In the Heat of the Night (1988–1995)
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Last Rights 

The doctor treating Virgil's dying aunt is the chief suspect in a series of mercy killings.


Vincent McEveety


James Lee Barrett (developed for television by), Mitchell Schneider | 3 more credits »


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Carroll O'Connor ... Chief William O. 'Bill' Gillespie
Howard E. Rollins Jr. ... Chief of Detectives Virgil Tibbs (as Howard Rollins)
Alan Autry ... Capt. V.L. 'Bubba' Skinner
Anne-Marie Johnson ... Althea Tibbs
David Hart ... Cpl. Parker Williams
Geoffrey Thorne ... Sgt. Wilson Sweet (credit only)
Hugh O'Connor ... Lt. Lonnie Jamison
Denise Nicholas ... Harriet DeLong (credit only)
Fran Bennett ... Aunt Ruda Gibson
Earl Holliman ... Dr. Lambert
Crystal Fox ... Cpl. Luann Corbin
Dee Shaw Dee Shaw ... Cpl. Dee Shepard
Tonea Stewart ... Aunt Etta Kibbey
Dan Biggers Dan Biggers ... Dr. Frank Robb
Wilbur Fitzgerald ... Dist. Atty. Gerard Darnelle


Dr. Frank Robb, the county coroner, reports several suspicious deaths by morphine overdose at Newton General Hospital to Chief Bill Gillespie. In addition, a considerable quantity of narcotics is missing from the hospital pharmacy. Cora Lucas, Aunt Ruda Gibson's roommate in the hospital is the latest victim. Suspicion falls on Dr. Lambert, who has access to hospital narcotics and has attended each of the dead patients, as well as Ruda Gibson. Virgil Tibbs is convinced his Aunt Ruda knows more than she is willing to admit about the situation. Written by richardann

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Did You Know?


The "Sanctuary" situation (#5.21, #5.22) is referenced in this episode when District Attorney Darnell mentions that a resolution to the case is coming soon. See more »

User Reviews

Dr. Kevorkian in Sparta
7 December 2020 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

The theft of a big load of morphine sulfate tablets from the Sparta Hospital sets off a big investigation. But the theft is of more direct concern to Dr. Earl Holliman who uses those drugs to send off his terminally ill patients into eternity. One of those patients now being Howard Rollins's aunt Fran Bennett.

Fran Bennett as Aunt Ruda has given some powerful performances on this series, none more so than this episode. Her scenes with her sister, Virgil Tibbs's other aunt are truly special.

The right to die issue is given a thorough examination in this episode.

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Release Date:

9 December 1992 (USA) See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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