How long could Dr. Richard Kimble (David Janssen) keep a step in front of the law while hunting down his wife’s real killer? When would this televised pursuit finally come to a conclusion? The answer is four seasons. This means The Fugitive: Season Three, Volume One marks the second half of his life in the shadows. How long would Kimble last on the road in today’s 24 hour news network? He’d be a running segment on America’s Most Wanted. There’d probably be a Twitter account tracking his last reported location. Lt. Phillip Gerard (Barry Morse) stayed doggedly on his trail. As close as Lt Gerard got, the producers made sure each week wasn’t another episode of futility for him. Of the 15 episodes on The Fugitive: Season Three, Volume One, Lt. Phillip Gerard is only hot on Kimble’s heels for 6 episodes. That doesn’t mean he was completely out of the picture. In the world of Dr. Kimble, every stranger was a phone call away from Lt. Gerard. The pressure never let up as he looked to clear his name and avoid a date with the electric chair.
“Wings of an Angel” opens with the cops stopping his bus since they suspect a fugitive is on board. Turns out it’s not him. He gets involved in a hostage situation where he saves a helpless girl while killing the escaped convict. The grateful police take him to the only real hospital in the area which happens to be in the nearby prison. He appreciates the treatment from the doctor (Rhoda‘s Harold Gould) and the inmate orderly (Mission: Impossible‘s Greg Morris). But he needs to get out before the front gate clinks shut. He gets recognized by a prisoner who bribes him to keep it a secret. It’s rather tense stay. “Crack in a Crystal Ball” predicts that a psychic looking to improve his profile will claim to have a lead on Kimble. The guy is a semi-fraud although he does have a lead on the escapee. His assistant sets up Kimble with the promise of being able to get him necessary information. Will he catch onto the scam before he becomes the psychic’s big score? “Trial By Fire” brings us real clues about the one armed killer. A Korean war vet claims to have seen the suspect leaving Kimble’s house. But he has a dark secret that might discredit his testimony in the eyes of Lt. Gerard. Marion Ross (Happy Days) is the witness’s wife.
There ought to be a sticker alerting us that this volume is packed with Star Trek crew members. “Middle of the Heat Wave” gives us a chance to see what would have happen if James Doohan (Scotty) had been cast as the doctor. Kimble gets involved with a woman. He breaks it off since he can’t be totally honest with her. She gets upset and storms out into the night. The next day she’s found beaten up and dumped on the side of the road. Kimble is the main suspect. Doohan is the town’s doctor. “Three Cheers for Little Boy Blue” lets DeForest Kelley work without declaring any red shirted folks are dead. Kimble gets hired to drive a rich guy (Six Million Dollar Man‘s Richard Anderson) back to his hometown. He’s not beloved by the locals. In fact, one old pal plans on killing him. Kimble has to stop the hit. Is DeForest or Ed Asner (Lou Grant)? “Stranger in the Mirror” reflects William Shatner as the owner of a weekend camp. Kimble is a custodian at the camp. When two cops turn up dead, Shatner is enlisted to interrogate a young tough suspect. But could Shatner be the real killer? Could T.J. Hooker murder a cop? While Leonard Nimoy stayed busy as a guest star on several series before landing the role of Mr. Spock, he never crossed paths with Dr. Kimble.
“All the Scared Rabbits” puts Kimble behind the wheel of Suzanne Pleshette’s car for a cross country trip. “Landscape with Running Figures” is a two-parter that has Lt. Gerard’s wife on the run with Kimble. She ends up on the same bus as him. She doesn’t have a chance to identify her husband’s prime suspect since the bus wrecks. She goes blind. Kimble has to help her. Later he has to stop a quack doctor from killing his patients with bad medicine skills. “The End of the Line” lets Kimble get dropped off at a state prison by trucker making a delivery. Luckily none of the guards recognize him as he scoots away to catch a train. In the new town he works at a Chinese restaurant run by James Wong (Balls of Fury). His low profile is blown when he gets suspected of killing a dairy farmer.
The Fugitive: Season Three, Volume One keeps up the intensity of the legendary drama. Halfway through and they’re not letting Dr. Kimble pace himself. He always so close to getting nabbed or getting a lead on the real killer. Each episode is like drinking two cups of coffee as you get dragged into the action. The Fugitive: Season Three, Volume Two is scheduled for release on December 8, 2009. You won’t have to wait too long to see how Kimble ducks the authorities for the next 15 episodes in this penultimate season. Judgment is approaching for Dr. Kimble.
“Wings of an Angel,” “Middle of a Heat Wave,” “Crack in a Crystal Ball,” “Trial by Fire,” “Conspiracy of Silence,” “Three Cheers for Little Boy Blue,” “All the Scared Rabbits,” “An Apple a Day,” “Landscape with Running Figures” (2-Parter), “Set Fire to a Straw Man,” “Stranger in the Mirror,” “The Good Guys and the Bad Guys,” “End of the Line” and “When the Wind Blows.”
The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The black and white transfers bring out the shadows in the scenes. You can see the sweat on his forehead when the law gets close to his heels. The audio is Dolby Digital mono. There is music replacement including new score moments for elements that were part of the Capitol Music Library. They did a much better job mixing these new notes into the score. Nothing jarred my ears although hardcore fans of the series might be more sensitive to such an issue.
The Fugitive: Season Three, Volume One brings us another 15 close calls for Dr. Richard Kimble. The series is addictive with Kimble doing his hardest to prove he’s not a wife killer. Lt. Gerard isn’t a two-dimensional cop with a grudge. We see that he has home issues yet he also needs to get the stigma of Kimble off his record. The Fugitive is compelling TV that demands you get back on his trail.
CBS DVD presents The Fugitive: Season Three, Volume One. Starring: David Janssen, Barry Morris, Ivan Dixon and William Shatner. Boxset contents: 15 episodes on 4 DVDs. Released on DVD: October. 27, 2009. Available at Amazon.com
Tags: Reviews, Star Trek, The Fugitive, William Shatner