15 May 2009 | raysond
The short-lived crime series Griff starring Lorne Greene
"Griff" was one of the many underrated or "lost" cop shows of the early 1970's. The series starred Lorne Greene(who came to star in this series just nine months after the expiration of his nearly 14-year run as Ponderosa Ranch patriarch Ben Cartwright on the NBC-TV television series "Bonanza" which ran from September 12,1959 until January 14,1973,producing 451 episodes all in color)as Wade "Griff" Griffin,a former police officer who becomes a private detective. Greene traded in his western wear for a P.I. stint in this short-lived series from the early 1970's.
His partner in solving mysteries and cases was S. Michael "Mike" Murdock(portrayed by Ben Murphy of "Alias Smith and Jones" fame). Veteran actor Vic Tayback(who later on was the fictitious operator of Mel's Diner on the CBS-TV sitcom "Alice"),was Captain Barney Marcus of the Los Angeles Police Department,which was Griff's continuing contact with the police. Patricia Stich appeared as Gracie Newcombe,the secretary for the two detectives.
Created by Larry Cohen,this was a short-lived series that ran on ABC-TV from September 29,1973 until January 5, 1974. Only 13 episodes were produced and was filmed by Groverton Productions in association with Universal Television. The series was followed by the ABC Suspense Movie which was at the 10PM timeslot on Saturday nights opposite the powerhouse variety series "The Carol Burnett Show",which was a huge ratings winner for CBS,and the "NBC Saturday Night At The Movies". Its a crying shame that this series isn't seen anywhere these days,but it would be great if this series was seen again. In all 13 episodes.
Interesting note about this show: One of the executive producers was Steven Bochco(of "Hill Street Blues",and also "N.Y.P.D. Blue"). The other three executive producers were Robert F. O'Neill and David Victor(of "Owen Marshall:Counselor at Law",and "Marcus Welby,MD" fame),along with Peter S. Fischer. The guest star roster includes Christopher Connelly,Ben Piazza,Sal Mineo,Ricardo Montalban,Harold J. Stone,Michael Callan and Pamela Hensley,Kim Hunter and William Windom(who appeared in three episodes of this series).
Check out the some of the best episodes: "The Case of the Baltimore Girls":the two-hour pilot episode,which a two-parter condensed to an hour under the title "All The Lonely People" which features Kim Hunter,Patricia Crowley,Lawrence Pressman,Dabney Coleman,William Windom and Herbert Rudley. Griff and his partner investigate clients of a dating service who face extortion or even murder.
"The Framing of Billy The Kid":guest starring Nick Nolte as a professional football player accused of murder. Also starring Susan Howard.
"The Last Ballad":Griff investigates a death of a rock singer after she undergoes an abortion when the provider(Kim Hunter),is held by the police. William Windom also guest stars. This episode was aired not long after the United States Supreme Court legalized abortion in its companion "Roe v. Wade" and "Doe v. Bolton" opinions. Very much one of the more controversial episodes of the series.
"Prey":Sal Mineo plays a Middle Eastern president whom Griff and Mike must protect from an assassination attempt. Scott Hylands portrays the awaiting assassin.
"Fugitive From Fear"(the series finale,and the last episode of the series):