The Paper Chase: Season 1, Episode 7

Da Da (31 Oct. 1978)

TV Episode  |   |  Drama
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 8 users  
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Hart tries to help struggling student Tom Clayton, whose troubles only increase when he learns that his wife Karen is expecting their first child. Hart employs some humorous techniques to ... See full summary »



(based on the novel by), (developed for television by), 1 more credit »
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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
James Stephens ...
Tom Fitzsimmons ...
Jonathan Segal ...
Jonathan Brooks (credit only)
Francine Tacker ...
Elizabeth Logan
Asheley Brooks (credit only)
Karen Clayton
Gerard Prendergast ...
Tom Clayton (as Gary Prendergast)
Wesley Grove
Betty Harford ...
Mrs. Nottingham
Redmond Gleeson ...
Lillah McCarthy ...
Bonnie Phillips
Layne Evans


Hart tries to help struggling student Tom Clayton, whose troubles only increase when he learns that his wife Karen is expecting their first child. Hart employs some humorous techniques to snap Clayton out of his academic stupor. Written by JEFJR

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Release Date:

31 October 1978 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Photophone Sound Recording)


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

I loved this show, but this is a VERY weak episode.
28 February 2012 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

Although I love this series and rushed out to buy the DVDs when it finally was released, I noticed that this episode was among the weakest I've seen. On two major accounts it fails: it makes Kingsfield (John Houseman) a sadist and the starring character (played by Gary Prendergast) was really unlikable and you have no idea why Hart (James Stephens) tries so hard to help this jerk.

The show begins with one of the contract law students (Prendergast) arriving for class completely unprepared. While some of this is due to the demands of marriage, this student clearly is suffering from an imminent emotional breakdown. So what does Professor Kingsfield do? He humiliates and completely dehumanizes the guy in front of the entire class--making him talk like a baby because he had that much power to debase this student. As I said above, Kingsfield is a sadist and clearly abuses his power here--and it's NOT like him throughout the series. Sure, he's tough and not particularly tactful, but here he goes WAY beyond this.

Lest you feel too sorry for the guy, however, at EVERY TURN Prendergast's character is nasty, surly and completely self-centered. When Hart inexplicably tries repeatedly to help the guy, he is rebuffed in a very nasty way. A SANE student simply would have given up and it seemed VERY unrealistic to have Hart keep trying--like a combination of Gandhi and a social worker--not a struggling law student himself. To top it off, the jerk's wife (Kim Cattrall) is pregnant and he mistreats her horribly. So why should we care? Well, frankly, I didn't. Clearly this is a flubbed episode and fortunately, they'd get a lot better.

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