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Matlock: Season 1

4.7 out of 5 stars 735 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Matlock is a legal drama series starring Andy Griffith as defense attorney Ben Matlock - a Harvard-educated, fiery southerner who charges $100,000 a case to brilliantly defend his clients by finding the real killer.

A running joke on The Simpsons is the idolization of Andy Griffith's Ben Matlock by the aged residents of the Springfield Retirement Home. Watching Matlock’s inaugural season, it's no wonder that viewers "of a certain age" would take comfort in watching Atlanta defense attorney Matlock defend the falsely accused and, to quote <>The Simpsons, "put young people behind bars where they belong." Matlock was something of a departure for TV icon Griffith. While he's got his southern drawl goin' on, he left Andy Taylor back in Mayberry. Folksiness only goes so far in the big city. Matlock's fee is $100,000. And even if Opie or Aunt Bea were menaced, one can't imagine sheriff Andy threatening to feed the perpetrator to the D.A. "piece by piece." Matlock hews closely to the Perry Mason playbook. Most episodes incriminate a suspect, only to have the tenacious Matlock ("Next to injustice, I hate losing," he states) exonerate him or her with some flashy, last-minute courtroom theatrics that threaten to turn the courtroom into a "sideshow." One notable exception is the episode, "The Judge," featuring guest star Dick Van Dyke as a judge and old friend of Matlock who murders his mistress, and then presides over the trial of the man arrested for the crime. Other notable guest stars are Jose Ferrer as a terminally ill crime kingpin arrested for murder in the two-parter, "The Don," and Pat Hingle as a surly and disliked man likewise accused of murder in "Santa Claus." Season One is an auspicious beginning for the series that would run for six years on NBC and then three more on ABC. Casting tweaks and the addition of new characters would improve the proceedings. Bland Lori Lethin, who appears in the pilot episode as Matlock’s daughter, a neophyte lawyer, was replaced in the series by the more experienced Linda Purl. The episode, "The People vs. Matlock" introduces Julie Sommars as feisty assistant district attorney Julie March, a foil and friend to Matlock. Nancy Stafford, who appears "The Seduction," would join the cast next season as Matlock’s assistant, Michelle Thomas. Matlock even inspired a spinoff; the episode "The Don" pits Matlock against his "bitter enemy," William Conrad’s James McShane, a cop-turned-district attorney who would later be transformed into Jason McCabe, aka "Fatman" in Jake and the Fatman (his future costar, Joe Penny, costars in the episode as one of the Don’s highly suspect sons). In a prime time loaded with grisly police procedurals, the old school Matlock is a not-at-all-guilty pleasure. --Donald Liebenson

Special Features

  • All 24 episodes from the 1986-87 season on 7 discs
  • Includes two-hour TV movie Diary of a Perfect Murder

Product Details

  • Actors: Andy Griffith
  • Format: Box set, Subtitled, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 7
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: April 8, 2008
  • Run Time: 1140 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (735 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0012EM5EW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,266 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Matlock: Season 1" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Finally, the first Season of 'Matlock' is arriving on DVD! Here is a list of the episodes that will be included on the set:

1. (Pilot Movie) Diary of a Perfect Murder (Originally aired - March 3, 1986)

NOTE: In this episode, Charlene Matlock is played by Lori Lethin. Between this movie, and the next episode, the role of Charlene was re-cast.

2. The Judge (Originally aired - September 23, 1986)

Special Guest Stars: Dick Van Dyke as Judge Carter Addison and Piper Laurie as Claire Leigh

NOTE: This is the first episode to feature actress, Linda Purl, as the role of Charlene Matlock. She continued to play the role for the rest of Charlene's appearances.

3. The Stripper (Originally aired - September 30, 1986)

NOTE: Richard Newton usually played the role of Judge Richard Cooksey in his many appearances on `Matlock', but, in this episode, he plays the role of another Judge named Alvin Roundtree.

4. The Affair (Originally aired - October 7, 1986)

Special Guest Star: Kevin Conroy as Clark Harrison

5. The Seduction (Originally aired - October 14, 1986)

NOTE: Nancy Stafford, who would become a series regular next season as the role of Michelle Thomas, makes her first appearance on `Matlock' in this episode as the role of Caryn Nelson.

6. The Don (1) (Originally aired - October 28, 1986)

Special Guest Star: Jose Ferrer as Nicholas Baron

7. The Don (2) (Originally aired - November 4, 1986)

8. The Sisters (Originally aired - November 11, 1986)

9. The Cop (Originally aired - November 18, 1986)

Special Guest Star: Hector Elizondo as Detective Joe Peters

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Format: DVD
Here it is, almost 1200 minutes of the mystery series "Matlock", 24 episodes (including the pilot) that were broadcast during NBC's 1986-1987 season. So let's forget all we know about the long run of this series and just talk about its premiere season.

Years after his run as Sheriff Andy Taylor, Andy Griffith finally got another regular job. This time he is playing Ben Matlock, an Atlanta lawyer who talks like Sheriff Andy. It's a comfortable role in a tried and true format; a mix of "Perry Mason" and "Columbo". "Columbo" veteran Dean Hargrove dreamed up the series and shared executive producer duties with Fred Silverman.

The focus is on the title character and Griffith is great fun to watch. He charms and sweet talks his way through each case, getting everyone to let down their guard because they underestimate this good old boy as much as they did the seemingly scatterbrained "Columbo". Both series revolved around the main character's ability discern something incriminating in seemingly innocent little things and to pick up on a guilty party's casual slip of the tongue.

In the "Perry Mason" tradition Matlock is not bound by the conventional rules of evidence or procedural requirements once he gets into a courtroom. He can say anything and introduce any sort of evidence simply by reassuring the judge that his line or questioning will eventually become relevant. Be prepared for the obligatory breakdowns and confessions on the witness stand. The prosecutors can only shake their heads and bluster helplessly in the face of Matlock's cunning strategy.

Matlock is assisted by the show's version of Perry Mason's Paul and Della.
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Format: DVD
Finally, after so many years of waiting and wondering whether Matlock would ever come to DVD, here it is. In my opinion, this is the second best criminal defense show (Perry Mason is #1) that I have ever seen. Matlock could not have survived without the help of his private investigator Tyler Hudson and associate daughter Charlene Matlock. Matlock hardly ever lost a case - although in later seasons that would change. What was great about this show was that there was enough suspense in each episode to keep you watching until the very end. Thanks for making this series available.
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Format: DVD
In pop culture, decades tend to bleed over into one another. The fashions of the 1970s, for example, particularly the mid- to late-'70s, lingered in the air for a big chunk of the '80s, notably in films and on TV. The first season of the tongue-in-cheek crime drama "Matlock" is a great example: even though it aired in 1986-87, the show oozed a 'Seventies sensibility, from the onscreen fashion and acting, to the very feel of the show itself. Partly this is because the show was clearly an homage to many of the offbeat police dramas that came before it -- "Columbo", "McCloud," etc. -- along with a whiff of the mildly risque hanky-panky of '70s romance shows such as "Love Boat," etc.

"Matlock" is a delightfully formulaic series, with Andy Griffith playing a doddering but undefeatable Southern "country" lawyer who commands big fees and wins big cases. His sidekicks include his spunky but sometimes naive daughter and a semi-retired, self-deprecating private eye who provides some "Magnum"-style muscle. The bad guys include various staple figures of '80s TV -- slightly sleazy swingers, smug yuppie types, corrupt establishment figures, etc. The acting is stiff, the pacing of the show is almost lethargic by today's standards, the plot twists come 'round the bend like an old, slow freight train. And that's part of the charm. The show feels like a pair of old, comfortable shoes -- Also fun is watching the show find its legs, as all first-season shows must, and the writers, actors and producers figure out what works and how the show will define itself.

Fans of the series will be delighted to see this finally out on DVD; newcomers will also enjoy it as a trip down memory lane... even if they weren't there the first time around! (Slipcue film reviews)
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