“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 latter 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 four 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.
It’s all about to come to an end soon and Richard Kimball’s days of running will soon be behind him. You have to wait just a little bit longer. This is the first half of the final season. Highlights include:
In The Last Oasis, Kimball is shot and badly wounded. He takes refuge at an Indian reservation where a woman risks being caught to help him by removing the bullet. But, a cop is close on Kimball’s heels. Death Is The Door Prize follows, and Kimball is once again having to lay low while he heals. This time a camera store employee lets Kimball stay at her place. But a video camera has caught the whole thing on tape. The Sharp Edge Of Chivalry has Kimball framed for yet another murder. In Nobody Loses All Of The Time, Kimball nearly gets caught stopping to help a girl who was hit by a car. Unfortunately, she’s the one-armed man’s girlfriend, and he wants the girl to turn Kimball in to the police. Talk about no good deed going unpunished. Kimball falls in with a deadly motorcycle gang in The Devil’s Disciples. They help him out but expect him to help them get revenge in return. In The Evil Men Do, Kimball must save the life of Gerard. A mobster wants to repay Kimball by whacking Gerard for him.
Guest stars in this release include: The Invaders’ Roy Thinnes, Barney Miller’s James Gregory, Mary Tyler Moore’s Ted Knight, Alien’s Tom Skerritt, Hill Street‘s James B. Sikking and The Waltons’ Ellen Corby.
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.
This is one of those situations where the half seasons really drive you crazy. We’re just that close to the final showdown. Hopefully, you won’t have to wait very long before you finally get to see the finale once again. Hey, you waited almost 40 years. You can wait a few more months for that “final encounter with the many-faced enemy”.