6 September 2004 | bwaynef
One of NBC's Mystery Movie segments
After striking ratings gold with the original NBC Mystery Movie ("Columbo," "McMillan and Wife," "McCloud") in 1971-72, the network and Universal hoped to duplicate the success with a second night of rotating detective shows. The NBC Wednesday Mystery Movie premiered a year later, but though viewers tuned in to "Banacek," "Madigan," and "Cool Million," they apparently didn't warm to them, and in fall 73, the network wiped the slate clean (except for the returning "Banacek") and introduced three new shows, one of which, "Tenafly," seemed to have potential since it was the creation of Richard Levinson and William Link, the team responsible for the show that made Peter Falk a household name.
"Tenafly" starred James McEachin, a Universal contract player whose most notable role was as Clint Eastwood's fellow DJ in "Play Misty For Me." An African-American family man whose job just happened to be as a private detective, Tenafly was refreshing due to his lack of gimmicks (no lollipops, no wheelchair, no Stetson, no raincoat, etc). Maybe a gimmick would have helped the show distinguish itself in a television season dubbed by Time magazine as "The Year of the Cop." After four 90 minute episodes, "Tenafly," like the other Mystery Movie segments introduced in fall 1973 ("The Snoop Sisters," "Faraday and Company"), disappeared after one season.
The four episodes (a pilot boosts the episode count to five) are all entertaining but fairly standard fare typical of the era.