Tuesday, March 27, 2007

"The Day the Running Stopped."

David Janssen, TV's Dr. Richard Kimball in The Fugitive, would have turned 76 today (he died in 1980). His other television mystery appearances include crusty private investigator Harry Orwell, aka "Harry O"; private detective Richard Diamond; and Jim O'Hara, U.S. Treasury agent.

I recently rewatched "The Judgment," the final two-part episode of The Fugitive, in which Kimball confronts the one-armed man who killed his wife---the highest rated TV episode until the resolution of the "Who shot J.R.?" scenario of Dallas came along. As usual, I revelled in the quality of the writing and the vulnerability in Janssen's fine performance. I also was reminded of the Get Smart spoof, "Don't Look Back," featuring falsely accused agent Maxwell Smart pitted against "the one-handed man"---evidence of how The Fugitive, based on the Marilyn Sheppard case with unmistakable overtones of Victor Hugo's Les Miserables, had captivated the imagination of a nation.

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