The ABC Mystery Movie

Television Anthology Series
(1989-90, ABC)

The ABC Mystery Movie (aka “The ABC Monday Mystery Movie”) was a short-lived attempt to revive the mystery wheel format pioneered by NBC from 1971-77 on The NBC  Mystery Movie. It even revived the show’s most successful series, Columbo, with Peter Falk returning in the title role. They also added two new series:, Gideon Oliver, starring Louis Gossett, Jr. as a crime solving anthropologist, and B.L. Stryker, with Burt Reynolds as a South Florida private investigator.

In the second season, the show switched nights and became The ABC Saturday Mystery Movie. They bade farewell to Gideon Oliver, and kept Columbo and B.L. Stryker, and introduced  two new series: Christine Cromwell, and a revival of CBS’ 1970s crime drama Kojak.

The series as a whole did well enough, ranking #28 in the ratings for 1989-90, but perhaps not as well as expected. The network yanked them all, at the end of the second season. Except for Columbo, of course, which ABC kept in production for an additional fourteen TV movies, before it was finally put to rest in 2003.


    (aka “The ABC Monday Mystery Movie,” “The ABC Saturday Mystery Movie”)
    Premiere: February 6, 1989

      10 episodes
      Peter Falk returns in the title role, as the rumpled LAPD homicide detective.
      5 movies
      Starring Louis Gossett, Jr. as a crime solving anthropologist. Based on the series of novels by Aaron Elkins.
    • B.L. STRYKER
      12 movies
      Starring Burt Reynolds as a South Florida private investigator. The only P.I. show in the lineup.
      4 movies
      Starring ex-Charlie’s Angel Jacklyn Smith as a former San Francisco public defender who goes to work for one of the city’s most prestigious firms.
    • KOJAK
      4 movies
      Starring Telly Savalas as the NTPD detective, in a revival of CBS’ 1970s crime drama. Apparently nobody involved in the production of the revival except for Savalas himself had ever seen the original.
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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