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the pilot

After being stripped of most of her financial assets by her embezzling accountant, former model Maddie Hayes discovers that she owns a number of money-losing businesses that were maintained as tax write-offs, including the City of Angels detective agency. She decides to sell off the agency, to the dismay of David Addison, the wisecracking investigator who has been running it. David attempts to persuade her that the business has a future and should be kept open. Maddie accidentally comes into possession of a wristwatch that holds the clue to the location of a cache of smuggled Nazi diamonds. The pair retrieve the diamonds, but both the jewels and the criminal who was seeking them end up falling from the clock tower where the gems had been concealed. The pilot, originally presented on The ABC Sunday Night Movie, was split into two episodes for syndication.

It’s Maddie’s first day at the office. But as soon as she arrives she realizes there is not much happening and not much for her to do. She confronts David as to why there are no clients and the phones, aren’t ringing. So in desperation, David runs across to a rival Detective Agency and steals a client, and brings him back to Blue Moon. This man wants them to find his estranged son, but the plot thickens when Maddie and David realize that everything is not what it seems.

Blue Moon is hired to provide security at a company run by one of Maddie’s friends, which has been plagued by information leaks and sabotage. The company’s main competitor Preston Holt, claims that he is getting his inside information from a psychic named Omar Gauss. Maddie and David discover that the father of Maddie’s friend also visits the psychic and conclude that he is selling company secrets, however, the case turns out not to be that clear cut when they discover who is actually behind the whole thing.

Paul McCain reigns over late-night AM talk radio, KRKD 1040. During the 2 to 6 am timeslot, listeners could call “The Heartbreak Hotline” at 555-HART to pour out their fears, hopes, and dreams. One night, in the midst of a live broadcast, loud, violent staccatos of gunfire bust out across the air, stopping the voice of Paul McCain in mid-sentence. The resulting investigation receives attention and front page headlines; David immediately sees dollar signs and that it’s great publicity for the agency; all Maddie sees in they have no clients and she turns her nose up at the idea of lonely people calling a stranger on the radio. Maddie and David end up investigating the on-air shooting of the radio talk show host. Nut Maddie is unsure whether to take it any further when she learns that the host was having an affair with a married woman. The host soon turns up alive, having faked his own death to keep the affair from his boss, but is then accused of the murder of his lover’s husband, who was also his boss. Both the host and his mistress hire Blue Moon to prove their innocence, and Maddie and David disagree over who they believe actually committed the crime.

Miss DiPesto wins a competition, to join a Murder on the Orient Express-inspired crime game on a train created by her favorite crime author, JB Harland. She is accompanied by Maddie and David to Central Station because she doesn’t want to leave her car there overnight. Due to David’s antics on the train, Maddie and David miss leaving the train before it departs, and now have to stay on the train since it will not be able to stop for 24 hours. While the train is in motion, JB Harland is murdered. Now everyone on the train is a suspect and are all very suspicious of each other and Maddie and David are left to solve the crime. The episode concludes with a showdown atop the moving rain with the killer trying to escape.

Maddie and David do some moonlighting of their own for a debt collection agency when Blue Moon is short of money. They discover that one of the debtors has been killed, but when they return with the police, the body has disappeared and a completely different man is at the scene claiming to be the client. This leads the duo to become involved in an assassination plot and in order to save the suspected victim, whom they know is a Chinese man with a mole on his nose, they must get into a formal dinner event where their successful effort to prevent the murder culminates in a huge food fight amongst all the event’s attendees.


David’s brother Richie (played by Charles Rocket) arrives in town, spending money extravagantly and flirting with Maddie, which makes David a little jealous and suspicious of his brother’s sudden wealth. While David gets to handle his jealousy, Maddie has just found out that she owes the IRS $35,000. David asks his brother Richie for a loan to help Maddie out but tells him not to say a word about it to Maddie. David gets angry when due to a mistaken identity, David is attacked by a stranger in the men’s room wanting his money back. The stranger thinks that David is Richie. David has now realized that all this money that Richie has been flaunting does not belong to him at all. Richie found $100,000 under the hood of his car, but refuses to go to the police as he is sure the money is “dirty”. The money belongs to a notorious drug dealer, Mr. Navarone, who corners the Blue Moon team at a shopping mall. However, the team scatters the money over a third-floor mall balcony, to the excitement o all the shoppers below and to the dismay of Mr. Navarone. This is the first episode of the series in which Maddie and David break the fourth wall, welcoming the viewers back for the second season at the start of the episode.

Maddie and David are hired by a mysterious woman in a veil to track down an ex-boyfriend who threw acid on her face many years ago, in a fit of anger once he found out she was to marry another man. He claims she wants to give him another chance, but shortly after they find him, Maddie and David find out that he has been murdered. They later discover that the person who actually hired them was an impostor and they now must find the real killer. This episode ends with a chaotic and hilarious chase scene through a hotel which includes the four main characters dressed up as the lady in the mask who then come to a dead stop when they slide through an exorbitant amount of soap suds in the lobby.

Maddie learns that her ex-accountant has started a new life in Argentina and bought a Casino with the millions of dollars that he stole from her. She is determined to travel there and confront him, against David’s advice. When she gets there she approaches her ex-accountant Ron Sawyer, but soon finds out she won’t be getting her money back. David arrives in a timely manner while she is drowning her sorrows in the Casino Restaurant at the expense of Sawyer. The finale involves a poker game in which ASawyer loans her $100k to play. Maddie stakes everything she owns on the game, her car, her BMW, and the Blue Moon Detective Agency. At the end of the game, David convinces her to fold and they leave the room. Maddie then returns to the room, very curious as to who had the winning hand. She finds out that she did in fact have the winning hand. Furious that David told her to fold, she leaves David stranded in Buenos Aires with no money.


This iconic episode is a tribute to 1940s film noir, shot mostly in black and white from approximately 12 minutes into the episode. It was mainly shot on location at the Aquarius Theatre. Maddie and David learn of a murder committed at a 1940s nightclub, by the current owner. Each dream the role of the convicted murderer and the circumstances leading to the crime, but each dream sequence is colored by the bias of the dreamer. Cybill Shepherd performs the Big Band songs “Blue Moon” and “I Told You I Love Ya, Now Get Out!”. Orsen Welles introduces the episode to alleviate the viewer’s concerns for when the episode turns to black and white and that there is nothing wrong with their television set. This was his last performance which was filmed exactly one week before his death.

After Maddie walks in on a limbo contest in the office between David and her employees, she has a wager with David that he cannot behave like a mature adult for one week. If he loses, he must fire two employees, whereas if she loses she must limbo in front of all the staff. Following this, a very rich client walks in, a woman whose stepson, a gifted concert pianist, has been kidnapped and the kidnappers want $100,000 for the safe return of her son. She has come to them so that they can negotiate for her son’s life with built-in incentives for them if they get him back cheaply. When they go to drop off the money, they find out that the son is the actual kidnapper. Maddie and David agree not to tell the mother that they have reached an agreement with her son and that he is the kidnapper. However, they are both shocked to find that he has been kidnapped again the very next day. The effort to act so maturely takes its toll on David, which in turn changes the office atmosphere for the worse, as all the employees turn against Maddie. Maddie then has a change of heart and wants her old David back.

Maddie has had a very bad morning. On her way to work, she gets a flat tyre and has to change it on her own in the wind and the rain. She arrives at work looking very disheveled. A wealthy client, Jillian Armstrong, (played by Dana Delaney) then arrives at Blue Moon. She asks Maddie to find the locket that her grandmother gave her that has been stolen from her hotel room. David then walks in and is stunned when he sees the client, as he used to be in a relationship with her. Blinded by his emotions for Gillian, David begins to suspect that her estranged husband is trying to kill her when she is in a series of apparent accidents, one of which he witnesses. Gillian shoots her husband during a confrontation in his car. This is witnessed by David who confirms with the police that it was a matter of self-defense. However, Maddie is not convinced.


A woman is being chased by several men and hires the agency to protect her. She claims to be a leprechaun and that the men are after her pot of gold. Maddie does not want to take the case, as she believes the woman needs psychiatric help, but David decides to take the case anyway. The “Pot of Gold” turns out to be money that was stolen from a bank in Ireland by the woman’s father many years earlier. They finally locate the “Pot of Gold” just where the moan said it would be and now she has to find a way to flee the country with it. Or does she?

A struggling painter who is obsessed with Maddie Hayes completes a painting of her in his loft. His loft is surrounded with images of magazine covers of Maddie from her modelling years. The paint is still wet when he calls the gallery to let them know that it is ready to be collected, then commits suicide. Maddie purchases the portrait from the Gallery, using the recent profits from the business, only to gift it to the painter’s brother who shows up at her office the following day. The brother then dies the following day in the same manner and also in the loft of his brother’s apartment. The police now suspect Maddie of foul play, as she is in the portrait and that she purchased the painting only for it to show up at the loft where two men were murdered. It transpires that the artist and the brother were part of a trio of international art thieves who stole a valuable painting from a museum in France three years earlier. Subsequently, the surviving accomplice shows up at Maddie’s home and is convinced that the portrait of Maddie holds a clue to where it has been hidden and that Maddie knows more than she is letting on. A colorful climactic scene ensues when the real killer is revealed in an auto painting shop when Maddie and David, all covered in paint, use a car as a weapon to corner the killer which covers him with paint as well.

A rival detective agency makes an offer for Blue Moon Detective Agency and Maddie is seriously considering accepting the offer. Maddie breaks the news to David by trying to butter him up and preparing breakfast in her office. Not happy with this news, David storms out and heads to a bar. Whilst there, he meets a man played by Mark Linn-Baker who is about to be sacked because his employer’s prized Rolodex of celebrity phone numbers has been stolen on the one night that he didn’t lock it in the safe. Once he finds out that the man’s employer is a very wealthy and successful banker named Thornton Wellman, David decides to help the man find the Rolodex. He sees this as a way to save Blue Moon by acquiring Thornton Wellman as a client. He goes to Maddie’s house in the middle of the night to tell her the good news, however, it’s too late, Maddie informs him that she has already sold the agency. But things do not go well when the employee decides to hold the Rolodex hostage. A madcap series of events occur causing Maddie to have a change of heart about selling the agency. The episode ends with a confrontation with Lou LaSalle the rival detective agency owner, who now is feeling threatened because Thornton Wellman is HIS client who he is now in fear of losing. Does Maddie get her Agency back? Well, you’ll have to watch the episode to find out!

A man named Joseph who is in the witness protection program lives with his wife and baby in an apartment. The man who he testified against finds him and throws him over the balcony. His wife Mary and the baby manage to escape and Mary takes the baby to Agnes’s apartment to keep him safe while Agnes is in the laundry room, then leaves. Mary then approaches Maddie and David to find her baby. During their investigation of Agnes’s whereabouts, Maddie and David encounter the three kings, (three FBI Agents all named King) at Agnes’s apartment building, who are investigating the death of Joseph to ensure that there was no foul play. Maddie then realizes where Agnes and the baby could be, at Maddie’s home under her Christmas Tree which is under a huge star. Unfortunately, the killer is also there waiting for Maddie to come home with information about the whereabouts of the mother of the baby. David makes a great entrance and impersonation of Santa Claus and comes down the chimney only to find the three kings also dressed up as Santa Claus who have come to save the day by putting the killer under arrest. The final minutes of this episode is another example of Moonlighting breaking the fourth wall as Bruce and Cybill walk out of Blue Moon onto the rest of the sound stage where all the cast, crew, and their families are gathered for a special segment singing The First Noel in acapella to wish the viewers a very Merry Christmas.

A wealthy but lonely man hires Maddie and David to find him a suitable wife. Although Maddie initially does not want to take the case as Blue Moon is not a dating agency, they eventually decide to go their separate ways, each finding a candidate based on their own ideals. The client seems to choose the woman selected by David, but then it transpires that not only did he choose both women, but that he was already married. When they attempt to confront him, they find the woman chosen by David dead and the client in the hospital, which leads them to discover his true scheme.

Agnes is in a rut and is looking for some excitement in her life. So Maddie and David give her their tickets to a top industry banquet. She meets a nice man who gives her a number to keep and that he will be back for it. They meet up the next day for coffee only for him to be stabbed when she is called away to a phone call. This leads to her involvement in an espionage operation which sees her getting kidnapped and interrogated to find out where this number is. She manages to escape to a laundry and discovers that it is being used by spies to hide stolen plans. The bad operatives need the number as it is the number of the laundry bag where the plans are being hidden. Her adventures lead her to conclude that she is happy with her life after all.

Maddie and David are hired to watch over the body of an escape artist who died as part of a magic trick, attempting to escape out of a tank of water. Before he died, he often threatened his wife that he would come back from the dead and kill her for all of her indiscretions. The widow is now afraid for her life so she hires them to watch over the body. They spend the night in the morgue, but in the morning they realize that the corpse has disappeared. Not long after this, the widow is also found dead after a mysterious car accident. The plot twists when Maddie and David discover that the escape artist is in fact still alive and involved in a diamond heist, during which he seemingly dies again. In the midst of all this, The Blue Moon workers organize a birthday party for Maddie. Unfortunately, they don’t quite get the response they had hoped for. All is revealed in the final moments of this popular episode when Maddie and David corner the killer by knocking him out with a bullseye.

Maddie’s parents Alexander and Virginia Hayes arrive in town from Chicago to attend the wedding of one of her father’s colleagues. Virginia confides in Maddie that her father may be having an affair and that the woman nat gave followed them from Chicago. Maddie is determined to prove he rother wrong and wants to conduct an investigation, and follow him for a day to see where he goes. David says “YUK” and that she can’t follow her own father and offers to take the case for her. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, David has to break the bad news to Maddie about what he witnessed and that her father is indeed having an affair. Maddie cannot bring herself to tell her mother the truth, so instead launches a furious attack on her father, who then tells her that the affair is over and that it will never happen again. This episode reveals a close relationship between Maddie and her parents, something which has not been mentioned before. The episode ends with David wanting to adopt Maddie because of the current situation with her parents so that he can bounce her on his knee, not knowing that the situation is now resolved and that her parents arrived back in Chicago safely.

Maddie and David are approached by an elderly man called Lawrence Everette (played by Roberts Blossom), to assist him in witnessing a murder, his own. He says he has hired someone to murder him but wants a witness to the murder to ensure that his family receives his life insurance money as it does not pay out for suicide. Of course, Maddie and David disagree on whether to take the case. Maddie decides that her agency will have nothing to do with this case, so David takes the case on his own. Due to no fault of his own, David is forced to go underground, as he is now a fugitive, being framed for the murder of Mr. Everette. Maddie is now left to solve the case on his own determined to clear David’s name. The episode contains the first non-imaginary kiss between Maddie and David.

David becomes famous when he solves several big cases in quick succession. Maddie is impressed, unaware that he is using information passed to him by a high-priced call girl with a mobster client who talks in his sleep about people who are due to be murdered. Everything is going well for David until he is told that he is the next person to be killed. He ends up in a fistfight with the mobster and gets punched by Maddie when she learns the truth about his source.

Depressed after the apparent death of his wife but unable to bring himself to commit suicide, a man decides to hire a hitman to kill him in three days’ time so that he can get his affairs in order. While he is at his lawyer’s office to amend his Will, he looks down to the street below and sees his wife walking down the street toward the building. By the time he runs down to the street, however, she is nowhere to be seen. He then hires Blue Moon to find her and to also stop the hitman from murdering him. Unfortunately, the client dies anyway in a car bombing, which leads their investigation in a different direction and a new suspect. Maddie also invites David to attend her cousin’s wedding with her, but she is not happy about his enthusiasm. They agree to make it a business proposition, so Maddie can pay David for being her escort. David is very disappointed however when they have to cancel going to the wedding due to some new interesting revelations in this case.

Conwoman Camille Brand (played by Whoopie Goldberg) becomes a national hero after accidentally preventing the assassination of a politician. David and Maddie decide to cash in on the publicity by giving her a job to raise the profile of Blue Moon. A crooked policeman (played by Judd Nelson) spends much of the episode pursuing and attempting to arrest Camille. The episode ends with an extended sequence in which the characters wander right off the show’s set into other parts of the studio, and several members of the show’s production crew appear on camera as part of the plot resolution.



Blue Moon has been on a two-week break for the holidays and everyone has returned refreshed and ready for work. David arrives still in holiday mode, in his Mexican attire wearing a sombrero, and immediately gets the wobblies in a festive mood by singing La Bamba.  David’s father “David Addison Sr.”(played by Paul Sorvino) arrives in town to tell his son that he is getting married and he would like David to be his Best Man.  David is very happy for him until he finds out that he knows his father’s bride-to-be. David had a one-night stand with this woman four years ago and goes all out to avoid meeting her. 

This causes friction between father and son so David Sr asks Richie to be the Best Man instead. David breaks up the ceremony to speak to Stephanie, the bride-to-be in private.  During this conversation, David is surprised to learn that after all this, she does not remember him at all.


A man kills his wife during an argument. He buries her near their log cabin in the woods. But the day after she began harassing him with threatening phone calls. He goes back to the woods to check on the body but it’s gone.

So he decides to approach Blue Moon to help him find her. However, he doesn’t tell Maddie and David that he killed her (or thought he killed her) during an argument. After an argument about whether or not to deal with a man who would strike his wife, Maddie and David trace the woman, but during a car chase she seemingly drives over a cliff and dies again. 

This is the first episode in which the new character MacGillicuddy (played by Jack Blessing) appears


Following an argument about their respective expectations of what a date should be, David challenges Maddie to provide him with a “fun” evening out, and he is to show her a “fine” evening out. He decides he’s going to take her to the theater. He drives all around town to buy tickets but finds that they are all sold out. 

He thinks his luck has changed when a scalper approaches him with two tickets to the symphony.  Unfortunately for David, these tickets were robbed from a man who was involved in an assassination plot. And unbeknownst to David, the tickets are not together.

Maddie and David discover that there is an assassination plot that in a few hours will cause an international incident. The episode culminates with David being forced to take the place of one of the participants in a boxing match promoted by Don King, who makes a guest appearance.

This episode has yet another “breaking the fourth wall” cold-open which includes The Temptations singing their hit song, “Psychedelic Shack”, as well as David talking Maddie into doing the same thing.

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All about the 80s TV Show Moonlighting