Philadelphia Detective Dwight Walker calls Virgil Tibbs, planning to come to Sparta for the twins' birth after he wraps up a big case. Dwight sees three Philadelphia policemen break up a drug buy and kill the buyer and pusher. Dwight then is found hanged at home. Celia, Dwight's wife, asks Virgil to help find the killers. Meanwhile, Bubba Skinner is drafted to assist Althea with her Lamaze classes.
Continuation of episode #4.1. Detective Virgil Tibbs is framed by three Philadelphia policemen and arrested as an accomplice to murder. Chief Bill Gillespie goes to Philadelphia to help. Hannah, a bag lady/informant to Dwight Walker, is killed to prevent her from talking. Bill and Virgil investigate the case as Althea and Bubba rush to the hospital with contractions.
When the Sparta P.D. finds a young woman, Raylynn Walker, dead in a dumpster at the Big T truck stop, they soon uncover that the truck stop is actually running a prostitution business on the side, which would lead to Raylynn's murder. During the investigation, Officer Parker Williams runs into a old high school friend working as a prostitute at the truck stop. Chief Gillespie is shocked at Judd Walker's reaction to his daughter's death and the uncertainty surrounding the welfare of his young granddaughter. Meanwhile, Althea's parents are in town to see the babies and ...
Jimmy Dillard is a young boy who says that his teacher, Leonard Grissom, had molested him several times at the school. When Chief Gillespie and Detective Tibbs investigate the case, they come upon many inconsistencies with Jimmy's story. Jeff Dillard, who is Jimmy's father, grows frustrated with the progress of the police investigation into his boy's claims of molestation and also the new editor of the Sparta Herald is attacking the Sparta P.D. in the newspaper for its lack of movement against the teacher. Many in the town are outraged that the teacher is just on ...
A cocaine transporter who is traveling through Sparta ends up in a hit and run accident with Detective Virgil Tibbs' neighbor Kevin Dawson. Afterwards, the driver of the truck Troy Caldwell shows no remorse at all for hitting the boy. Chief Gillespie thinks he has a solid case against Caldwell that will send him to prison for a long time until FBI Agent Richard Donnelly comes from Jackson to offer Troy Caldwell full immunity from all charges in exchange for his complete testimony against the New Orleans drug lord who is behind the cocaine distribution. Troy Caldwell ...
Recently widowed Christine Millings ignites an old flame with Bubba Skinner, who gives her a gold heart-shaped locket. Christine's attorney is murdered, and Bubba is conflicted when it appears that Christine may have been involved with the lawyer. The locket plays a decisive part in resolving the plot.
Fishing at the lake on his day off, Bubba Skinner discovers a newborn infant buried near the shore. The investigation turns toward the two Mastin girls, Kitty and Willa, as the baby was buried in a shoebox traced to their father George. Eighteen-year-old Willa is retarded and was thought to have been getting shots to prevent pregnancy, but fourteen-year-old Kitty stopped giving the shots because they were painful. The father of the infant turns out to be a neighbor, handyman Tucker Carnes. What is the best thing now for Willa and her family?
Prosper Hoag returns to Sparta despite death threats after being granted parole from prison for being involved in a tragic accident that took the lives of three kids and crippled two others. Many residents and especially the parents of the kids that were involved in the accident are angered that Hoag is coming back to Sparta. Not too long after Prosper Hoag is back home, someone murders him. The Sparta P.D.'s investigation leads them to many willing suspects that would want Prosper Hoag dead.
Carl Tibbets finds his wife in their bookstore dead of a single gunshot wound when he shows up for work in the morning. A grief-stricken Tibbets, who is a good friend of Officer Wilson Sweet, tells him that robbery might have played a motive in his wife's killing since some money from the bookstore is gone and her car is missing. Sweet believes that his friend Carl Tibbets is telling the truth and has nothing to do with the death of his wife. When the Sparta P.D. turns up evidence that contradicts Tibbets story, the investigation starts to take a different turn.
Virgil Tibbs visits his Aunt Ruda in hopes of reconciling family differences. He convinces Aunt Ruda to come over to his home for a nice family get together that also includes his Aunt Etta, who Ruda is estranged from. Meanwhile, there are a string of robberies in Sparta, with the last one resulting in a murder of a janitor on the night shift. The Sparta P.D.'s investigation leads to Virgil's cousin, Tyrell Gibson, as an accomplice in the crimes. Detective Tibbs convinces his Aunt Ruda to tell him where her son Tyrell is hiding out. When Virgil shows up at the ...
Jack Whearty, a shiftless slacker, rushes from Houston to Sparta to seek help from his sister Kathleen. Tiny Randall, a relentless bounty hunter, leaves a collection of bodies in his wake as he pursues Jack.
In this Christmas episode, members of the Sparta Police Department are interviewed for an article in the Sparta Herald. Reporter Millie Turnby has a preconceived notion regarding the article and spins the information to suit her agenda. Flashbacks show the SPD's growing pains after Virgil Tibbs joins the force, especially in his relationships with Chief Bill Gillespie and Sergeant Bubba Skinner. As the officers read the article at a Christmas party, Gillespie puts it and the newspaper into proper perspective.
A psychiatrist, Dr. Lureen Allcott, has confidential information about a murder for which Ray Garrett is set to be executed in two days. Dr. Allcott is ethically, and perhaps legally, precluded from revealing any details to the authorities, but it appears that Garrett may have been wrongly accused and time is running out.
As the recipient of a full scholarship, Terry Johnson will be the first person in his neighborhood to go to college. Terry is torn between wanting to leave the "Bottoms" and his dope-dealing older brother Derek, and his concern for his younger brother Bobby.
Virgil is worried about his good friend, Thomas Spiers, when he gets involved in a shady building project that he invested his life savings into. Detective Tibbs uncovers that the person behind the mall project, Micheal Lawrence, is being investigated for previous failed construction projects in which he never returned the investors money. When Thomas Spiers finds out about the investigation into Lawrence's business ventures, he becomes enraged and goes to Lawrence's house to demand his money back, but Spiers is shot and killed in the process. Micheal Lawrence claims ...
Julie Lofton reports to the Sparta police that she heard a disturbance in her neighbor's apartment, but she can't recognize the man who was there because she is blind. The police find nothing in the apartment to go on. However, Julie says she can positively identify the man's voice, but the district attorney is reluctant to proceed without a dead body.
Two plots are interconnected. The first concerns a serial rapist who preys on young, single blond women. The second concerns a teacher who tutors a prospective seminarian in her spare time. In each case the perpetrator is caught, and Chief Gillespie wraps up the episode by revealing what is the first deadly sin.
Lt. Bubba Skinner (Autry) goes to Los Angeles to extradite a suspect. He meets a beautiful LAPD detective, Pat Day (Sandlund), in a story reminiscent of Clint Eastwood in "Coogan's Bluff" and Dennis Weaver in "McCloud."
Follow-up to episode "A Problem Too Personal" (#4.9). Harriet's ex-husband Vic Glennon is tried for felony murder, although he did not fire his weapon or harm anyone. Harriet must decide how much public support to show for Vic and how to deal with their son Gene.