A Nero Wolfe Mystery (2001–2002)
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Death of a Doxy: Part 1 

1:04 | Trailer
When Archie does a private eye associate a favor and tries to recover his P.I. license from a blackmailing girlfriend, he finds the ex-showgirl bludgeoned to death.


Timothy Hutton


Sharon Elizabeth Doyle (teleplay), Rex Stout (novel)



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Timothy Hutton ... Archie Goodwin
Maury Chaykin ... Nero Wolfe
Colin Fox Colin Fox ... Fritz Brenner
Bill Smitrovich ... Inspector Cramer
Conrad Dunn Conrad Dunn ... Saul Panzer
Trent McMullen Trent McMullen ... Orrie Cather
Fulvio Cecere ... Fred Durkin
Kari Matchett ... Julie Jaquette / Lily Rowan
James Tolkan ... Avery Ballou
Christine Brubaker Christine Brubaker ... Stella Fleming
Carlo Rota ... Barry Fleming
Nicky Guadagni ... Mrs. Ballou
Hayley Verlyn Hayley Verlyn ... Isabel Kerr
Janine Theriault ... Jill Hardy
George Plimpton ... Mr. Parker


Orrie Cather, a private investigator employed by Wolfe, is engaged to be married but is cheating on his fiancee with a sexy ex-showgirl who is the "doxy," or kept mistress, of a rich man. After she steals his P.I. license and uses it to blackmail him, Cather asks Archie to help him out by getting it back. Entering her apartment, he discovers that she has been bludgeoned to death with an ashtray. Archie, Saul, Fred, and Nero all agree to work without compensation to try to clear their associate of the inevitable murder charges. When it is revealed that the dead girl kept a diary, involved parties are desperate to keep their names out of court. Archie then teams up with vivacious showgirl Julie Jaquette, a friend of the murdered girl, to ferret out the real killer. Written by Gabe Taverney (duke19029@aol.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Action | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

14 April 2002 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Mrs. Ballou: I love wolfhounds. They love me.
Archie Goodwin: [humoring her] Yes.
Mrs. Ballou: When I'm in the country, my eight favorites sleep in my bedroom.
Archie Goodwin: Really? Your husband, uh, allows that, huh?
Mrs. Ballou: I doubt he even knows it.
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References My Little Chickadee (1940) See more »


Private Investigator
Written by Graham de Wilde
KPM 39:46
Archie reports to Wolfe about the favor he did for Orrie; Archie visits Orrie in jail
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User Reviews

Better Than Most Episodes of the Series - But the Lack of a Budget REALLY Shows
8 September 2010 | by drprodSee all my reviews

I've complained in the past that Hutton's Archie is often too broad and actorish (a problem Hutton often has), and that Chaykin's Wolfe is more peevish than princely (yes, Nero Wolfe can be peevish and petty - but he is also deeply principled and courageous in his own fashion, and courtly in many ways). In this two-parter, the leads get it right - maybe it's the stakes in the story, maybe it's that Director Timothy Hutton kept a tight leash on both himself and Maury Chaykin, but neither has been this good since THE GOLDEN SPIDERS.

If only the rest of the two-parter were up to their level, rather than rejoicing in a budget so low that Ed Wood would turn his nose up at it:

  • An abandoned warehouse is obviously used for a number of sets, including the prison where Orrie is kept, the 10 Little Indians Nightclub, and even Avery Ballou's mansion! There is so little attempt at redressing this particular location that Archie is led by the Ballou's butler through an obvious loading bay to see Mrs. Ballou at one point.

  • Though the book includes several scenes set in Wolfe's plant rooms, all we see is one scene in a tiny bedroom-style set with a table and stool where Wolfe is potting a plant as Archie talks to him. No attempt was made to recreate the splendor of Wolfe's orchid collection, or even to try faking it by shooting in a botanical garden.

  • The same actress, Kari Matchett, plays both Archie's girlfriend Lily Rowan (in a Sixties-style red wig) and nightclub singer Julie Jaquette (with her own blonde hair), thus stretching the show's "rep company" conceit to absurd lengths. Not that Ms. Matchett isn't a good actress (she played Hutton's ex-wife on LEVERAGE, and is currently Piper Pierabo's CIA superior on COVERT AFFAIRS), but the characters are too much alike to be convincingly played by the same person under any circumstances.

Sometimes, you see a group of good actors doing something you love, and you think you would love the show if they did it reading scripts while sitting around a table. And you probably would - but you wouldn't enjoy watching them do it while struggling, and failing, to recreate Kennedy- Era New York City on a nonexistent budget in Toronto.

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