Judge Mike Rubino will never stop running.
Our reviews of The Fugitive (published November 7th, 1999), The Fugitive: Season One, Volume One (published August 15th, 2007), The Fugitive: Season Two, Volume One (published July 2nd, 2008), The Fugitive: Season Two, Volume Two (published March 23rd, 2009), The Fugitive: Season Three, Volume One (published October 27th, 2009), The Fugitive (Blu-Ray) (published March 26th, 2007), The Fugitive (HD DVD) (published June 5th, 2006), The Fugitive: The Fourth And Final Season, Volume One (published November 18th, 2010), and The Fugitive: The Fourth And Final Season, Volume Two (published February 15th, 2011) are also available.
Sister Veronica: Well, Mr. Walker, you are a splendid mechanic. This car has
not run well since I left the convent.
Dr. Richard Kimble can never stop running. Even if his seasons get split in to two releases separated by many months, Kimble cannot stop. In Season One, Volume Two of CBS's hit '60s television thriller The Fugitive, Dr. Kimble continues his search for the man who killed his wife; although it doesn't have as many four-star episodes as the first half of the season, this release packs plenty of suspense.
Facts of the Case
Dr. Richard Kimble (David Janssen) was wrongly convicted for killing his wife. Now, after escaping a train wreck, Kimble is on the run, searching for the one-armed man who he thinks committed the murder. While on the hunt, Kimble is simultaneously being chased across the country by the unrelenting Lt. Gerard (Barry Morse, who passed away just last February), who will stop at nothing to uphold the rule of law—whether it was correct or not.
This release is the second half of The Fugitive's first season. The first volume of the show was released in August, 2007.
The first half of this season, which I had the pleasure of reviewing last August, simply blew me away. Each episode has Dr. Kimble getting in one bad situation after another as he roamed from town to town in search of the one-armed man. That first volume ended with an episode that could have certainly been the season finale: Kimble returns to his old home and reunites with his father only to find Gerard there as well. Now the second half of the show's landmark first season is available, and I'd say it almost lives up to the previous volume.
The first episode in the set, "The Garden House," plunks Kimble down on a news mogul's farm as a handyman. It's not always clear how these jobs are helping Kimble track the one-armed man, but you can rest assured that no matter what he's doing, trouble will find him. Once he's finished there, Kimble moves on to "Come Watch Me Die," which shakes up the episodic nature of the show: Kimble finds himself being deputized after becoming tangled up in a posse hunting a young murderer. From there he moves to Reno, Nevada to work as a pool boy for Telly Savalas (Kojak). Oddly enough, the first three episodes in this volume are completely devoid of Lt. Gerard. Instead, Kimble just continues to get recognized as a fugitive—an occurrence that seems to happen more often in this volume than the first.
Finally, Lt. Gerard shows up in one of the best episodes of the set, "Search in a Windy City." Here, Kimble returns home to Chicago and seeks out the help of a gossip columnist to help him catch the one-armed man. Not only does Kimble actually find the murderer, but Gerard comes dangerously close to catching Kimble.
This episode is a good example of this season's pacing. The show's episode list is, rather ingeniously, lightly peppered with these extremely close calls between Kimble and Gerard. These episodes are usually the best of the bunch, but only because they are infrequent. Most of the time Kimble is hanging around other low-lifes, or meeting other people who have been "wrongly accused" at some point in their lives. Those episodes are all pretty good, but ones like "Search in a Windy City," "Somebody to Remember" and "The End Game" are the reason to watch.
Volume Two also features a two-part story, "Angels Travel on Lonely Roads," which finds Kimble traveling through the Rocky Mountains with a nun. These two episodes address a fundamental issue in the series, that of Kimble's faith. Dr. Kimble has always been a logical, scientific man, but when he travels in a beat-up jalopy with a sharp-tongued Catholic nun, the other side of his character begins to develop. In fact, throughout this latter half of the first season, Kimble's character becomes more three-dimensional and clever. The audience gets to learn more about the inner turmoil he's experiencing, without the narrator simply telling us.
The actual season finale, "The End Game," is right alongside "Windy City" as being one of the best in this volume. This finale is unique in that Kimble doesn't actually make an appearance, let alone speak, until almost the end of the first act. Instead, the audience views the episode from the perspective of Lt. Gerard, who is right on the tail of the good doctor. Eventually, the perspective shifts back over to Kimble, who finds himself trapped in a house with two elderly gentlemen arguing over his innocence. It's a great episode that puts Kimble right on the brink of being caught, only to free him in time to set up the second season.
Each episode, whether it's the nail-biting Gerard ones or simply a diversion from the one-armed man, is brimming with tension and suspense. This is due almost solely to the incredible acting of David Janssen, who continues to play Kimble as an awkward, overly intelligent realist who barely feels comfortable in his own skin (mainly because his skin goes by a different name every episode). Barry Morse, who plays the cold, devoted Gerard, is a wonderful foil for Janssen. Morse really gets to stretch his legs in "The End Game" and show how meticulous and even demented he can be—he doesn't give a damn that the entire city is without protection because he's using every last policemen to hunt Kimble.
Like Volume One, this release has excellent video quality thanks to Paramount's work remastering the show from its original negatives. The blacks are very rich and crisp, and there is very little flicker with the darker grays. The sound is equally good, even if it's only in Dolby Digital Mono. The Fugitive is set to an incredible score, mainly by Pete Rugolo and Dominic Frontiere, that fills every scene. A technically great package for such an old show.
Sadly, like the previous release, there are no special features to be found in the set. The four-disc set comes in the same case as the first volume, which holds all of the discs in a standard DVD pack.
If you purchased, and loved, the first volume of this classic television show, you'll certainly want to pick up the second volume…which I imagine is what Paramount was thinking when it split it up in to two releases. Volume Two offers more of the same tension, suspense, and man-hunting action of the first volume, although it doesn't end as strongly. Still it completes what is a fantastic first season of a show that still holds up to this day.
GUILTY of being the second half of the first season of The Fugitive…and rocking!
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