Dave Brodsky
Created by
Jay Tarses

"Speaking of crime terminology, what the hell do they mean by 'forensics'? And what exactly is a 'bunco squad'? Police talk, I hate it."
-- Dave

Originally, this thirteen-part summer mini series was supposed to be titled SMOLDERING LUST but the powers-that-be at NBC chickened out. To add insult to injury, they scheduled the show in a the "death spot" of a late Saturday night time slot, and then premiered it over a holiday weekend. Talk about dead in the water. Which is too bad, because this was an intelligent, tasteful, witty little show, was a real treat for fans of creator/producer/writer Jay Tarses, of Buffalo Bill and Molly Dodd fame.

Young, flaky, reluctant Jewish private eye DAVE BRODSKY (played by Bradley "West Wing" Whitford) ran his San Francisco detective agency from his used record store. In fact, he only takes the occasional detective gig to keep the record store going. As Dave puts it, "I do insurance fraud, polaroids, and 33 1/3 LPs. Two things I don't do? Compact disks and murder."

Aiding and abetting Dave in his used record emporium is the long-suffering Cookie (played by Maggie Hahn, who was great in Murphy's Law. Guess what? She's great again). Besides putting up with Dave's erratic business sense, she has to deal with the messes he gets into in his other line of work. And these are some considerable messes.

Dave is hired by Margot Cody (Kate Capshaw), a sexy, ambitious woman who's the brains behind the very successful outdoor clothing catalogue business she runs with her husband, Chris (John Calvin). Seems she suspects ol' Chris of playing footsie with one of the catalogue models, Eve Saskatchewan. Well, turns out Chris is. Also turns out that that Dave and Margot aren't above a little physical friction, either. Not that any of this bed hopping leaves anyone guilt-free. There's enough neuroses bopping around in this thing to fill a Woody Allen retrospective. And when a stiff pops up in the darnedest place, things really get messy. When all about her are losing theirs, only the ever-faithful Cookie seems to be capable of keeping her head. But that's only a guess.

Thrown into the no man's land of television scheduling (late Saturday night) after being kept on a shelf for over six months, the show wasn't even allowed to die a natural death. The plug was pulled after only four episodes. Too bad. This show didn't need to iron out any difficulties- it was good from the start. Dave's voiceovers pointed gentle fun at private eye conventions; as People put it, "more Seinfeld than Sam Spade".

Witty, fairly sosphisticated, mildly satiric, the show was definitely a class act. No wonder it was doomed.

TELEVISION

  • BLACK TIE AFFAIR
    (1993, NBC)
    13 30-minute episodes; alas, only four were aired
    Premiered May 29, 1993
    Created by Jay Tarses
    Writers: Jay Tarses, Richard Dresser
    Directed by Jay Tarses
    Produced by Richard Dresser
    Supervising Producer: Elaine Arata
    Executive Producer: Jay Tarses
    Starring Bradley Whitford as DAVE BRODSKY
    and Maggie Hahn as Cookie
    Also starring
    Kate Capshaw, John Calvin, Allison Elliot

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"...and I'll tell you right out that I'm a man who likes talking to a man that likes to talk."