Episodes: 120 (hour)
TV show dates: September 17, 1963 — August 29, 1967
Series status: Cancelled/ended
Performers include: David Janssen, Barry Morse, and William Conrad (narrator).
TV show description:
Dr. Richard Kimble (David Janssen), a pediatrician in Stafford, Indiana, is wrongly convicted of murdering his wife Helen (Diane Brewster) and sentenced to the death penalty.
Prior to Helen’s death, it was no secret in their small town that the Kimbles were having marital trouble. On the night of the crime, they argued loudly and were overheard by their neighbors. To calm down after the fight with Helen, Kimble left his house and went for a drive. Upon his return, he saw a one-armed man leaving and found his wife had been murdered. But no one had seen Kimble go on his drive and he’s subsequently arrested and convicted of the deed.
En route to death row, Kimble’s train derails and crashes, allowing him to escape. Now more determined than ever to solve the case on his own, he travels from town to town while tracking the killer. He’s also evading Lt. Philip Gerard (Barry Morse), who is as obsessed in finding Kimble as Kimble is of finding one-armed man, Fred Johnson (Bill Raisch).
Kimble changes his appearance, takes on aliases, and works low-paying, anonymous jobs in order to continue traveling and dodging the police. This drama follows Kimble in his pursuit for the truth and proves there’s no rest for the wicked… or the innocent.
Episodes #119 and 120 — The Judgment, parts one and two
The one-armed man, Fred Johnson, is arrested after tearing up a Los Angeles strip bar. When Kimble reads about it in a newspaper while working in Arizona, he travels to Los Angeles. He runs into an old friend, a woman named Jean Carlisle (Diane Baker), who is working as a typist with the Los Angeles Police Department and who has seen Gerard searching for Kimble.
Jean reveals that she has been fond of Kimble since she was a child, when her father’s arrest and disgrace left her family with no friends, except the Kimbles. After Kimble learns that Johnson has been arrested, he elects to turn himself in. Johnson is bailed out of jail by a corrupt bail bondsman who formulates a plan to blackmail the person who supplied the bail. Johnson kills him after learning that the money came from someone in Stafford.
Kimble decides that he must leave Los Angeles and head back home immediately. Just as he’s about to catch a taxi to the airport, Gerard finally apprehends him, saying, “I’m sorry. You just ran out of time.”
While taking the train from Los Angeles to Stafford, Kimble tells Gerard that he found something that might lead him to the truth, and that he believes Johnson is going to Stafford too. Gerard decides to give Kimble 24 hours to prove his innocence. If he can’t Kimble will turn himself in and finally begin serving his sentence.
Kimble knows that the bail bond slip was signed by a man using the name Leonard Taft — the name of his sister Donna’s husband (Richard Anderson). The man turns out to the Tafts’ neighbor, Stafford city planner Lloyd Chandler (J.D. Cannon). When Chandler meets Johnson at an abandoned riding academy, Johnson blackmails him for $50,000.
Chandler tries to get the money while hiding it from his wife Betsy, even resorting to putting his house up for sale. Eventually, he cracks and tells her what he has done and reveals that he had witnessed the murder of Helen Kimble. Helen had called Chandler over to the house in a frightful panic after her husband had driven off.
While upstairs, both and Chandler heard Johnson breaking into the house to rob it. Helen confronted Johnson, who responded by attacking her and beating her to death with a lamp. Meanwhile, paralyzed with fear, Chandler sat on the stairs watching through the bar. Chandler never told anybody about it because he was afraid that his standing in the community would be ruined; he had fought in World War II and earned a Silver Star while in combat. He feared that if anyone found out about his moment of cowardice in the Kimble home he would never live it down.
Kimble is unsuccessful in finding his evidence within the 24 hours he was given, and so is about to leave with Gerard to head to prison. Just before they leave, Donna alerts the two that she has found a bullet in one of her sons’ dresser drawers. Gerard identifies the bullet as being identical to the one they found at the riding academy when they went to investigate the day before.
Donna tells her brother and Gerard that the bullet must have come from Chandler as he took the boys to a shooting range the day before. Kimble and Gerard head over to the Chandler residence to learn that Chandler has headed to an abandoned amusement park and is luring Johnson there so he can make up for his earlier cowardice by killing Johnson.
By the time Kimble and Gerard arrive at the amusement park, Chandler and Johnson have started a firefight with Johnson’s pistol squaring off against Chandler’s rifle. While racing towards the shooting, Gerard takes a bullet to his thigh from Johnson, temporarily disabling him. The lieutenant gives Kimble his weapon and he heads off to finally confront his wife’s murderer. Chandler helps the lieutenant walk and Gerard tries to convince him to finally speak up about what he saw.
Kimble tries to stop Johnson but the one-armed man shoots at him. He then has Kimble dead to rights but is out of bullets and flees to the top of a carnival tower. Kimble and Johnson fight and the good doctor saves Johnson from falling. The felon repays Kimble by attacking him further and Kimble beats Johnson bloody as he finally confesses to Helen’s murder.
Kimble can’t believe that he’s finally heard the confession and Johnson seizes the moment to grab the fallen gun. He’s sick of Kimble pursuing him, doesn’t regret killing Helen and is ready to shoot Kimble too.
Having observed from below, Gerard uses Chandler’s rifle to shoot Johnson and the one-armed man falls to his death. Kimble climbs down and tells Gerard that he was able to get a confession, but now that Johnson is dead he cannot prove his innocence. After remaining silent for too long, Chandler says that he will finally testify on Kimble’s behalf and exonerate him.
In the final moments, Kimble leaves the courthouse with Jean, Donna, Leonard, and a mob of reporters. He’s asked what he’ll do now and he replies that he guesses that he’ll see his family and then go back to work. On the lawn, he sees Gerard and he extends his hand to Kimble. The two shake and Gerard watches Kimble and Jean leave.
As they walk down the street, a police car pulls over and Kimble instinctively freezes, ready to act. The officers get out and stroll away. Jean sees what’s happened, warmly takes his hand, and they both smile as narrator William Conrad intones, “Tuesday, September 5th: The day the running stopped.”
First aired: August 29, 1967
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