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Benson is an American situation comedy that ran from the late 1970s through the mid-1980s. The show was a spin-off of the sitcom Soap and featured the character named Benson DuBois, played by Robert Guillaume, as he made a major change in profession. Benson is hired as the head of household affairs for the governor's mansion of a state never named throughout the history of the series. He gets along with his boss, the sweet but somewhat dimwitted Governor Eugene Gatling (James Noble), his daughter Katie (Missy Gold), and Gatling's secretary Marcy Hill, played by Caroline McWilliams. Not everyone got along with Benson. From the very first day he was at odds with the mansion's chef Gretchen Kraus (Inga Swenson), chief of staff John Taylor (Lewis J. Stadlen), and his replacement Clayton Endicott (Rene Auberjonois).

Gatling's chief of staff was not the only employee of the mansion to change over. When Marcy left at the end of season two, she was replaced by Denise (Didi Conn). She, in turn, married Gatling's press secretary Pete Downey (Ethan Phillips). Both characters were written out of the show after their marriage and the subsequent birth of their child. There were changes to Benson's position as well throughout the series. After being named the Governor's Budget Director and then Lieutenant Governor, Benson ran for Governor against Gatling in the last season. The series ended in a cliffhanger, with the winner of the gubernatorial contest left up in the air.

Created by Paul Junger Witt, Tony Thomas, and Susan Harris, Benson was produced by Witt/Thomas/Harris Productions in association with Columbia Pictures Television. The show aired on the United States' ABC network for seven seasons, from 1979 to 1986. The first two seasons are available on DVD. As of this writing there are no plans to release further seasons.

Sony
7 Seasons, 158 Episodes
September 13, 1979
Comedy
7.1/10
Cast: Robert Guillaume, James Noble, Inga Swenson, Missy Gold
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Benson Full Episode Guide

  • As time is running out, Benson, the Governor, or the crooked senator will soon be out of a job. Which one? As the details come to a close we find that the winner of the election is......

  • With Governor Gatling's term about to close and Benson up to run for Governor, the Governor learns that he can run for yet one more term and decides to grab it. This leads to a final competition, hurt, and quarrels between the Governor and Benson. (Part 1 of 2)

  • The Governor answers an ad from a personal's column from a magazine.

  • A conservation expert may help Benson and the Governor pass an inportant bill, but when Kraus hears of the strategy, she leaks it out to a friend who turs out to be a columnist and a major gossip to people who can owe her a favor for information.

  • Benson persuades to pardon a man who was wrongfully imprisoned for 25 years.

  • Clayton has his sights on running the family fortune, until he meets his father's new, young, and pretty fiancee. Then he realizes that inheriting the fortune will be pretty challenging.

  • Benson, convinced that the question Senator Hartford has for him is "the" question, runs quickly to initiate a proposal.

  • Actor George Kennedy's plan to film a movie in the Goveror's mansion runs into deadly problems, and turns into a lethal murder mystery.

  • A veteran is hired to retile the bathroom, but happens to disappear. Benson now has to investigate what happened and where his wherabouts are.

  • Benson and the Governor seek advice from a conservationist in helping them pass some environmental legislation.

  • Clayton's nomination of the Governor's budget director has a problem after it is found out that Clayton lives with a Soviet defector.

  • After talk about Halley's comet, Karus dreams that she and Benson are the only ones left on earth.

  • Benson becomes involved in one of Clayton's wacky investment schemes. This one is investing in a weiner-dog to breed for puppies, but Benson grows too attached to the dog, as does also Clayton.

  • After crash landing the helicopter in the desert, Benson, the Governor, and Clayton all struggle to survive on account of them being stranded.

  • Despite warnings, on their way to fly a helicopter to play golf, Benson, the Governor, and Clayton run into disasterous problems with Clayton as their pilot.

  • Synopsis currently unknown

  • While Benson and Kraus go to East Germany on official business, the two are accused of being spies and get arrested.

  • A mysterious stranger lurks around the Governor's mansion on Haloween night.

  • When Benson revisits a relationship with Senator Hartford, the Senator changes her position on Clayton's commercial-development-of-state-parks bill. When Benson calls her on it, she flip-flops again and ultimately abstains.

  • While Governor Gatling is away, Benson and Clayton are depended upon to spend an 8 million dollar budget surplus before the next fiscal year, which is only a matter of several hours away. When the surplus was found out by someone, The Governor and Clayton go through political embarassment.

  • When Clayton's name is passed over at the table of the Man of the Year Award, an award given by the Press, Clayton tries to capture Benson's personality so that he can win the award.

  • Benson's tie-breaking vote on a school bill leads to a major conflict with a powerful senator and a book-burning incident.

  • While the Governor is away on business, Benson is responsible for the work that needs to get done. In this particular case, Benson vetoes a bill that the Governor agreed to sign.

  • Benson, the Governor, and everyone in the mansion go to the bomb cellar to try and prepare for a nuclear attack against the United States.

  • An exhausted Governor Gatling decides to play cowboy at a dude ranch to unwind.

  • While being called in from President Reagan on account of a remark Benson made, Benson and the Governor reach The Oval Office, and while waiting for the President, the two get trapped in there.

  • On a trip to Las Vegas, Benson meets the comic duo The Smothers Brothers.

  • Benson, the Governor, Kraus, and Clayton talk about people from their past who influenced their lives greatly.

  • Benson gets surrounded in red tape when he takes on the city mayor who pans to outlaw breakdancing in public places.

  • Benson tries to investigate Kraus when she doesn't show up for a while. Kraus returns to acting and Benson disguises himelf as a limo driver to try and get her back.

  • As he is walking on the sidewalk during a Christmas rush, he trips and falls. While he is unconscious, he dreams about Christmas with his mother (Beah Richards).

  • A Declaration of War is brought out among two fighting nations after Benson attends a Trade conference.

  • Benson visits with his brother and Uncle who he hasn't seen in years.

  • Benson is shocked when he tells his sister to be cautious with her ex boyfriend and doesn't listen.

  • Benson fixes Clayton up with a date, but the date is disgusted with Clayton's romance ploys and "manners".

  • Benson plans to have Kraus become Lieuteant Governor Benson's assistant. But things get screwed up when a nebbish with political clout is hired instead.

  • Benson, in help from the Police, is persued while trying to rescue the captured Governor and Kraus, who earlier attempted to rescue Clayton from Lady Van Dyne.

  • Benson, the Governor, Clayton, and Kraus go off to Hong Kong where Clayton is mistaken for a famous designer and kinapped by a fashion tycoon and her henchmen.

  • When Benson runs out of his campaign money, a benefactor arrives when things look darkest.

  • After Benson decides to run for Lieutenant Governor, he learns that the man who offers money to his campaign will have to benefit from Benson by doing him special political "favors."

  • Benson's pleasure turns to panic when the attractive doctor who conducted his physical wants to meet him to discuss the results.

  • Benson finds it hard to believe that he is the sole heir to the Playbird magazine empire.

  • While going undercover, Benson learns that the Lieutenant Governor is accepting bribes from a construction company.

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