Julian "Digger" Burroughs
Devlin "Trace" Tracy
Daedulus Patrick Murphy

Created by Warren Murphy (1933-2015)

"It's a bubble that's gonna break, it's Murphy's law"

.--theme song lyrics, sung by Al Jarreau

I'm sorry, but there's no sense listing these guys separately. They're all the same guy, whatever name they're going by, especially the first two, JULIAN "DIGGER" BURROUGHS and DEVLIN "TRACE" TRACY.

A bumbling, drunken, often politically/socially/culturally incorrect but lovable lout of a freelance insurance investigator manages to continually solve cases, much to the chagrin of his immediate supervisor of the company he's on contract to, but very much thanks to his very smart Japanese/Italian blackjack dealer/part-time hooker roommate and his very good friend who just happens to own the insurance company. The Digger series ran for four books, all paperback originals, out of Pocket Books. All great fun.

And when that series petered out (or whatever the hell happened), author Warren Murphy tweaked it a little, changed some names (most notablt from "Digger" to "Trace") and a few minor details and continued the series for Signet for another seven books (and change). Still bumbling, still a drunk, still hilariously incorrect.

By the time the character got to television, he'd acquired yet another name -- this time he wasPATRICK DAEDULUS MURPHY. He was been cleaned up a tad, turned into a loving father, and dusted off, ready for prime time, played by the always affable George Segal.

But even then, he's not so much a different guy, but an older, and hopefully wiser guy. Don't believe me? Compare, if you dare!

Physical Description  6' 3", 220 lbs., light-haired, blondish. Sloppy dresser. 6' 3", 220 lbs., light-haired, blondish. Sloppy dresser  Looks suspiciously like George Segal.
Girlfriend
Tamiko "Koko" Fanucci, Italian-Jewish blackjack dealer and part-time hooker, lives with Digger in a Vegas condo and takes care of him. Koko's smarter than Digger.
Michiko "Chico" Mangani, Italian-Jewish blackjack dealer and part-time hooker, lives with Trace in a Vegas condo and takes care of him. Chico's smarter than Trace. Kimiko "Kimmy" Fanucci, Italian-Jewish, lives with Murphy and takes care of him. Needless to say, Kimmy's smarter than Murphy.
Occupation Freelance insurance investigator, on contract to Broker's Surety Life Insurance Company. Freelance insurance investigator, on contract to Garrison Fidelity. Freelance insurance investigator, on contract to a life insurance company.
Immediate Supervisor Walter Brackler, a short, sour man, who doesn't like Digger at all. Digger calls him "Kwash." Walter Marks, a short, sour man, who doesn't like Trace at all. Trace calls him "Groucho."  
Personal Habits Drinks too much vodka, smokes too much, gambles too much. Drinks too much Finlandia Vodka, smokes too much, gambles too much. Used to drink too much, smoke too much and gamble too much.
Work Habits 
A bumbler. Sloppy, haphazard, tends to go around interviwing everyone he can think of, secretly recording them on his miniature tape recorder, using a hidden mike in a gold frog tieclip.
Then he leaves the tapes around so Koko can find them and solve the case.

A bumbler. Sloppy, haphazard, tends to go around interviwing everyone he can think of, secretly recording them on his miniature tape recorder, using a hidden mike in a gold frog tieclip.

Then he leaves the tapes around so Chico can find them and solve the case.

A bumbler. Sloppy, haphazard, tends to go around interviwing everyone he can think of, secretly recording them on his miniature tape recorder, using a hidden mike in a gold frog tieclip. 

Then he leaves the tapes around so Kimmie can find them and solve the case.

Guns No  No No
Marital Status  Divorced. Has two children he never sees, What's His Name and The Girl Divorced. Has two children he never sees, What's His Name and The Girl Divorced. Has a daughter he's pining to see.
Mother? Doesn't like his mother  Doesn't like his mother   Doesn't talk about his mother  
Best Friend?
(besides girlfriend)
Owns the insurance company Owns the insurance company His boss at the insurance company 

See? Told ya! Not exactly high-falutin' literature, maybe, but good, solid, entertaining, humourous reads. And the television show, MURPHY'S LAW, was no slouch, either. It should've been a hit. Light-hearted, warm, with a great cast, especially Segal and Maggie Hahn. As I said before, it's almost as if Murphy is an older, repentant Trace or Digger, trying to clean up the mess he's made of his life. He's still an alcoholic insurance investigator, but now he's on the wagon, and he's trying to rebuild his life and gain visiting right to see his daughter who he abandoned years ago, when his marriage broke up. His Japanese/Italian girlfriend, now called Kimmie, and his bumbling, inept but kind supervisor at work, Wes Harden, are willing to stand by him. All in all, a class act. They even managed to have a heart-warming conclusion of sorts, before the network pulled the plug. The last episode featured Murphy gaining visitation right to his daughter.

And it was all a far cry from the last appearance of any of these three characters. The author, defiantly contrary and determinedly politically incorrect was quite often hilarious. But Digger's last appearance "Digger Redux," a short story in a 2015 PWA anthology, Fifty Shades of Grey Fedora, was misogynist and just plain mean; a sad, cruel, bitter story dripping with misogyny. A surprisingly hateful note to go out on. I'm not even sure what a story about rape is doing in a collection dedicated to eroticism.

Warren Murphy worked on a pig farm, as a movie usher, a sequin polisher, a public relations man for a brothel, a newspaper editor and a Democratic politician in Jersey City, New Jersey. "And then I went bad," he said, "and became a novelist." He's best known, of course, as the co-creator with Richard Sapir, of the gazillion-selling Men's Adventure series The Destroyer.

QUOTE

  • "Detectives carry guns and get in fistfights and have a philosophy of life, a moral code. (Mine is) ...don't get involved."

-- Trace: Pigs Get Fat

  • "You seem to think I'm some kind of real who can find things out...I'm a bumbler. I fumble around. I just annoy people. I never catch anybody. I'm not a detective, I'm an annoyance clerk. I should work in a department store."

-- Trace: Pigs Get Fat

NOVELS

Trace & Chico appear (anachronistically) in a mystery set in 1938.

SHORT STORIES

TELEVISION

  • MURPHY'S LAW
    (1988-1989, ABC)
    Series
    Created by Lee David Zlotoff
    Based on characters created by Warren Murphy
    Writers: Lee Goldberg, William Rabkin, Ernie Wallengren, Michael Gleason, Bill Schmidt
    Executive Producer: Zev Braun
    Co-Executive Producers: Leonard Stern, Michael Gleason
    Theme song sung by Al Jarreau
    Filmed in Vancouver
    Starring George Segal as DAEDULUS PATRICK MURPHY
    Maggie Hahn as Kimiko "Kimmy" Fanucci
    and Josh Mostel as Wes Harden

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Thanks to Lee Goldberg for some of the TV info on this page.


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