The hunt for one of DVD's Most Wanted TV series is over! The Fugitive
, ranked by TV Guide
among the top 40 shows of all time, is just as gripping as when the falsely convicted Dr. Richard Kimble's "twisting and turning" odyssey to find his slain wife's real killer began nearly 45 years ago. David Janssen's Kimble is a TV icon (No. 22 on Bravo's list of the 100 Greatest TV Characters), the haunted, hunted man desperately trying to find the elusive one-armed man he witnessed fleeing his home on the night of the murder before the relentless Lt. Philip Gerard (Barry Morse) finds Kimble. But at the heart of these 15 inaugural black-and-white episodes is not so much the chase, but instead the compelling human dramas that convey "how it is" with Kimble, who moves from town to town, taking odd jobs, and reluctantly becoming involved in the lives of troubled strangers he meets. His presence is usually greeted with suspicion and hostility as in the episode "The Other Side of the Mountain," in which he no sooner enters a bar in a rundown mining town then the locals (led by a pre-Gomer Pyle
Frank Sutton) rough him up.
The Fugitive has a palpable noir sensibility. In the first episode, an upstanding citizen (guest star Brian Keith) is actually an abusive husband, whose wife (Vera Miles) Kimble is compelled to protect. Acting at the husband's behest, two cops lean on Kimble to leave town. "Why would the average man be scared of the police?" one of them taunts Kimble. In "The Witch," Kimble nearly falls prey to mob justice after false accusations from a young girl. There are several Kimble-Gerard near misses, the most memorable occurring in the two-parter "Never Wave Goodbye," in which Kimble, tired of running, puts down roots as an apprentice sailmaker in Santa Barbara. In the storm-tossed climax, Kimble must decide whether to let Gerard drown or save his life. Essential to The Fugitive mythology is "The Girl from Little Egypt," in which Kimble, recuperating after being hit by a car, flashes back to the events preceding his wife's murder and his subsequent trial, conviction and escape from a Death Row-bound train. We also get our first, harrowing glimpse of the one-armed man (Bert Raisch). Another benchmark episode is "Home Is the Hunted," in which Kimble returns home following his father's heart attack and gets a less than warm welcome from his embittered brother (look for young Billy Mumy and Clint Howard as Kimble's nephews). The change of scenery in each episode allows for appearances by an impressive gallery of character actors, several at the beginning of their careers, including Sandy Dennis, Bruce Dern, Robert Duvall, Jack Klugman, and Jack Weston. No collector of classic TV can afford to let The Fugitive get away. --Donald Liebenson
Beyond The Fugitive Stills from The Fugitive - Season One, Vol. 1 (click for larger image)
Dr. Richard Kimble is accused to be the murder of his wife. The night before his execution, he escapes. The only chance to prove his innocence is to find the man who killed hi wife. Kimble, persecuted by the Lt. Gerard, risks his life several times when he shows his identity to help other people out of trouble.