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 season after Howard E. Rollins Jr. left the cast, he did return for several guest appearances. However, Anne-Marie Johnson (who played Althea) chose to join the cast of "In Living Color. Her absence was explained by having Althea & Virgil separate because of her having emotional problems stemming not only from her rape, but the stress of her being married to a policeman. See more »
It's extremely rare these days to find a film-to-tv spin-off that actually works (anybody remember 'Working Girl'?) but this 'Heat' is a worthy exception. It also has a strong, original slant of it's own -- the quirky (and, since this is the fictional South, sometimes downright eccentric) ways that ordinary people behave in extraordinary situations. Of course, in lazier moments this can sometimes mean genre cliches. And as the years go on it becomes increasingly difficult -- due to a series of well-publicized internal troubles -- to find ALL the stars together in the same episode. But at its best, the show has some powerful things to say about the human condition...and at its worst, it's still a beautifully produced hour spent with some very likable characters.
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