Matt Houston (1982–1985)
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Killing Isn't Everything 

When football team owner Jock Stryker is killed, suspicion falls on quarterback Randy, a friend of Houston's. Many people wanted Stryker dead, including his abused girlfriend Andrea, his resentful gofer Crusher, and Coach Buck Turley.





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Episode complete credited cast:
Lee Horsley ...
Matt Houston
C.J. Parsons
Lt. Vince Novelli
Lamar Pettybone
Penny Santon ...
Mama Rosa Novelli
Dandy Randy Haines
Jock Stryker
Crusher Kawalski
Andrea Lott
'Too Mean' Malone
Buck Turley
Murray Chase
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Secretary Alex
Chick Hearn ...


When the owner of a football team is killed, suspicion falls on the team's quarterback whom the owner wanted to bench. He's also a friend of Houston's and asks him to prove his innocence. And it turns out that there's a lot of people who wanted the man dead. Like his girlfriend and the coach. Written by

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Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

24 October 1982 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Sacked In The End Zone
10 August 2011 | by (Toronto, Canada) – See all my reviews

Jock Stryker (Scott Brady) a skinflint of a football team owner is killed when a poison gas filled football explodes in his face. In the spirit of the best murder mysteries the victim is an unpopular individual a lot of people wanted dead maximizing the suspense up until the climactic reveal.

Houston is best friends with the prime suspect Randy Haines (John Beck), the star quarterback of the California Bearcats, his former team-mate (Though since both were quarterbacks it is not clear who was the back-up) in college at Rice who asks that Houston prove his innocence.

Stryker had Haines benched after the signal-caller threatened to kill him at a team party in front of countless witnesses.

Another player named Too Mean Malone (Rockne Tarkington) appoints himself to the Houston detective agency to help out. This would be the first appearance of the useless recurring character portrayed by a bad actor.

Spoiler alert! It becomes abundantly clear that while Haines hasn't told Houston everything he has not committed the murder as the real killer threatens to murder Haines. Houston suits up in Haines uniform for a playoff game in order to draw out the killer and is nearly shot to death by the team mascot, a former player (Butkus) in a bear costume. Again in keeping with much of the first season we have a whodunit with an ironic tone.

We get a sense that the star Lee Horsley is significantly younger than his character is in this episode which makes him a contemporary of a character played by John Beck an actor who is twelve years older than Horsley. Houston, whose service in Vietnam is alluded to in several episodes is logically at least 35 years old here though the actor playing him was only 27.

The odd scene in bad episodes of this series could be interesting but they are few and far between here. We also have Dick Butkus, the Chicago Bears great (And a personal hero), trying to act. You don't need real pro football players to play pro football players. They could have gotten a real actor who was big enough to have been a pro football player like Bo Svensson or Denny Miller (Who would guest star later that season) to play the role.

At very least we do not see Houston play football after he has suited up in Haines' uniform. That would be too much given that he already is a billionaire/private investigator/helicopter pilot/rodeo champ. If you make him a pro sports level athlete you may as well give him x-ray vision, the power to teleport and the ability to make people dead with his mind too.

We also have a wardrobe/costume department that is evidently either clueless about designing sports team uniforms or instructed to create ones that could not possibly be identified with a real pro team. If you are a real football fan like me you are wondering why the teams don't have logos on their helmets.

This episode of this show is far from the only one that had a pro sports team premise without believable uniforms.

Pam Hensley was in the movie Rollerball (1975) in which John Beck also starred.

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