“The man is Richard Kimble and, not surprisingly, the man is tired. Tired of looking over his shoulder, the ready lie of the buses and freight trains. Richard Kimble is tired of running…”
The elusive “one armed man” is one of the best known television icons of all time. The plight of Dr. Richard Kimball has been the subject of numerous imitations and even a feature film staring Harrison Ford as Kimball and Tommy Lee Jones as his pursuer. Tim Daly left the ranks of comedy to fill the shoes of Kimball in a very short lived revival series. While some of these efforts managed to capture the essence of The Fugitive, none can truly compare to the real thing.
Quinn Martin is known for his procedural dramas and formulaic television programs. The Fugitive fits into the later category. The formula was actually ridiculously but almost ingeniously simple. Dr. Richard Kimble (Janssen) comes home to surprise a man who has just killed his wife. The cops think Kimble did the evil deed himself, and he manages to escape while being transferred to death row. He’s being tracked by Federal Marshal Gerard (Morse). Now he’s traveling the country in search of clues that will prove his innocence and bring him closer to that “one armed man” who ruined his life. Along the way he ends up involved in the lives of the people he meets. The episodes are narrated in Martin Quinn fashion by William Conrad. The show finds Kimble helping others in trouble along the way as much as looking for clues to clear his own name. The finale was the most watched episode of television at that time and wouldn’t be beaten until MASH ended its decades’ long run some 20 years later. Kimble finally comes face to face with his nemesis in a milestone episode ending Kimble’s own 4 year odyssey. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. That climactic moment is still two and a half years ahead of us. Pick up this latest set and relive some of those dramatic moments in the life of a fugitive.
This is the first half of the third season. It features the first 15 episodes of the third season. This set contains more interesting guest stars: Harold Gould, Greg Morris, Star Trek’s favorite engineer James Doohan and his captain William Shatner, Booth Coleman, Marion Ross, everyone’s beloved Doc DeForest Kelley, Gary Walberg, Suzanne Pleshette, Clint Howard, Norman Fell, James Hong, and Larry Ward.
Each episode of The Fugitive is presented in its original broadcast full frame format. The black and white presentation is pretty well preserved. The contrast levels are pretty solid, allowing for a fair amount of detail in the image. Of course, there are plenty of specks and other print artifacts, but not more than you might expect.
The Dolby Digital Mono track delivers exactly what you are looking for and nothing more. The dialog is clear, and that’s all you’re going to get out of this minimalist presentation. If you’re looking for the nostalgia of watching a ten year old television show, Paramount decided to make the experience authentic by delivering a ten year old sound.
By the third season the show began to rely more on the show’s bread and butter. That meant more cat and mouse between Dr. Kimble and Gerard. This was actually the best stuff in the series. You still need to start at the beginning, but the show was cooking by the time these episodes started their run. After following the series for the first time on DVD, it’s been quite a bit of a treat. There’s more to come as we follow the trail of “the elusive one-armed man”.