The Fugitive (TV Series 1963–1967) Poster


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TV's Most Compelling Drama
stp4321 November 2002
It was called "the most repulsive concept ever for television" when Roy Huggins pitched it to ABC in 1960, until Leonard Goldenson of ABC called it the best idea he'd ever heard.

Such summarizes the huge effort Roy Huggins invested to get The Fugitive to television. Teaming with producer Quinn Martin, Huggins' concept was made flesh with the casting of David Janssen as Dr. Richard Kimble and British-born Canadian Barry Morse as his nemesis, Lt. Philip Gerard. Huggins and Martin worked to make a compelling weekly drama via superb scripts, top-notch guest casts, and enticing music by Peter Rugolo, and succeeded perhaps more than they ever dared to hope.

The Fugitive remains compelling television 40 years later. Janssen and Morse imbue tremendous sympathy into their roles and make their characters so compelling that audiences even went too far, assailing Morse by saying, "You dumb cop, don't you realize he's innocent?" It even extended to the one-armed vagrant who was key to the drama, played by stuntman Bill Raisch, who in one incident was even picked up by the real LAPD because they thought he was "wanted for something," before they realized he was just an actor.

If The Fugitive had a drawback, it was because it worked too well - it is emotionally draining watching the show because the sympathy enticed for the characters is so great that seeing them suffer is painful, such as in the two-part episode "Never Wave Goodbye" - the audience is put through the emotional wringer every bit as much as Kimble, Gerard, and the story's supporting players (in this case played by Susan Oliver, Will Kuliva, Robert Duvall, and Lee Phillips).

The series was shot in black and white in its first three seasons, but for the fourth season came the replacement of producer Alan Armer with Wilton Schiller and the switch to color. The quality of the series remained high, but it is a measure of the show's quality that early fourth-season episodes are considered disappointing, and yet are still excellent stories with genuine emotional pull. The fourth-season settled down when writer-producer George Eckstein was brought in early on to help out Schiller, and it helped bring about some of the series' best moments, notably in the episode "The Ivy Maze," where for the first time in the series, all three protagonists (Kimble, Gerard, and Fred Johnson, the one-armed man) confront each other.

The performances and all else within made The Fugitive TV's most compelling drama, then and forever.
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Best Use Of Black Hair Dye In The History Of Television
cutterccbaxter28 January 2005
I read a Roy Huggins novel called "Too Late For Tears" that was turned into a solid film noir movie. Huggins also is responsible for the western series "Maverick." With "The Fugitive" Huggins combines elements of noir (a man trapped in circumstances beyond his control) and the western (a loner wandering across the American landscape) for one of the best dramas in the history of television. David Janssen is perfectly cast as Doctor Richard Kimble -- fugitive. There's an aura of sadness that seems to cling to Janssen that feels just right for the situations the fugitive is always finding himself in. Despite his predicament Kimble is always putting the needs of others above his own. In the wrong hands such lofty morale aspirations might feel a bit forced, but The Fugitive manages to keep it well grounded.
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Realistic, Believable and Emotional Drama
Big Movie Fan22 September 2002
The Fugitive was a top show starring David Janssen as Dr. Richard Kimble. Kimble had been wrongly accused of the murder of his wife and he went on the run pursued by Lt. Gerard (played by Barry Morse). His only method of proving his innocence was to find the one-armed man who had killed his wife.

It was a very realistic drama show and David Janssen drew the audience into his predicament. Whatever pain he was feeling, the audience felt too. He was a man who viewers could empathize with. Each week he travelled from place to place meeting up with people, most of whom sympathized with his predicament. There was tension and drama throughout the entire series run. It was a very believable drama. It's a pity that nobody can produce shows like that any more.

One other thing; I believe this show inspired The Incredible Hulk live action series from the late 70's. In both cases, innocent men were on the run for crimes they didn't commit, both men were pursued (David Banner was pursued by a reporter) and both David Janssen as Kimble and the late Bill Bixby as David Banner drew the viewers into their predicament.
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Four Years in the Twilight Zone
schappe110 November 2004
According to both my ears and the book 'TV's Biggest Hits' by Jon Burlingame, much of the music we hear in the episodes of the original version of the TV series 'The Fugitive', first appeared on 'The Twilight Zone'. In fact the musical director of 'The Fugitive', once he heard that the show was coming to an end, went up to the late, great, Jerry Goldsmith, who has composed the original tracts when they were used on 'The Twilight Zone', and said 'What's this I hear: they're going to cancel 'our' show!'.

Still, it was an appropriate choice as Richard Kimble spent four years in his own, personal 'Twilight Zone'. If you look at most of the classic episodes of the earlier show, they involve a troubled hero finding himself in a world that doesn't seem to make any sense any more. He convinces himself if he can figure it out, or find a way out of it, things will be OK again. But he never seems to make it- just like so many of our dreams. Kimble's world is shattered by an argument with his wife and her subsequent murder. He's on the run in his own country, now suddenly hostile to him. He has to suppress his emotions and hide his identity while he pursues 'the way out': the one-armed man; and avoids pursuit by Lt. Gerard, the symbol of all his fears. Goldsmith's music was very well used.

I heartily agree with those that rank this as the best TV series ever. Leonard Goldenson was right: it's the best concept for a show ever. Also the best execution. David Janssen's performance is amazing. He's deprived of most of an actor's tools: he keeps his head down and says as little as possible in order to avoid recognition. Yet he conveys this character's feeling perfectly. The tremendous array of guest actors, playing characters in their own little psychological prisons adds great depth to the show. The directing was sharp, well-paced and uncluttered with too many obvious 'techniques'. The writing was consistently good. Pete Rugolo's wonderful main musical theme could be played allegro for excitement or largo for poignancy- and this was the most poignant show ever. It was about psychological alienation. The only other shows I can think of that reached this deep were 'The Twilight Zone' and, occasionally, 'Star Trek'.

This was one of the few classic TV shows of which a movie version was later made that was any good at all. Roy Huggins, the creator of the show, had some input into the Harrison Ford film. That film, compared to the TV show, is rich in money, production values and excitement. It has flashes of characterization that give the action more meaning than most modern day flicks. However the TV was rich in time, with four years of hour long episodes to tell all its various stories. In the end that made it far more moving. If only the film could have been the ending of the TV show, ('The Judgment' is not really all that good, despite its historical ratings).

My dream ending for the show is Kimble leaving the courthouse and suddenly finding himself surrounded by the women who fell in love with him in all his travels, and then running down the street to escape from them! Actually, I think it would have been nice if he found Vera Miles and the boy from 'Fear in Desert City' waiting for him. That would have been the most poetic ending of all. I wonder what Goldsmith might have written for that.
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The Ultimate Dramatic Classic Series That Sets The Example
rcj536515 August 2004
"The Fugitive" was without a doubt the ultimate example of how a dramatic series is suppose to be done and to this day sets the example for other dramatic shows that were to follow. It was simply put one of the greatest television shows of all time,and the greatest drama ever presented in the history of prime time-television. Somehow,this series has a uniqueness about it in its own way,but in the long run was the prototype of many other shows that were to follow it("The Immortal", "The Invaders","Run For Your Life","Run,Joe Run","The Incredible Hulk"). TV Guide once called this series,"the best TV drama of the 1960's". But it became so much more as the series was frankly a combination of drama,and crime events put together along with some breathtaking suspense and cliffhanging excitement as the standard formula for this show,and it did extremely well giving the series several Emmy nominations for its excellent writing and acting for its star of the show:David Janssen. In other words,the best dramatic series of all time. The opening credits give the introduction to the character...........

Dr. Richard Kimble,an innocent victim of blind justice..... Falsely accused for the murder of his wife when a train wreck frees him on route to the death house....FREED HIM...To hide in lonely desperation and to go from town to town toling at many jobs...... FREED HIM...To search for the one-armed man leave the scene of the crime and to go after him for the murder of his wife.... FREED HIM...To run before the relentless pursuit of the Police Lt. who is obsessed with his capture...

Of course the character of Richard Kimble was loosely inspired by Dr. Sam Sheppard who was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison for the 1954 murder of his wife,Marilyn,but was acquitted in a second trial in November of 1966 for a murder he did not commit. The major difference was that Richard Kimble spent four years chasing the real killer who was near the scene of the crime(a one-man armed man)while he was being framed for a murder that he didn't commit,whose wife was brutally murdered in her own home while she was alone,and he was blamed for the crimes....That is basically setting up an innocent man who had nothing to do with the crimes,but also was trying taking his life to hell in a handbasket for something he didn't do! That's wrong! That's blind justice gone astrayed! But the series "The Fugitive" was grand entertainment at its finest hour,and let me explained how......

I.)The Black and White Episodes:Seasons One Through Three:1963-1966

From its premiere episode in September of 1963,"The Fugitive",was grand suspenseful and intriguing entertainment at its finest and with the black and white episodes that came out,it works on many levels,and we are introduced to the character of Richard Kimble(David Janssen),and his adventures going from town to town as he stays one step ahead of the Police Lt. in charge of the manhunt for Kimble,Phillip Gerard(Barry Morse),and the search of the one-armed man who killed his wife,Fred Johnson(Bill Raisch). During the first three seasons of the show,it presented a good decent,and well developed main character and from there evokes emotion from the viewer by having something happening to him that he absolutely doesn't deserved,which evoke genuine emotion,plus he was a character whom viewers can empathize with. Whatever pain he was feeling,the audience felt it too. And each week there was always something happening as Kimble stumbles into each town or city for someone's help or help comes to him,and right away the trouble ensues and the suspicious party that recognizes Kimble's wanted poster from the police bulletin,are right there to call the authorities with by the way,Kimble easily escapes them with just a slip from the cops in the local town and from there drifts into a new venture where he must stay one step ahead of Gerard and to one step toward the lookout for the one-armed man. Kimble eluders his pursuers,gets away for another week while we see him walking backwards down the road,thumbling a ride with a sack over his shoulder. A car passes him,he turns around keeps walking while the legendary William Conrad's voice speaks in the background,"Richard Kimble:Fugitive. Still searching for the one-armed man". "The Fugitive" was an incredible exercise in formulatic writing when nowadays is used as a textbook on

"The Effect Screen writing Of Classic TV Shows",which as of this writing several college campuses and universities are using this format as a part of the TV writing and Journalism courses as a teaching tool for those who are interested in this venture. So college courses show this series as a backdrop on how to write,and produced standard TV shows and it works!(The Black and White episodes of this series) Back to the TV show,"The Fugitive",the show followed the standard Quinn Martin production formula of prologue,multiple,and epilogue--which is basically used in several QM produced shows to follow like,"The FBI","The Invaders","Dan August","Cannon","The Streets Of San Francisco","Barnaby Jones","The Runaways","Harry-O" and so forth.

Here is the summary formula for almost every show: 1. Prologue 2. Act One 3. Act Two 4. Act Three 5. Act Four 6. Epilogue

II.)The Color Episodes:Season Four:1966-1967. In the fall of 1966,"The Fugitive" made the transition from shades of gray(black and white)to color,and from there the show suffered in the ratings,but before the producers(Quinn Martin and Roy Huggins)let ABC bring down the axe of this show,they decided by not risking the series to be cancelled without having a finale. However,the format was basically the same with Kimble staying ahead of Gerard,but the last two episodes of the series were simply put the greatest upset in the history of television. The two-part finale of The Fugitive entitled,"The Judgment",aired on August 27,1967 and the last episode of the series on August 28,1967,after an astounding four seasons and 120 episodes. After four grueling years of chasing and being chased,Kimble finally catches up with the one-armed man,who admits to having been Helen's real killer. In the climax,Kimble chases Johnson on top of the building and from there Johnson is shot and killed by Lt. Gerard,who saves Kimble in the process and is acquitted of all charges. It went on to become one of the highest rated TV finales of all time,and still is in the top ten of the best TV finales ever made.
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Television at the Peak of Its Abilities
lonenut20009 May 2001
"The Fugitive" is, without a doubt, the finest episodic drama series in the history of television. Who can't feel for Richard Kimble? His son is stillborn, which contributes to making his wife unable to have more children, which turns her into a bitter alcoholic, which strains their marriage, which makes him storm out of the house one evening, which leaves her alone to be murdered by a burglar, which is then blamed on him! Talk about your life going to hell in a handbasket! I think "The Fugitive" holds up so well because of its strict avoidance of schmaltz. The show never degenerates into maudlin soap opera; the characters are fresh and well-defined, the plots are gripping and realistic, and Kimble is a protagonist with whom we can easily identify. He's never presented as being squeaky clean; he's just a basically decent guy trapped in an overwhelming situation and trying to make the best of it.
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where "Quality TV" isn't an oxymoron...
occupant-127 September 2001
With each passing decade, we seem to descend further into lower and lower literary standards in prose, film, everything. Jumping back thirty or forty years, we see that even television could be deep at times. This and many other shows of the first twenty years or so of TV actually had believable premises, developed characters and strong supporting roles as foil to the lead (Barry Morse's lawman here). The good news is that cable will continue to unearth gems from the past such as "Fugitive" due to sheer need of programming.
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What A Real Drama is Supposed to Be!!
warlock16219 December 2001
I was not alive yet when the show was in its original run. When I became a teenager, I happened to be flipping through the channels one late night and I stumbled across a rerun of "The Fugitive". I was hooked immediately.

I idea behind watching any TV program or movie is to provoke raw emotion from the viewer. Whenever I watch "The Fugitive", my heart actually beats faster. I always felt nervous, merry due to Kimble triumphing, scared, etc. No other program I have ever watched has given me such great feelings.

The show had an excellent premise (we all know it). The character development is the best of the best. Kimble, we saw his weaknesses, did not deserve the injustice that was brought to him. His strengths always kept him one step ahead of Gerard. Gerard, he was the epitome of a man possessed. Great characters and a great story.

Granted, the show has some continuity problems. But those things were overshadowed by an excellent product.

Most other drama on TV today is sappy and weak compared to this.

"The Fugitive" is what a real dram is supposed to be!!
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The Fugitive
myphx24 January 2006
This is one of the greatest TV series of all time, why is it not available on DVD? and I'm not talking about bootleg VHS copies from Ebay for $300.00.

An outstanding classic television series that needs to be presented in it's entirety in a DVD set. The movie version was a bunch of bloated, Hollywood tripe all to typical of whats been put out today.

Painstaking effort has been made to present DVD material of such crap as Full House, Saved by the Bell, etc, etc. I'll bet we'll see Love Boat come out next. Why no Fugitive?

This is absolutely unacceptable.
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The finest dramatic series ever
ynot-166 December 2008
The right concept, the right star, the right scripts, and the right producers and directors all came together at the right time (1963-1967) to create the finest dramatic series ever to appear on television.

Dr. Richard Kimble, played by actor David Janssen, is a pediatrician in Stafford, Indiana. He has an argument with his wife Helen and storms off. While returning his car almost hits a one armed man who darts into the street from the vicinity of his home. He runs into his home past the open front door and sees Helen dead on the floor. Although innocent, he is tried and convicted for murder, and sentenced to death.

Police Lieutenant Phillip Gerard, played by actor Barry Morse, is taking Kimble by train to prison to be executed, when the train derails and Kimble escapes. Kimble travels from place to place, frequently changing his name, taking jobs where he can get them, usually menial, and ever on the alert lest he be recognized and captured. Lt. Gerard and other police are hot on his trail, and even well-meaning civilians can cause his ruin.

While running, Kimble constantly seeks the one armed man so he can prove his innocence. Viewers can certainly believe in his innocence, since in each episode he displays outstandingly good character, frequently putting himself at risk to help another person in need.

Kimble is intelligent, modest, generous, honest, hard-working, strong and trustworthy, an altogether admirable hero, yet also believable. He is no superhero, just an ordinary man placed in extraordinary circumstances that allow his true character to come forth.

But this is not a one note show. Violence, criminality, medical drama, and romance all have a place in the series, but none dominates it.

The fact he must frequently travel puts Kimble in a variety of interesting situations involving people of all different characters from all stations of life. The circumstances of the series allow the writers to place Kimble in just about any situation in any setting, from a migrant labor camp to a hospital to an embassy to a research laboratory, while making important points about morality, hypocrisy, and the flaws of even the best legal system, all against the dramatic background of the struggle to survive of a sympathetic lead character. The parade of talented guest stars adds icing to this tasty cake.

Other efforts to exploit this idea, such as the movie with Harrison Ford and the more recent TV series starring Tim Daly, failed to capture the essence of what made the 60s series so great. So, for those of us who love quality programming, we have little choice but to rely on the original. What a shame that the bosses at the TV networks have been unable to find a place in their schedules for such a magnificent show.
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The Best TV Show Ever Made
Rocketer3 January 2003
The Fugitive is unique. Although it has been loosely imitated (The Immortal), parodied (Run, Buddy Run) and remade (as a mediocre movie and mediocre TV series) there has never been anything like it on TV, before or since. The acting, production values and especially the writing are as good as it ever gets on television.

If you have never seen an episode you are in for a treat if you ever get the chance to see one. I remember watching the show as a kid when it was first broadcast in the mid-sixties but I didn't really appreciate how very good it is until I started watching it on A&E in the early 90's.

The first three seasons were in black and white and the fourth and final season was in color. Like a lot of shows some of the best stories are in its second season, when the writers and audience are comfortable with the premise and characters but there are still plenty of fresh ideas to fuel the storyline. "Nemesis" and "May God Have Mercy" are typical of the show's high quality.

You can appreciate the show on many levels. It's cerebral yet there's plenty of action. The guest stars are a Who's Who of past (Mickey Rooney, Ed Begley Sr.) and future (Robert Duvall, Telly Savalas, Harry Dean Stanton, Carroll O'Connor and many others) stars. The stories are compelling to watch and instructive to study.

The Fugitive is a gem.
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A classic drama
4-Kane2 March 2001
'The Fugitive' is a classic dramatic series I watch whenever I have an opportunity. David Janssen was (and still is) the best Dr. Richard Kimble (sorry Mr. Ford and Daly!). Barry Morse was equally effective as Lt. Philip Gerard, the man obsessed with capturing our hero. This classic lasted four years and 120 episodes. (The real reason I watch this show is because some of its elements would be later used in 'The Incredible Hulk,' which is my all-time favorite episodic TV series.)

Of course, the character of Richard Kimble was loosely inspired by Dr. Sam Sheppard. The major difference was that while Dr. Richard Kimble spent four years chasing the real killer (a one-armed man) of his wife Helen, Dr. Sheppard spent ten years in jail for the 1954 murder of his wife Marilyn.

It might be interesting to note that when Dr. Sheppard was acquitted in a second trial in November of 1966, 'The Fugitive,' which was then in the middle of its fourth season, began to slip in the ratings. For this reason, the producers were smart not to wait for the ax to fall and risk having the series cancelled without doing a finale.

"The Judgment," the two-hour series finale, aired in the summer of 1967. After four years of chasing and being chased, Kimble finally catches up with Fred Johnson, the one-armed man, who admits to having been Helen's real killer. He is then shot and killed by Lt. Gerard, who saves Kimble in the process.

While the finale was weak in some respects, it was generally a fitting conclusion to the 'Fugitive' series. Of course, it was also one of the highest rated TV finales of all-time.
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21 Year Old HUGE FAN
tnutty92515 March 2012
My dad introduced me to when it first came out, must have been around 16 or 17 at the time. Now 21, yet I still can get enough. Absolutely love the show. Every episode just has some kind of thrilling twist. Show isn't about highly cost cameras that can do just about anything these, this is old school. Yet how in depth they get with each character, and certain camera angles really puts this show way past its time. Sad they didn't run the show longer, but there are plenty of episodes and think they did a great job on how they ended it. For anyone looking for good ol' black and white shows, The Fugitive is a must for checking out.
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Another opinion on the final episodes (The Judgment)
mfiedl5 June 2010
If you followed the show for 4 years, you would have thought they could have come up with a better end than this; it seemed so quick and convoluted. There were threads throughout the 4 years that they could have wove into the finale and made a good episodes (s) out of.

One that probably wouldn't have went over was based on an interview with David Janssen in TV Guide. He was asked what he thought the ending should be like and this is what he said "...after the one armed man is caught and killed, they cut away to sometime in the future where Dr. Kimble is walking on a beach alone, and he takes off his one arm and throws it in the ocean." That would be rather ironic, wouldn't it. Probably more like some of the shows today.
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A great dramatic series that was ahead of its time
AlsExGal23 November 2014
Warning: Spoilers
If "All in the Family" was the beginning of modern comic television, then "The Fugitive" was certainly the beginning of modern dramatic television. Premiering in 1963, it was ahead of its time in so many ways - showing that the law was capable of making a mistake that could cost a man his life, that a member of law enforcement could be partially driven by darkness in his own personality that he mistook for a pure quest for justice, and realistically depicting the angst between family members and the quiet desperation in middle America in general. The first three seasons of this series' four season run is absolutely splendid. It did lose something in the fourth season, if my memory serves me correctly, when it went to color TV in its final year.

If I have any criticism of the show at all it is for a failure in the overall story arc. First - WARNING SPOILER AHEAD. I won't say who did actually commit the murder of Dr. Kimble's wife, but I will tell you who didn't and who the writers originally intended the murderer to be - Dr. Kimble's brother-in-law. The network suits - yes, they did exist and cause trouble even in the 1960's - decided that viewers would be completely turned off by the idea of a member of Kimble's family being both the culprit and also cheating on his own wife with a member of his own extended family - Dr. Kimble's wife. After four years of challenging the audience with ground-breaking stories about the civil rights movement, family violence, and small-town corruption, and the audience favorably responding to that challenge, the network executives should have had more faith.

At any rate, the first three seasons are fantastic, I'll talk just a bit about one of my favorite episodes in season one - "Home is the Hunted". In that episode Kimble returns to his hometown when he learns his father has had a heart attack. Knowing what I do about who the killer was originally intended to be makes this episode all the more powerful, especially since it is Kimble's sister and brother-in-law who take him in and hide him and who are both so sympathetic to him. Plus the confrontation between Dr. Kimble and his brother Ray in this episode is great drama.

I highly recommend the series.
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Stephen King Called "The Fugitive" The Greatest TV Show...
cosmicly5 August 2011
And although everyone has their own favorite TV show, "The Fugitive" is definitely a worthy candidate for anyone's list.

The show has an excellent premise: a doctor is unjustly convicted of the murder of his wife; en route to the "death house" he manages to escape after a train wreck; he roams the United States in search of the one-armed man who is the real killer; and all the while he is relentlessly pursued by a police lieutenant "obsessed with his capture." The show is a cross between 1) The famous Dr. Sam Sheppard murder case in Cleveland (although the show's creator Roy Huggins consistently and adamantly denied this) and 2) Victor Hugo's classic "Les Miserables" (which Roy Huggins readily admitted).

David Janssen is perfectly cast as the lead character Dr. Richard Kimble; the script writing for each and every episode is superb; and the music for each episode matches form and content magnificently.

But what stands out most, for me, are the unforgettable performances by the guest stars.

--Sandy Dennis as a feisty mountain girl who dreams of making something of herself in the Big City

--Eileen Heckart as a Catholic nun who is experiencing a crisis of faith

--Ed Begley as a crippled and embittered college law professor who arranges, for his class of law students, a mock trial of Richard Kimble

--Brenda Scott as a fisherman's teenage daughter who develops a monstrous crush on Richard Kimble, and she won't let him leave until she gets "her kiss"

--Janis Paige as a popular and enigmatic singer who plunges into rudeness and alcohol as a response to her terminal disease

--Angie Dickinson as the sister of a crippled man (Robert Duvall) who receives physical and mental therapy from Dr. Kimble

--Bruce Dern, Sharon Farrell and R.G. Armstrong as the leaders of a backwoods moonshine community that gives a hard time to Dr. Kimble and an even harder time to Lieutenant Gerard (Barry Morse)

--Jack Klugman as a guilt-ridden trucking company owner who is constantly pressured financially by the widow (Geraldine Brooks) of a trucker whose death he caused

--Laura Devon as a beautiful but illiterate girlfriend of a con man; she gets tutored by Dr. Kimble and blossoms into a genuine "Fair Lady"

--Antoinette Bower as beautiful woman who is perceived as a curse and a deadly jinx to men in a small fishing town

--Jacqueline Scott as Dr. Kimble's loyal sister, Richard Anderson as Dr. Kimble's brother-in-law, and Diane Baker as Dr. Kimble's love

--These unforgettable characters, and so many, many more, convince me that Stephen King is correct. "The Fugitive" is indeed the greatest TV show of all time.
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The Fugitive-Best dramatic series ever
pova51-111 December 2009
Warning: Spoilers
While I agree that this show probably tops the list of great TV dramas, it wasn't perfect. There was a tendency to repeat plot as is common with virtually all shows and the final episode was disappointing to say the least. At a gathering in LA sponsored by the The Museum of TV and Radio to honor Roy Huggins, he was asked about the final episode. He said that he had to, because of demands by ABC execs, show that the one armed man was without a doubt the guilty party. He knew that it was overkill to have the one armed man admit to the killing and to have Gerard then kill him in the episode wasn't great writing either. He said that the difficulty in getting the show on the air due to having a purported wife-killer as the hero of the piece was almost impossible, yet, he insisted on it and we all thank him for creating the finest drama TV has ever seen. Considering his other productions and that actors such as James Garner from Maverick shared the stage that night with Mr. Huggins, it amazed me that virtually all questions from the audience concerned The Fugitive. It truly says something about the staying power of the show. It is one to be watched and savored.
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Groundbreaking TV series with an ingeniously simple plot
hnt_dnl18 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I wonder how many fans of the relatively recent masterful big-screen adaptation THE FUGITIVE (starring Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones) know that there actually was a pretty masterful TV series that preceded it by 30 years! This 1960s TV series, THE FUGITIVE, tells the story of one Dr. Richard Kimble (played brilliantly by David Janssen). Kimble is arrested and put on death row for the alleged murder of his own wife, Helen. The arresting officer is Lt. Philip Gerard (well played by Barry Morse), the only other major character in this series. Kimble and Gerard carried the show for 4 seasons until Kimble's acquittal of his wife's murder in the series finale in 1967, when it was proved (as Kimble always asserted) that a one-armed man committed the crime.

Kimble escaped from the train that was to take him to jail, thus the series focused on his adventures cross-country trying to find the elusive one-armed man. Basically an anthology series, each episode was self-contained and really focused more on life lessons than on Kimble's predicament. Kimble would drift into some town, get caught up with ne'er do-wells somehow, then actually play detective and solve the crime and help catch the bad guys, then disappear and thus stay one step ahead of Gerard.

You'll notice in watching the series that the same actor would play different characters from time to time, so if you think that is the character you saw before, you'd be wrong. The lady who played Kimble's sister was a recurring character though and she appeared in the last episode when Kimble was acquitted.

I got to see a summertime marathon of this show several years ago and was thoroughly engaged. Janssen was perfect in the role of Kimble. I can't think of another actor who could relay Kimble's reserve, calmness, humanity, and unabashed determination to clear his name. Morse (a very small man in stature) was solid as the cop who was obsessed with bringing Kimble to justice, at times conflicted as to whether or not Kimble really did kill his wife.

THE FUGITIVE is one of those old, forgotten series that gets lost in the shuffle due to modernization and all of the diluted stuff on TV nowadays. But trust me, this classic 60s series is a keeper!
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One Of Television's All-Time Best
aimless-4611 March 2008
The 120 episodes (90 in B&W, 30 in Color) of the television drama "The Fugitive" originally ran from 1963-1967 on ABC. The broadcast of the final episodes in August 1967 was a national event.

Most likely anyone reading this already knows the perfect premise of the series. The producers took Dr. Sam Sheppard's long running Cleveland murder trial and blended it with Victor Hugo's "Les Miserables". The title character was renamed Dr. Richard Kimble (played by David Janssen who would later star in the detective series "Harry O") and the series began an argument between Kimble and his wife Helen over adopting a child. He storms out of the house showcasing his fury to their neighbors. Upon returning home Kimble sees a one- armed man fleeing the Kimble house. Inside the house he finds the body of his wife.

Kimble is tried and convicted, the one-armed man does not come forward and no one believes Kimble's account of that evening. When the train taking Kimble to prison derails he escapes from the custody of Indiana State Police Lt. Phillip Gerard (Barry Morse).

This begins parallel chases as Kimble pursues the as yet unidentified one-armed man (Bill Raisch) and Gerard becomes obsessed with recapturing Kimble. The beauty of the premise was the total flexibility it allowed the writers with regard to each episodes story and the ease of incorporating legitimate action, tension, and drama.

The series was a Quinn Martin Production (with the same high quality production value as his other television series: "The Invaders", "The Untouchables", "The F.B.I", "The Streets of San Francisco"). Each episode was broken into four acts and they went out with an epilogue- William ("Cannon") Conrad doing the narration. Janssen is excellent in the role and delivers a subtle non-verbal performance consistent with a man on the run who must be extremely reserved to avoid attracting attention.

Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
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Fifty Years Later, Still Compelling, Entertaining, With a Satisfying Conclusion
alan_paul7 February 2014
As I watched this classic series recently, I found myself visiting the Internet Movie Database site frequently. Bruce Dern plays five different roles over the course of the show's four year run. Louise Latham and Diane Baker, two of Dern's co-stars from Hitchcock's film Marnie show up in the series finale. Robert Duvall appears in three episodes playing two unique characters, elevating both otherwise formulaic stories. Dozens of performers return to play new characters throughout the series run (not that unusual for a TV series of this vintage). Watched over the course of four years, viewers might not have noticed the returning actors. Modern binge viewers can check on Internet Movie Database to see how many times Telly Savalas, Shirley Knight, Michael Constantine and Sue Randall will appear (three). Look for Kurt Russell (as Philip Gerard Jr!) early in Season Two, as well as fellow kid stars Bill Mumy and brothers Clint and Ron Howard. A random episode cast: Pat Hingle, Dabney Coleman, Mary Murphy, Tom Skerritt, Dabs Greer, Burt Mustin. In most cases, if they are still alive, they are still working. Each of the four seasons has thirty episodes, with David Janssen on screen as Dr. Richard Kimble (The Fugitive) for most of the hour, often looking appropriately stressed or exhausted, a believable performance perhaps made easier by a frantic work schedule. Barry Morse as Lt. Philip Gerard, Kimble's nemesis, does not appear in every episode. Instead he pops up just enough to keep the main storyline of pursuit going. Series villain Bill Raisch as Fred Johnson (The One-Armed Man) is featured in just ten episodes, and is still (deservedly) ranked as one of TVs all-time greatest villains. Yes, some of the episodes are exceptionally good, others not quite so much, but every episode is watchable, even if you are just admiring the quality of the acting, or simply anxious to get to the end of the series. And the series finale is what sets the entire show apart from so many genre TV shows. The basic premise of the series can be summed up in a few questions. Those questions are answered in the two hour series finale, after a few twists and surprises, with a very satisfying conclusion. What are the cliffhanger resolutions for Flash Forward, Carnivale, Twin Peaks (okay, a great final episode, but it ends with multiple cliffhangers), X-Files, Invasion, Lost In Space, Land of the Giants, Vanished, The Dead Zone, Deception, Kyle XY, Stargate Universe, Alcatraz, Sliders, Las Vegas, The Border, Endgame (and dozens of other past, present and future TV shows)? Fifty years after The Fugitive's first broadcast, the entire series is still worth watching from the intriguing beginning, through an occasionally suspenseful middle, to the rewarding payoff at the end.
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A great, great series!
fosterbandit5 April 2009
This series has it all. Great acting, solid writing and awesome, suspenseful music. It is one of the best dramas in television history and offers an attractive sidebar as the viewer gets to see up and coming stars(as well as established stars) making some great guest appearances. Look for Ed Asner, Leslie Nielson, Ron Howard and Kurt Russell. Also, David Janssen as Dr. Richard Kimble and Barry Morse as Philip Gerard are absolutely outstanding. I can't wait for seasons 3 and 4 to come out on DVD! With todays sophisticated technology, it is hard to imagine a fugitive escaping the arm of the law the way these episodes play out but back then in much simpler times, it was plausible and it all just seems An incredible dramatic series!
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Most suspenseful, gripping TV drama of all time.
sonya9002822 March 2009
The Fugitive revolves around Dr. Richard Kimble and his flight from the law, after he's wrongfully convicted of killing his wife. Kimble tells the authorities that he saw a one-armed man fleeing the scene, after discovering his wife's dead body in his living room. Problem is, Kimble could never prove that he didn't kill his wife, before being sentenced to death by execution.

Things look grim for Dr. Kimble, when he's in the custody of Lt. Phillip Gerard after his conviction, and on his way via train to being executed. The hand of fate steps in, however. Kimble manages to escape from Lt. Gerard's custody, after the train transporting them wrecks. From that moment on, Dr. Kimble must run for his life, traveling from town to town. Whenever Kimble arrives in a new place, he must assume a whole new identity, to keep from getting caught by Lt. Gerard.

Kimble can never rest easy for long, since Lt. Gerard is always in piping-hot pursuit of Kimble. Gerard makes it his personal mission in life to capture Dr. Kimble, and have him executed, despite the fact that Kimble is innocent. And Gerard is unwilling to accept that Kimble's wife might have been killed by the one-armed man, despite Kimble's insistence that he's innocent of murdering his wife.

While keeping one step ahead of Gerard, Dr. Kimble is also hunting for the one-armed man, in hopes of capturing him. If successful, Kimble then has a chance of being able to prove that the one-armed man was his wife's murderer. Kimble knows that getting the one-armed man, is his only hope of proving his innocence.

David Janssen does a splendid job, in his portrayal of the painfully desperate, besieged Dr. Kimble. Barry Morse also gives an excellent performance, as Lt. Gerard. Barry does great at conveying Lt. Gerard's almost pathological obsession, with capturing Dr. Kimble. I also thought that the narration at the start and end of very episode by actor William Conrad, was a nice touch.

Over the years, there have been many 'chase' dramas on TV, including The Pretender, The Immortal, The Prisoner, etc. These were all good shows. But none of them could match the gripping, nail-biting suspense of The Fugitive. It's now on DVD, and I highly recommend giving it a look, if you haven't yet. Once you do, you'll be hooked on this drama series.
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Quinn Martin Ultimate
DKosty12321 September 2007
This series did not last as long a others Martin produced, but this one set the standard. It is a dramatic standard he would never reach again in any other series. The stories while always the same in formula (Kimble being chased by Gerard), always had good drama surrounding the chase.

The best thing is that they chose to do a finale before it was too late. MAD Magazine was already doing satires about the shows formula before it went off. The formula was rather limiting, but the writers always seemed to find a way to introduce drama.

Part of the reason this show was so popular was that it was reality based, more reality based than Survivor. There actually was a real Doctor who was falsely accused of his wife's murder which the show was loosely based upon. This stimulated the original interest in the series. It kept it going for 4 years & they did one of the first of the great series finales.

David Jansen really did a lot of terrific acting in this show. It landed him another series after this went off- but this show was by far his best work. It is hard to imagine anyone else playing this role so well for so long. Even Harrison Ford who did it in the movies, could only do a little over 2 hours. Lt. Gerard was played very well too. He would go on to do some shows on Martin's The FBI.

This show was excellent in drawing drama out & putting a lot of raw emotions into the forefront. It is a classic.
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The Fugitive finally makes it to DVD!
jd__white22 August 2007
One of the great TV shows of all time finally makes it to DVD. The Fugitive ran from 1963 to 1967 and provided an absorbing, intriguing story of a convicted murderer on the run from a death sentence. The irony, as narrator William Conrad tells us in the opener, is that he's innocent. Unable to prove the existence of the one-armed man he saw running from his house the night of his wife's murder, Dr. Richard Kimble is tried, convicted, and sentenced to death. However, when the train he's on derails, he seizes his chance to escape and moves across the country in the hopes of finding his wife's killer, while staying one step ahead of Lt. Phillip Gerard, the brilliant detective who was escorting Kimble to Death Row and who becomes obsessed with capturing him once again.

I got my copy of the Season 1, Volume 1 (the first 15 episodes) and I'm amazed at how well this show holds up, despite the obvious dating. The storytelling and production values were tremendous as were the excellent performances of David Janssen and Barry Morse, who made this show come alive. The DVD transfer is perfect with a restored audio soundtrack. If you want to see truly great TV, get this DVD.
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