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Philip Marlowe, Private Eye 

Private detective Philip Marlowe solves many crimes in Los Angeles during the 1930s.


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Sunday, May 25, 1986
S2.E5 Trouble Is My Business
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2   1  
1986   1983  
2 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »


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Series cast summary:


Relying on his wits, instinct, gun and whiskey private detective Philip Marlowe solves many of Los Angeles' worst crime cases during the 1930s. His style is sarcastic, his methods are unorthodox, his charm is adored by the ladies, his meddling is hated by the local cops, his wallet is often times empty and his skull is hardened by the many unexpected blows received in the dark. Despite his low social status, his constant drinking and the lowly company he keeps Philip Marlowe has very high moral standards and a very developed sense of justice. Often times he lends a helping hand to those in need who are at the bottom of society and also to tear-eyed attractive ladies in distress who can gift him a kiss and a drink. The crime mystery series are adapted from Raymond Chandler's short stories. Written by nufs68

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He's the reason crime doesn't pay.




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Release Date:

27 April 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Marlowe  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


(11 episodes)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Philip Marlowe: Hollywood's the kind of town where they stick a knife in your back and then have you arrested for carrying a concealed weapon.
See more »


Referenced in Goodnight Sweetheart: In the Mood (1993) See more »

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User Reviews

Absolutely the best Philip Marlowe incarnation ever
5 August 2000 | by See all my reviews

Powers Boothe is the quintessential Philip Marlowe; no one can ever best his performance in this series. He is cool, hip, a great wisecracker, and obsessed about the truth while seeming not to care. The next-best aspect of the series was the complete re-creation of the 1930's; sets were perfect, cars were big and bulky, clothes were gorgeous, and art deco abounded. Marlowe's bathroom even had those pastel nile green tiles that were everywhere in the 30's and 40's.

The 1986 series listed here was not the first, though, and not the best. HBO did 5 episodes in 1983 that have never been run since and were all mostly filmed, I believe, in England; these featured the luminous Kathryn Leigh Scott as Annie Rearden. She doesn't show up much in the second set, and that in itself makes the newer series a pale copy of the original.

These original episodes are the ones that should have been released first as they are far superior, and I look forward to them being issued. "The King in Yellow" was a masterpiece about a murdered big-band trumpeteer whom everyone hated so suspects were plentiful; "Smart Aleck Kill" mimicked Wallace Reid's drug-induced death in grand Hollywood style; "The Pencil" found Marlowe vying with a mafia boss to get a stool pigeon out of town alive; "Nevada Gas" featured a corrupt attorney who is targeted by his wife's boyfriend (played with nasty panache by "Hawk the Slayer's" John Terry); "Finger Man" has a femme fatale who takes up with a friend of Marlowe's, who then tries to frame Marlowe for a robbery.

This is a quality production, but can't truly be called a series. Only these 11 episodes were filmed, to my knowledge. I taped them all on their original run, and they weren't treated as an ongoing thing, which was a distinct oversight on HBO's part. Powers Boothe is magnetic as well as truly wonderful in this role, and they could have had a real winner on their hands if they had continued with the team used on the original 5 episodes, and without such a long break between the two sets.

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