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Murphy's Law (American TV series)

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Murphy's Law
GenreComedy drama
Created byLee David Zlotoff, based on characters from the "Trace" and "Digger" novels by Warren Murphy
Written byLee David Zlotoff
Michael Gleason
Lee Goldberg
William Rabkin
Ernie Wallengren
StarringGeorge Segal
Maggie Han
Josh Mostel
Theme music composerSteve Kipner
Paul Bliss
Al Jarreau
Opening theme"Murphy's Law" performed by Al Jarreau
ComposerJeanette Acosta
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes13 (1 unaired)
Executive producersZev Braun
Leonard Stern
Michael Gleason
ProducersErnie Wallengren
Gareth Davies
Running time60 minutes
Production companiesZev Braun Productions
Michael Gleason Productions
New World Television
Original release
ReleaseNovember 2, 1988 (1988-11-02) –
March 18, 1989 (1989-03-18)

Murphy's Law is an American crime drama that starred George Segal and Maggie Han, loosely based on the Trace and Digger novels by Warren Murphy. The opening theme song, which replaced an instrumental by Mike Post, was an edited version of "Murphy's Law," a song featured on the album "High Crime" by Al Jarreau. The series premiered November 2, 1988 on ABC. On March 9, 1989, ABC announced that it had canceled the series and that the final episode would air on March 18, 1989.[1] The actual final, unaired episode, entitled "All's Wrong That Ends Wrong," resolved a key storyline in the series (recovering alcoholic Murphy was awarded custody of his daughter from his estranged ex-wife) and also served an unsold pilot for a spin-off starring Joan Severance.



Daedelus Patrick Murphy (Segal) was a recovering alcoholic who worked as an insurance-fraud investigator for First Fidelity Insurance. His unusual methods sometimes led him to clash with office executive Victor Beaudine, though supervisor Wesley Harden often ran interference for Murphy since his methods got results. He lived with girlfriend and fashion model Kimiko Fannuchi (Han), while attempting to reconnect with his estranged daughter. In the actual final, unaired episode, entitled "All's Wrong That Ends Wrong," Murphy was awarded custody of his daughter from his estranged ex-wife. The episode also served as an unsold pilot for a proposed spin-off starring Joan Severance as an insurance investigator.





Guest Stars




Twelve episodes are registered with the United States Copyright Office.

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateU.S. viewers
1"The Room Above the Indian Grocery"Lee David ZlotoffLee David ZlotoffNovember 2, 1988 (1988-11-02)13.4[2]
2"Where are My Socks and Other Mysteries of Love"Bill BixbyMichael GleasonDecember 3, 1988 (1988-12-03)11.4[3]
3"If You Can't Win, Shoot for a Tie"Don WeisLee Goldberg & William RabkinDecember 10, 1988 (1988-12-10)10.4[4]
4"Do Someone a Favor and It Becomes Your Job"Bill BixbyE.F. WallengrenDecember 17, 1988 (1988-12-17)9.9[5]
5"Never Play Leapfrog with a Unicorn"Bruce Seth GreenLee Goldberg & William RabkinJanuary 14, 1989 (1989-01-14)8.7[6]
6"Never Try to Teach a Pig to Sing"Charles CorrellKen GoldsteinJanuary 21, 1989 (1989-01-21)11.4[7]
7"Two Wrongs Are Only the Beginning"Don WeisLee Goldberg & William RabkinJanuary 28, 1989 (1989-01-28)10.3[8]
8"Never Wear Earmuffs in a Bed of Rattlesnakes"Seymour RobbieMichael GleasonFebruary 4, 1989 (1989-02-04)9.1[9]
9"Where There's a Will, There's a Won't"Don WeisLee Goldberg & William RabkinFebruary 11, 1989 (1989-02-11)8.3[10]
10"When You're Over the Hill, You Pick Up Speed"Seymour RobbieE.F. WallengrenFebruary 18, 1989 (1989-02-18)9.7[11]
11"Experience Is Something You Don't Get Until Just After You Need It"Burt BrinckerhoffBill SchmidtMarch 11, 1989 (1989-03-11)7.5[12]
12"Doing It the Hard Way Is Always Easier"Bruce Seth GreenLee Goldberg & William RabkinMarch 18, 1989 (1989-03-18)8.3[13]
13"All's Wrong That Ends Wrong"Burt BrinckerhoffMichael Gleason & E.F. WallengrenUnaired (Unaired)N/A
Unsold pilot for a spin-off starring Joan Severance


  1. ^ "'Murphy's Law' Series Is Canceled by ABC". The New York Times. March 10, 1989. Retrieved 2009-07-03.
  2. ^ "Nielsen ratings". Life. USA Today. November 9, 1988. p. 3D. ProQuest 306136856.
  3. ^ "Nielsen ratings". Life. USA Today. December 7, 1988. p. 3D. ProQuest 306146398.
  4. ^ "Nielsen ratings". Life. USA Today. December 14, 1988. p. 3D. ProQuest 306143538.
  5. ^ "A very 'Brady' ratings hit". Life. USA Today. December 21, 1988. p. 3D. ProQuest 306159082.
  6. ^ "NBC clinches season's ratings title". Life. USA Today. January 18, 1989. p. 3D. ProQuest 306171627.
  7. ^ "NBC scores super ratings". Life. USA Today. January 25, 1989. p. 3D. ProQuest 306147740.
  8. ^ "Midseason entries boost NBC". Life. USA Today. February 1, 1989. p. 3D. ProQuest 306144802.
  9. ^ "Comedies sweep up for NBC". Life. USA Today. February 8, 1989. p. 3D. ProQuest 306179902.
  10. ^ "CBS gallops to a tie with NBC". Life. USA Today. February 15, 1989. p. 3D. ProQuest 306163263.
  11. ^ "NBC's back alone on top". Life. USA Today. February 22, 1989. p. 3D. ProQuest 306175741.
  12. ^ "NBC, in front with 'Left Behind'". Life. USA Today. March 15, 1989. p. 3D. ProQuest 306172200.
  13. ^ "Glad tidings for all networks". Life. USA Today. March 22, 1989. p. 3D. ProQuest 306198820.