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Featured TV on DVD Review: Father Dowling Mysteries: Season Two

July 8th, 2012

Father Dowling Mysteries: Season Two- Buy from Amazon

Father Dowling Mysteries began as a TV movie, which was a big enough hit to be turned into a series. However, the first season was delayed and then shortened because of a writers strike. After only nine episodes, the series was canceled by NBC. It was then picked by ABC as a mid-season replacement, which is this season. The only full season in the show's run was the third season, which was also its last season. That's a pretty troubled run. Was there a reason it struggled? And does it deserve a second chance?

The Show

Tom Bosley stars as Father Frank Dowling, a Catholic priest who constantly finds himself involved in mysteries. Fortunately, he has a keen sense of observation. He also has help from Sister Stephanie "Steve" Oskowski (Tracy Nelson), a street smart nun. Father Philip Prestwick and Marie Murkin, round out the small staff at his parish. The season starts with a visiting priest, Anthony LaPaglia, coming to Dowling's parish. However, we know he is a mafia hit man, but we don't know his target. In The Exotic Dancer Mystery, a former parishioner turned exotic dancer gets into trouble when she sees a fixed poker game. Sister Steve's brother, Mark gets into trouble with a gang in The Sanctuary Mystery and when someone winds up dead, he's framed for the murder. Father Dowling is the target of an assassin. He needs to find out who is after him, and he has made a lot of enemies busting crimes. The police think it is Jesse Gallagher, who was recently released for murder. They think the detective, the D.A., and the judge might also be targets.

The Woman Scorned Mystery has the return of Father Dowling's evil twin. ... Moving on. The Ghost of a Chance Mystery involves a woman who believes her house of haunted. She goes to Father Dowling for help. He's skeptical, and as we saw in the teaser, he has reason, as someone it trying to make her think she's crazy. In The Blind Man's Bluff Mystery, Sister Steve bumps into a blind man, literally. At least he's pretending to be blind to gain her trust. But why? In The Falling Angel Mystery, Father Dowling is visited by an angel, who claims one of his parishioners, Rick McMasters, might have a run in with a Mafia boss who just got out of prison.

The Perfect Couple Mystery starts with a wedding, but the happy couple are not happy for long. The wife gets suspicious when he has mysterious meetings every week and when she follows him, she finds he has another woman. However, when Father Dowling investigates, it becomes a lot more complicated than that. In The Confidence Mystery, a con-man deals in a fake religious artifact. Father Dowling is involved, because Father Philip Prestwick is the one conned. The Solid Gold Headache Mystery starts with Sister Steve playing cards with one the elderly parishioners, who suffers a heart attack right there. At the reading of the will, Sister Steve is made the trustee of his $6 million estate, while his three kids get nothing. Someone is willing to take drastic measures to get that money. In The Legacy Mystery, there is an art thief busy stealing art that used to belong to the Cabot family. The son, Jonathan Cabot, is the most likely suspect. After all, he has the motivation to get back his family's paintings. However, he also has the money to simply buy them and alibis for all of the thefts. The season ends with The Passionate Painter Mystery. Father Dowling is trying to help a painter, Harry Gulliver, who is dealing with alcoholism. However, booze might be the last of his problems when he suspects someone is trying to kill him.

Overall, Father Dowling Mysteries is a good show, but not a great show. The two leads, Tom Bosley and Tracy Nelson, do have good chemistry together, while some of the mysteries are good. However, the show doesn't do enough to set it apart from the myriad of competition.

The Extras

There are no real extras, not unless you count the episode promos, which I don't.

The Verdict

There have been countless murder mystery shows over the decades and fans of the genre will probably like Father Dowling Mysteries. However, it is only just above average for the genre and since the Season Two DVD has no extras, a rental will be enough.

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