16 user 4 critic

Father Dowling Mysteries 

An amiable, inquisitive Chicago priest moonlights as a detective and is assisted by a rather worldly, lock-picking nun.

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3   2   1  
1991   1990   1989  
Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. See more awards »


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Complete series cast summary:
Tom Bosley ...  Father Frank Dowling / ... 42 episodes, 1989-1991
Tracy Nelson ...  Sister Stephanie 'Steve' Oskowski / ... 42 episodes, 1989-1991
Mary Wickes ...  Marie Murkin / ... 42 episodes, 1989-1991
James Stephens ...  Father Philip Prestwick / ... 37 episodes, 1989-1991
Regina Krueger Regina Krueger ...  Sgt. Clancy / ... 28 episodes, 1989-1991


Father Frank Dowling, a fine Catholic parish priest in Chicago, drives housekeeper Marie to despair by his habit of being late for dinner as he and his assistant (streetwise nun Stephanie 'Steve' Oskowski) solve numerous neighborhood crimes, usually involving at least one murder. They generally outsmart the police as well as the criminals. The live-in priest Father Philip Prestwick, whose priority is his own ecclesiastical career prospects, takes a very dim view of their crime fighting and on Sister Steve even being there. Written by KGF Vissers

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Crime | Drama | Mystery







Release Date:

20 January 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Detektyw w sutannie See more »

Company Credits

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Did You Know?


The first series was originally set to premiere in October 1988, but pushed to January 1989 in the mid-season lineup, due to the 1988 Writers' Strike. See more »


Referenced in Suburgatory: Sweet Sixteen (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

While better than Murder, She Wrote, it is still a unbelievable series
1 July 2007 | by owen_twistfieldSee all my reviews

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.


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