The show features a Catholic priest, Father Dowling, who solves murders, abductions and other mysteries in his Chicago parish, assisted by a young streetwise nun, Sister Stephanie, in spite of hindrance from the Bishop's representative, Father Prestwick.
Fr. Frank is assisted by Sister Stephanie (\"Steve\") Oskowski, a nun assigned to the parish to minister to its members. It is Sr. Steve who does much of the legwork in the investigations. She's a streetwise nun with a Polish surname who grew up in a rough housing project in the diocese. She can hotwire a car, and pick any lock, among other things. Because she knows the \"language of the streets\" she uses this to her advantage (not just when investigating a mystery, but also in her ministry). Although she is much younger than Father Frank, the two work smoothly together as a team. He is not just a mentor to her, it's obvious she looks up to him as the father she never had.
The show's format in effect creates a pseudo-family: Father Dowling and his elderly housekeeper, Marie, behave like an old married couple, with Father Dowling acting like the regular father in a conventional family (somewhat aided by his identification in the minds of the audience with Mr Cunningham, the character Bosley played on the TV series Happy Days). Both of them treat Sister Stephanie as though she's their daughter. The humour largely emerges from the intrusions into this \"family circle\" by Father Phil, who, like an unwanted relation, disrupts the cosy informality of the household. The humour develops from the fact that Phil, in his innocence, never realises that his presence is largely an irritant to the others.
The mysteries usually begin with a mysterious visitor to St Michael's church, or to the parish Rectory next door where Father Dowling lives. In the first season, Sister Steve lives in a convent with the other nuns in her Order (\"The Pretty Baby Mystery\"); but in the second season she takes her meals at the Rectory, and when her brother is accused of murder (in the episode \"The Sanctuary Mystery\") he's shown sheltering in her bedroom at the Rectory. Throughout all three seasons she's also a chauffeur for Father Dowling, who doesn't drive. Because she's a car enthusiast, and reformed car thief, she handles the parish station wagon like a professional stuntman.
Action Girl: Sister Steve Amateur Sleuth: Dowling and Oskowski are definitely not trained investigators, but they do what they can. Butt-Monkey: Father Prestwick Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Father Dowling's original Friend on the Force was his nephew, Lietenant Phil Keegan. Keegan was the son of the priest's deceased sister (and not Father's Dowling's Evil Twin Blain). Unfortunately for Lietenant Keegan, he suffers a fatal case fo Chuck Cunningham Syndrome right after the pilot, and is never seen or referred to again. Coincidentally, Tom Bosley, who played Father Dowling, also played Chuck Cunnigham's father on Happy Days. Cool Old Guy: Father Dowling. Delinquents: Sister Steve was one of these before she became a nun, hence her street smarts. Both her brothers also have histories. Deadpan Snarker: Marie Murkin, the housekeeper. Deal with the Devil: \"The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea Mystery\" was essentially a remake of The Devil and Daniel Webster, with Sister Steve making the deal to save her brother's life and Father Dowling defending her soul against a Jury of the Damned. The Exotic Detective: Dowling is a priest, so a few of his adventures have started with someone talking about a crime during their confession so Dowling decides to do something about it. Evil Twin: Blaine Dowling Fixing the Game: In one episode, Sister Steve rigs an electromagnet to allow Father Dowling to win at roulette. Unbeknownst to him, the device breaks, but he nonetheless goes on a winning streak. Later, Sister Steve asks what happened, and he blithely states that he lost his initial stake. Friend on the Force: In the TV movie, Phil Keegan. In the television series, primarily Sergeant Clancey, but occasionally Lieutenant Foster. Hollywood Nuns: Sister Steve fits the visual criteria on occasion. Mostly a subversion, however. Lampshaded in \"The Hard-Boiled Mystery\", where the victim is a writer friend of Father Dowling's who based his novel on one of the Father's cases. The Sister Steve Expy is a prim, humorless woman who faints at the sight of blood.Sister Steve: Talk about a wimp in a wimple. Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Except for the pilot movie \"Fatal Confession,\" every episode title followed the format \"The _______ Mystery.\" Pilot Movie: Fatal Confession: A Father Dowling Mystery Platonic Life-Partners: Steve and Frank. Pretty in Mink: When investing a crime scene in a house, there is a lynx coat around. Stephanie can't resist trying it on just once. Signature Headgear: Father Dowling's fedora. Something Only They Would Say: Blaine tries to trick the police into arresting Frank, the two dressed alike. Steve asks Frank about what a person told him in confession. Frank says he can't tell her that and Steve announces to the cops this is the real Frank as only a true priest would go to jail rather than break the sanctity of confession. Tomboyish Name: Sister Steve Unassuming Old Priest Investigates: The High Concept driving the show.
His love of mysteries has helped hone his exceptional observation and deductive reasoning skills. So, when he stumbles across a suspicious death or other criminal activity (which happens a lot), he can't help but get involved.
LOS ANGELES - Tom Bosley, whose long acting career was highlighted by his hugely popular role as the understanding father on television's nostalgic, top-rated 1970s comedy series \"Happy Days,\" died Tuesday. He was 83.
\"After rereading the pilot script,\" he recalled in a 1986 interview, \"I changed my mind because of a scene between Howard Cunningham and Richie. The father/son situation was written so movingly, I fell in love with the project.\"
After failing to duplicate his success in \"Fiorello!,\" Bosley moved to Hollywood in 1968. He would not return to Broadway until 1994 when he originated the role of Belle's father in Disney's production of \"Beauty and the Beast.\"
Among McInerny's other series are the Andrew Broom mysteries, the Sister Mary Teresa mysteries (under the pseudonym Monica Quill), and the University of Notre Dame mysteries featuring Roger Knight, a Notre Dame professor, and his brother, Philip, a semi-retired private investigator.
\"Looking back at his career, you see just how prolific he was,\" said Matt Martz, an associate editor at St. Martin's Press who was McInerny's editor for the Father Dowling and the Knight mysteries for the last two years. 59ce067264