Philip Marlowe, Private Eye

Philip Marlowe, Private Eye
Genre Mystery
Written by Raymond Chandler
Jo Eisinger
Jeremy Hole
Jesse L. Lasky, Jr.
Pat Silver
Murray Smith
Jaron Summers
Directed by Bryan Forbes
Sidney Hayers
Peter R. Hunt
Robert Iscove
Allan King
Mark Lavant
Starring Powers Boothe
Opening theme "Marlowe's Theme" performed by Moe Koffman
Composer(s) John Cameron
Samuel Matlovsky
Country of origin United States
United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 11 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Gabriel Katzka
Producer(s) Jon Slan
David Wickes
Cinematography Frank Beascoechea
Rene Ohashi
Michael Reed
Editor(s) Bill Lenny
Ronald Sanders
Running time 4548 minutes
Original network HBO (United States)
ITV (United Kingdom)
Audio format Monaural
Original release April 16, 1983 (1983-04-16) – June 3, 1986 (1986-06-03)

Philip Marlowe, Private Eye is an American mystery series that aired on HBO in the United States from April 16, 1983 through June 3, 1986, and on ITV in the United Kingdom. The series features Powers Boothe as Raymond Chandler's title character, and was the first drama produced for HBO.[1]


The series chronicles the cases of private detective Philip Marlowe. Set in Los Angeles during the 1930s, storylines were adapted from Chandler's short stories. Philip Marlowe, Private Eye aired in two short runs beginning in April 1983 to June 1983 in the US and May 1984 in the UK. The second run began in April 1986 and ended in June 1986.[2]



Season 1 (1983)

No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date
1-1"The Pencil"Peter R. HuntJo Eisinger16 April 1983
Marlowe is hired to protect a former mob accountant, Sal Vaccaro. The mob is gunning for him after he cooked the books and ran off with their money. Marlowe hides Vaccaro out in a hotel to evade the assassins, with the help of his Girl Friday, Annie Riordan, but it soon becomes clear that Marlowe is being played.
1-2"The King in Yellow"Bryan ForbesJesse L. Lasky, Jr.23 April 1983
Brash musician King Leopardi is at the top of the charts, but somebody has made him Number 1 with a bullet. He winds up dead in a singer's bed, and Marlowe needs to figure out who killed the King. The suspects range from jilted lovers to angry managers, and a threatening note that leads Marlowe to an old mystery and a motorcyclist who trades gunshots before the case is all wrapped up.
1-3"Finger Man"Sidney HayersJo Eisinger30 April 1983
Hiring Marlowe is proving to be hazardous to one's health. After two clients end up dead and when he is framed for doing in one of them, Marlowe must battle with the cops, the mob and a grand jury investigation to get out of a frame. And what a frame - they've got his gun as the murder weapon and $25,000 the victim had given to Marlowe for safe keeping. With trouble from all sides and a beautiful woman who may not be what she seems, Marlowe tries to finger the right man before he takes the fall.
1-4"Nevada Gas"David WickesDavid Wickes7 May 1983
A hotshot lawyer from Reno is killed, and the cops are quick to blame a beaten-down old rival of Marlowe's. But Marlowe isn't so sure, and sets out to clear him. The trail leads to Annie Riordan's new beau and a pair of killers with a very deadly car that doubles as a gas chamber. Now, Marlowe has to nab the killers before he becomes the next victim of the deadly "Nevada gas."
1-5"Smart Aleck Kill"Peter R. HuntJesse L. Lasky, Jr.14 May 1983
The job of acting as security for a young Hollywood star grows more complicated when Marlowe discovers the actor is dead, and his doctor and the movie studio are trying to cover it up. Now, Marlowe is up to his neck in scandal, drugs and blackmail. And to make matters worse, there's a guy with a tommy gun and an itchy trigger finger who's out to keep Marlowe quiet, for keeps.

Season 2 (1986)

No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date
2-1"Blackmailers Don't Shoot"Allan KingJeremy Hole27 April 1986
Marlowe is hired by a mobster to protect his actress girlfriend, who is inadvertently kidnapped.
2-2"Spanish Blood"Robert IscoveJeremy Hole4 May 1986
Marlowe investigates the death of his friend Spanish, a lawyer who was running for DA against a corrupt incumbent.
2-3"Pickup on Noon Street"Robert IscoveJeremy Hole11 May 1986
Marlowe's out to find the killer of a young girl, but he may have the chance to save another one. When he comes to the aid of Token Ware, a cigarette girl in a nightclub, Marlowe gets fingered by the law as the prime suspect in an extortion scheme. Now, he has to tangle with an actor who's got shady tastes in young women, his agent who only wants to keep it quiet, a club owner who's as slimy as they come and a musclebound thug who only wants Marlowe dead.
2-4"Guns at Cyrano's"Robert IscoveJeremy Hole18 May 1986
Benny Cyrano owns a nightclub, a gym, and Duke Targo, who could become the next heavyweight champ. But somebody's been pressuring Duke to take a dive in his next big fight, and Cyrano hires Marlowe to make sure it doesn't happen. The shakedown seems to be linked to Duke's girl, Jean, and when Marlowe discovers a link to the newly installed boxing commissioner, he has to act fast before somebody goes down for the count... for good.
2-5"Trouble Is My Business"Robert IscoveJeremy Hole25 May 1986
A millionaire hires Marlowe to break up the budding romance between his naive nephew and a gold-digging social climber.
2-6"Red Wind"Martin LavutJaron Summers3 June 1986
Anything can happen when the Santa Ana wind blows through town, as a late night murder in a bar sets Marlowe off on a new case. There's a woman with a secret, a missing pearl necklace, an affair that could destroy a career, and another corpse before it all wraps up and the red wind dies down.

Awards and nominations

Year Award Result Category Recipient
1983 CableACE Awards Nominated Actor in a Dramatic Presentation Powers Boothe
1987 Actress in a Dramatic Series Kate Reid
(For episode "Trouble Is My Business")
1987 Canadian Society of Cinematographers Awards Best Cinematography in TV Drama Rene Ohashi
1986 Gemini Awards Best Writing in a Dramatic Program/Series (TV Adaptation) Jeremy Hole
Best Photography in a Dramatic Program or Series Rene Ohashi
Best Pay TV Drama Jon Slan
Best Music Composition for a Series (Dramatic Underscore) Samuel Matlovsky


  1. "Interview With David Wickes". Retrieved 2009-04-14.
  2. Widdicombe, Toby (2001). A Reader's Guide to Raymond Chandler. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 177. ISBN 0-313-30767-9.
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