Dr. Richard Kimble, a pediatrician in Stafford, Indiana, has an argument with his wife Helen and storms off. While returning his car almost hits a one armed man who darts into the street from the vicinity of his home. He runs into his home past the open front door and sees Helen dead on the floor. Although innocent, he is tried and convicted for murder, and sentenced to death.
Police Lieutenant Phillip Gerard is taking Kimble by train to prison to be executed, when the train derails and Kimble escapes. Kimble travels from place to place, frequently changing his name, taking jobs where he can get them, usually menial, and ever on the alert lest he be recognized and captured. Lt. Gerard and other police are hot on his trail, and even well-meaning civilians can cause his ruin.
While running, Kimble constantly seeks the one armed man so he can prove his innocence. Viewers can certainly believe in his innocence, since in each episode he displays outstandingly good character, frequently putting himself at risk to help another person in need. The fact he must frequently travel puts Kimble in a variety of interesting situations involving people of all different characters from all stations of life. Although he no longer has a medical license, his skills as a doctor are often needed and play a role in the drama.
The main character, Richard Kimble, is played by actor David Janssen. He is intelligent, modest, generous, honest, hard-working, strong and trustworthy. Attractive to the ladies, he has many romances throughout his travels, and is always honest with them about the fact he never sticks around one town too long. Yet, the nature of being a fugitive occasionally requires some dishonest and even violent conduct on his part, though never too violent.
His adversary, Lieutenant Phillip Gerard, played by actor Barry Morse, feels responsible for Kimble's escape, and Kimble is never far from his mind. Gerard is intelligent, honest, and completely devoted to duty. He does not bother himself with the question of whether Kimble is innocent, because the courts declared him guilty, and it is Gerard's job to obey their orders. His shrewd detective skills often place Kimble in severe jeopardy. He appears in fewer than half the episodes. In the remaining episodes, other police officers usually figure prominently.
Kimble gets away at the end of every episode, sometime through his own efforts, sometimes through luck, and sometimes with the aid of a citizen, or even a policeman, who believes in Kimble's innocence or otherwise is impressed with his good deeds.
The one armed man, played by actor Bill Raisch, does not appear in many episodes, but is an evil presence throughout the series. When he does appear, he is ruthless, violent, and simple-minded, with good instincts for self-preservation. Like Kimble, he is a fugitive, having to run from the relentless pursuit of Kimble. Toward the end of the series he appears more often, and Kimble learns his name, Fred Johnson.
Each of the 120 episodes has a unique plot, often complex and showing great creativity, though some themes are repeated. Another attraction to the show is the guest stars, many of whom are among the most renowned names in show business
In the final episode, The Judgment, Parts I and II, Kimble is finally cleared, to the great relief of his sister Donna Taft, played by actress Jacqueline Scott, who appears in episodes periodically throughout the series.
The Fugitive, which ran for four years from 1963 to 1967, is arguably the finest dramatic show ever to appear on television.
By James Lawrence, email@example.com.