The big question for this boxset is not “Does Lt. Gerard finally capture Dr. Richard Kimble,” but “Did they screw up the score again?” For those who dont know, The Fugitive was a series that used tunes from Capitol Music Library to supplement Pete Rugolos original score cues. A few years ago, Capitol disbanded their music library thus creating a complete mess for studios releasing their shows on DVD. Its become detective work to hunt down the heirs who now control the music. Even worse is when these heirs hold a show hostage by charging a fortune for a few musical notes. The Fugitive: Season Two, Volume One attempted to cure this problem by removing all the music between the opening and closing themes with a new synthesized score composed by Mark Heyes. The fans got nasty at this alteration. Rumor had it that the studios legal department was nervous about leaving even Pete Rugolos score elements for fear that theyd accidentally leave in a snippet from an uncleared composer. The good news for fans is that The Fugitive: Season Two, Volume Two has Rugolos music with the real orchestra. However there are moments where Heyes returns to cover for music that wasnt clearable. This is a much more pleasurable compromise.
The Fugitive: Season Two, Volume Two brings Kimble (David Janssen) to the halfway point of his four season cross country pursuit. Hes still a solitary man doing his best to keep one step ahead of Lt. Gerard (Barry Morse). During the earlier episodes, there was a hint that Gerard was feeling Kimble was innocent. However after nearly two years, Gerard doesnt seem to care about the reality of the one-armed man being the real killer. He needs to snag Kimble to quit being the second coming of Barney Fife. His fruitless journey isnt a weekly frustration. Of the 15 episodes in this boxset, only a third of them is Gerard the lawman that lets Kimble escape at the last minute.
“Brass Ring” has Kimble getting a job helping an invalid (Robert Duvall) run a gift shop and merry-go-round. His tempting sister (Angie Dickinson) swears hes got money stashed away. She uses her flirty charms to set Kimble up to be the patsy in a sinister plot. Whats another body on Kimbles police record? Duvall reveals why he wouldnt be merely a guest star on TV dramas for the rest of his career. “Nicest Fella Youd Ever Want to Meet” has the recently departed Pat Hingle playing a small town sheriff. Kimble gets into trouble when he witnesses the sheriff serving up a meal of hot lead to a prisoner. Dabney Colemen ( 9 to 5) and Tom Skerritt (Alien) are nearly teenagers on the screen.
“Corner of Hell” brings back Bruce Dern for his third of five guest starring appearances. This time Dern is part of a hillbilly family that mixes up moonshine in the woods. Kimble seeks refuge amongst them. Lt. Gerard ignores the local law enforcement warnings to avoid the backwoods people. He must catch his man. However what happens when the tables are turned and its Kimble who must save the lawman from the death row of Hillbilly Justice? Fans of Big Love will also get a rush seeing Harry Dean Stanton in “Moon Child.” Kimble is mistaken for a local strangler. His only hope is a young girl.
“The Survivors” brings Kimble back to his late wifes family. He must sneak into town and help save his father-in-laws business. Things get really tricky when he realizes his wifes sister is in love with him. Like any visit with the in-laws things get nasty and Kimble cant afford for the cops to arrive to break things up. “Everybody Gets Hit In The Mouth Sometime” puts Kimble to work for Jack Klugmans trucking company. Life for Klugman gets complicated when hes the victim of a blackmail scheme. Can he rely on the escaped felon to spring him from the trap?
“May God Have Mercy” has Lt. Gerard once more about to snag Kimble. The pre-title teaser has him in a hospital bed as Gerard makes plans to ship him back to Indiana. What hope is there for escape? Telly Savalas (Kojak) is a patient with only 10 months to live. Will he let his impending death save anothers life? Or is his memories of Kimble failing to save his daughters life let him send Kimble to the gallows? Norman Fell (Mr. Roper on Threes Company) is the local lawman. “Masquerade” has Kimble swap identities with a guy only to find his new self being held by the police in witness protection. The law for this episode is Ed Asner (Lou Grant) and James Doohan (Star Treks Scotty). “Runner In the Dark” lets us appreciate the dramatic stylings of Richard Anderson (The Six Million Dollar Mans Oscar Goldman). “Last Second of a Big Dream” wraps up the season with Kimble working at a low budget zoo filled with tigers. The guy running the failing place recognizes the fugitive doctor. He has big plans to get the cops to capture Kimble and thus turn his wild animal park into a success. Will he be caged like the big cats when Lt. Girard arrives?
The Fugitive: Season Two, Volume Two maintains the pursuit tension. The numerous guest stars that went on to bigger things keeps it exciting to watch. Kimble didnt merely have to battle Lt. Girard, but Quincy, Kojak and Scotty. The odds are against this innocent man that was falsely convicted. The fact that the score hasnt been completely redone makes it a feel a little bit better to the ears. I wasnt too unnerved by the replacement, but having real instruments assist the mood instead of a digital symphony works best for the series. Halfway through the chase and The Fugitive is still running full speed.
“Brass Ring,” “The End Is But the Beginning,” “Nicest Fella You’d Ever Want to Meet,” “Fun and Games and Party Favors,” “Scapegoat,” “Corner of Hell,” “Moon Child,” “The Survivors,” “Everybody Gets Hit in the Mouth Sometime,” “May God Have Mercy,” “Masquerade,” “Runner in the Dark,” “A.P.B.,” “The Old Man Picked a Lemon” and “Last Second of a Big Dream.”
The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The black and white image once more dazzles with detail and clarity that wasnt in evidence on the recent RTN run. The audio is Dolby Digital Mono. There are music replacements on the score, but nothing to the extent of the previous volume.
The Fugitive: Season Two, Volume Two continues the saga of one of TVs finest series. The drama is always being amped up as Kimble stays one step ahead of the law. The fun thing on this boxset is witnessing the two elder stars of Big Love in their almost youthful days.
CBS DVD presents The Fugitive: Season Two, Volume Two. Starring: David Janssen and Barry Morse. Boxset Contents: 15 episodes on 4 DVDs. Released on DVD: March 31, 2009. Available at Amazon.com
Tags: Kojak, Quincy, Three's Company