Ben Matlock is a very expensive criminal defense attorney who charges $100,000 to take a case. Fortunately, he's worth every penny as he and his associates defend his clients by finding the real killer.
Bill Gillespie is a police chief in a small town in the American South, and later becomes sheriff of the county. As Bill tries to solve crimes and catch criminals, aided by his capable investigator Virgil Tibbs and police lieutenant Bubba Skinner, he must navigate tricky small-town politics. Racial tensions often run high in the South and this theme is frequently explored. Bill's personal life is often portrayed in this TV drama, as well. Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
ITHOTN is my second favorite hour long TV series( right behind the Rockford files 1974-80.) The first season,while well acted and produced isn't as good as season two and three. The episodes filmed in Hammond Louisiana recapture the atmosphere of the motion picture with its run down buildings and the racist behavior of " Bill Gillespie". The stories just don't measure up, with the exception of " Road Kill" One of the entire series best episodes!.The four Joe Don Baker episodes (while Carroll O' Connor was recuperating from heart surgery) are among my favorites. "15 forever " is unsettling in its depiction of teenagers killed by a drunk driver.( Spartas district attorney! ) " The pig woman of Sparta" is funny and atmospheric. "Lady bug,lady bug"is dark and brutal."Vengeance" and "Sparta Gold" are two of Alan Autrys best. Scott Brian Higgs is hilarious as the eccentric "Randy Calhoun", a recurring character on the show.Lois Nettleton is very good as Bill Gillespies love interest and her shady past is revealed in the excellent "Aka Kelly Kay". I was so impressed with the series that we traveled through Covington Georgia on our way to Florida a few years ago. We saw a lot of the filming locations and toured the ITHOTN/ Dukes of Hazzard museum. Carroll O' Connor was totally believable as "Bill Gillespie", Howard Rollins upstaged the entire cast, bringing more depth to the "Virgil Tibbs" character than Sidney Poitier did in the '67 film. Hugh O' Connor who obviously wasn't a trained actor,actually grew into his "Jameson" role and was good enough to carry several episodes by himself! The last season was wearing pretty thin but had a very good run with some truly memorable stories. RIP Carroll,Hugh and Howard.
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