Lanigan's Rabbi

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Lanigan's Rabbi
Lanigan's Rabbi promotional photo, with Bruce Solomon and Art Carney.
GenreCrime drama
Written byGordon Cotler
Norman Lessing
Don Mankiewicz
Robert Pirosh
Karl Tunberg
Terence Tunberg
Directed byJohn Astin
Joseph Pevney
Leonard B. Stern
StarringArt Carney
Stuart Margolin (pilot)
Bruce Solomon (series)
ComposerDon Costa
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes4
Executive producerLeonard B. Stern
ProducersGordon Cotler
Don Mankiewicz
David J. O'Connell
CinematographyIsidore Mankofsky
Running time90 mins.
Original networkNBC
Original releaseJanuary 30 (1977-01-30) –
April 24, 1977 (1977-04-24)
NBC Sunday Mystery Movie

Lanigan's Rabbi is an American crime drama series that aired on NBC from January 30 to April 24, 1977.


Solomon and Carney

Based upon a series of novels by Harry Kemelman, the series stars Art Carney as Police Chief Paul Lanigan, who fights crime in a small California town with the help of his best friend, Rabbi David Small (Stuart Margolin in the pilot, Bruce Solomon in the series). Small's ability in this area was attributed to his "rabbinic mind", and his Talmudic training. However, an added element for the David Small novels and the Lanigan's Rabbi series was that Small was usually trying to balance his crime-solving assistance to Chief Lanigan with synagogue politics, usually involving some congregants who would be happy to see the rabbi lose his position. Co-starring in the series was Janis Paige and Janet Margolin as Mrs. Lanigan and Mrs. Small, respectively. Another regular on the series was Carney's daughter, Barbara Carney.

After a successful pilot film based on Friday the Rabbi Slept Late, the first novel in the Rabbi David Small series, aired in 1976, Lanigan's Rabbi was produced as a series of 90-minute telefilms beginning in January 1977. For the series, Bruce Solomon replaced Stuart Margolin, who had played Rabbi Small in the pilot; the unrelated Janet Margolin played his wife. The series was broadcast on a rotating schedule under the umbrella title NBC Sunday Mystery Movie. Other series involved in the scheme were Columbo, McCloud, and McMillan (formerly McMillan & Wife). Lanigan's Rabbi was the last series added to the Mystery Movie format (it replaced Quincy, M.E. at mid-season when that series was spun off into a weekly program); in the spring, NBC cancelled all four series and discontinued the Mystery Movie format. As a result, only four Lanigan's Rabbi episodes were broadcast.


Episode list[edit]

No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
0"Friday the Rabbi Slept Late (pilot episode)"Lou AntonioDon MankiewiczJune 17, 1976 (1976-06-17)
An Irish Catholic police chief and a Jewish rabbi join forces to solve the murder of a housekeeper whose body was discovered by the front entrance of the rabbi's synagogue. Lorraine Gary and Robert Reed guest star.
1"Corpse of the Year"Leonard B. SternDon MankiewiczJanuary 30, 1977 (1977-01-30)
The recipient of a Man of the Year award is at a banquet in his honor when the lights suddenly black out and he's stabbed to death in the mêlée. There are no fewer than 200 suspects, the number of guests at the banquet, many of whom have motives. Rita Moreno, Milt Kamen and Brian Dennehy guest star.
2"The Cadaver in the Clutter"Joseph PevneyDon MankiewiczMarch 20, 1977 (1977-03-20)
Gunfire coming from the home of two elderly, eccentric brothers leads Lanigan to the dead body of the older brother, and the younger brother injured in a fall when he fired a revolver at the assailant while precariously balanced on a flight of stairs. The dead man was believed to have a huge fortune stashed somewhere in the house, which the younger brother denies. George Gobel, Steve Franken, Virginia Mayo and Anne Schedeen guest star.
3"Say It Ain't So, Chief"John AstinGordon Cotler
Don Mankiewicz
April 17, 1977 (1977-04-17)
Things look bad for Lanigan when he is accused of accepting a bribe - but they're even worse when he's framed for murdering his accuser. Howard Duff, Beverly Garland and Jackie Coogan guest star.
4"In Hot Weather, the Crime Rate Soars"Joseph PevneyGordon Cotler
Don Mankiewicz
April 24, 1977 (1977-04-24)
Lanigan faces more pressure than usual to solve a murder as the crime rate goes up and a rival politician pushes for the mayor's recall. Herb Edelman, Mel Ferrer, Constance Towers and Lawrence Pressman guest star.

External links[edit]