The Paper Chase (1978–1986)
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A distinguished and popular professor of trial law is afflicted with "senility." No one has noticed this except his students, perhaps because his symptoms are worse under the pressure of a ... See full summary »


Jack Bender


John Jay Osborn Jr. (based on the novel by), James Bridges (developed for television by) | 2 more credits »


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
John Houseman ... Professor Charles W. Kingsfield Jr.
James Stephens ... James T. Hart
Tom Fitzsimmons Tom Fitzsimmons ... Franklin Ford III
James Keane ... Willis Bell (credit only)
Michael Tucci ... Gerald Golden
Andra Millian ... Laura Kiernan (credit only)
Penny Johnson Jerald ... Vivian Conway (as Penny Johnson) (credit only)
Clare Kirkconnell ... Rita Harriman
Betty Harford Betty Harford ... Mrs. Nottingham (credit only)
David Opatoshu ... Professor Grey
David Paymer ... Myslesky
Wortham Krimmer Wortham Krimmer ... Martin Zeiss
Martha Scott ... Marion Grey
Mary Betten Mary Betten ... Professor Grey's Housekeeper
Meg Wyllie ... Professor Grey's Sister


A distinguished and popular professor of trial law is afflicted with "senility." No one has noticed this except his students, perhaps because his symptoms are worse under the pressure of a lecture situation. Many of the students are frustrated and want to petition to have him replaced as they feel his performance compromises their education. Ford, having witnessed the problem in his own grandfather and enduring his devastation at being removed from the family's firm, has sympathy and wants to find a kinder way to resolve the problem. He goes to Kingsfield for help who denies it's an issue and chastises him, but Kingsfield plays chess with Professor Grey and in beating him easily discovers they're right. Eventually he offers him an Emeritus position and the Professor, with grace, dignity and final lesson thrown, in resigns from teaching. Written by Anonymous

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Release Date:

26 June 1984 (USA) See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Quite touching....
9 October 2014 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

David Opatoshu was an excellent television actor and it's nice to see him starring in this rather sad episode of "The Paper Chase". He plays a very distinguished law professor, Dr. Harriman, who is experiencing dementia. His lectures are losing cohesion and he tends to repeat himself. As a result, many of his students are pushing to have him removed. One of the students, Ford, however, is against this move--mostly because he feels so sorry for professor Harriman and because it brings up memories of his own grandfather. Eventually, the professor's good friend, Professor Kingsfield, is pulled into the conflict.

Like most episodes of the series, there is a minor secondary plot. This one involves Hart repeatedly coming into conflict with another Law Review member, Harriman. The pair always seem to argue and their relationship is very adversarial. So, Hart is determined to work this out...but the problem is that every time he opens his mouth, he is a giant horse's behind.

Season one of "The Paper Chase" was brilliant. Unfortunately, after several years and many changes (such as networks and much of the cast), the momentum wasn't sustained and many of the second season's episodes were very bad. In light of this, it was wonderful to see this one, as it was exceptionally well written, touching and deals with a topic most TV programs won't--dementia. Overall, a shining light in the midst of substandard season two programs. The only reason I didn't give this one a 10 is because the subplot involving Hart and Harriman just further illustrates how the writing lost its way a bit in season two.

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