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Featured TV on DVD Review: Matlock: Season Nine

July 12th, 2013

Matlock: Season Nine - Buy from Amazon

Matlock ends its run on the home market this week with Season Nine. As I've mentioned in previous reviews, I consider seasons four through seven to be the peak for this show's nine-year run. The last two seasons I reviewed showed signs of decline, but can the final season turn things around? If not, does it slip so far as to not be worth picking up?

The Show

The season begins with a reporter killing a mob goon in self-defense. She claims the mob goon was going to turn on his boss, which is why she agreed to meet him. However, the D.A. isn't quick to close the case, so she calls Ben Matlock to defend her. Cliff Lewis meets a new woman, Jeri Stone (Carol Huston). She claims to be a nurse, but she turns out to be a private eye hired to get as much information out of Cliff about his father, Billy (Warren Frost), who is selling a beach-front house he inherited. This doesn't work out and she is fired. By the end of the episode, she's hired by Matlock. This change in cast is more important than the actual case. A lawyer is accused of killing her boss. Average case, but Ryan Phillippe has a guest shot. Terry O'Quinn has a guest spot as a rich guy who tries to commit the perfect murder by killing a friend of Matlock, framing an innocent person, then challenging Matlock to prove he did it. Cool guest appearance and arguably the best case of the season.

In The Tabloid, Matlock defends a Senatorial candidate accused of killing a tabloid photographer. Wait a minute... That's against the law? A college basketball coach is accused of killing a man who was paying his players, which is against the NCAA rules. A friend Cliff's, Fred (Rob Roy Fitzgerald), is accused of murdering a woman he met through an online dating site. Julie March (Julie Sommars), returns in The Confession and Ben Matlock is more than a little happy to see her. However, it's not all good news, as she learns one of her informants lied about a case and she asks Ben to defend the man and get him out of prison. It's the best episode on this disc.

Disc three begins with Dead Air, in which a radio DJ is accused of killing his partner. Matlock has another theory: he thinks the girlfriend killed him after she learned he was cheating on her. In The Getaway, Matlock defends an ex-con, Willie Roach (Ed Sala), who is accused of robbing the same bank he robbed the last time Matlock defended him. The bank was even robbed in the same manner. At first Matlock wants nothing to do with the man, but Willie explains that the bank robbery was so sloppy that it couldn't have been him. It's a really good setup and Willie is likely going to jail. However, there's another witness, a juvie named Matt. He might help clear Willie, but refuses, unless Matlock defends his dad, who was busted stealing cars. It's one of the better episodes this season. There's a new A.D.A. in The Verdict, Katie Clark (Jane Sibbett). She's prosecuting a murder case Matlock is defending, only the defendant is Katie Clark's ex-lover. The judge is ready to declare a mistrial, but Katie makes an impassioned plea to continue and Matlock agrees that a mistrial wouldn't be in order.

In The Deadly Dose, Jeri's sister, Rachel (Annie Fitzgerald), comes to town. She's a nurse who is fired after a doctor blames her for a medical mistake. When that doctor is murdered, Rachel is charged and Matlock defends her. The Target is a clip show. Matlock is supposed to go fishing with a judge but doesn't and when the boat the judge is on blows up, he thinks he was the real target. So we see clips as they try and figure out what old case is connected. The Assault has Matlock's car breaking down in a bad part of town. Someone helps him out and in return, Matlock agrees to take on his slumlord. When the slumlord is later attacked, Matlock defends the man.

The final disc only has two episodes, but they are both two-parters. They are also both among the best the season has to offer. In The Heist, an old friend of Matlock, Ed Wingate (J. Kenneth Campbell), returns and is investigating a heist. When one of the people he was investigating is killed, Matlock agrees to help him. The series ends with The Scam, which includes a guest appearance by Gregg Henry. He plays a businessman who might be involved in a murder case where Cliff is the prime suspect.

The Extras

There are no real extras on the DVD, unless you really like the episodic teasers.

The Verdict

The last couple of season of Matlock were not as good as the earlier seasons. Season Nine only has a one or maybe two good episodes per disc, but if you've been keeping up with the series thus far, there's little reason to stop now.

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Filed under: Video Review, Ryan Phillippe, Andy Griffith, Melora Hardin, Gregg Henry, Adam Lavorgna, Terry O'Quinn, Daniel Roebuck