Longstreet (TV series)


James Franciscus as Longstreet, 1971.
Genre Crime drama
Starring James Franciscus
Marlyn Mason
Peter Mark Richman
Ann Doran
Country of origin USA
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 23 + pilot movie
Executive producer(s) Stirling Silliphant
Producer(s) Joel Rogosin
Running time 60 mins.
Production company(s) Edling Productions
Corsican Productions
Paramount Network Television
Distributor CBS Television Distribution
Original network ABC
Original release September 16, 1971 – August 10, 1972

Longstreet is an American crime drama series that was broadcast on the ABC in the 1971-1972 season (see 1971 in television). A 90-minute pilot movie of the same name aired prior to the debut of the series as an ABC Movie of the Week.


The series starred James Franciscus as insurance investigator Mike Longstreet. After a bomb (hidden in a champagne bottle) kills his wife, Ingrid, and leaves him blind, the title character pursues and captures the killers. He then continues his career as an insurance investigator despite his blindness. Longstreet's seeing eye dog was a white German Shepherd called Pax. The series was set in New Orleans, but was actually filmed in Los Angeles. Coincidentally, exactly a decade earlier, Franciscus had appeared as insurance investigator Russ Andrews in a 13-week CBS series The Investigators, with James Philbrook as his principal co-star. Both series aired at the same time, Thursday 9 PM (Eastern).

Mystery novelist Baynard Kendrick was credited in each episode as the creator of the source material for the series, although his character, Captain Duncan Maclain, had little in common with Longstreet aside from their both being blind private detectives.

Bruce Lee appeared in four episodes as Li Tsung, an antiques dealer and Jeet Kune Do expert who becomes Longstreet's martial arts instructor. Wikiquote has quotations from Li Tsung's teachings.

Twenty-three episodes of the show were aired before it was canceled in 1972.

Regular and recurring characters


Pilot (1971)

Title Directed by Written by Original air date Production
"Longstreet"Joseph SargentStirling SilliphantFebruary 23, 1971 (1971-02-23)100
Pilot TV-movie: The story of Michael Longstreet, an insurance investigator recovering from an explosion that killed his wife and took his sight. He decides to remain an investigator and find those responsible for his wife's death and his blindness.

Season 1 (1971–72)

No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date Production
1"The Way of the Intercepting Fist"Don McDougallStirling SilliphantSeptember 16, 1971 (1971-09-16)102

Mike enlists the teachings of martial arts expert Li Tsung in order to defend himself despite his blindness.

Note: This is the first of four appearances by Bruce Lee as Li Tsung.
2"A World of Perfect Complicity"Jud TaylorStirling SilliphantSeptember 23, 1971 (1971-09-23)101
Mike and Nikki go undercover as husband and wife in an exclusive apartment building, in an attempt to discover the identity of a thief who is robbing its wealthy residents.
3"One in the Reality Column"Don McDougallLionel E. SiegelSeptember 30, 1971 (1971-09-30)106
To prevent Mike from identifying the voice of a murderer in court, he is put through an ordeal where he is kidnapped, drugged with a hallucinogen, and left alone on a deserted ship.
4"So, Who's Fred Hornbeck?"David Lowell RichSandor SternOctober 7, 1971 (1971-10-07)103
A man who spent several years in prison for a murder he didn't commit enlists Mike's help in finding the real killer.
5"Elegy in Brass"David Lowell RichStephen LordOctober 14, 1971 (1971-10-14)105
When Mike begins investigating the murder of a Jazz Society director and the theft of two rare and valuable instruments, it leads him on a path into greed, ambition, hidden family secrets and the world of jazz music.
6"Spell Legacy Like Death"Paul KrasnyMark Rodgers,
Sy Salkowitz
October 21, 1971 (1971-10-21)109

A dying man sets bombs around the city, and then calls Mike demanding $500,000 in ransom money. Mike suspects the bomber is someone from a case he worked in the past, as he meets with the bomber to pay the ransom.

Note: This is the second of four appearances by Bruce Lee as Li Tsung.
7"The Shape of Nightmares"James NeilsonStirling SilliphantOctober 28, 1971 (1971-10-28)107
A young widow asks Mike to look into the apparent suicide of her husband, who died in prison. Mike enters the prison to investigate, and discovers evidence that he was actually murdered. A convict that Mike had sent to jail is now the "Head of the Yard," running the other inmates like a mob-boss from inside the prison walls, intent on getting revenge on Longstreet. Mike must use all his wits to solve the murder and stay alive.
8"The Girl with the Broom"Lee PhilipsReuben BercovitchNovember 4, 1971 (1971-11-04)104
A Rembrandt is stolen from a wealthy couple's home, and the owner doesn't think a blind insurance investigator is able to handle the job. Mike's investigation into the theft takes him into a web of hidden family secrets and lies.
9"Wednesday's Child"Jeannot SzwarcHoward Browne,
Stephen Kandel,
Mark Rodgers
November 11, 1971 (1971-11-11)110

Nikki is kidnapped after purchasing an antique sewing machine at an auction, and held for ransom. Mike must discover what's hidden within the machine that's of value, and then with Li's help find a way to rescue Nikki.

Note: This is the third of four appearances by Bruce Lee as Li Tsung.
10"'I See', Said the Blind Man"Leslie H. MartinsonSandor SternNovember 18, 1971 (1971-11-18)112

Mike overhears a woman being killed in a darkened alley, and sends Pax to help her. Pax is critically stabbed, and the attacker simply walks away, realizing Mike is blind. Longstreet must try to find out who the killer is.

Note: This is the last of four appearances by Bruce Lee as Li Tsung.
11"This Little Piggy Went to Marquette"Charles S. DubinRobert M. YoungDecember 2, 1971 (1971-12-02)113
Mike investigates a series of thefts of semi-truck trailers (known as "pigs") and uncovers a ring of thieves.
12"There Was a Crooked Man"Don McDougallJohn Furia,
Mark Rodgers
December 9, 1971 (1971-12-09)114
A valuable racehorse is stolen and held for ransom. The kidnappers want Mike to deliver the ransom money, because they figure he won't be able to identify them. After the money is paid and the horse recovered, Mike begins to piece together clues that lead him to the kidnappers' identities. The investigation takes Mike down a winding path of murder, infidelity, family secrets, greed and betrayal.
13"The Old Team Spirit"James SheldonRobert HamnerDecember 16, 1971 (1971-12-16)108
There has been a series of armored-car robberies, and Mike's old mentor, Harold Kemp, is in charge of the investigation. As Mike assists Harold in the investigation, he begins to suspect his mentor is involved.
14"The Long Way Home"Don McDougallRichard H. LandauDecember 30, 1971 (1971-12-30)111
Harper Electronics specializes in hiring handicapped employees, but the company is hit with a string of robberies. Going undercover to investigate, Mike becomes an employee with the firm.
15"Let the Memories Be Happy Ones"Jeffrey HaydenMark RodgersJanuary 6, 1972 (1972-01-06)115
Mike finally meets his sister-in-law Hannah, but their encounter is marred by an attempt on the life of Hannah's husband Sven, who is with the Swedish State Department and currently involved in sensitive discussions with other countries.
16"Survival Times Two"James H. BrownMark RodgersJanuary 13, 1972 (1972-01-13)116
Mike and Duke are stranded in the bayou while on a fishing trip. Duke is bitten by a water moccasin and falls deathly ill, forcing Mike to find a way to survive in the wild and fend off a crazed Cajun trying to kill them.
17"Eye of the Storm"Don McDougallShimon WincelbergJanuary 20, 1972 (1972-01-20)117
Mike travels to a lonely roadside diner to meet the representative of a gang that stole a valuable jade chess set, in order to pay the ransom for its return. The man he is supposed to meet is a no-show as a hurricane blows through, stranding Mike and a group of fellow travelers. When the power goes out and plunges the café into total darkness, one of the customers is murdered with a steak knife. With a restaurant full of suspects, Mike wonders if the dead man is related to his insurance case.
18"Please Leave the Wreck for Others to Enjoy"Alexander SingerStirling SilliphantJanuary 27, 1972 (1972-01-27)119
Nikki is run down by a hit-and-run driver while working on a case with Mike, placing her in the hospital in critical condition. Mike blames himself and begins to question his real motives for being an investigator, as he falls into a deep depression. Duke fears he might give up and never recover, so he calls Mike's initial teacher after his accident, Dr. Dan Stockton. Packing up Mike's belongings, Dr. Stockton takes him to the blind school to help a young man who recently lost his sight and has given up on living, in hopes that Mike will find the desire within himself to keep on fighting.
19"Anatomy of a Mayday"James Harmon BrownRobert W. LenskiFebruary 3, 1972 (1972-02-03)118
When Mike's friend Barry sends out a mayday and then disappears at sea, Mike feels someone may have tried to murder him. Investigating several potential suspects leads him to believe his friend is really still alive.
20"Sad Songs and Other Conversations"Don McDougallSandor SternFebruary 10, 1972 (1972-02-10)120
When a fire breaks out in a hospital room, the patient inside dies. Mike investigates and suspects arson, but must sift through several suspects to find out who and why.
21"Field of Honor"Charles S. DubinHerman GrovesFebruary 17, 1972 (1972-02-17)121
Mike's good friend Jim Collins is the starting quarterback for the New Orleans football team. After suffering a terrible accident, Jim finds he may never walk again. Mike suspects the accident involved foul play.
22"Through Shattering Glass"James H. BrownJackson GillisFebruary 24, 1972 (1972-02-24)122
When Mike hears a man being murdered, he pieces together enough clues to guess the killer's identity. He then plays a dangerous game as he pretends to be an eyewitness to the killing, hoping to draw the killer out into the open.
23"The Sound of Money Talking"Don McDougallRichard Alan ShapiroMarch 2, 1972 (1972-03-02)123
An elderly janitor robs the bank in which he works and is found murdered not long afterward. As Mike investigates he uncovers several suspects, including Nikki's former boyfriend, who works at the same bank.

Syndication and DVD release

The series has rarely been re-aired, but appeared on Canada's Mystery TV in 2005-2006. The series was released on commercial DVD in Japan (region 2) in late 2007, and will be commercially released on DVD in the U.S. by VCE in 2016.

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