Created by Harley Peyton
Oh, those crazy love-struck kids!
In the pilot episode from Moon Over Miami, a short-lived romantic comedy from the 1993 fall television schedule, Miami law student-turned-private eye WALTER TATUM is hired to track down runaway bride and poor little rich girl GWEN CROSS.
And so it begins. Alternately loved or loathed, the show was was either praised as “a fast, sophisticated romance with echoes of those fabulous 1930’s screwball comedies” or dismissed as a sappy ripoff of Moonlighting.
About the only thing people could agree on, was that it had absolutely nothing to do with the 1941 rom-com starring Betty Grable and Carole Landis.
Me? It may have had all the substance of shipping peanuts at times, but I thought it was fun, and I actually enjoyed the intentional lightweight frothiness of it all. I genuinely appreciated the often witty dialogue, as Walter and Ally sputter and sparked, over what was being offered from the ego-tripping and increasingly pretentious banter David and Maddie were offering in their final season or two.
Walter (The Rocketeer‘s Bill Campbell) is the young hunk, the quirky and rather glib owner of a small detective agency in the trendy South Beach area, with a tendency to wordiness and spouting poetry, trying to come off as world weary.
Gwen (Ally Walker, pre-Profiler) is an impulsive, heart-on-her-sleeve type, straight from Kansas City. Alone. After Walter hunts her down, she decides to stay in Miami, but finds herself suddenly in need of a job. Perennial white knight Walter naturally offers her a gig as a secretary in the firm. Suffice it to say that professional and romantic sparks flew.
And just to make sure there were enough young, good-looking people in the cast (and to add a dash of ethnic colour, perhaps, in contrast to the blindingly white Campbell and Walker), they tossed in Augustin Rodriguez as Tito, Walter’s pony-tailed Cuban American assistant and surveillance man, and Marlo Marron as Billy, the firm’s computer whiz and electronics expert. Their relationship is almost as cute as Walter and Gwen’s.
Which made the addition of J.C. Quinn as cantankerous, suspicious, ratty old Sgt. Barnes of the Miami Police almost pre-ordained. Another little treat was a few appearances by Elliot Gould as Gavin Mills, the P.I. who first inspired Walter to leave law school and become a private eye.
The use of glitzy settings and a handsome cast meant the show always looked good. If they had had a chance to work on it a bit, whittle down the cuteness, and pick up the pace a bit we may had something here. But networks, even back then, weren’t known for their patience. The show was scrapped by Christmas, with at least three episodes left unaired.
- “Mr. Cross, pretty girls don’t run away from home for pretty reasons and believe me, I’ve pretty much heard them all.”
- Walter: “…and while I loathe sentiment as much as the next tough guy, well, it seems to like, at the end of the day, love ought to be enough, all by itself.”
- “I’m going to take you upstairs, rip off your clothes and lick you clean like a cat.”
— Billie to Tito
- “Tawdry…but impressive.”
— Gwen, on Walter’s M.O.
- Walter: Sometimes men drink to forget.
Gwen: Why do you drink?
Walter: I don’t remember.
- Television writers Glen Morgan and James Wong were slotted to write for this series, but bailed after catching the pilot. They opted to jointhe writing staff for The X-Files.
- MOON OVER MIAMI
13 60-minute episodes (3 unaired)
Writers: Henry Bromell, Ellen Herman, Art Monterastelli, Mark B. Perry, Harley Peyton
Directors: Allan Arkush, Paris Barclay, James Hayman, Lorraine Senna Ferrara, Melanie Mayron
Creative Consultant: Art Monterastelli
Producers: Gareth Davies
Executive Producer: Allan Arkush
A Columbia Pictures Television Production
Starring Bill Campbell as WALTER TATUM
and Ally Walker as GWEN CROSS
Also starring Marlo Marron, Augustin Rodriguez, J.C.Quinn
Guest stars: Jennifer Grant, George D.Petrie, Elliot Gould, Tom Wahl, John Ratzenberger, Karen Black, J.C. Quinn
- “Moon Over Miami” (September 15, 1993; pilot)
- “A Missing Person” (September 22, 1993; pre-empted for Clinton’s health care plan)
- “My Old Flame” (September 29, 1993)
- “Farewell My Lovelies” (October 6, 1993)
- “Cinderfello” (October 13, 1993)
- “Black River Bride” (October 20, 1993)
- “If You Only Knew” (October 27, 1993)
- “Careless Dentist Blues” (November 3, 1993)
- “¡Quiero Vivir!” (November 17, 1993)
- “In a Safe Place” (December 1, 1993)
- “Memory Man” (unaired)
- “Small Packages” (unaired)
- “Watching the Detectives” (unaired)