Dr. Richard Kimble is framed for his wife's murder by a mysterious one-armed man. During sentencing Kimble escapes intending to catch the one-armed man and find out why he was framed. ... See full summary »
Dr. Richard Kimble is accused as the murderer of his wife, tried and convicted. On his way to be executed, he escapes. The only chance to prove his innocence is to find the man who killed his wife. Kimble, pursued by Lt. Gerard, risks his life several times when he shows his identity to help other people out of trouble. Written by
Florian Baumann <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Until the "Who Shot J.R.?" episode of Dallas (1978), the finale of this series where Kimball finally catches the "One Armed Man" was the highest-rated episode in the history of television. See more »
The Fugitive, a QM Production, starring David Janssen as Dr. Richard Kimble, an innocent victim of blind justice, falsely convicted for the murder of his wife, reprieved by fate when a train wreck freed him en route to the death house; freed him to hide in lonely desperation, to change his identity, to toil at many jobs; freed him to search for a one-armed man he saw leave the scene of the crime; freed him to run before the relentless pursuit of the police lieutenant obsessed with his capture.
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It was called "the most repulsive concept ever for television" when Roy Huggins pitched it to ABC in 1960, until Leonard Goldenson of ABC called it the best idea he'd ever heard.
Such summarizes the huge effort Roy Huggins invested to get The Fugitive to television. Teaming with producer Quinn Martin, Huggins' concept was made flesh with the casting of David Janssen as Dr. Richard Kimble and British-born Canadian Barry Morse as his nemesis, Lt. Philip Gerard. Huggins and Martin worked to make a compelling weekly drama via superb scripts, top-notch guest casts, and enticing music by Peter Rugolo, and succeeded perhaps more than they ever dared to hope.
The Fugitive remains compelling television 40 years later. Janssen and Morse imbue tremendous sympathy into their roles and make their characters so compelling that audiences even went too far, assailing Morse by saying, "You dumb cop, don't you realize he's innocent?" It even extended to the one-armed vagrant who was key to the drama, played by stuntman Bill Raisch, who in one incident was even picked up by the real LAPD because they thought he was "wanted for something," before they realized he was just an actor.
If The Fugitive had a drawback, it was because it worked too well - it is emotionally draining watching the show because the sympathy enticed for the characters is so great that seeing them suffer is painful, such as in the two-part episode "Never Wave Goodbye" - the audience is put through the emotional wringer every bit as much as Kimble, Gerard, and the story's supporting players (in this case played by Susan Oliver, Will Kuliva, Robert Duvall, and Lee Phillips).
The series was shot in black and white in its first three seasons, but for the fourth season came the replacement of producer Alan Armer with Wilton Schiller and the switch to color. The quality of the series remained high, but it is a measure of the show's quality that early fourth-season episodes are considered disappointing, and yet are still excellent stories with genuine emotional pull. The fourth-season settled down when writer-producer George Eckstein was brought in early on to help out Schiller, and it helped bring about some of the series' best moments, notably in the episode "The Ivy Maze," where for the first time in the series, all three protagonists (Kimble, Gerard, and Fred Johnson, the one-armed man) confront each other.
The performances and all else within made The Fugitive TV's most compelling drama, then and forever.
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