Moonlighting (1985) – Pilot

I decided to lighten it up a bit now that I’ve finished Miami Vice, and I definitely wanted to dig into another classic 80s series. I remember only seeing a couple of Moonlighting episodes when it originally aired, and of course, the pilot when it was released to home video as a feature length film.

Yes, it’s true that there was on-set turmoil between the shows leads, Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis, (back when he was just starting out, and had hair!) yes, it’s true scripts were changing, and late practically for every episode, but the chemistry, the sense of fun, the way the series played with the format, all of it made for an entertaining run.

The pilot was written by Glenn Gordon Caron and debuted on 3 March, 1985.

Suddenly destitute, Maddie Hayes (Shepherd) realizes she has only a few assets left. Needing the money, she learns that one asset is the City of Angels Detective Agency run by David Addison (Willis). She wants to close out and sell everything off, but Addison is determined to keep going.

Caron keeps the dialogue snappy, serving as homage to the mad-cap comedies of yesteryear, with the overlapping lines reminiscent of a Howard Hawks’s film. It’s a lot of fun to watch, and the chemistry between Willis and Shepherd is undeniable.


Watching the pair work together on a case, which Addison wouldn’t let go of, despite Maddie attempting to close down the agency, is a joy. The characterizations are great (especially Ms. DiPesto played by Allyce Beasley), and I can’t wait to explore the whole series as a whole, something I’ve never done.

The case centers around a murder, a missing and mysterious wristwatch and diamonds and once it’s resolved, through misadventures and lots of snap to its script, the pair decide to keep the agency going, re-christening it The Blue Moon Detective Agency (Blue Moon after Maddie’s model work as the Blue Moon shampoo girl which was her claim to fame).

As fun as Addison is, Willis hasn’t quite got his routine down yet.

Watch for perennial baddie Brian Thompson to pop up as a thug who menaces David and Maddie.

There’s lots to enjoy in this series, and it will be cool to see Ms. DiPesto, and David, and Maddie all falling into their character grooves that I know are coming, as there will be some changes from pilot to series. It’s going to be a fun ride through a troubled production which featured great stories, fun characters, great music and one of the great will they/won’t they relationships until they do…

Moonlighting will be taking over my Wednesdays for the next little while, let’s check it out, shall we? This is gonna be fun,





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