Hawkins comes to Hollywood to defend a star's husband in a murder case. The man claims that he killed a playboy when he caught him trying to rape his daughter. But Hawkins doubts that he is telling ...
Billy Jim Hawkins was a very clever defense attorney, whose drawl and laid back manner often fooled his adversaries into underestimating his skills as an attorney. Billy Jim's office was located in a small town in West Virginia, although his cases often took him to other places around the country. R.J. was Billy Jim's cousin and associate who did most of Billy Jim's legwork. Written by
Marty McKee <email@example.com>
This series alternated on Tuesday evenings with Shaft (1973) which may have led to the early demise of both series. Contemporary analysts suggested that since the two shows appealed to vastly different audience bases, alternating them only served to confuse fans of both series, giving neither show the time to build up a large viewership. See more »
Jimmy Stewart in his second try at a television series was far better at playing Billy Jim Hawkins, defense attorney than he was doing that half hour situation comedy.
For reasons I don't understand he was not as successful at the same type of character as Andy Griffith later was with Matlock. He had that same folksy charm that concealed a mind as sharp as a steel trap. Juatice was inevitably done at the end of each episode.
Unlike Ben Matlock, Billy Jim was from West Virginia as opposed to North Carolina. He had Strother Martin who was a cousin and served as his general factotum. But he came from a large family, almost as if one of the Real McCoys went to law school. Cousins EVERYWHERE. Of course he'd be meeting relatives every so often with a problem. Billy Jim had the largest family on record, like the Kennedys.
Or maybe it was like Chill Wills who called everyone he met "cousin." Never was quite clear.
Nonetheless this forerunner to Matlock should have had a longer run. My guess is Stewart didn't want to be tied down to even a monthly mystery TV series.
It was our loss.
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