Wednesday, 15 June 2016
417 The Eddie Capra Mysteries
First viewed : 28 January 1980
This was launched with a two hour pilot episode "Nightmare at Pendragon's Castle" featuring Robert Vaughan as a powerful and sadistic millionaire with his own Excalibur sword that only he could pull out of a boulder in the grounds of his mansion. He has some people over for dinner and what do you know ? He ends up getting murdered. Instead of calling for Colombo it falls to defence lawyer Eddie Capra played by Freddie Mercury lookalike Vincent Baggetta to solve the mystery and get his client off. When he does, he gets his own series. Vaughan's Excalibur turned out to be an electronic device which recognised his fingerprints.
Although I often get this one mixed up with Petrocelli because the titular protagonists were both attorneys and it went out in the same Friday night time slot , this was really a re-badging of Ellery Queen. It used the same device of challenging the audience to identify the real murderer before Eddie's revelatory speech and actually adapted some of the scripts intended for the cancelled series.
The main thing I recall ( with a shudder ) was that his girlfriend Lacey ( Wendy Phillips ) was a single mum with a ghastly, precocious daughter Jennie ( Seven Anne McDonald, daughter of Country Joe McDonald of Fixing To Die Rag fame ) who set my teeth on edge. I like to think the show's cancellation after just one series was down to the audience's rejection of her.
Baggetta will pop up again before long in a similar role while McDonald has had a successful career as a writer and rock manager.