99"Colt"Thomas J. WrightPaul DiamondApril 29, 1987 (1987-04-29)

Season 2 (1987–88)

No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
101"Moving Violation"Paul KrasnyStan BerkowitzSeptember 15, 1987 (1987-09-15)
112"Heads, I Win - Tails, You Lose"Dale WhiteStory by : Jay Bernstein
Teleplay by : Nancy Ann Miller
September 22, 1987 (1987-09-22)
123"Desperado"Reza BadiyiStory by : Deborah Arakelaian
Teleplay by : Valerie West
October 6, 1987 (1987-10-06)
134"Gun Shy"Paul KrasnyElliott Anderson & Lawrence LevyOctober 13, 1987 (1987-10-13)
145"Lady Smoke"Richard CollaStory by : Stephen Katz
Teleplay by : Paul Diamond
October 20, 1987 (1987-10-20)
156"God's Will"Michael O'HerlihyE. Nick AlexanderNovember 3, 1987 (1987-11-03)
167"Diminished Capacity"Alexander SingerPhil CombestNovember 10, 1987 (1987-11-10)
178"Home Is Where the Heart Is"Don ChaffeyHerman MillerNovember 17, 1987 (1987-11-17)
189"Secrets"Ivan DixonPaul DiamondDecember 8, 1987 (1987-12-08)
1910"Somebody to Love"Rick BergerPaul SchifferDecember 22, 1987 (1987-12-22)
2011"There's One Born Every Minute"Reza BadiyiNancy Ann MillerJanuary 2, 1988 (1988-01-02)
2112"Vigilante"Ivan DixonElliott Anderson & Lawrence LevyJanuary 9, 1988 (1988-01-09)
2213"The White Hand"Aaron LipstadtStory by : Alex Gansa & Howard Gordon
Teleplay by : Scott Ahnemann & Karl Precoda
January 16, 1988 (1988-01-16)
2314"Sins of the Father"Michael FrescoJohn MiglisJanuary 30, 1988 (1988-01-30)
2415"Crime Spree"Sidney HayersGregory S. DinalloFebruary 6, 1988 (1988-02-06)
2516"Cajun Spice"William FrakerElliott Anderson & Lawrence LevyFebruary 13, 1988 (1988-02-13)
2617"The Stone"Jerry JamesonElia KatzFebruary 20, 1988 (1988-02-20)
2718"Burnout"James QuinnStan BerkowitzFebruary 27, 1988 (1988-02-27)
2819"Love Hurts"Larry ShawPaul DiamondApril 26, 1988 (1988-04-26)
2920"Bad Paper"Jerry JamesonJohn MiglisMay 3, 1988 (1988-05-03)
3021"For Caroline"Randy RobertsRobin BernheimMay 10, 1988 (1988-05-10)
3122"The Jungle Fighter"Jerry JamesonRobert BielakJune 7, 1988 (1988-06-07)


  1. ^ a b A PRODUCER WHO TRUSTS HIS INSTINCTS: [THIRD Edition] De Atley, Richard. Boston Globe 8 July 1986: 28.
  2. ^ HOUSTON KNIGHTS' PATROL EARLIER BEAT: [3 STAR Edition] Jay Bobbin , Tribune Tv Log. Orlando Sentinel 28 July 1987: E6.
  3. ^ 'HOUSTON KNIGHTS,' A SERIES ON CBS: [Review] O'Connor, John J. New York Times 11 Mar 1987: C.26.