Question: If I'm not mistaken, around 1993-94 I watched a series called Matrix. It was about a mafia hit man who was shot to death but was given a second chance to live. But he had to do good in order to stay on earth instead of being sent to hell and he had a partner who knew he was dead plus sort of an angel to watch everything he did. Do you know the actor's name? I liked the series very much, but it was short-lived.

Televisionary: Actor Nick Mancuso played "family" man Steven Matrix in the USA series, which debuted on the cable network in March 1993. As you say, Matrix died of lead poisoning (well, the lead was delivered via a bullet to the noggin, so you make the diagnosis) and went to a Purgatory-like placed known as The City In-Between. There he was told he could skip the usual trip to Hades if he was willing to return to earth and help troubled people out (essentially the same deal I took after my assassin career went wrong, which is why I'm only too happy to write this column).

Accepting the offer (the series wasn't called Idiot, after all), Matrix came back to our planet to do some good, but apparently didn't do enough of it since Matrix was gone after 13 episodes. Along for the ride (but not to the final destination, one assumes) were pals Billy Hicks (Phil Jarrett) and Liz Teel (Carrie-Anne Moss, who, oddly enough, would go on to real success as Trinity in 1999's The Matrix).

You may also remember Mancuso from his days as a vintage-'Vette-driving do-gooder in Stingray, which ran on NBC from March 1986 to July 1987. Or you might have caught him in Animal Planet's Call of the Wild.