Silk Stalkings is a TV crime drama originally shown on CBS in 1991 as part of the network's late-night Crimetime After Primetime programming package, and rebroadcast on the USA Network. After CBS ended the Crimetime experiment in 1993, the series ran exclusively on USA. The show was created by Stephen J. Cannell.
Portraying the daily lives of two detectives who solved sexually-based crimes of passion ("silk stalkings") among the ultra-rich people of Palm Beach, Florida, the tightly-budgeted Silk Stalkings was not actually filmed in Florida. Most episodes were shot in San Diego, California. Some shows were filmed in Scottsdale, Arizona.
From 1991-1995, the lead characters were played by Rob Estes and Mitzi Kapture, as detectives Christopher Lorenzo and Rita Lee Lance, respectively. Early in the series, Ben Vereen played a strong supporting character as Chris and Rita's boss Captain Hutchinson ("Hutch"). Vereen was compelled to retire from the show during the second season due to an off-screen accident. Chris and Rita's new boss, who would stay with the show for its duration, was Charlie Brill as Captain Harry Lipschitz. Brill's real-life wife Mitzi McCall played Lipschitz's free-spirited wife Frannie on the series, and the two provided some occasional comic relief amidst the dramatic tension of the storylines. Various recurring characters came and went, notably Dennis Paladino as a mob boss named Donnie "Dogs" DiBarto, John Byner as Cotton Dunn, a con artist and Scott Atkins as Officer Perry, a rookie cop.
The on-again, off-again flirtation between Chris and Rita, who nicknamed one another "Sam" (an homage to their favorite golfer, Sam Snead, golf itself being a euphemism for sex) reminded viewers of the series Moonlighting and helped grow a cult following that the show maintained during its first few seasons and which continued after its two stars left the series. Chris was also known for having a string of female friends and former lovers throughout the show's run, while it was established in the pilot that Rita had a brain aneurysm caused by a blood bubble in her head. She suffered from moderately frequent headaches and opted not to have surgery because it was deemed as high risk. This condition was gradually phased out of continuity and by the second season, it was never mentioned again. She also did the voiceover narrations for the entire first season.
The two stars were truly equal co-stars. The opening credits would alternate, one week showing Estes first and then Kapture, the following week showing Kapture first and then Estes. The opening montage of quick cuts were "teasers" that suggested the sexy and violent subject matter of the show, but were not taken from any of the show's actual episodes. According to Stephen Cannell, in a DVD extra, they were developed initially as a promo, filmed and assembled by Ralph Hemecker in a single day of filming, and featuring a leggy blonde actress/model whom Cannell said was named Avalon Jones.1 In the very first episode of the series, Estes was shown first, and then Kapture; they alternated after that, except for Kapture's final episode, in which she (and not Estes) appeared in the opening montage, followed by the two new co-stars.
Two off-screen events in the summer of 1995 were pivotal to the show and were worked into the storyline. Both actors were ready to leave the series; Estes (to pursue other acting opportunities) and Kapture (to take time off for her first child).
Estes had first flirted with departure at the end of the third season (spring of 1994). The season ended in a cliffhanger episode, "Dark Heart", with Chris being shot by an obsessed woman. Chris was sped to the hospital in an ambulance as the closing credits rolled. After negotiations, Estes decided to renew his contract, and the fourth season (fall 1994) began with Chris' recovery from his near-fatal wounds in a harrowing two-part episode, "Natural Selection", that was later released on VHS as a 2-hour film.
The fifth season (fall 1995) took fans of the series to unprecedented highs and lows. Chris and Rita's mutual attraction finally moved from friendship to love in a two-part episode in November, called "Partners". Nick Kokotakis, as detective Michael Price, was introduced during that episode. Rita was soon confirmed to be pregnant (as was Kapture in reality), and Chris and Rita were married in an early December episode titled, with purposeful irony, "Till Death Do Us Part". The very next week's episode, "The Last Kiss Goodnight", ended with Chris again wounded by a gunshot, this time fatally. Kapture appeared in one more episode, "Dead Asleep". This episode's credits featured Kapture but not Estes, for the only time in the series; and also Kokotakis, along with Tyler Layton, who was introduced in the episode as detective Holly Rawlins. Most of the episode was spent focusing on Michael and Holly's first case. At the end of the show, the distraught Rita spent one final scene talking to Chris at his gravesite, said goodbye to Captain Lipschitz, and left the force for parts unknown.
Gunn starred on another CBS Crimetime after Primetime show, Dark Justice, as Kelly Cochrane, prior to Silk Stalkings. Gunn's arrival on the Silk Stalkings set came well after CBS' late-night crime dramas had been replaced by the Late Show with David Letterman.
The romantic chemistry between Potter and Gunn's characters, Tom Ryan and Cassandra St. John respectively (who, according to the story line, had been married to and divorced from one another before their arrival on the series), revived interest in the show and it rebounded in the ratings. After three additional seasons, USA canceled the series in 1999. The final episode of the final season, in spring , placing Tom's career and relationship with Cassie on the rocks, was a cliffhanger with no resolution.
|#||Title||Original air date||Production code|
|The Complete First Season||September 28, 2004||TBD||TBD|
|The Complete Second Season||March 22, 2005||TBD||TBD|
|The Complete Third Season||July 26, 2005||TBD||TBD|
|The Complete Fourth Season||January 3, 2006||TBD||TBD|
|The Complete Fifth Season||September 5, 2006||TBD||TBD|