Tenspeed and Brownshoe is a 1980 TV series created by Steven Cannell of Rockford Files fame and starring Ben Vereen and a young Jeff Goldblum as conman E.L. “Tenspeed” Tucker and accountant Lionel Whitney. Together, the two form an unlikely private detective agency.
In the story, Lionel gets a client. A rich man who offers him thousands to find a missing woman, but makes sure that Whitney never sees his face but that they have a picture of Whitney.
I have to admit that coming in, my expectations were pretty high. The series was created by Stephen Cannell, famous for creating The Rockford Files, The A-Team, and Greatest American Hero. And Vereen and Goldblum have had a major careers since then.
It’s a bit disappointing to say that the episode is just okay. Goldblum has a certain charm and I like the idea of a private detective who is into these hard boiled Mark Savage books (from what I gather I’d say Savage is a lot like Michael Shayne) but there’s not a whole lot else to his character other than not knowing what he’s doing. There’s a certain charm to it, but it’s not something that demands your attention. The same could be said of Vereen’s Tenspeed. He has some good moments, but considering the number of cons that Rockford pulled over the years on the Rockford Files, the efforts here look pedestrian.
The show has moments where it reminds a little bit of Cannell’s more successful series. Whitney reminded me a little bit of the way Ralph Hinkley would be written in Greatest American Hero but that emphasized how mediocre it was overall
This isn’t bad, but it’s disappointingly middling. If you set your expectations low, you can enjoy it. But compared to all of the genuinely good 1970s and 80s detective programs, the only good reasons to watch this one are nostalgia, being a fan of Goldblum or Vereen, or being Stephen Cannell compleitists. That and the fact can be streamed for free.
Rating: 2.75 out of 5