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Ellery Queen (TV series)

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8.3/10 TV

Theme music composer  Elmer Bernstein
No. of seasons  1
Final episode date  4 April 1976
Number of episodes  22
8.4/10 IMDb

Starring  Jim Hutton David Wayne
Country of origin  United States
First episode date  11 September 1975
Number of seasons  1
Ellery Queen (TV series) wwwgstaticcomtvthumbtvbanners376796p376796
Created by  Richard Levinson William Link
Composer(s)  Elmer Bernstein Dana Kaproff
Program creators  William Link, Richard Levinson
Cast  Jim Hutton, David Wayne, Tom Reese, John Hillerman
Similar  The Adventures of Ellery, The Eddie Capra Mysteries, Murder - She Wrote, Columbo, McMillan & Wife

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Ellery Queen is an American TV series featuring the titular fictional sleuth. Starring Jim Hutton as Ellery Queen, David Wayne as his father, Inspector Richard Queen, and Tom Reese as Sgt. Velie, it aired on NBC during the 1975–76 television season. It was created by the writing/producing team of Richard Levinson and William Link. The title character investigates a murder in each episode, and the series uses some of the same dramatic devices found in the early Queen novels and radio shows.


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A pilot for the series premiered on March 23, 1975, with the made-for-TV movie Ellery Queen (also titled "Too Many Suspects"), adapted from the 1965 Ellery Queen novel The Fourth Side of the Triangle. A total of 22 episodes followed in the show's single season. The theme music was by Elmer Bernstein. The last episode aired on April 4, 1976.


Ellery Queen (TV series) 1000 images about Ellery Queen on Pinterest Elmer bernstein Jim

Set in post-World War II New York City, the show followed the "Challenge" format of early Ellery Queen mystery novels and radio shows, in which the reader (or listener) was given a chance to solve the mystery. In the series, this tradition was followed by having Ellery Queen (Jim Hutton) "break the fourth wall" late in each episode, telling audience members that they had all the clues to solve it themselves.

Ellery Queen (TV series) 1000 images about Ellery Queen on Pinterest Elmer bernstein Jim

The final act always used the time-honored detective cliché of calling together all the suspects, with Ellery Queen presenting the solution (except in one episode when the elder Queen took over). The great detective's detailed exposition allowed audience members to assess how they had guessed right and wrong. In some episodes, Queen's explanation disproved the theory of a rival sleuth.

Ellery Queen (TV series) Classic Film and TV Caf The Five Best Ellery Queen TV Series Episodes

The series departed from the original stories in two respects. An element of mild humour was added by making the Ellery Queen character slightly physically clumsy, and the character of rival radio detective Simon Brimmer (John Hillerman) was created for the series.


In addition to lead actors Jim Hutton and David Wayne, the series featured several regulars:

Tom Reese, Inspector Queen's right-hand-man, Sergeant Velie John Hillerman, radio detective Simon Brimmer (pilot and 8 episodes) Ken Swofford, reporter Frank Flannigan (5 episodes) Nina Roman, Grace, Inspector Queen's secretary (7 episodes) Arch Johnson, Deputy Commissioner Hayes (3 episodes) Maggie Nelson, Vera, Flannigan's secretary (3 episodes).


Richard Schickel, reviewing the series in September 1975, called it "a garage-sale period piece"; he said "the presence of Guy Lombardo, some ancient autos and the oldest of detective story conventions (all suspects are assembled in one room to await the results of the detective's ratiocinations) are supposed to evoke nostalgia. They do not—and the format's stasis is numbing."

In 1979 Richard Levinson and William Link, the creators of the series, won a Special Edgar Award for creating the Columbo and Ellery Queen TV series. Thirty-five years later, David Wiegand, reviewing the series when it was released on DVD, called the show's formula a "completely satisfying guilty pleasure" and asserted that the "appeal of the series is that the clues are actually there in the development of each show, and just before the denouement, Ellery breaks the 'fourth wall' and asks if you've figured it out."

DVD releases

The series, including the pilot, was released on DVD - in Australia (region 4, PAL) on 15 September 2010 and in the US by Entertainment One (region 1, NTSC) on September 28, 2010. The Australian release also includes the earlier 1971 TV movie Ellery Queen: Don't Look Behind You (with Peter Lawford in the role of Ellery Queen) which Levinson and Link co-wrote under their pseudonym 'Ted Leighton' (the producer made script changes which the team “detested”). In 2016 the complete series of Ellery Queen was released on DVD in the UK. This release also include the 1971 TV movie Ellery Queen: Don't Look Behind You.


Ellery Queen (TV series) Wikipedia