Like an early incarnation of Richard Castle, Ellery Queen is a crime novelist who helps his inspector father on his cases. It’s the late 1940’s in New York City and Inspector Richard Queen and his right hand man Sergeant Velie often find themselves out of their depths and it falls to Ellery to crack the case.
High on period detail and brought to the screen by Columbo creators Levinson and Link this version of EQ is pretty good, adding plenty of humour to the mix too.
There were a couple of twists here in the shape of a rival for Queen – radio detective Simon Brimmer and best of all, just before the denouement of each episode Ellery would speak direct to camera to see if we had solved who-dunnit yet!
Queen lived at 212-A West 87th Street, Manhattan.
There was a feature length pilot proceeding the series. Called Too Many Suspects it was broadcast on 23 March 1975.
Ellery Queen was created in the 1930’s by Frederic Dannay and Manfred Bennington Lee for a series of mystery novels before graduating to radio in 1939. The first TV incarnation of EQ was Richard Hart in 1950 although he sadly died during the show’s run and was replaced by Lee Bowman. In the late 1950’s George Nader took on the role for NBC with Lee Phiilips then taking over from him. Peter Lawford played Queen in a feature length pilot called Don’t Look Behind broadcast 14 November 1971.
USA / NBC / x50 minute episodes / Broadcast September 1975 – 5 September 1976
Theme Music: Ellery Queen by Elmer Bernstein
Jim Hutton as Ellery Queen
David Wayne as Inspector Richard Queen
Tom Reese as Sgt Velie
John Hillerman as Simon Brimmer
Ken Swoffard as Frank Flannigan