Riptide is an American TV detective series that ran on NBC from 1983 to 1986. The title came from the name of the boat, Riptide, owned by one of the detectives.
Longtime friends Cody Allen and Nick Ryder served together in the Army in Vietnam and opened a private investigation agency based on The Riptide in King Harbour, Los Angeles. Originally the Pier 56 Detective Agency, the business later became the Riptide Detective Agency. Seeing how many cases involved computers and technology, the pair recruited another buddy from Vietnam, the nerdy Murray “Boz” Bozinsky. The show starred, respectively, Perry King, Joe Penny and Thom Bray.
An unusual bag of tricks
Cool cars are common in this genre, and the Riptide crew sported a classic red Corvette and a GMC Jimmy. In addition to the namesake boat, there was a speedboat, The Ebb Tide. More unusual were the helicopter and the robot. Nick had a pink Sikorsky S-58T helicopter named “The Screaming Mimi.” Murray brought The Roboz, an orange robot he developed that was buggy but sometimes effective. Like many shows of this era, Riptide sported a Mike Post theme song and an extended opening sequence.
The detectives were seen as troublemakers by local police, although they occasionally cooperated on cases. Initially their foil was Lt. Ted Quinlan, later succeeded by Lt. Joanna Parisi. Other regulars included Mama Jo, skipper of an all-female tourist boat crew; Max, a local comedienne; and Dooley, a dock boy. Many episodes revolved around local mobsters, but other topics included Army corruption and corporate covert activities.
Guest actors who made appearances included George Clooney, Geena Davis, Kelly Preston and Dennis Franz. The series is available on DVD.