Matt Houston
GenreCrime drama
Created byLawrence Gordon
Theme music composerDominic Frontiere
ComposerNelson Riddle
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes69
Executive producers
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time45–48 minutes
Production companies
Original release
ReleaseSeptember 26, 1982 (1982-09-26) –
July 19, 1985 (1985-07-19)

Matt Houston is an American crime drama television series starring Lee Horsley as the title character, a wealthy oilman who decides to hold a side job as a private investigator. Created by Lawrence Gordon and produced by Aaron Spelling, it originally aired on ABC for three seasons from 1982 to 1985.


Matt Houston starred Lee Horsley as a wealthy mustachioed Texas oilman named Matlock "Matt" Houston who works as a private investigator in Los Angeles in his abundant free time. The show also starred Pamela Hensley as his lawyer sidekick, C.J., and George Wyner as his continuously frustrated business manager, Murray. During the show's third and final season (1984–85), Buddy Ebsen played Houston's uncle, Roy Houston.

Most episodes typically involve one of Houston's close friends being murdered or involved in some criminal enterprise, requiring his assistance. C.J. had access to an Apple III computer named "Baby" containing a database on virtually all living and deceased persons, allowing her to provide all necessary information. Murray frequently complained that Matt's private investigation business failed to make money, while Matt treated it more as an expensive hobby rather than a profit-making venture.



Season 1 (1982–83)

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
11"X-22"Richard LangT : Richard Christian Danus
S/T : Ken Trevey
September 26, 1982 (1982-09-26)

Series pilot: Matt Houston, an oil tycoon's son from Texas, comes to California to manage off-shore drilling. With plenty of cars, a helicopter, and many millionaire toys to choose from, Matt Houston finds plenty of time for his PI hobby.

Guest stars: Barbara Carrera, Jill St. John, Art Metrano. Special Guest Star: Dale Robertson.
33"Stop the Presses"Don ChaffeyJames L. ConwayOctober 3, 1982 (1982-10-03)

A disreputable tabloid's publisher is nearly killed after telling his four worst enemies he plans to run a front-page story on them.

Guest Stars: Bradford Dillman, Herb Edelman, Murray Hamilton, Heather Locklear, Stuart Whitman
44"Deadly Fashion"Richard LangS : Erica Byrne & F. Michael Johnson
T : Stephen Lord
October 17, 1982 (1982-10-17)

A famous fashion designer has been murdered and Matt's former girlfriend is under suspicion.

Guest stars: Britt Ekland, Cristina Ferrare, Carol Lawrence, Mr. Blackwell, Vic Tayback.
55"Killing Isn't Everything"Don ChaffeyRobert BielakOctober 24, 1982 (1982-10-24)

A football player is being blackmailed by someone who says they have proof he killed the coach.

Guest stars: John Beck, Scott Brady, Dick Butkus, Phyllis Davis, Rockne Tarkington, Forrest Tucker.
66"Who Would Kill Ramona?"Richard LangMichael FisherOctober 31, 1982 (1982-10-31)

When an actor dies after drinking from a tainted glass, the star who it belonged to becomes a suspect.

Guest stars: Janet Leigh, Kiel Martin, Cesar Romero, William Smith, Jill Whelan.
77"Recipe for Murder"Hy AverbackSkip WebsterNovember 7, 1982 (1982-11-07)

A severed head in gelatin shocks a food critic who recognizes it as belonging to his partner.

Guest stars: Sid Caesar, James Coco, David Hedison, Hope Lange, Misty Rowe.
88"Shark Bait"Corey AllenSkip WebsterNovember 21, 1982 (1982-11-21)

Sharks have been attacking beachgoers, and Matt wonders if something sinister might be going on.

Guest stars: Lloyd Bochner, Gary Frank, Don Gordon, Dorothy Malone, Michelle Phillips.
99"The Kidnapping"Barbara PeetersS : Tim Maschler
T : Michael Fisher
November 28, 1982 (1982-11-28)

A critically ill Arab prince has been abducted.

Guest stars: Cesare Danova, Tina Louise, Hugh O'Brian, Richard Romanus.
1010"Joey's Here"Jerome CourtlandS : Robert Dennis
T : Janis Hendler
December 5, 1982 (1982-12-05)

Matt tries to discover why a robot would murder the brother of its genius creator.

Guest stars: David Cassidy, Troy Donahue, Norman Fell, Monte Markham, Jessica Walter.
1111"The Good Doctor"Don WeisS : Brad Radnitz
S/T : James L. Conway
December 12, 1982 (1982-12-12)

During a party at Matt's, a research scientist is murdered.

Guest stars: Beverly Garland, Gayle Hunnicutt, Gary Lockwood, Cameron Mitchell, Jeanette Nolan, Susan Tolsky, William Windom.
1212"The Rock and the Hard Place"Kim MannersLarry AlexanderJanuary 2, 1983 (1983-01-02)

A champion boxer's physical ailments and his wife's addictions come into light after a murder.

Guest stars: Dennis Cole, Dorian Harewood, Richard Jaeckel, Diane McBain, Stan Shaw, George Takei, Berlinda Tolbert.
1313"The Purrfect Crime"Mike VejarCalvin Clements Jr.January 9, 1983 (1983-01-09)

When a cat food mogul is found mauled to death by a domesticated tiger, his four ex-wives retain Matt's services so they can receive proceeds from the will.

Guest stars: Barbi Benton, Sonny Bono, Pat Crowley, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Gary Grimes, Werner Klemperer, Janis Paige.
1414"The Yacht Club Murders"Cliff BoleNed WynnJanuary 16, 1983 (1983-01-16)

A yacht club is the target of a killer, concerning someone with ties to Matt.

Guest stars: Jimmy Baio, Shelley Berman, Alan Hale, Mary Ann Mobley, Dick Sargent.
1515"Whose Party Is It Anyway?"Cliff BoleLarry ForresterJanuary 23, 1983 (1983-01-23)

Five famous folks are summoned to Matt's place through a murderous ruse.

Guest stars: Kevin Brophy, Brett Halsey, Edward Mulhare, Barbara Rush, Stella Stevens.
1616"Get Houston"Kim MannersCalvin Clements Jr.February 20, 1983 (1983-02-20)

Psychopath Castanos (Chuck Connors) orchestrates attacks on Houston from his padded confinement. Don Stroud appears as Dirk Bronson.

Guest stars: Chuck Connors, Dennis Fimple, Ed Nelson, Raymond St. Jacques, Don Stroud
1717"The Visitors"Barbara PeetersCalvin Clements Jr.February 27, 1983 (1983-02-27)

A famous scientist suffers a fatal heart attack while witnessing an alleged extraterrestrial visit by an Unidentified Flying Object.

Guest stars: Robert Alda, Dane Clark, Shelley Fabares, David Groh, Alex Henteloff, Dawn Wells
1818"Here's Another Fine Mess"Cliff BoleRobert BrennanMarch 6, 1983 (1983-03-06)

Someone is targeting C.J. and her sorority sisters.

Guest stars: Ernest Borgnine, Larry Harmon, Rebecca Holden, Anne Jeffreys, Chuck McCann, John Moschitta Jr., Andrew Robinson, Ann Turkel
1919"The Beverly Woods Social Club"Don ChaffeySkip WebsterMarch 13, 1983 (1983-03-13)

A gossip columnist is murdered after threatening to expose a high-class prostitution house. Bo Hopkins as Rev. Noah Sunday, Jayne Meadows as Holly Harkens

Guest stars: Jayne Meadows Allen, Michael Constantine, Don DeFore, Bo Hopkins, Ben Murphy, Ron Palillo, Natalie Schafer.
2020"The Showgirl Murders"Don ChaffeyJames L. ConwayMarch 20, 1983 (1983-03-20)

Matt's friend, who suffers from alcoholic binges and blackouts, is accused of murder.

Guest stars: George Chakiris, Robert Goulet, Fred Grandy, James Luisi, John Moschitta Jr., Renée Taylor.
2121"Fear for Tomorrow"Kim MannersMichael FisherApril 3, 1983 (1983-04-03)

When a special code predicts deaths, Matt hunts for clues to prevent them and expose the code's reality.

Guest stars: Bruce M. Fischer, Ed Grover, Michael Halsey, Lenore Kasdorf, Lynne Marta, Tim O'Connor, Victoria Spelling.
2222"A Deadly Parlay"Charlie PicerniS : E. Nick Alexander
S/T : Skip Webster
April 10, 1983 (1983-04-10)

Matt is charged with murdering a jockey whose body he happened upon.

Guest stars: Ron Ely, Ed Grover, Peter Isacksen, Lynn-Holly Johnson, Gerald S. O'Loughlin.
2323"A Novel Way to Die"Corey AllenSkip WebsterApril 17, 1983 (1983-04-17)

A mystery is revealed when a murder-mystery writer is found dead at a convention.

Guest stars: Norman Alden, Richard Anderson, Joseph Campanella, Denny Miller, Terry Moore, John Moschitta Jr., Markie Post.
2424"The Hunted"Kim MannersCalvin Clements Jr.April 24, 1983 (1983-04-24)

A notorious crime leader kidnaps C.J. in order to force a trade for his son who is being held in connection with a terrorism plot.

Guest stars: Martin Landau, Mark Shera.

Season 2 (1983–84)

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
251"Heritage"Don ChaffeyCalvin Clements Jr.September 9, 1983 (1983-09-09)
While investigating a land scam, Matt finds out a few unnerving things about his family and his past.
273"The Woman in White"Kim MannersT : Skip Webster
S/T : Larry Alexander
September 16, 1983 (1983-09-16)
A former peace officer is jailed and under arrest for murder, but he might not have committed the crime.
284"Love You to Death"Kim MannersRobert BielakSeptember 23, 1983 (1983-09-23)
Matt is the victim of a stalker one-night-stand.
295"The Centerfold Murders"Kim MannersSkip WebsterSeptember 30, 1983 (1983-09-30)
Three stunning women have been murdered, their connection: they are all top centerfolds.
306"Needle in a Haystack"Don ChaffeyDaniel Pyne & Scott ShepherdOctober 7, 1983 (1983-10-07)
After witnessing a brutal crime, a diabetic is deported to Mexico, and his mother is concerned about his condition.
317"Marilyn"Barbara PeetersRobert BrennanOctober 21, 1983 (1983-10-21)
As he lay dying from a fatal gunshot, an associate asks Matt to protect Marilyn. Only one problem: Matt has no idea who she is.
328"The Ghost of Carter Gault"James L. ConwayS : Steven Thornley
T : Jud Scott
October 28, 1983 (1983-10-28)
A man trying to expose dirty union tactics is murdered right after asking Matt to take the case.
339"China Doll"Charlie PicerniJames L. ConwayNovember 4, 1983 (1983-11-04)
Did Chinese drug smugglers murder C.J.'s former roommate?
3410"Butterfly"James L. ConwaySkip WebsterNovember 18, 1983 (1983-11-18)
In the attempt to protect her little sister from a child prostitute ring, a teenage call girl is murdered.
3511"The Crying Clown"Charlie PicerniDaniel Pyne & Scott ShepherdNovember 25, 1983 (1983-11-25)
A talented art forger is found murdered, and the clues may rest one of his paintings, which is now missing.
3612"The Outsider"Mike VejarCalvin Clements Jr.December 2, 1983 (1983-12-02)
A self-proclaimed "Psychic" who is involved in a kidnapping scheme targets Matt.
3713"Target: Miss World"Cliff BoleRobert BrennanDecember 23, 1983 (1983-12-23)
A sniper assassin kills an innocent girl to maximize his targeting location.
3814"The Monster"James L. ConwayS : Michael Fisher
T : Daniel Pyne & Scott Shepherd
January 6, 1984 (1984-01-06)
C.J. is left to deal with defending a man who has confessed to killing four teens.
3915"Waltz of Death"Don ChaffeyS : Robert Bielak
S/T : Daniel Pyne & Scott Shepherd
January 13, 1984 (1984-01-13)
Someone thinks a renowned concert pianist is a mad strangler.
4016"Houston Is Dead"Charlie PicerniMichael FisherJanuary 20, 1984 (1984-01-20)
While investigating the death of a nursing home nurse, Matt is shot.
4117"Criss-Cross"Don ChaffeyStephen LordJanuary 27, 1984 (1984-01-27)
A retired Lieutenant Vincent Novelli is charged with stealing cocaine from a police evidence vault upon his return from vacation in Hawaii.
4218"The Bikini Murders"Charlie PicerniSkip WebsterFebruary 3, 1984 (1984-02-03)
A secretary is murdered after uncovering a plot to blackmail her boss.
4319"Death Match"Don ChaffeyRobert BrennanFebruary 24, 1984 (1984-02-24)
A serial killer who killed Matt's fiancee in the past reveals that he has struck again.
4420"Blood Ties"William CrainDaniel Pyne & Scott ShepherdMarch 2, 1984 (1984-03-02)
A hospital angel of death targets Matt's father.
4521"The Secret Admirer"Don ChaffeyCalvin Clements Jr.March 9, 1984 (1984-03-09)
C.J. is stalked by an obsessed admirer who murders her beau.
4622"Cash and Carry"James L. ConwayJames L. ConwayMarch 23, 1984 (1984-03-23)
A thief has second thoughts after stealing a cool $3 million from the mob.
4723"On the Run: Part 1"Cliff BoleMichael FisherMarch 30, 1984 (1984-03-30)
An amnesiac Matt wakes in his penthouse to discover a month is past and he is accused of murder.

Season 3 (1984–85)

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
481"Wanted Man: Part 2"James L. ConwayMichael FisherSeptember 21, 1984 (1984-09-21)
Buddy Ebsen stars as Roy Houston, Matt's uncle who investigates the accusations against his nephew and uncovers a mind control plot.
492"Vanished"Don ChaffeyMichael FisherSeptember 28, 1984 (1984-09-28)
Hoyt's young daughter is kidnapped by a child molester.
503"Eyewitness"Charlie PicerniAnn Lewis HamiltonOctober 12, 1984 (1984-10-12)
A TV newsman covers a kidnapping that he might be involved in to boost ratings.
514"Apostle of Death"Kim MannersSkip WebsterOctober 19, 1984 (1984-10-19)
Whether it's a religious cult or a commune, Matt must rescue Peggy Allyson (Wendy Smith Howard) who is being bilked out of a $3 million inheritance by evangelist leader Jesse Mercer (Richard Lynch) who plans to murder her after he has gained control of the cash.
525"Caged"Cliff BoleWilliam T. ConwayOctober 26, 1984 (1984-10-26)
After getting amnesia after a car accident, C.J. finds herself in prison and uncovers a prostitution ring. Guest starring Cynthia Cypert as Cynthia.
536"Return to Nam: Part 1"James L. ConwayDaniel Pyne & Scott ShepherdNovember 2, 1984 (1984-11-02)
Matt discovers that his cousin, who was once believed dead in Cambodia, is still a POW.
547"Escape from Nam: Part 2"James L. ConwayDaniel Pyne & Scott ShepherdNovember 9, 1984 (1984-11-09)
The Cambodian warlord who has imprisoned Matt's cousin might be getting a little help from someone close to Matt.
558"The High Fashion Murders"Cliff BoleJames L. ConwayNovember 16, 1984 (1984-11-16)
Two models have been murdered, and Matt can't accept the alibi of the most likely suspect.
569"Death Stalk"Mike VejarRobert BrennanNovember 23, 1984 (1984-11-23)
An international assassin has a grudge against Matt.
5710"Blood Money"Don ChaffeyStephen LordNovember 30, 1984 (1984-11-30)
Matt is dragged into a case involving international gem smuggling from a war-torn Vietnam. Guest-starring Scott Marlowe.
5811"Deadly Games"Charlie PicerniS : David Florimbi
T : Daniel Pyne & Scott Shepherd
December 7, 1984 (1984-12-07)
The most dangerous game is revisited when a sporting goods mogul hunts athletes.
5912"Stolen"Cliff BoleMargie GordonDecember 21, 1984 (1984-12-21)
An actress, whose infant son had been kidnapped a year earlier, asks Matt to investigate a woman she saw in a park with a child who resembled her lost baby.
6013"The Nightmare Man"Kim MannersS : Michael Fisher
T : Daniel Pyne
January 4, 1985 (1985-01-04)
Matt believes that the man who abducted him as a boy is kidnapping again.
6114"Breakpoint"Peter CraneRobert BrennanJanuary 11, 1985 (1985-01-11)
Matt and Roy rush to the aid of Roy's son (and Matt's cousin), a Vietnam vet who is threatening suicide.
6215"Death Trap"Kim MannersRichard FisherJanuary 11, 1985 (1985-01-11)
A once-prosperous oil town is now home to corruption and embezzlement.
6316"The Honeymoon Murders"Charlie PicerniSteven WhitneyJanuary 25, 1985 (1985-01-25)
Someone is targeting brides-to-be.
6417"The Beach Club Murders"Cliff BoleWilliam T. ConwayFebruary 1, 1985 (1985-02-01)
Matt investigates blackmail murders with the assistance of one of the victim's sisters.
6518"New Orleans Nightmare"Mike RobeMike RobeFebruary 8, 1985 (1985-02-08)
A stewardess accidentally happens upon and photographs a murder and asks Matt to protect her.
6619"Company Secrets"Charlie PicerniS : Thomas G. Edwards
T : Scott Shepherd
February 15, 1985 (1985-02-15)
Roy fakes his death to uncover a plot to murder his CIA squad members.
6720"Killing Time"Mike VejarDaniel PyneFebruary 22, 1985 (1985-02-22)
Matt's new flame has a family secret; her brother is funding Irish terrorists.
6821"Death Watch"William CrainRobert EarllMarch 15, 1985 (1985-03-15)
Matt and company investigate a drug ring.
6922"Final Vows"James L. ConwaySkip WebsterMarch 29, 1985 (1985-03-29)
Elizabeth, the object of Matt's affections, returns.

Home media

On March 9, 2010, CBS DVD (Distributed by Paramount) released season 1 of Matt Houston on DVD in Region 1 for the first time.[1] Season 2 was released June 16, 2017 and Season 3 was released on July 21, 2017.[2]

On May 4, 2015, it was announced that all three seasons of Matt Houston would be released the summer of 2015 by VEI, Inc.[3] The release was pushed back and was later released on July 15, 2016.[4]

DVD Name Ep # Region 1
The Complete First Season 24 March 9, 2010
The Complete Second Season 23 June 16, 2017
The Complete Third Season 22 July 21, 2017
The Complete Series 69 July 15, 2016

Award nominations

Year Award Result Category Recipient
1983 Emmy Award Nominated Outstanding Film Editing for a Series Bob Bring (For episode "The Showgirl Murders")
Edgar Award Best Television Episode Richard Christian Danus and Ken Trevey (For episode "Matt Houston")
1985 Young Artist Award Best Young Actor – Guest in a Television Series Bumper Robinson