Riptide (American TV series)

Last updated
Title Card for the first season
Genre Detective fiction
Created by Stephen J. Cannell
Frank Lupo
Starring Perry King
Joe Penny
Thom Bray
Jack Ging
June Chadwick
Anne Francis (1984 only)
Composers Pete Carpenter
Mike Post
Country of origin United States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes56 (list of episodes)
Executive producersStephen J. Cannell
Frank Lupo
Babs Greyhosky (Seasons 2 and 3)
ProducersBabs Greyhosky (Season 1)
J. Rickley Dumm
Tom Blomquist (Season 3)
Production locations Cabrillo Beach, San Pedro, Los Angeles, California
Redondo Beach, California
Santa Clarita, California
Running time48 minutes per episode
Production companiesStephen J. Cannell Productions
Columbia Pictures Television
Distributor Sony Pictures Television
Original network NBC
Picture formatColor
Audio format Mono
Original releaseJanuary 3, 1984 (1984-01-03) 
August 22, 1986 (1986-08-22)

Riptide is an American detective television series that ran on NBC from January 3, 1984 to August 22, 1986, starring Perry King, Joe Penny, and Thom Bray.


The series was created by Frank Lupo and Stephen J. Cannell, and produced by Stephen J. Cannell Productions in association with Columbia Pictures Television for NBC. The main theme was composed by Mike Post and Pete Carpenter. A mid-season replacement, it debuted as a two-hour TV movie in early 1984. After its cancellation, reruns were aired on the USA Network during the late 1980s.


Cody Allen (Perry King) and Nick Ryder (Joe Penny) are two former Army buddies who decided to open the Pier 56 Detective Agency (later known as the Riptide Detective Agency) in Los Angeles, California. Realizing that computers and technology play a major role in many investigations, they recruit the help of Murray "Boz" Bozinsky (Thom Bray), a brilliant but nerdy scientist and computer hacker whom they met while serving in the military.

The team operate out of Cody's boat, the Riptide, moored at Pier 56 at King Harbor Marina. [1] The men have several other tools in their fight against crime and injustice. These included Murray's robot, The Roboz (which, unlike most television robots, does not speak); Nick's aging Sikorsky S-58T helicopter, The Screaming Mimi, [2] which Nick occasionally used for his sideline business, aerial harbor tours; and Cody's speedboat, the Ebb Tide. Nick also owns a classic red Chevrolet Corvette and in early episodes Cody drives an orange "Woodie" station wagon which is later replaced by a four-wheel custom GMC Jimmy.

Lt. Quinlan (Jack Ging) is a local police officer who continually harasses the trio. Lt. Parisi (June Chadwick), the agency's police contact during the final episodes, is more cooperative. During the first few episodes, Mama Jo (Anne Francis) is the crusty skipper of the Barefoot Contessa, a tourist boat with an all-female crew. Introduced later in the first season is Max, a comedian at a local club. Second season episodes also feature Dooley (Ken Olandt), a dock boy who occasionally assists the team in their escapades.

The show's penultimate episode, "If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em", shows Cody and Nick acting as consultants to "Rosalind Grant" (Annette McCarthy) and "Cary Russell" (H. Richard Greene), the bickering stars of a television detective show pilot that closely resembles and parodies Moonlighting , Riptide's former prime time competition on Tuesday nights. [3]

Although local mobsters were depicted in most episodes, some reflected sensitive topics, like corruption among the U.S. Army, high-level cover-ups, and black ops by corporate America. The third season's "Home for Christmas", with a performance by James Whitmore, has a strongly emotional tone.



Series overview

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
1 14January 3, 1984 (1984-01-03)May 22, 1984 (1984-05-22)
2 22October 2, 1984 (1984-10-02)May 14, 1985 (1985-05-14)
3 22October 1, 1985 (1985-10-01)April 22, 1986 (1986-04-22)

Season 1 (1984)

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
"Riptide" Christian I. Nyby II Stephen J. Cannell & Frank Lupo January 3, 1984 (1984-01-03)
33"Conflict of Interest"Ron SatlofStephen J. CannellJanuary 10, 1984 (1984-01-10)
44"Somebody's Killing the Great Geeks of America" Bruce Kessler Babs GreyhoskyJanuary 17, 1984 (1984-01-17)
When an attempt is made on the life of Murray's friend Natalie Kramer (Cindy Pickett) from the high IQ society, the agency investigates, uncovering a larger plot to assassinate U.S. Senator Billings.
55"Hatchet Job"Ron SatlofMark JonesJanuary 31, 1984 (1984-01-31)
Murray tries to get more involved in the physical elements of the investigations, and while employed by the Pier 56 merchant's association to locate a burglar plaguing the docks, the agency is also hired by an escaped mental patient (Maylo McCaslin) to solve her boyfriend Jack's murder.
66"The Mean Green Love Machine" Guy Magar Stephen J. CannellFebruary 7, 1984 (1984-02-07)
The guys are hired by their old friend and dock neighbor Brandy to help her find her father Lane and his wife Dee-Dee Preston (Mary-Margaret Humes), who've gone missing in Cabo San Lucas.
77"Diamonds Are for Never"Gloryette ClarkBabs GreyhoskyFebruary 21, 1984 (1984-02-21)
After witnessing the murder of her friend Arthur Truman, Connie (Kathryn Witt), a flight attendant, encounters Murray in a movie theater and the agency helps her seek out Arthur's archaeologist brother Walter (John Anderson) in Peru, uncovering a diamond smuggling operation in the process.
88"The Hardcase"Victor HsuMark JonesFebruary 28, 1984 (1984-02-28)
When the agency investigates a suspicious boat that appears in a slip at King Harbor, they find that it's connected to the murder of a doctor, which the police suspect Sherry Meyers (Kelly Preston) of committing. Marsha Warfield appears as a comedian working at Straightaways restaurant, and Paul Gleason as the detective.
99"Four-Eyes"Bruce KesslerBabs GreyhoskyMarch 6, 1984 (1984-03-06)
1010"#1 with a Bullet"Arthur LavenStephen J. CannellMarch 20, 1984 (1984-03-20)
1111"Long Distance Daddy"Bruce KesslerBabs GreyhoskyMarch 27, 1984 (1984-03-27)
1212"Double Your Pleasure" Michael O'Herlihy Tom BlomquistApril 3, 1984 (1984-04-03)
1313"Raiders of the Lost Sub"Dennis DonnellyMark JonesMay 15, 1984 (1984-05-15)
1414"Something Fishy"Michael O'HerlihyFrank LupoMay 22, 1984 (1984-05-22)

Season 2 (1984–85)

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
151"Where the Girls Are"Ron SatlofBabs GreyhoskyOctober 2, 1984 (1984-10-02)
162"The Orange Grove" Michael Lange Stephen J. Cannell October 16, 1984 (1984-10-16)
173"Catch of the Day"Michael LangeStory by: Ed Decter
Teleplay by: Frank Lupo
October 23, 1984 (1984-10-23)
184"Mirage" Bruce Kessler Tom BlomquistOctober 30, 1984 (1984-10-30)
195"Beat the Box" Arnold Laven Stephen J. CannellNovember 13, 1984 (1984-11-13)
206"Father's Day"Tony MordenteTom BlomquistNovember 20, 1984 (1984-11-20)
217"Be True to Your School"Michael LangeStephen J. CannellNovember 27, 1984 (1984-11-27)
228"It's a Vial Sort of Business"Bruce Seth GreenBabs GreyhoskyDecember 4, 1984 (1984-12-04)
239"Peter Pan Is Alive and Well"Tony MordenteBabs GreyhoskyDecember 11, 1984 (1984-12-11)
2410"Catch a Fallen Star" Mike Vejar Tom BlomquistDecember 18, 1984 (1984-12-18)
2511"Gams People Play"Ron SatlofTom BlomquistJanuary 8, 1985 (1985-01-08)
2612"Prisoner of War" Michael O'Herlihy Babs GreyhoskyJanuary 15, 1985 (1985-01-15)
2713"Baxter and Boz"Michael Lange Bill Nuss January 22, 1985 (1985-01-22)
2814"Curse of the Mary Aberdeen"Ron SatlofSteven L. Sears & Burt PearlJanuary 29, 1985 (1985-01-29)
2915"Boz Busters"Bob BralverBabs Greyhosky & Tom BlomquistFebruary 5, 1985 (1985-02-05)
3016"Oil Bets Are Off"Michael LangePaul BernbaumFebruary 12, 1985 (1985-02-12)
3117"Girls Night Out"Bob BralverSteve Beers & Alan CassidyFebruary 19, 1985 (1985-02-19)
3218"Polly Want an Explanation"Michael SwitzerJim Carlson & Terrence McDonnellMarch 5, 1985 (1985-03-05)
3319"The Twisted Cross"Robert SallinStory by: James Andronica
Teleplay by: Tom Blomquist
March 12, 1985 (1985-03-12)
3420"Fuzzy Vision"Bruce KesslerPaul BernbaumMarch 19, 1985 (1985-03-19)
3521"Arrivederci, Baby"Michael LangeBabs GreyhoskyMay 7, 1985 (1985-05-07)
3622"Harmony and Grits"Bob BralverTom Blomquist & Babs GreyhoskyMay 14, 1985 (1985-05-14)

Season 3 (1985–86)

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
371"Wipe Out"Bob BralverTom BlomquistOctober 1, 1985 (1985-10-01)
382"Thirty-Six Hours Till Dawn"TBATBAOctober 22, 1985 (1985-10-22)
393"Does Not Compute"Michael LangeTom BlomquistOctober 29, 1985 (1985-10-29)
404"The Bargain Department"TBATBANovember 5, 1985 (1985-11-05)
415"Who Really Watches the Sunset?"TBATBANovember 12, 1985 (1985-11-12)
426"Still Goin' Steady"TBATBANovember 19, 1985 (1985-11-19)
437"Robin and Marian"Robert SallinPaul BernbaumDecember 3, 1985 (1985-12-03)
448"Requiem for Icarus"TBATBADecember 10, 1985 (1985-12-10)
459"Home for Christmas"TBATBADecember 17, 1985 (1985-12-17)
4610"Lady Killer"Michael LangeTom Blomquist & Babs GreyhoskyJanuary 7, 1986 (1986-01-07)
4711"A Matter of Policy"Michael PreeceSteven L. Sears & Burt PearlJanuary 14, 1986 (1986-01-14)
4812"The Wedding Bell Blues"Michael SwitzerTom Blomquist & Babs GreyhoskyJanuary 21, 1986 (1986-01-21)
4913"The Frankie Kahana Show"Bruce KesslerFrank LupoFebruary 11, 1986 (1986-02-11)
"Smiles We Left Behind"Tony MordenteBabs GreyhoskyFebruary 25, 1986 (1986-02-25)
5216"The Pirate and the Princess"Kim MannersTerry D. NelsonMarch 7, 1986 (1986-03-07)
5317"Playing Hardball"Bob BralverPaul BernbaumMarch 14, 1986 (1986-03-14)
5418"The Play's the Thing"Richard ForrestTom BlomquistMarch 21, 1986 (1986-03-21)
5519"Dead Men Don't Floss"Chuck BowmanStory by: Steven L. Sears & Burt Pearl
Teleplay by: Tom Blomquist & Babs Greyhosky & Frank Lupo
April 4, 1986 (1986-04-04)
5620"Chapel of Glass"Bob BralverSteven L. Sears & Burt PearlApril 11, 1986 (1986-04-11)
5721"If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em"Tony MordenteTom Blomquist & Babs GreyhoskyApril 18, 1986 (1986-04-18)
5822"Echoes"TBATBAApril 22, 1986 (1986-04-22)

Home media

United States

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released a three-disc DVD set of Riptide: The Complete First Season on February 14, 2006, available in the United States only. Although the Sony release includes all of the episodes from the season, many of the opening teasers are missing.


Visual Entertainment has released all three seasons of Riptide, available in Canada only. Unlike the U.S. release, all of the opening teasers are intact. However, several episodes have music replaced and sequences edited out due to copyright issues. On October 14, 2008, VEI released Riptide: The Complete Series, a 13-disc box set featuring all 58 episodes of the show. [4] The release was initially scheduled to be released on September 9, 2008, but was delayed for unknown reasons. As of 2013, these releases have been discontinued and are out of print.

DVD nameEp. #Release date
Riptide: The Complete First Season14November 7, 2006
Riptide: The Complete Second Season22October 30, 2007
Riptide: The Complete Third and Final Season22February 12, 2008
Riptide: The Complete Series58October 14, 2008


In Germany the show is known under the title Trio mit vier Fäusten (Trio with Four Fists).

Universum Films has released all three seasons of Riptide for Germany on May 29, 2009 (Season 1), [5] July 31, 2009 (Season 2) [6] and September 25, 2009 (Season 3). [7]

The DVD sets feature 4:3 Pal, DD 2.0 mono German and English, no teasers, but with a bonus episode of 21 Jump Street (Season 1). The Season 2 boxes will contain an episode not broadcast in Germany, "The Twisted Cross", in English with German subtitles. The German box sets have the original music of the U.S. series, unlike the Canadian box sets 2 and 3.

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  1. King Harbor is located in Redondo Beach, California
  2. Pigasus Press (2005). "Riptide - helicopter TV show review for Rotary Action". Retrieved 2009-01-04.
  3. "Spoofing Around on Riptide", Los Angeles Times , April 16, 1986.
  4. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-09-21. Retrieved 2008-09-28.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. German release of Season 1
  6. German release of Season 2
  7. German release of Season 3 Archived 2015-12-29 at the Wayback Machine