Ray Alexander

Created by Dean Hargrove

Ray and Uncle Phil in the kitchen.

RAY ALEXANDER was a likable-enough detective in a A Taste for Justice, a made-for-TV flick (and pilot for a potential slot in NBC’s Friday Night Mystery) that was one of the few television eyes to make much of an impression in that dreary 1994 TV season. Lou Gosset played a retired private eye, who gave it all up to own and manage Ray’s Backyard Cafe, a San Francisco soul food restaurant. But when he’s not trying to find the world’s best recipe for shrimp creole, or worrying about a bad review, he still takes an occasional P.I. job. You know, just to make ends meet.

Gosset was a true pro, and his easy-going charm went a long way towards making the flick, despite a rather ho-hum plot (he’s hired to clear a a woman framed for murder) into a nice little piece of entertainment. And with Ozzie Davis in a supporting role as Ray’s persnickety, meddling Uncle Phil, James Coburn as Jeffrey Winslow, the big shot criminal attorney who occasionally steers work his way, and Ray Charles in a cameo, the whole thing just went down real easy. But it wasn’t enough to stand out from the crowd.

In 1995, NBC took another whack at it with A Menu for Murder, with Ray looking into the murder of a judge this time. They even roped Johnny Mathis into appearing, but this second TV flick also failed to attract a big enough audience.

TELEVISION

  • A TASTE FOR JUSTICE
    (1994, NBC)
    Premiere: May 13, 1994
    90 minutes
    Written by Dean Hargrove
    Directed by Gary Nelson
    Starring Louis Gosset, Jr. as RAY ALEXANDER
    Also starring Ozzie Davis, Ray Charles, James Coburn, Tracy Nelson
  • A MENU FOR MURDER
    (1995, NBC)
    90 minutes
    Written by Dean Hargrove
    Directed by Gary Nelson
    Starring Louis Gosset, Jr. as RAY ALEXANDER
    Also starring James Coburn, Beverly Johnson, Terry O’Quinn, Johnny Mathis
Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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