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>
The 1989 season was played slightly out of order. The previous season ended with a cliffhanger. However, Carroll O'Connor, who also served as executive producer, wanted to begin the next season with the episode in which Althea Tibbs is raped because he felt that that particular episode had a strong message and that it should be the season opener. The continuation to the cliffhanger was shown a few episodes into that season with Gillespie recapping the events of what happened when he was kidnapped and the events surrounding that period. See more »
This was without a doubt one of the best TV shows to ever depict the South the way it needed to be shown during the latter part of late 80's and continue into the mid-90's. This was in fact a worthy successor to the 1967 Oscar winning film of the same title. Its extremely rare these days to find a film-to-TV spin off that actually works on its own formula(the last show to accomplished such a feat and excel was MASH),and it does just that. It has an originality of its own--and it is sometimes quirky(since this set in the fictional Southern town of Sparta,and sometimes it can be downright eccentric)in the way that ordinary people act under circumstances in extraordinary situations. But in point,it taught us about the racial prejudices and as well as real life situations courtesy of its teacher and executive producer of the series....CARROLL O'CONNOR. It shows how racial problems can be solved,and also shows us that for one how drugs and drinking as well as abuse can tear a family apart and how to deal with those issues(several episodes consisted of the subject dealt with this brilliantly,including one scene where suicide was a major factor). It shows how a police force was very concerned with the community and what made it so good was that they were were not so caring but they knew what the community and its people were going through in a time of crisis. In other words,the police cared what was going on regardless of came about. Also,to make this statement....Carroll O'Connor is the ONLY actor in Hollywood who spoke out about the abuse of drugs in the community(he stepped out of character in one episode to speak about that which brought me to tears),and his show dealt with that exceptionally well. As the show made the switched from NBC to CBS in 1993,the show stayed focus on issues,but it also was the first to show an interracial marriage between characters. At its best it showed the all out emotions of the human condition,but its still is a beautifully produced show. Kudos to the late Howard Rollins,and Carroll O'Connor. R.I.P.
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