Lou Grant (1977–1982)
2 user


Billie suspects the gold cross found in a time capsule has been switched for a fake. Her investigations unearth the reasons behind an old family feud between the extremely rich side and the less rich side of the Matheson family.


Roger Young


Allan Burns (created by), James L. Brooks (created by) | 3 more credits »


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Edward Asner ... Lou Grant
Robert Walden ... Joe Rossi
Linda Kelsey ... Billie Newman
Mason Adams ... Charlie Hume
Jack Bannon ... Art Donovan
Daryl Anderson ... Dennis "Animal" Price
Nancy Marchand ... Mrs. Pynchon
Lin McCarthy ... Alex Matheson Sr. (as Linwood McCarthy)
Barbara Cason ... Jinx Matheson
Nigel Bullard Nigel Bullard ... Michael Shepherd
Jeff Lester ... Alex Matheson Jr.
Roger Kern ... Brad Matheson
Peter Fox ... Ed Matheson
Lynne Thigpen ... Mrs. Dupree
Lou Fant Lou Fant ... Von Houser


Billie suspects the gold cross found in a time capsule has been switched for a fake. Her investigations unearth the reasons behind an old family feud between the extremely rich side and the less rich side of the Matheson family.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

7 December 1981 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

MTM Enterprises See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (DeLuxe)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The Tom Harmon mentioned in this episode who Donovan says is Ricky Nelson's father-in law is the father of actor Mark Harmon. See more »


At approximately 20:00 minutes at the moment Billie and Adam pass each other and Adam hands Billie an item saying, "Here, this is yours," the boom mic is visible moving at the top and left of the screen. See more »


Billie Newman: So, the doctor pulls away and I'm sitting there in my car in front of this big Spanish mansion, wondering what I'm doing there, when all of a sudden all of these flood lights go on. I hear angry voices, a gate opens and a big black car about a block long comes screaming down the driveway right at me.
Lou Grant: The Batmobile.
Joe Rossi: No, the Mathesons.
See more »

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User Reviews

One of the Best Episodes
28 February 2018 | by lloydbowmanSee all my reviews

Though slightly off-beat from the earnest social issues-centered plots of nearly every other episode, this episode is, in my opinion, one of the best of the series. It relates the story of the wealthy Mattheson family and the bitter multigenerational feud that has existed between two branches of the family, a religious icon each believes is rightfully theirs, and their determination to possess it. Essentially,the episode becomes a suspense mystery. At the same time it relates the history of Los Angeles and California and the diverse sets of groups that settled there and how that history includes the historical exploitation of one group or race by another as sets of people displaced, dispossessed or dominated others. It illustrates that sometimes dynastic power and wealth did not necessarily originate with hard work, intelligence and pluck but simply from having stolen some or all of it from others.

Starting with the title and continuing through to the very end of the plot, everything in this episode is carefully and intelligently thought out, like a Hitchcock suspense. The storytelling, including moments of levity, such as when Lou compares Billie to a prized casaba melon, is very well executed, especially a section consisting of intercutting scenes as we alternately hear competing versions of the story each branch of the family has constructed to explain and justify their claim to the precious family heirloom. Along with the excellent regular cast, the guest actors are very good. Notably, they include two African American actors with the strong screen presence. Nigel Bullard, portrays the bright, erudite and ambitious Dr. Shepherd and Lynne Thigpen plays the quiet minor supporting role of Mrs. Dupree, the Matthesons home health care aide. Also notable is the performance of Jeff Lester who plays the handsome young Alex Matheson Jr. and simultaneously captures the character's charm and affability but also his slight childish obtuseness as he takes pride in having painted the brown earth and the blue water in a city mural he is showing off.

Don't misunderstand me. There are likely better and certainly more profound episodes than this, especially given the high caliber of the "Lou Grant" series, but this is certainly one of the better constructed, executed and certainly enjoyable episodes in the series. Sit back and enjoy one of the best episodes from one of the best dramatic social issue television shows on broadcast television.

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