Matt Houston

This article is about the TV crime series on ABC. For French R&B singer originating from Guadeloupe, see Matt Houston (singer).
Matt Houston

Series title screen
Genre Crime drama
Created by Lawrence Gordon
Starring Lee Horsley
Pamela Hensley
George Wyner
Buddy Ebsen (1984–1985)
Theme music composer Dominic Frontiere
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 67
Executive producer(s) Aaron Spelling
Douglas S. Cramer
Lawrence Gordon
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 4548 minutes
Production company(s) Aaron Spelling Productions
Largo Productions
Matt Houston Company
Distributor CBS Television Distribution
Original network ABC
Audio format Monaural
Original release September 26, 1982 (1982-09-26) – July 19, 1985 (1985-07-19)

Matt Houston is an American crime drama series that aired on ABC from 1982 to 1985. Created by Lawrence Gordon, the series was produced by Aaron Spelling.


Matt Houston stars Lee Horsley as a wealthy mustachioed Texas oilman named Matlock "Matt" Houston who worked as a private investigator in Los Angeles in his abundant free time. The show also stars Pamela Hensley as his lawyer sidekick, C.J., and George Wyner as his continuously frustrated business manager. During the show's third and final season (1984–85), Buddy Ebsen joined the cast as Matt Houston's uncle, Roy Houston.

Most episodes typically involved one of Matt Houston's close friends being murdered or involved in some criminal enterprise, requiring his assistance. Fortunately, C.J. had access to an Apple III computer named "Baby" that contained a remarkable database on virtually all living and deceased persons, allowing her to provide all necessary information.


Actor Character Years
Lee Horsley Mattlock 'Matt' Houston 1982–85
Pamela Hensley C.J. Parsons 1982–85
John Aprea Lt. Vince Novelli 1982–83
Paul Brinegar Lamar Pettybone 1982–83
Dennis Fimple Bo 1982–83
Penny Santon Mama Rosa Novelli 1982–83
Lincoln Kilpatrick Lt. Michael Hoyt 1983–85
Buddy Ebsen Uncle Roy Houston 1984–85


Season 1: 1982–83

Ep Title Directed by: Written by: Original air date
11"X-22"Richard LangRichard Christian Danus,
Ken Trevey
September 26, 1982 (1982-09-26)
Series pilot: Matt Houston, an oil tycoon's son from Texas, comes to California to manage off-shore drilling. With plenty of cars, a helicopter, and lots of millionaire toys to choose from, Matt Houston finds plenty of time for his PI hobby.
22"Stop the Presses"Don ChaffeyJames L. ConwayOctober 3, 1982 (1982-10-03)
A disreputable tabloid's publisher is nearly killed after telling his four worst enemies he plans to run a front-page story on them.
33"Deadly Fashion"Richard LangErica Byrne,
F. Michael Johnson,
Stephen Lord
October 17, 1982 (1982-10-17)
A famous fashion designer has been murdered and Matt's former girlfriend is under suspicion.
44"Killing Isn't Everything"Don ChaffeyRobert BielakOctober 24, 1982 (1982-10-24)
A football player is being blackmailed by someone who says they have proof he killed the coach.
55"Who Would Kill Ramona?"Richard LangMichael FisherOctober 31, 1982 (1982-10-31)
When an actor dies after drinking from a tainted glass, the star who it belonged to becomes a suspect.
66"Recipe for Murder"Hy AverbackSkip WebsterNovember 7, 1982 (1982-11-07)
A severed head in gelatin shocks a food critic who recognizes it as belonging to his partner.
77"Shark Bait"Corey AllenSkip WebsterNovember 21, 1982 (1982-11-21)
Sharks have been attacking beachgoers, and Matt wonders if something sinister might be going on.
88"The Kidnapping"Barbara PeetersMichael Fisher,
Tim Maschler
November 28, 1982 (1982-11-28)
A critically ill Arab prince has been abducted.
99"Joey's Here"Jerome CourtlandRobert C. Dennis,
Janis Hendler
December 5, 1982 (1982-12-05)
Matt tries to discover why a robot would murder the brother of its genius creator.
1010"The Good Doctor"Don WeisJames L. Conway,
Brad Radnitz
December 12, 1982 (1982-12-12)
During a party at Matt's, a research scientist is murdered.
1111"The Rock and the Hard Place"Kim MannersLarry AlexanderJanuary 2, 1983 (1983-01-02)
A champion boxer's physical ailments and his wife's addictions come into light after a murder.
1212"The Purrfect Crime"Mike VejarCalvin Clements Jr.January 9, 1983 (1983-01-09)
When a cat food mogul is found mauled to death by a domesticated tiger, his four ex-wives retain Matt's services so they can receive proceeds from the will.
1313"The Yacht Club Murders"Cliff BoleNed WynnJanuary 16, 1983 (1983-01-16)
A yacht club is the target of a killer, concerning someone with ties to Matt.
1414"Whose Party Is It Anyway?"Cliff BoleLarry ForresterJanuary 23, 1983 (1983-01-23)
Five famous folks are summoned to Matt's place through a murderous ruse.
1515"Get Houston"Kim MannersCalvin Clements Jr.February 20, 1983 (1983-02-20)
A psychopath orchestrates attacks on Houston from his padded confinement.
1616"The Visitors"Barbara PeetersCalvin Clements Jr.February 27, 1983 (1983-02-27)
A famous scientist suffers a fatal heart attack while witnessing an alleged extraterrestrial visit by an Unidentified Flying Object.
1717"Here's Another Fine Mess"Cliff BoleRobert BrennanMarch 6, 1983 (1983-03-06)
Someone is targeting C.J. and her sorority sisters.
1818"The Beverly Woods Social Club"Don ChaffeySkip WebsterMarch 13, 1983 (1983-03-13)
A gossip columnist is murdered after threatening to expose a high-class prostitution house.
1919"The Showgirl Murders"Don ChaffeyJames L. ConwayMarch 20, 1983 (1983-03-20)
Matt's friend, who suffers from alcoholic binges and blackouts, is accused of murder.
2020"Fear for Tomorrow"Kim MannersMichael FisherApril 3, 1983 (1983-04-03)
When a special code predicts deaths, Matt hunts for clues to prevent them and expose the code's reality.
2121"A Deadly Parlay"Charlie PicerniE. Nick Alexander,
Skip Webster
April 10, 1983 (1983-04-10)
Matt is charged with murdering a jockey whose body he happened upon.
2222"A Novel Way to Die"Corey AllenSkip WebsterApril 17, 1983 (1983-04-17)
A mystery is revealed when a murder-mystery writer is found dead at a convention.
2323"The Hunted"Kim MannersCalvin Clements Jr.April 24, 1983 (1983-04-24)
A notorious crime leader kidnaps C.J. in order to force a trade for his son who is being held in connection with a terrorism plot.

Season 2: 1983–84

Ep Title Directed by: Written by: Original air date
241"Heritage"Don ChaffeyCalvin Clements Jr.September 9, 1983 (1983-09-09)
While investigating a land scam, Matt finds out a few unnerving things about his family and his past.
252"The Woman in White"Kim MannersLarry Alexander,
Skip Webster
September 16, 1983 (1983-09-16)
A former peace officer is jailed and under arrest for murder, but he might not have committed the crime.
263"Love You to Death"Kim MannersRobert BielakSeptember 23, 1983 (1983-09-23)
Matt is the victim of a stalker one-night-stand.
274"The Centerfold Murders"Kim MannersSkip WebsterSeptember 30, 1983 (1983-09-30)
Three stunning women have been murdered, their connection: they are all top centerfolds.
285"Needle in a Haystack"Don ChaffeyDaniel Pyne,
Scott Shepherd
October 7, 1983 (1983-10-07)
After witnessing a brutal crime, a diabetic is deported to Mexico, and his mother is concerned about his condition.
296"Marilyn"Barbara PeetersRobert BrennanOctober 14, 1983 (1983-10-14)
As he lay dying from a fatal gunshot, an associate asks Matt to protect Marilyn. Only one problem: Matt has no idea who she is.
307"The Ghost of Carter Gault"James L. ConwayKen Pettus,
Jud Scott
October 28, 1983 (1983-10-28)
A man trying to expose dirty union tactics is murdered right after asking Matt to take the case.
318"China Doll"Charlie PicerniJames L. ConwayNovember 4, 1983 (1983-11-04)
Did Chinese drug smugglers murder C.J.'s former roommate?
329"Butterfly"James L. ConwaySkip WebsterNovember 18, 1983 (1983-11-18)
In the attempt to protect her little sister from a child prostitute ring, a teenage call girl is murdered.
3310"The Crying Clown"Charlie PicerniDaniel Pyne,
Scott Shepherd
November 25, 1983 (1983-11-25)
A talented art forger is found murdered, and the clues may rest one of his paintings, which is now missing.
3411"The Outsider"Mike VejarCalvin Clements Jr.December 2, 1983 (1983-12-02)
A self-proclaimed "Psychic" who is involved in a kidnapping scheme targets Matt.
3512"Target: Miss World"Cliff BoleRobert BrennanDecember 23, 1983 (1983-12-23)
A sniper assassin kills an innocent girl to maximize his targeting location.
3613"The Monster"James L. ConwayMichael Fisher,
Daniel Pyne,
Scott Shepherd
January 6, 1984 (1984-01-06)
C.J. is left to deal with defending a man who has confessed to killing four teens.
3714"Waltz of Death"Don ChaffeyRobert Bielak,
Daniel Pyne,
Scott Shepherd
January 13, 1984 (1984-01-13)
Someone thinks a renowned concert pianist is a mad strangler.
3815"Houston Is Dead"Charlie PicerniMichael FisherJanuary 20, 1984 (1984-01-20)
While investigating the death of a nursing home nurse, Matt is shot.
3916"Criss-Cross"Don ChaffeyStephen LordJanuary 27, 1984 (1984-01-27)
A retired Lieutenant Vincent Novelli is charged with stealing cocaine from a police evidence vault upon his return from vacation in Hawaii.
4017"The Bikini Murders"Charlie PicerniSkip WebsterFebruary 3, 1984 (1984-02-03)
A secretary is murdered after uncovering a plot to blackmail her boss.
4118"Death Match"Don ChaffeyRobert BrennanFebruary 24, 1984 (1984-02-24)
A serial killer who killed Matt's fiancee in the past reveals that he has struck again.
4219"Blood Ties"William CrainDaniel Pyne,
Scott Shepherd
March 2, 1984 (1984-03-02)
A hospital angel of death targets Matt's father.
4320"The Secret Admirer"Don ChaffeyCalvin Clements Jr.March 9, 1984 (1984-03-09)
C.J. is stalked by an obsessed admirer who murders her beau.
4421"Cash and Carry"James L. ConwayJames L. ConwayMarch 23, 1984 (1984-03-23)
A thief has second thoughts after stealing a cool $3 million from the mob.
4522"On the Run: Part 1"Cliff BoleMichael FisherMarch 30, 1984 (1984-03-30)
An amnesiac Matt wakes in his penthouse to discover a month is past and he is accused of murder.

Season 3: 1984–85

Ep Title Directed by: Written by: Original air date
461"Wanted Man: Part 2"James L. ConwayMichael FisherSeptember 21, 1984 (1984-09-21)
Buddy Ebsen stars as Roy Houston, Matt's uncle who investigates the accusations against his nephew and uncovers a mind control plot.
472"Vanished"Don ChaffeyMichael FisherSeptember 28, 1984 (1984-09-28)
Hoyt's young daughter is kidnapped by a child molester.
483"Eyewitness"Charlie PicerniAnn Lewis HamiltonOctober 12, 1984 (1984-10-12)
A TV newsman covers a kidnapping that he might be involved in to boost ratings.
494"Apostle of Death"Kim MannersSkip WebsterOctober 19, 1984 (1984-10-19)
Whether it's a religious cult or a commune, Matt must rescue a girl who is being bilked out of a $3 million inheritance by the evangelist leader who plans to murder her after he has gained control of the cash.
505"Caged"Cliff BoleWilliam T. ConwayOctober 26, 1984 (1984-10-26)
After getting amnesia after a car accident, C.J. finds herself in prison and uncovers a prostitution ring. Guest starring Cynthia Cypert as Cynthia.
516"Return to Nam: Part 1"James L. ConwayDaniel Pyne,
Scott Shepherd
November 2, 1984 (1984-11-02)
Matt discovers that his cousin, who was once believed dead in Cambodia, is still a POW.
527"Escape from Nam: Part 2"James L. ConwayDaniel Pyne,
Scott Shepherd
November 9, 1984 (1984-11-09)
The Cambodian warlord who has imprisoned Matt's cousin might be getting a little help from someone close to Matt.
538"The High Fashion Murders"Cliff BoleJames L. ConwayNovember 16, 1984 (1984-11-16)
Two models have been murdered, and Matt can't accept the alibi of the most likely suspect.
549"Death Stalk"Mike VejarRobert BrennanNovember 23, 1984 (1984-11-23)
An international assassin has a grudge against Matt.
5510"Blood Money"Don ChaffeyStephen LordNovember 30, 1984 (1984-11-30)
Matt is dragged into a case involving international gem smuggling from a war-torn Vietnam. Guest-starring Scott Marlowe.
5611"Deadly Games"Charlie PicerniDavid Florimbi,
Daniel Pyne,
Scott Shepherd
December 7, 1984 (1984-12-07)
The most dangerous game is revisited when a sporting goods mogul hunts athletes.
5712"Stolen"Cliff BoleMargie GordonDecember 21, 1984 (1984-12-21)
An actress, whose infant son had been kidnapped a year earlier, asks Matt to investigate a woman she saw in a park with a child who resembled her lost baby.
5813"The Nightmare Man"Kim MannersMichael Fisher,
Daniel Pyne
January 4, 1985 (1985-01-04)
Matt believes that the man who abducted him as a boy is kidnapping again.
5914"Breakpoint"Peter CraneRobert BrennanJanuary 11, 1985 (1985-01-11)
Matt rushes to the aid of a girl who is threatening suicide.
6015"Death Trap"Kim MannersRichard FisherJanuary 11, 1985 (1985-01-11)
A once-prosperous oil town is now home to corruption and embezzlement.
6116"The Honeymoon Murders"Charlie PicerniSteven WhitneyJanuary 25, 1985 (1985-01-25)
Someone is targeting brides-to-be.
6217"The Beach Club Murders"Cliff BoleWilliam T. ConwayFebruary 1, 1985 (1985-02-01)
Matt investigates blackmail murders with the assistance of one of the victim's sisters.
6318"New Orleans Nightmare"Mike RobeMike RobeFebruary 8, 1985 (1985-02-08)
A stewardess accidentally happens upon and photographs a murder and asks Matt to protect her.
6419"Company Secrets"Charlie PicerniThomas G. Edwards,
Scott Shepherd
February 15, 1985 (1985-02-15)
Roy fakes his death to uncover a plot to murder his CIA squad members.
6520"Killing Time"Mike VejarDaniel PyneFebruary 22, 1985 (1985-02-22)
Matt's new flame has a family secret; her brother is funding Irish terrorists.
6621"Death Watch"William CrainRobert EarllMarch 15, 1985 (1985-03-15)
Matt and company investigate a drug ring.
6722"Final Vows"James L. ConwaySkip WebsterMarch 29, 1985 (1985-03-29)
Elizabeth, the object of Matt's affections, returns.

DVD releases

On March 9, 2010, CBS DVD (Distributed by Paramount) released season 1 of Matt Houston on DVD in Region 1 for the first time.[1] No further seasons were released.

On May 4, 2015, it was announced that all three seasons of Matt Houston would be released the summer of 2015 by VEI, Inc.[2] The release was pushed back and will be released in July 2016.[3]

Award nominations

Year Award Result Category Recipient
1983 Emmy Award Nominated Outstanding Film Editing for a Series Bob Bring (For episode "The Showgirl Murders")
Edgar Award Best Television Episode Richard Christian Danus and Ken Trevey (For episode "Matt Houston")
1985 Young Artist Award Best Young Actor – Guest in a Television Series Bumper Robinson


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