Cody Allen, Nick Ryder & Murray “Boz” Bozinsky (Riptide)

Created by Stephen J. Cannell and Frank Lupo

Riptide was Stephen J. Cannell’s attempt to update Surfside Six for the eighties, with a few Magnum P.I. touches. It featured good-looking hunks (and Vietnam vets) Perry King as CODY ALLEN and Joe Penny as NICK RYDER, who team up with computer nerd MURRAY “BOZ” BOZINSKY (Thom Bray) to run a detective agency out of the Riptide cabin cruiser moored at Pier 56 at the King Harbor marina in Redondo Beach, California.

Unapologetically action-packed, the show boasted a high quotient of motorboat and helicopter chases (thanks to the Ebbtide, Cody’s speeboat and Screaming Mimi, Nick’s battered pink helicopter) and, this being a Cannell production, plenty of car chases. Nick drove a classic red Chevrolet Corvette and in early episodes, at least, Cody had a vintage “Woodie” station wagon.

But chases weren’t enough, so they soon added “cute,” with the addition of Roboz, a small orange robot/computer with a face like an ant (or a lop-sided football) that Boz had invented. Roboz was able to instantaneously obtain info (and display it on a screen built into its chest) via a network of data banks accessible to it circuits — pretty impressive stuff, I guess, in those pre-internet days. But Roboz wasn’t perfect — it frequently fell down stairs or overboard, got stuck in the sand or would just malfunction exactly when it was most needed.

Oh, the hilarity that ensued…

Still, it could be fun and even engaging at times, although it was never up to the quality of some of Cannell’s other PI shows. Definitely B-Team.

Or maybe C.

In 1986, the show found itself scheduled against ratings-juggernaut Moonlighting. Faced with the inevitability of cancellation, the show’s writers made the series’ penultimate episode one of its cleverest: Not making any money in their chosen profession, Cody, Nick and Boz give up their P.I. gig to go work in Hollywood.

Their new job? Technical advisors for a familiar-looking TV series about a pair of bickering PIs. She’s a blond-bombshell former model, he’s a shades-wearing, Motown-singin’, fast-talking smartass. The episode’s title? “If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em!”

If only they’d used this sort of wit (or any sort) a bit more often.

Joe Penny (Nick) later showed up as another private eye: Jake in Jake and The Fatman.


  • “And now, back to my real love… helicopters… the guys on Riptide… not that I watched it much… flew a pink Sikorsky S-58T… a purposefully “low-tech” slap at Airwolf and Blue Thunder. It was supposed to be a cheap Army surplus unit…marginally airworthy and usually backfiring, but was actually a high-dollar twin engine turbine modification of the old Sikorsky…(the “T” ID’s it as a turbine model).”
    — John Boyle


  • ‘Good looking?’ Christ! God, how I hated this show. I don’t know what was more annoying, or who I wanted to punch in the face the most: that smirking Joe Pansy or that cabana boy pussytickler mustache the older guy had (he looked like Magnum with AIDS, or possibly a child molester about to do the perp stroll) or that geeky computer retard. And that robot? Even the one in Lost in Space was less annoying… and to think only a few years ago Cannell had co-created Rockford… (Riptide was) possibly the nadir of 1980’s television detective shows.”
    — Duke Seabrook



    (1984-86, NBC)
    55 60-minute episodes
    Created by Stephen J. Cannell and Frank Lupo
    Writers: Tom Blomquist, Stephen J. Cannell, Frank Lupo, James Andronica, Steve Beers, Paul Bernbaum, Jim Carlson, Alan Cassidy, Babs Greyhosky, Mark Jones, Terrence McDonnel, Terry D. Nelson, Bill Nuss, Burt Pear, Steven L. Sears
    Directors: Chuck Bowman, Bob Bralver, Gloryette Clark, Dennis Donnelly, Richard Forrest, Bruce Seth Green, Victor Hsu, Bruce Kessler, Perry King, Michael Lange, Arnold Laven, Guy Magar, Kim Manners, Tony Mordente, Christian I. Nyby, Michael O’Herlihy, Michael Preece, Robert Sallin, Ron Satlof, Michael Switzer, Michael Vejar
    Theme by Pete Carpenter and Mike Post
    Executive producers: Stephen J. Cannell and Frank Lupo
    A Stephen J. Cannell Production
    Starring Perry King as CODY ALLEN
    Joe Penny as NICK RYDER
    and Thom Bray as BOZ BOZINSKY
    Also starring Jack Ging as Lt. Jack Quinlan
    and Anne Francis as Mama Jo
    Marsha Warfield as Max (replacing Mama Jo)
    Ken Olandt as Kirk Dooley
    and June Chadwick as Lt. Joanna Parisi (replacing Lt. Quinlan)

    • SEASON ONEBuy this season on DVD Buy the complete series on DVD
    • Pilot (January 3, 1984;two hour pilot)
    • “Conflict Of Interest” (January 10, 1984)
    • “Somebody’s Killing The Great Geeks Of America” (January 17, 1984)
    • “Hatchet Job” (January 31, 1984)
    • “The Mean Green Love Machine” (February 77, 1984)
    • “Diamonds Are For Never” (February 21, 1984)
    • “The Hardcase” (February 28, 1984)
    • “Four-Eyes” (March 6, 1984)
    • “#1 With A Bullet” (March 20, 1984)
    • “Long Distance Daddy” (March 27, 1984)
    • “Double Your Pleasure” (April 3, 1984)
    • “Raiders Of The Lost Sub” (May ,15 1984)
    • “Something Fishy” (May 22, 1984)
    • SEASON TWO | Buy this season on DVD
    • “Where The Girls Are” (October 2, 1984)
    • “The Orange Grove” (October 16, 1984)
    • “Catch Of The Day” (October 23, 1984)
    • “Mirage” (October 30, 1984)
    • “Beat The Box” (November ,13 1984)
    • “Father’s Day” (November 20, 1984)
    • “Be True To Your School” (November 27, 1984)
    • “It’s A Vial Sort Of Business” (December 4, 1984)
    • “Peter Pan Is Alive And Well” (December 11, 1984)
    • “Catch A Fallen Star” (December 18, 1984)
    • “Gams People Play” (January 8, 1985)
    • 1″Prisoner Of War” (January 15, 1985)
    • “Baxter And Boz” (January 22, 1985)
    • “Curse Of The Mary Aberdeen” (January 29, 1985)
    • “Boz Busters” (February 5, 1985)
    • “Oil Bets Are Off” (February 12, 1985)
    • “Girls Night Out” (February 19, 1985)
    • “Polly Want An Explanation” (March 5, 1985)
    • “The Twisted Cross” (March 12, 1985)
    • “Fuzzy Vision” (March 19, 1985)
    • “Arrivederci, Baby” (May 7, 1985)
    • “Harmony And Grits” (May 13, 1985)
    • SEASON THREE | Buy this season on DVD
    • “Wipe Out” (October 1, 1985)
    • “Thirty-Six Hours ‘Til Dawn” (October 22, 1985)
    • “Does Not Compute” (October 29, 1985)
    • “The Bargain Department” (November 5, 1985)
    • “Who Really Watches The Sunset” (November 12, 1985)
    • “Still Goin’ Steady” (November 19, 1985)
    • “Robin And Marian” (December 3, 1985)
    • “Requiem For Icarus” (December 10, 1985)
    • “Home For Christmas” (December 17, 1985)
    • “Lady Killer” (January 7, 1986)
    • “A Matter Of Policy” (January 14, 1986)
    • “The Wedding Bell Blues” (January 21, 1986)
    • “The Frankie Kahana Show” (February 11, 1986)
    • “Smiles We Left Behind” (February 25, 1986; two-hour episode)
    • “The Pirate And The Princess” (March 7, 1986)
    • “Playing Hardball” (March 14, 1986)
    • “The Play’s The Thing” (March 21, 1986)
    • “Dead Men Don’t Floss” (April 4, 1986)
    • “Chapel Of Glass” (April 11, 1986)
    • “If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em” (April 18, 1986)
    • “Echoes” (April 22, 1986)
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Thanks to James W. Fry for the scoop on the last show, John Boyle for the lowdown on the whirlybird, and Renae for dropping a dime where it counts. And merci to Ken Karpinski for the GPS assist.

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