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  • This is a really great detective show,I have watched all the other ones aswell and have found Father Dowling to be the most enjoyable to watch.It has humour,a serious side at times and shows a side to religion that many people may not have seen or known.Tom Bosley and Tracy Nelson are excellent in this,both are funny with how they act and the looks that Tom's character Father Frank gives to Tracy character Sister Steve are brilliant,makes me laugh.I also think that James Stephens is brilliant as Father Prestwick.
  • I loved this show as a teen. My life didn't revolve around TV as my friends did, but this was one of the shows I loved. Murder she wrote, The Equalizer, Quincy MD, Spencer Tracy, all these shows were awesome but Dowling was the best. Anyone thinking otherwise has no understanding of imagination or logic. This show was a great way for a kid in the slums to see that they didn't have to stay there. Sister Steve was an inspiration for me, and her intuitive thinking was astounding. Father Dowling's way of observing the facts taught my friends and I that there is more than one way to see anything. That was great.

    This is an awesome show.
  • A delightfully refreshing mystery in the spirit of Miss Marple. The character of Father Dowling, as portrayed by Tom Bosley,,,was a real caring individual, giving a partial absolution to the horrible portraits painted about a few of the clergy, figured in the tabloids. My feeling is that it might help to eradicate some of the distressingly graphic illustrations of priests literally promoted by the media. True or not the mention of a catholic priest in some circles causes an unusual amount of animosity and disdain, for a group who preach that control is one of the responsibilities of every partitioner, their lack thereof is astonishing,,,in conclusion, I enjoyed the series.
  • The mystery solving parish priest Father Brown who was the creation of converted Catholic G.K. Chesterton got an American makeover in that most American of cities Chicago for the Father Dowling Mysteries. That man did get himself involved in more situations that were not necessarily related to his calling which made for interesting episodes. Tom Bosley as Father Dowling was a trial to both the Catholic Archdiocese and the Police Department which he was always showing up.

    That's usually the way it is with most television series, the private detective or the amateur is constantly showing up professional law enforcement. As viewers we enjoy that.

    Unlike Chesterton's detective Dowling did not dwell too much on Catholic dogma, the better to get a universal audience. Tracy Nelson was a young nun who shared Dowling's taste for mystery and adventure and her being a nun and all that that entailed put her in some interesting situations as a Dowling operative so to speak.

    Sad to say the show did run out of creative ideas and that was probably due to the parameters imposed by making a priest your lead character. When Dowling confessed to really fathering a child before taking his vows of celibacy you knew the jig was up for this show.

    Still it was a pleasant series to watch and Tom Bosley and Tracy Nelson gave a good account of themselves in the series.
  • I really like this show. While I do slightly prefer Murder She Wrote and Diagnosis Murder, Father Dowling is an entertaining watch. Tom Bosley is superb in the title role, a performance of great warmth and dignity. Tracy Nelson does show real promise as an actress, she has a likable and quite bubbly personality, and it was a pleasure to see her develop as the series progressed. My favourite has to be the late Mary Wickes as Marie, Wickes was a very underrated actress, and I enjoyed her here. The episodes are benefited by some nice camera-work, lovely locations, a beautiful title tune and good scripts, not to mention a number of funny moments. Of course you may find some over familiarities in the story lines, but overall this is a very entertaining mystery series, probably not the best out there, but worth a watch. 9/10 Bethany Cox
  • I wish I had DVDs of the early years, I would use them in my Sunday School curriculum. Yes, I know that Sister Steve had some odd undertakings, but I don't think they detracted from the day-to-day exploration of Catholic Christian theology. The site requests additional lines so I'll commend Tom Bosley's warm performance as Father Dowling. Tracy Nelson had the look and personality of a young woman settling into the religious life. I enjoyed the Chicago setting as well. Around the time this show was canceled, I pretty much quit watching television as so much of it was so offensive. This show was substantive without being corny.
  • okay, the theme to this series was a bit far fetched (a priest and a nun investigating the goings on in the criminal underworld indeed!) but nevertheless, it was enjoyable, funny and easy going to watch. It was first shown on British TV around 1989/90 and I instantly became hooked! To me Father Dowling himself was the inspiration I had been looking for. When I was a teenager I had only two ambitions in life; to become a priest or a criminal investigator. Father Dowling was both these rolled up in one! brilliant! Although I must admit, he didn't seem to take Mass all that often considering what his job was. As for Sister Stephanie, she too is the perfect model any young woman could want to follow if they were thinking about becoming a nun. Dressing up like a penguin does not necessarily you won't look pretty, as Stephanie managed to show! It's a pity the Catholic Church can't churn out more people like these two in real life. If it did, its future may look a bit more rosey too!
  • Like Perry Mason, this series wasn't an original, it was based on a (still ongoing) series of books by Ralph McInerny. Unlike Perry Mason, though, the producers took almost nothing from the books but the characters of Fr. Dowling and Mrs. Murkin, and of those two only Mrs. Murkin bears any resemblance to the character in the book. I'd advise anyone who likes mysteries but was disappointed in Fr. Dowling on TV to read the books, they are excellent.
  • The concept of a Priest who spends his spare time solving murders and crimes is nothing new of course, Father Brown had been doing it for decades before Father Dowling arrived on the scene, but this is an American slant on the thing, and good leads like Tom Bosley and Tracy Nelson make it work, back before crime shows got too dark and gruesome, this one has plenty of humour, and plays like some of those wonderful old 'B' movies of the 30's & 40's, in other words, just plain old fashioned good entertainment. How many people I wonder realize that 20 years before this, Tom Bosley and Tracy Nelson appeared in the same movie together? 'Yours, Mine and Ours' with Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball, of course Tracy was only about 4 years old at the time, neither could have imagined one day they'd co-star in the same series.
  • August 21st 2017

    Back in the mid Nineties when I had lived in California I had watched the FATHER DOWLING MYSTERIES the first time and loved them. Found out later that they were available on DVD and bought them. Only handicap. You have to use an INTERNATIONAL DVD PLAYER or like me a PC Video download from the internet, here the free VLC MEDIA PLAYER. I agree with the other commentaries. Just I don't see so much the FATHER BROWN MYSTERIES as source as UMBERTO ECO's THE NAME OF THE ROSE. After the major worldwide success of the novell Catholic Monks, Nunns and Priests solving crimes became a rave. On TV, here in Germany, it had a spin of on TV in PFARRER SCHWARZ GREIFT EIN, about a Police Detective turned Priest solving crimes in a poor downtown neighborhood in Frankfurth a. Main. To the history of the FATHER DOWLING MYSTERIES it is true. The show had a hard time competing in it's time Slot against THE SIMPSONS and THE CROSBY SHOW. In the end that had lead to the end of it after the three seasons. Sorry that there were no more.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I remember watching The Father Dowling Mysteries on a Sunday evening, around 7:15 on BBC1, when I was about twelve. The Father Dowling Mysteries was one of the few programs that my Mum was allowed to watch, and I enjoyed sitting with her to watch it, and of course, I had seen Tracy Nelson.

    Some of the episodes were daft, most of them were good, but what made my Mum and me so angry, was when that interfering Father Prestwick came into it. Everything was fine until he came along, always turning up, just as food was being served, always trying to please the Bishop, and always messing up.

    I noticed that the entire three series was being shown on CBS Justice, and recorded them to see if it was just the same... and I loved poor Marie, I loved poor Father Dowling, and Sister Steve was still as yummy as ever. However, my hatred for Father Prestwick was worse than it had been when I was twelve.

    I cannot understand the point of the aggravating man being there, apart from annoying everyone, why was he there? I watched series 3, episode 20 the other day, and I cannot believe that they made Father Prestwick so selfish, having to have the tv on, so that he could sleep... had I been Father Dowling, I would have smashed the tv over Father Prestwick's head.

    I have just watched the last episode of series three, and I think that it was the worst episode out of the entire series, and must have been just cobbled together, as the next day, everything was shutting down. However, I shall keep all of the recordings to watch again at some other time.
  • mhc505812 May 2018
    Father Dowling has a twin brother, BUT some decriptions say he is a half-brother. It's either o ne or the other-- twins can not be half brothers or vice versa.
  • I decided to buy this DVD as a result of seeing Tracy Nelson in another old Movie alongside Ernest Borgnine, where she starred as a single Mum. I then traced her connection as I suspected to Ricky Nelson. I guess readers have figured out I am an 'early-days-of-tv in Australia' person. Tom Bosley does well in this. Sad there are no Subtitles but the sound is not too bad in spite of the lack of them.

    Plots, and the solving of the mysteries are often equally as surprising. This was a set of DVD's that included a lower quality TV episode at the start that was probably originally NTSC converted to PAL for Australian and English viewers. Imagine my surprise when one of the later episodes also featured Tracy Nelson's Grandmother Harriet Nelson from the Harriet and Ozzy Nelson TV shows. I won't give away which role she played. So all in all apart from all the other fine actors a real family affair with 2 generations of Nelsons playing in one episode together. I could see some similarities, in a few places, in this to perhaps Peter Faulk's Murder Mysteries in the Columbo series.
  • Summary The Father Dawling series, while more realistic than Murder, She Wrote it is still an unbelievable series in which a catholic priest with the assistance of a Nun solves murder cases. Yet it is less aggravating to watch as compared to that Jessica Fletcher thing.

    I remember this series from my youth. I watched it for a few episodes at intervals. Nowaday reruns of are sometimes shown in the early afternoon. It is the fate of that type of series.

    I somehow associated the father with that "Fletcher-woman" from Murder, She wrote. Like Jessica Fletcher feels like a translation of Miss Marple, so Father Dowling looks much like an American implementation of Father Brown. Like Jessica Fletcher the good brother is there to solve the Murder and leaves us to sleep at peace.

    Yet while saying this there are some differences with Murder, She Wrote. First and foremost the Dowling series seems to posses more realism and more grey shades. The world is less popcile and apple-pie. Less preposterous. While Jessica Fletcher seems mostly to be busy in small towns(the kind that so often the stage of Stephen King's stories) Father Dowling seems to be more operating in cities. Unlike the Fletcher series the people are less halfwit and Dowling's sidekick the nun is actually a capable attractive woman. Which is a change since with the Murder, she wrote series, the main cast seems to consist of elderly people most of the time. An interesting aside is that the good Father is a catholic.

    Another different thing is the method the perpetrator is caught. In Father Dowling it seems to be more a case of catching him/her red-handed. In Murder, She Wrote it is more that the felon admits after being confronted with the truth.

    But on the downside, the method with which are solved are also often more ridiculous. Since both Dowling and his trusty sidekick are people of the cloth, they need to disguise themselves a lot during their investigations. This results is the use of the most weakest set of disguises one can encounter. Wear a set of dark glasses and a suit and voilà Dowling is bad dud gangster. The nun takes of her gown and put some cushions underneath her clothes and she is a pregnant mum.

    All in all, while this series is not as bad as Murder, She Wrote, this series is hardly worth the trouble watching considering that there are a lot of better series like Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot and Law & Order for that matter. But it probably will appeal to an audience that can only sleep when the murderer is safely locked away in a world that is less disturbing than shown in those other series.

  • ygwerin112 November 2019
    Warning: Spoilers
    This is a TV series that I am familiar with over the years without having seen many episodes, I am currently catching up with it on the Freeview channel CBS Justice. It has weekly daily screenings from 5 to 6pm.

    Although I don't see much of American TV I do recognise faces, that I have seen on television programmes.

    The actor playing Father Dowling was familiar but I couldn't place what I'd seen him in. Looking at his biography here I see that he was in the American TV show Happy Days, that was shown here and I do recall seeing him in it.

    The actress Mary Wickes playing Marie Murkin Father Dowling's what can one say housekeeper? Is a very familiar face from just so many TV shows, that it's hard just to pick one out at random. On her biography I was pleasantly surprised to see her picture, from an episode of the American TV show MASH. That still is one of my all time favourite US shows, and I remember her characters appearance in the episode.

    Another Review has remarked on the similarities to another priest, turned detective idea that of Father Brown. Stories of his exploits were written by the English author G. K. Chesterton, and have been depicted in numerous television and film adaptations.

    The show is an altogether amiable television excursion humourous and mildly dramatic, the character ensemble of priests, housekeeper, and police chief, are well worked and acted.

    I wasn't going to compare TV shows Father Brown and Father Dowling, but the more I think of it the similarities become apparent.

    Both priest characters have similar personalities and approaches, to their religious duties and detective inclinations. The differences are the actors take on the characters.

    Tom Bozley's Dowling is brimming over with an avuncular attitude. Its funny that avuncular is the word that popped into my bonce, thinking of the word as happy and chearfull. Looking up the word I see it means that relating to an 'uncle or father' figure, and that fits with the Father's relationship with Sister Stephanie.

    I don't know the actress Tracy Nelson who plays Sister Stephanie but I love her characterisation, of the smart clever intelligent and frankly rather sassy individual. For a young woman it is great but for a nun it's brilliant' and frankly who would imagine such an honestly sexy nun? I am not a Catholic but frankly if I were I would have to say more than a few hail Mary's, in confession for my impure thoughts of her clothing in some episodes.

    The housekeeper character Marie Murkin reminds me so much of the similar one of, Mrs McCarthy in the UK TV show Father Brown. That of the hectoring fussy busybody of an old biddy, who tries to organise and mother the priest in 'her care'. Both actresses pin their characters to the wall, and have come to be associated with these parts. Such that they seem to be almost typecast in these types of roll.

    The actor James Stephens playing Father Prestwick is not someone that I am familiar with, but he plays his part of the amiable enthusiastic younger priest to perfection.
  • The most outlandish junk that must've left the church on the floor. Just your everyday life of a priest and a nun, as he drags her along on sorted misadventures. And I don't mean backpacking and fundraisers, try organized crime and serial killers. This is only based on five or so episodes but that's all I needed. The king of them all was a recent one involving Bosley's priest infiltrating the mob! HE DONS GLASSES AND A GANGSTER VOICE TO QUESTION A BARTENDER!! THE NUN DRESSES LIKE A HOOKER IN HEELS! At least Murder, She Wrote stayed within a realm. What's next, Jessica Fletcher as a phone-sex operator?? Thank God (pun, hehe) they crucified this crap after 45 episodes. Avoid it, go to church and pray for its forgiveness.
  • In our house we used to play a game called Father Dowling Bingo, where we watched each episode holding bingo cards containing a selection of elements we just knew would appear on the show, such as a criminal behaving incompetently, Sister Stephanie taking on a street-wise individual in a bet and winning, Father Dowling telling a lie to gain entrance to some room etc. Usually somebody had shouted "Bingo" before the episode was half-way through, especially as the series wore on.

    Long before series three had started we regarded Father Dowling Investigates as a joke, only worth watching because it was in the "So Bad it's Almost Good" category. My advice for anyone coming to it anew is don't waste your time.
  • Oh come on I've seen MONTY PHYTHON sketches that are more realistic than this . A Priest called Father Dowling investigates crimes . What sort of crimes ? Paedophile Priests ? The Vatican mafia as seen in THE GODFATHER 3 ? No just mundane crimes like people getting bumped off by gangsters and the like

    Did I mention the Padre has a sidekick called Stephanie Oskowski ? She's a Nun and every episode sees her going undercover as a lap dancer or a prostitute . NOOOOOOOOO ! Stop laughing I'm not making any of this up and the plots aren't even bad enough to be good . In fact you end up really confused as to why anyone thought this up for an American TV network because a plot featuring gangsters , a priest and a nun working as a prostitute would have made a great movie starring Big John Holmes and Linda Lovelace . Sometimes the worst idea can be the greatest idea but only if it's used in the right medium

    There is something slightly objectionable and very hypocritical to all this . Dowling's a man of the cloth right ? He's there to save souls right ? The word of God states that we should love our enemies right ? But after Dowling and Stephanie have solved the case the cops arrive and arrest the bad guys and never at any point do the duo feel any remorse that the criminals will be spending the rest of their lives in a maximum security prison where they'll be gang raped . What happened to the Christian spirit ? Oh and surely if the criminals are facing the death penalty this should go against Dowling and Stephanie's principals ? Maybe FATHER DOWLING INVESTIGATES is really produced by Marxists ? No doubt this show is popular in North Korea
  • I was forced to endure an episode of this puerile drivel recently, as punishment for offending my wife's "friend" (someone she works with but secretly cannot stand but they are higher up in the food chain than she is - it's complicated) Anyway, I was made to watch this rubbish ( my wife hates it too) and I have to say that this is the most inane dross I have ever viewed! A chubby, "folksy" catholic priest (all catholic priests are austere, authoritarian horrors, to be avoided at all costs) teams up with a spunky Nun to solve crimes. That alone is enough to make me run for the toilet. Who on earth thinks up these ludicrous scripts? The Nun disguises herself as many different things (the wife says) including a prostitute? And they have managed to make 3 series of this rubbish! I don't have to watch it, I know (unless the wife punishes me again) but I do have to endure the same maddening adverts for this junk! This program should be banned, the producers locked up for ever and the priest should be sent to a leper colony somewhere very remote. The Nun can play a prostitute though, anytime she likes. Very nice legs...! She is the reason that I gave it one star, otherwise it would have got none!