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Griff is a 13-episode ABC crime drama starring Lorne Greene and Ben Murphy, which aired from September 29, 1973, to January 5, 1974. Nine months after the expiration of his nearly 14-year role as Ponderosa Ranch patriarch Ben Cartwright on NBC's Bonanza western series, the Canadianmarker native Greene portrayed Wade "Griff" Griffin, a former police officer who becomes a private detective. Murphy, an Arkansasmarker native who grew up near Chicagomarker, Illinoismarker, previously portrayed Kid Curry on ABC's Alias Smith and Jones western series. In Griff he played Greene's 31-year-old partner, S. Michael "Mike" Murdock. Vic Tayback, later the operator of the fictitious Mel's Diner of CBS's Alice sitcom, portrays Captain Barney Marcus of the Los Angeles Police Department, Griff's continuing contact with the police. Patricia Stich appeared as Gracie Newcombe, the secretary for the two detectives.

One of the Griff executive producers was Steven Bochco, later of ABC's N.Y.P.D. Blue. The three other executive producers were David Victor, Peter S. Fischer, and Robert F. O'Neill.

Selected episodes

  • "The Framing of Billy the Kid", not a western character, but Nick Nolte as a professional football player, Billy Randolph, who is accused of murder. Susan Howard, subsequently of CBS's Dallas, portrays Evan Sands in the episode.

  • "Don't Call Us; We'll Call You", with Ben Piazza as Henry Pizer; Gracie, the detectives' secretary, is terrorized by anonymous threats on her life.

  • "The Last Ballad": Griff investigates the death of a rock singer after she undergoes an abortion when the provider, Dr. Martha Reed, played by Kim Hunter, is held by the police. William Windom, formerly of ABC's The Farmer's Daughter, appears in the role of Christopher Woods. This episode was aired not long after the United States Supreme Courtmarker legalized abortion in its companion Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton opinions.

  • "Fugitive from Fear", the series finale, about an escaped convict who leads an upright life for thirteen years until he is suddenly exposed by a relentless prison guard

Griff was filmed by Groverton Productions at Universal City Studios in Los Angeles. The series followed the ABC Suspense Movie at the 10 p.m. Eastern timeslot on Saturdays opposite CBS's The Carol Burnett Show and the NBC Saturday Night at the Movies.


  1. Alex McNeil, Total Television, New York: Penguin Book, 1996, 4th ed., p. 344
  2. McNeil, Total Television, appendix

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