Recently there’s been a smear campaign against Andy Griffith. The star of The Andy Griffith Show and Matlock appeared in PSAs explaining the changes to Medicare. A creepy group paid for a poll that claimed the citizens of North Carolina hate Andy. Naturally all the cynical media outlets jumped on this spite report as if it really meant anything. Since nobody called my phone to ask me about my fellow Tarheel, the poll is worthless. There’s a lot of love for Andy in this state. When he appears at public events, the crowds are overflowing. Odds are high that a majority of the furious people polled were folks that Andy exposed as criminals on Matlock. Lawyer Ben Matlock comes off as a sweet Southern gentleman, but he brings down the hammer on the guilty that frame his clients on Matlock: The Sixth Season.
“The Witness Killings” reminds Matlock that even though he’s a big success in Atlanta, he disappointed a lot of people back home. They were expecting him to come back from law school and be the main attorney in the small town. He gets dragged back for a family reunion that’s rather prickly until a local gets murdered. The suspect smartly hires Matlock and he gets to dazzle the kin with his deep fried legal skills. Stacy Keach (Titus) gavels as the guest judge. “The Strangler” tightens up around Matlock when he gets involved in a serial killer’s business. The guy wants to publicly disgrace the lawyer before squeezing the life out of him. Maybe the serial killer paid for that poll?
“The Nightmare” puts Matlock into the Old West. It’s not time travel, but a bump on the head that makes him think he’s on a lost episode of Gunsmoke. He’s got to save his trusty assistant Conrad McMasters (Clarence Gilyard Jr.) from a lynch mob. Michelle Thomas (Nancy Stafford) struts around as a bar gal. “The Marriage Counselor” brings couples to seek help from Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad). His big problem is he likes to have private sessions with the wives. Not to spoil things, but he’s not the guy that hires Matlock. “The Suspect” complicates a homicide. A father gets nailed for killing the drug dealer that turned his kid into a junky. What’s complicated about that? The dead guy’s other job was being a policeman.
“The Defense” places a teen on trial for killing his father to protect his mother. Trouble is dad’s best friend doesn’t see it this way. “The Game” spins a tale of an executive producer that aims younger on his gameshow. He wants faster editing and a hunky host. Before he can administer the plan, he turns up dead in his office. The murder weapon is the old host’s apple peeler. There’s a strange feeling that this was a warning shot to any creative executive that wanted to mess with Matlock‘s formula of elderly wisdom and casual pacing. “The Foursome” murders a golf caddy that blackmailed his powerful duffers. “The Outcast” leads Matlock to retire from the bar after botching it in the courthouse. Doug McClure (Humanoids from the Deep) guest stars. “The Big Payoff” lets Randy Travis act. There’s a reason why he’s not making buddy comedies with Will Ferrell. “The Evening News” includes a faked death. Things get tangled when the real murderer turns up dead. “The Assassination” kills a mayor. More importantly marks the return of Don Knotts as Les Calhoun. It’s always better with Andy and Don sharing the screen.
The cases handled this season once more kept up the calm nature of the crimes. There’s nothing here to shock you or get your blood pressure into overdrive. Matlock: The Sixth Season ended the series run on NBC. They shut down the Los Angeles production studio. Although that wasn’t the end of the show. In an era when networks weren’t allergic to older demographics, there was a new home eager for a greying court series. Matlock shifted to ABC. Andy was able to get them to shoot in Wilmington, North Carolina. He was close to his home. Little did he know that two decades later, a pollster would degrade all that he’d done for his home state.
“The Witness Killings” (two-parter). “The Strangler,” “The Nightmare,” “The Marriage Counselor,” “The Dame,” “The Suspect” (two-parter), “The Defense,” “The Game Show,” “The Foursome,” “The Picture” (two-parter), “The Outcast” (two-parter), “The Big Payoff,” “The Abduction,” “Mr. Awesome,” “ The Evening News” (two-parter) and “The Assassination” (two-parter).
The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The transfer quality is fine for a show that was shot on film, but edited on videotape. The audio is Dolby Digital stereo. The mix is fine for a show that doesn’t want to startle its viewers. The episodes are subtitled.
Matlock: The Sixth Season continues Andy Griffith’s role as the Southern lawyer that takes his time to defend clients. Even though this was the end of the run on NBC, the mysteries don’t slack off in their twisted nature. The only thing lacking is more Don Knotts action.
CBS DVD presents Matlock: The Sixth Season. Starring: Andy Griffith, Julie Somars, Nancy Stafford and Clarence Gilyard Jr. Boxset Contents: 22 episodes on 6 DVDs. Released on DVD: January 25, 2011.
Tags: Andy Griffith, Don Knotts, Matlock