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Tenafly

By Martin

The NBC Mystery Movies -- Sunday, Wednesday, and Tuesday alike -- offered some true TV novelties in almost every mystery subgenre. Sadly, only Columbo, McMillan with and without Wife, McCloud, and Banacek get any play today, because of the short runs of the alternating "also rans" and their unwieldy 1 1/2 to 2 hour running times.

One of the most offbeat and rewarding of these limited mystery series was Tenafly. It sounded like a TV ripoff of that popular '70s movie genre, the blaxploitation film, but this one was literally ahead of its time. Imagine Danny Glover's Sgt. Murtaugh character ("Lethal Weapon") as a corporate private eye, with a bit of Cliff Huxtable and a soupcon of back-aching, gunshy Rockford for good measure. This was a middle-aged, middle-income, domesticated African-American eye America simply wasn't ready for. But watching this balding, spectacled father of two chasing a taxicab hijacker by day and missing school play costumes by night was a nice change from the equestrian histrionics of the estimable Marshall McCloud or the suave banter of McMillan and his Wife. James McEachin, now an author of mainstream and cop fiction, played Tenafly to the punch-the-clock, trudge-to-the-next-witness, take the kids to school hilt.

 

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TV TIDBITS

Aired: October 10, 1973 - August 6, 1974

Cast: James McEachin. Lillian Lehman, Paul Jackson, Rosanna Huffman, David Huddleston

Network: NBC

Genre: Detective Drama

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