Tenspeed and Brown Shoe (1980– )

TV Series  |   |  Crime, Drama
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A con-man and a accountant-wanna-be private eye team up to fight crime.

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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Complete series cast summary:
 E.L. 'Tenspeed' Turner / ... (14 episodes, 1980)
 Lionel Whitney (14 episodes, 1980)


Ben Vereen is E.L. "Tenspeed" Turner, an inveterate con-man and master of disguise. Jeff Goldblum is Lionel Whitney, a "brown shoe" (accountant). Through an unlikely series of circumstances, they form a detective agency. Tenspeed is the realist, while Lionel fantasizes of having adventures like the fictional private eye he idolizes, Mark Savage. Written by <scrow@chop.isca.uiowa.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama


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Release Date:

27 January 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die Schnüffler  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(12 episodes)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The DVD was released in the USA on March 9th, 2010. That date is exactly thirty years after the airing of episode 6, "The Sixteen Byte Data Chip and the Brown-eyed Fox". It aired March 9th, 1980. See more »


Referenced in The Nanny: Pishke Business (1994) See more »

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User Reviews

Another Lost Classic..
12 August 1998 | by (Iowa City, IA) – See all my reviews

Why doesn't A&E, or Lifetime, ever show this? Jeff Goldblum's only foray into series TV as a regular demonstrates that he should have done it much more often. His naive, karate-chopping ex-stockbroker private eye-wanna be is probably one of the most unique characters to be seen on TV. Ben Vereen is more your typical con-man type (which Stephen Cannell re-visited a few years later in "Sonny Spoon"), but Vereen makes the part entirely his own.

Mix with goofy, homage plots (they did Maltese Falcon twice), and you have Moonlighting without the ego trips.


Revised: Well, the series is now out on DVD, and obviously Jeff Goldblum has gotten a new series in the intervening years. Having fully watched a few episodes, I won't say that the memory cheats. But the first couple of episodes are rather complex, and not in a good way. The plots tend to meander along and new characters are introduced late in the game and you're left wondering who they are. "Robin Tucker's..." makes a big ado about being at the Robin Tucker Ballroom... and then the ballroom really has nothing to do with the case. The main characters are still endearing, and Goldblum has some very odd mannerisms (like hopping over a hedge to confront a bad guy). But the voice-over in the early episodes goes on quite a bit, even for a parody/homage. Goldblum sometimes goes over the edge from endearing to obnoxious, or just idiotic. Like when he drops his gun and kicks it along trying to pick it up. Lionel is naive, not stupid. Still, it's better than a lot of shows of the era... and a lot since then.

22 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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