Created by Stephen J. Cannell (The Rockford Files, 21 Jump Street, among others), the USA Network's Silk Stalkings was about as sexy as non-premium cable TV got in the early 1990s. Palm Beach homicide detectives Rita Lee ... more »Lance (Mitzi Kapture) and Chris Lorenzo (Rob Estes) investigate crimes they call "silk stalkings," murders that expose the seamy--and steamy--side of high society. Rita and Chris investigate the crimes, frequently by going undercover (so to speak) to expose macho men or their beautiful women companions, who tend to lounge about in swimwear or lingerie. During the first season, the detectives face ghosts from their pasts and push the edge of their profession (Ben Vereen plays their exasperated captain, a role later filled by Charlie Brill), all the while swapping sexual innuendo but dating other people with disappointing results. The platonic-partners schtick is nothing The X-Files or Moonlighting didn't do with more style, but the stars did have a chemistry that in later years their replacements were never able to re-Kapture. In addition to the 22 episodes, the DVD set features 39 minutes of interviews with Cannell, an almost unrecognizable Estes, a straight-haired Kapture (both stars talk about each other, their departures, and other cast members), and a nostalgic Vereen, plus a joint reminiscence between Cannell and Vereen. --David Horiuchi« less
"Silk Stalkings was yet another show from the fertive mind and studio of Stephen J. Cannell, and was one of (if not the) longest running of his hour long shows. Silk Stalkings originally debuted on CBS as part of the late Friday night Crime Time After Primetime slot but that was soon cancelled and it became a cable only show airing on USA Network as they had entered into a co-production deal with CBS originally.
The show lasted eight years in all and, as so many shows do, ended on a never resolved cliffhanger. But that's a long way into the future and with the ex-husband and wife team of Tom and Cassie. This first season is pure gold as we are introduced to Rita Lee Lance and Chris Lorenzo of the Palm Beach Police Department's Homicide division.
In the first few episodes Rita is a much harder character than she is for most of the rest of her run. It seems that she has an inoperable brain tumour that makes her take risks no normal cop would take. This little character trait is swiftly forgotten and never ever mentioned again. Chris and Rita have the usual male/female cop partner dynamic for the first couple of years and are Best friends in every sense of the word with no hint of sexual tension or any underlying romance. Initially they had the usual one night stands but this would later be replaced by long term relationships later on.
Calling one another Sam most of the time (and not a reference to Sam Spade but rather Slammin' Sammy Sneed, who they both considered the greatest ever golf player. The first few episodes also used golfing references in voice overs by Rita but that was also dropped although the "Sam" nickname remained throughout their time in the show.
As all good things must, eventually both Rob Estes (Chris) and Mitzi Kapture wanted to move on to pastures new and so halfway through the fourth season and after finally giving into viewers obvious wish, they became romantically involved and married. Almost instantlly Chris is killed and Rita, pregnant with Chris child, leaves Palm Beach for good. In the run up to this two new characters are slowly introduced as replacements, Michael and Holly, and dubbed "The Tupperware Twins" by fans of the show that know there is no replacing Chris and Rita, fill out the rest of season five before being totally forgotten and never mentioned again when Tom and Cassie take over at the start of season six for the shows final three seasons.
Tom and Cassie are fine replacements but there really is only one Top Detective duo in Palm Beach and that is Chris Lorenzo and Rita Lance. A magic combination that make every episode shine. They truly were an amazing pair on screen and although Mitzi Kapture was originally going to stay with the show after Rob Estes departure, only did the characters justice as it really seems like a logical end to the saga of these two wonderful characters. Estes was sick of filming in San Diego when wife, Josie Bissett, was filming Melrose Place up in LA and then Kapture became pregnant. The storyline in season four built to the marriage of Chris and Rita and then Chris's untimely death and as heart wrenching and horrible as it always seems, no matter how many times you watch it, if Rita had stayed it would have almost driven home the fact that only one actor wanted to quit instead of this end of the road for these two great characters.
But this DVD boxed set is all about Season One and the introduction of two of Cannell's greatest characters and their crime solving amongst the wealthy and famous of Palm Beach. Taking their first teetering steps and jettisoning the elements that didn't work, this show is soon hitting a stride that doesn't let up over the four and a half years we are lucky to meet up with Chris and Rita.
I was hopeful of DVD boxed sets of other Cannell shows after Wiseguy debuted, but to say that I was both thrilled and delighted that Silk Stalkings would be the first of Cannell's shows to recieve the season by season boxed set treatment would be a major understatement. My two personal favorite Cannell shows are both this and 21 Jump Street (next for release) and to see both of them starting the long list of Cannell box sets (with Greatest American Hero promised for next year as another treat, and can I please put in my vote for the short lived but amazing show Profit) was a dream come true. I'd heard rumours of Jump Street and that seemed only natural with Johnny Depp's selling power (not to mention that Jump Street was a superb Cannell show with another cast of great characters) but Silk Stalkings as the first boxed set? I can only thank the powers that be at Anchor Bay Entertainment, for making this Cannell Fans dream come true. I am literally counting the days until the release of this DVD boxed set and although we've had a slew of excellent releases this year (both old and new)THIS is the boxed set of the year for me.
There seems to be no news on special features but I'm hopeful for at least one or two audio commentaries and some cast/crew interviews, particuarly Estes and Kapture.
This review probably sounds like a paid advertisement for this DVD but if you enjoy Cannell's mix of action, humour and great characters you owe it to yourself to pick up this first boxed set. I am paitently waiting for the day that I have all four and a half years worth of Chris and Rita episodes on DVD to enjoy forever as this is one of THE best shows out there (in my humble opion obviously) and will be one of the highlights of my DVD collection.
Thanks Anchor Bay. You've done right by me."
Chris & Rita: Great dramatic chemistry and Capital "S" Style
Henry Perkins | Santa Clara, CA USA | 02/09/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"1991 represented a unique opportunity for U.S. TV show creators. Unlike today, when cable networks make up much of the original programming, there were few markets for new shows. The fledgling Fox network was only four years old, and the triumvirate of broadcasting giants (ABC, CBS, and NBC) had the power of dinosaurs. But there was a hiccup in late-night scheduling: David Letterman had signed a new contract to host a talk show on CBS, but his NBC contract still had two years to run. So CBS decided to run a slate of dramatic fare -- five new shows to keep the seat warm for Letterman -- which they called "Crime Time After Primetime". Stephen J. Cannell, creator of literally dozens of TV shows, had something called "Silk Stalkings" that he'd been working on for a few years; he pitched it, got the go-ahead, and quickly went into production.
This was a cop show featuring a pair of Palm Beach (Florida) police detectives who specialized in crimes of passion in that enclave of the wealthy, said crimes being referred to as "silk stalkings". A first for television, they were a mixed-sex pair who were friends and partners on an equal footing (both Sergeants) -- but NOT romantically involved. The headliners were Rob Estes (whom Cannell had been attempting to fit into a series for a while) as Chris Lorenzo, and newcomer Mitzi Kapture as Rita Lee Lance. Longtime Cannell friend Ben Vereen completed the short list of headliners as Captain Hutchinson. But the important element of "Silk Stalkings" was the dynamic duo of Rob & Mitzi as Chris & Rita, with a natural screen chemistry that shone over such dialog as "That woman would leave skidmarks on your libido."
From the first episode of "Silk Stalkings" it's easy to see that this show is long on style and short on budget. The low advertising rates for late-night TV meant that the show had to be shot on a relative shoestring, so Cannell and company decided to emphasize stylistic elements, such as vivid colors in both sets and wardrobe. Chris and Rita both refer affectionately to each other as "Sam". This isn't the expected reference to Dashiell Hammett's detective, but rather to "Slammin' Sammy Sneed, the greatest golfer of all time". Golf is VERY important in the first season of "Silk Stalkings", because it's used mostly as a metaphor for sex. When you're specializing in crimes of passion sex takes center stage, and the riveting opening credits featuring many quick cuts of attractive bodies capably sets the tone for the show.
Two years before "NYPD Blue" brought "partial nudity" to prime time TV, "Silk Stalkings" established it as a late-night mainstay. In the very first episode there are topless women jumping into a pool. The bare breasts here happen to be moving quickly and in dim lighting, but this was just a start. With the limited budget they couldn't afford to re-shoot accidental exposures any more than they could redo the frequent poor acting of an episode's bimbo of the week, so there are several nipple exposures that would have caused fits with the prime time censors. To be fair these only show up for a second or two each, but DVD sets mean never having to say "I missed that". (There are also a couple of actresses who wore flesh-tone pasties for modesty.)
The first season tried a bunch of experiments toward achieving a workable series formula, and many failures were quickly discarded. Rita is introduced with an inoperable brain aneurism; a questionable life expectancy is supposed to make her wring the most out of every day. After a few episodes the aneurism is never mentioned again. In the first season women's hosiery is worn ubiquitously (silk stockings for the "silk stalkings" crowd, of course) after bare legs had been the fashion norm for the beach crowd a couple years already. Plus there was lots of 1980's big hair to go with the hosiery (perhaps an attempt at copying some of the feel of "Miami Vice", which had been airing while Cannell was developing "Silk Stalkings"). The golfing metaphors dropped off quite a bit after this season, too. And there were a couple too many hillside homes used from the San Diego shooting locations than made sense for Florida, where a 20-story Miami Beach hotel towers over the highest spot in that very flat state.
Guest stars for this season included Gary Hudson, Cindy Ambuehl, William Anton, Ann Turkel, R.G. Armstrong, Kim Morgan Greene, Jay Acovone, Terri Treas, Dennis Paladino, Judith Chapman, William McNamara, Elizabeth Barondes, Denice Duff, Marta DuBois, Kristen Cloke, Vanity, and Bobbie Phillips.
The DVD collection doesn't have any audio commentaries, and lacks closed captions. The audio and video are of very good quality, though. The bonus material features a few minutes each of reflections on the show and the people they worked with from Rob Estes, Mitzi Kapture, Steven J. Cannell, and Ben Vereen.
Summary: If you can overlook frequents signs of a low-budget show, "Silk Stalkings" has a lot to offer. Highly recommended."
A pioneer in the cable drama series genre...
Britt Gillette | Chesapeake, VA USA | 07/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Nominated for only one Emmy, the entertainment quality of Silk Stalkings is nevertheless evidenced by its nine season run which is one of the most enduring ever for an original cable TV series. Partly responsible for this lack of critical acclaim is that Silk Stalkings was a trailblazer in the cable genre, and handing out Emmys to original cable series didn't become fashionable until the late-1990s when Sex And The City and The Sopranos broke the cable barrier for good. Another contributing factor to the lack of peer recognition is that Silk Stalkings lasted about four seasons longer than it should have, given that nearly the entire cast and crew were replaced after the first five seasons. Regardless, this hour-long drama series set in Palm Beach, Florida contains all the necessary ingredients for a hit show - beautiful people in a beautiful setting with lots of murder, violence, and intrigue. Silk Stalkings offers everything one could ask for in a TV drama, and the show's success helped pave the way for additional original cable series such as Monk and The Shield...
Silk Stalkings follows the exploits of two Palm Beach, Florida detectives who investigate murders and other high profile crimes in an elite community which is no stranger to fame and fortune. Sgt. Chris Lorenzo (Rob Estes) and Sgt. Rita Lee Lance (Mitzi Kapture) are partners on the local Palm Beach Police Department, and each episode they must investigate one or more high-profile crimes. The dynamic relationship between Chris and Rita is a focal point of the show, and the two will overturn every stone and use every tactic at their disposal to bring justice to those who, either due to fame and/or wealth, believe they are above the laws that governor average people... Veteran entertainer Ben Vereen plays their boss, Capt. Hutchinson, in seasons one through three before being replaced by Charlie Brill (Capt. Harry Lipschitz) for the remainder of the series... Overall, Silk Stalkings is a finely scripted investigative drama cut from the same mold as Law & Order SVU...
The Silk Stalkings (Season 3) DVD features a number of dramatic episodes including the season premiere "Crime of Love" in which Rita becomes disillusioned when the parole board grants an early release to Tony Fielding, a convicted criminal apprehended by Rita several years earlier... Other notable episodes from Season 3 include "Love Never Dies" in which the Palm Beach fashion community is rocked when a young model dies from a drug overdose, and "The Scarlet Shadow" in which Rita becomes the subject of an internal investigation when she's the last person to see one of her friends before that friend turns up murdered...
Below is a list of episodes included on the Silk Stalkings (Season 3) DVD:
Episode 44 (Crime of Love) Episode 45 (Team Spirit) Episode 46 (The Perfect Alibi) Episode 47 (To Serve and Protect) Episode 48 (Tough Love) Episode 49 (Sex, Lies, and Yellow Tape) Episode 50 (Schemes Like Old Times) Episode 51 (Love Never Dies) Episode 52 (Daddy Dearest) Episode 53 (Ladies Night Out) Episode 54 (The Party's Over) Episode 55 (Killer Cop) Episode 56 (T.K.O.) Episode 57 (Judas Kiss) Episode 58 (Love Bandit) Episode 59 (Whore Wars) Episode 60 (The Scarlet Shadow) Episode 61 (Head 'N' Tail) Episode 62 (Freudian Slip) Episode 63 (The Last Campaign) Episode 64 (The Deep End) Episode 65 (Mother Love) Episode 66 (Dark Heart)
The DVD Report"
Great first 12 season episodes...
Cloudburst2000 | Lexington, KY | 09/08/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I was so thankful that this season finally came out on DVD. The first twelve episodes of the season were some of the best the series ever had to offer. I bought the season five DVDs strictly for those first twelve episodes that show how Rita and Chris finally surrendered to their passion and love for each other. The trials and uncertainty they went through about how to make their romantic relationship work with professional one always kept me glued to the screen. The only reason this series of DVDs gets a 4/5 is because I don't have a vested interest in the second half of the season. The two cops who replaced Chris and Rita mid-season were okay, but they just couldn't capture the same kind of magic that Chris and Rita had. They just didn't have the vibe that kept you tuning back in for more. But the season is well-worth the money for the first twelve episodes alone...at least, for any Chris and Rita lovers. Also, another negative of the DVD set is they have the wrong episodes listed on the cover. The episodes ARE season five episodes. Don't panic. However, the episode guide included with the set is the season four episode guide. Hopefully, that is a glitch that the company will correct once they are informed of the error. I went on-line and downloaded an episode guide for the fifth season to include with the DVDs. The first twelve episodes are Chris and Rita dealing with their burgeoning realtionship and Chris' eventual death protecting Rita and their unborn child. The rest of the episodes include the new duo. All in all, I'm happy with my purchase."
Not Emmy worthy, but pretty darn good
J. Kenney | 08/06/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Season 3 was the 2nd best season (after season 2), the plusses being the continued chemistry of Estes and Kapture, some cute medical examiners, and the introduction of the comic Captain Lipschitz, well played by Charlie Brill. The show continued with the somewhat lighter tone introduced in season 2, but does have several rather serious episodes, which, while not high drama, work due to the leads' efforts. The flaws of the season would be signs of the beginning of the end; John Byner, who played a likeable hustler who had a love/hate relationship with our heroes, left suddenly midseason and we're introduced to his brother "Atticus", not as well-played and a somewhat sleazier character (I suspect these scripts were written for Byner, and he declined, as Atticus acts more like a pervert than a good-natured con-artist).
Also, as this was the 1st season the show was cable-only, it does appear to have slightly cheaper production values (as if that was possible) than seasons 1 & 2, although that was always part of the show's charm; it had no right to really work, and yet it does.
So if you like charismatic leads, over-the-top plots, and Cinemax-after-dark love scenes w/o nudity (featuring Carrie-Ann Moss and Robert Forster, among others, during the season), then Silk Stalkings seasons 1-3 are for you. Season 4 was a lot more "serious," with lame love relationships for the cops, and might be for die-hards only. But seasons 2 & 3, especially, are a lot of fun."