Father Dowling Mysteries
- TV Series
An amiable, inquisitive Chicago priest moonlights as a detective and is assisted by a rather worldly, lock-picking nun.An amiable, inquisitive Chicago priest moonlights as a detective and is assisted by a rather worldly, lock-picking nun.An amiable, inquisitive Chicago priest moonlights as a detective and is assisted by a rather worldly, lock-picking nun.
In the early episodes, the producers basically used one location, the former office of the District Attorney in Denver, NOT Chicago, and then set up different CHEAP wooden establishing signs, such as Courthouse, Hospital, Hotel, and changed the camera angle. Also early on, the mansion that served as the home of various guest villains was the same one, from different angles -- and, by the way, the same mansion used multiple times in the 1991 Perry Mason series.
The inevitable car chases were shot one week in several blocks of the Denver Country Club area, the next week in an adjoining neighborhood, and so forth and so on. No need to move all of the equipment very far. Quick and easy. Cheap, too.
The awful portrayals of Catholic priests and a Catholic nun are the most outrageous parts of this series. The simple language of the Church is so easy to find, even for inept writers as we find here. For example, a priest does not "give" Mass, he offers Mass; and Catholics do not "have" Confession, they go to Confession.
Apparently Father Dowling does not say his Office very often, and the writers call his Office, his "Missal." We hear a lot about his busy schedule, but he seems to be on the trail of losers most of his days, and nights. He does bless himself many times, I must admit... the writers (or the director) got that right.
But Sister Steve -- what a joke! We learn early on that basically she became a nun to get out of the rough, crime-filled life she had been living. She did enjoy being a nun, though -- who wouldn't, when it involves chasing criminals, impersonating royalty, breaking into homes and businesses, and so forth? She also seems to have forgotten the daily prayers required of professed religious. The writers endowed her with the ability to change like a chameleon from her nun's habit (NOT uniform) to the lifestyle of the rich and famous or the poor and outcast to anyone in between. I know of no nun who would have the time to do such things, much less the inclination. Her former life seems not to have been left behind as much as covered up and disguised. She lies like a trooper and she ignores the Church's teaching that we should obey the law -- of God/the Church AND of the State.
Those who praise this show for its good, clean scripts are fooling themselves. Many of the episodes feature near-naked women, in places a nun or a priest probably should not be. Some episodes feature Sister Steve drinking and one episode featured an older nun over-imbibing rum in the kitchen. Just easy writing, sometimes intended to get a laugh -- at the expense of reality. Writers of television series tend to enjoy the shocking, especially regarding Catholics and what they hold sacred. What could be more sacred than the sanctuary of a Catholic Church? Yet in Father Dowling, many of the murders/killings are in the sanctuary of St. Michael's.
One episode of Father Dowling has a human "come back to earth as an Angel." First, humans do not become Angels; if their souls go to Heaven, they are Saints. Angels are a whole other type of created being. Second, as far as we know, Angels come to earth for a specific holy purpose.
Angels are incredibly marvelous creatures, intelligent and powerful, yet humble before God. An Angel sent by God with a message for a human being would never gamble or debauch, as the "angel" in Father Dowling does. This portrayal only serves to lessen the glory both of Angels and of God, who has given us His Angels to help us get to Heaven. There is no need for television writers to include such an episode, even if they are non-believers. It is just low and beneath contempt.
I have found that most series that portray Catholics intend them to be caricatures. If that was the intent of the writers of Father Dowling, they succeeded admirably! It is a great deal like a comic book come to life; but the last laugh is on the writers, producers, and directors.
- Aug 18, 2021