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Featured TV on DVD Review: The Fugitive: Season Four, Volume Two

February 14th, 2011

The Fugitive: Season Four, Volume Two - Buy from Amazon

The Fugitive finally comes to an end on DVD. Apparently, this was the first show with a real ending, and by that I mean it ended by wrapping up the major storyline instead of just ending when the network canceled it or the creators decided to move along. But does the show wrap up this storyline in a compelling way, or did the show run out of steam before it got there?

The Show

For those who have never seen The Fugitive, either versions of the TV series or the movie, here's a brief recap of the setup... and there are spoilers ahead if you've never seen the show.

Dr. Richard Kimble was a respected doctor in his small town, but his marriage was going through some troubles. His wife suffered a miscarriage and the stress of this event caused a lot of fighting between husband and wife. So when the wife is found dead, Dr. Kimble is the obvious suspect and his pleas of innocence and his insistence that he saw a one-armed man run from his house in the night in question is not enough and he's sentenced to death. However, while being transported to death row, there was an accident that freed him. On the run, he takes odd jobs, helping people in need, he pursues the one-armed man while in turn he is pursued by Lt. Philip Gerard, who has dedicated the last four years of his life to recapturing Dr. Kimble.

For most of the series' run, there were more one-off episodes than those that dealt with the main storyline. However, by the beginning of season four, it becomes clear that the writers knew it was the end and a lot of episodes deal with this chase. Not all of them, but a lot more than seasons past. This does make it harder to review a number of the episodes, because of the spoilers involved.

The overall quality is easier to assess, once you divide the episodes into one-offs and overall storyarc episodes. Some of the one-offs are starting to have trouble pulling their weight by this point in the show, as the formula is wearing thin. More than once I thought to myself, "Didn't I see this episode before?" Dr. Richard Kimble seems to get blackmailed every third episode this season. There are still some solid episodes that use this formula, like The Other Side of the Coin where a sheriff blackmails Kimble into saving his son's life (Beau Bridges) after his son is involved in holding up the grocery store Kimble was working in. The Breaking of the Habit sees the return of Sister Veronica from the first season episode, Angels Travel on Lonely Roads.

As for the main storyline episodes, those really start to take off with The Ivy Maze. Here a university professor, Professor Fritz Simpson, is conducting an experiment on dream deprivation. He's also a school friend of Dr. Richard Kimble, so when a new groundskeeper is hired, a groundskeeper with one arm, he thinks he might be able to exonerate his friend by paying the one-armed man to take part in his study. Unfortunately, Lt. Philip Gerard finds out about it and he knows Kimble couldn't pass up this opportunity. This leads up to The Judgment, the series finale. It is impossible to really discuss the finale without getting into unacceptable spoiler territory, but it did set a record for the most watched TV show of all time, and rightfully so. (That record has since been broken.) It's a very compelling conclusion to a ground-breaking show.

The Extras

The final disc has a 12-minute featurette called The Color of Music, which continues the interview with composer Dominic Frontiere from the Season Four, Volume One release. Season of Change is an 11-minute interview with Dominic Frontiere, who worked with Quinn Martin on a number of series, including this one.

The Verdict

The Fugitive is one of the best shows of its era, and fans will be happy to complete their collection with Season Four, Volume Two. If you've been collecting the show up to this point, there's no reason to stop now. If you haven't started, it's worth checking out, but if you've waited this long, a Full-Series Megaset can't be too far away.


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