List of Matlock characters
These are the characters of the American television legal drama Matlock.
|Ben Matlock||Andy Griffith||Lawyer||Main|
|Charlene Matlock||Lori Lethin||Assistant||Main|
|Tyler Hudson||Kene Holliday||Private investigator||Main||Guest||Cameo|
|Michelle Thomas||Nancy Stafford||Lawyer||Main||Cameo|
|Cassie Phillips||Kari Lizer||Assistant||Main|
|Julie March||Julie Sommars||Prosecutor||Recurring||Main||Cameo||Guest|
|Conrad McMasters||Clarence Gilyard Jr.||Private investigator||Main|
|Leanne MacIntyre||Brynn Thayer||Assistant||Guest||Main|
|Cliff Lewis||Daniel Roebuck||Private investigator||Main|
|Jerri Stone||Carol Huston||Assistant||Main|
Benjamin Leighton "Ben" Matlock is a renowned, folksy yet cantankerous defense attorney who charges a fee of $100,000 to take a case. He is known for visiting crime scenes to discover overlooked clues, as well as his down-home style of coming up with viable, alternative theories of the crime in question (usually murder) while sitting in his office playing the banjo or polishing his shoes. Matlock also has conspicuously finicky fashion sense (wearing nothing but grey suits) and an insatiable appetite for hot dogs (an explanation for this is featured in the Diagnosis: Murder cross-over double episode "Murder Two", which also marked the last appearance of Matlock on television). Despite his high fees and apparent wealth, he is something of a cheapskate. He's the show's main protagonist. Andy Griffith appeared in every episode of the series.
Charlene is Ben's daughter and is also a lawyer. She assists her father at his law practice in Atlanta for a short time, appearing only in the first season of the series. Purl replaced Lori Lethin who appeared as Charlene in the pilot "Diary of a Perfect Murder".
MacIntyre is Matlock's daughter. After divorcing her husband, of whom her father did not much approve, she moves back to Atlanta to help him with his legal practice. She assists her father for three years before leaving for her own practice. During that time, she works with her father on numerous cases, including defending him on one occasion. They once found themselves on opposite sides of a divorce case, though she also defends her father in a personal injury case simultaneously during the same episode. Leanne uses the same courtroom techniques her father at times, which often results in her clients being proven innocent. In the Season 9 episode, The Accused, it's implied that Leanne may now be living in Los Angeles. She left the show in 1994.
March is the assistant D.A. of Atlanta, and a good friend of Ben Matlock. After a chance meeting with Ben Matlock in an elevator, the two hit it off, and Matlock was surprised to learn that she would be the prosecutor for the case he was working on. The two lawyers soon become friends, though their relationship is never really defined much further than that, and upon Julie's return in the season nine episode "The Confession", she reveals that she has feelings for him. Sommars is the only actress to appear in fewer episodes, she left in 1992.
Thomas is Ben Matlock's assistant, whose hobbies are those of history, mythology and sports. Before working for Ben Matlock, Michelle was an American attorney, residing in England. While working with Ben, she is approached by college classmate Andrea Morrow to defend her, after she is accused of killing her ex-husband. She also has a few dates with men. Prior to working on a case with Melinda Stuart, she dates Jed Palmer for a while. She also dates Arthur Saxon, Ben's corrupt client who is found innocent in the murder of Robby Moore. While in Chicago, she also works with writer Paul O'Neill, who helps her boss out in the murder of Mayor Brian Barelli, when popular court officer, Judge Stuart Franklin hires Eddie Lomax in killing both the mayor and Joseph Chan. Hence, he is found guilty, after the actual killer is murdered himself. Nancy Stafford's appearances were reduced, beginning with her second season in 1988, who left the show in 1992 (with Sommars), when she didn't want to move to North Carolina.
Cassie worked as a typist and secretary for Ben, usually typing legal documents and sending them to the courthouse. She involved herself in some cases and was very persistent in her first episode (The Therapist) when she came to Ben looking for a job, one that he said didn't exist. Cassie was last seen on the episode "The Genius" featuring Ben's nephew Irwin, on whom she had a crush. She left in 1988, without any explanation.
Geraldine Margaret "Jerri" Stone is an assistant who works for Ben Matlock in the final season. She has a forthright style, once even jabbing her foot into that of a man who was looking through some files while investigating a murder. She also enjoys singing old songs with Ben on occasion. She drives a blue Ford SUV.
Hudson is a private investigator for Ben Matlock. Before working for Matlock, Tyler was a lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He is interested in cooking and investing in venture capital projects on the side, such as in pecans. In the episode "The Chef", he says that he entered the Junior Chamber of Commerce Chili Cook-Off, which he wins $2,000 for his chili. It is a Victoria Edwards recipe: chili with chicken, peanut butter sauce, and a few secret ingredients. Tyler rarely misses Victoria Edward's TV cooking show. In early 1989, in the middle of the third season, Holliday had to take time off of work, due to him going to rehab for his drug/alcohol dependency, where he attended on an outpatient basis, by the time he was 3 months sober, he was already fired.
Conrad McMasters is a private investigator for Ben Matlock. Before working for Ben Matlock, he worked for Dalton Parks, as a deputy sheriff in Manteo, where Matlock meets him in hopes of figuring out whether or not Spencer Hamilton killed his brother. In his spare time, he does singing, rodeo riding, cooking and playing the guitar. In almost the same situation as his partner, Michelle Thomas. He was shot and nearly killed in the episode "The Outcast", but survived.
He either works with or has dates with several women:
In "The Star", while getting goosebumps, Conrad hid himself at the front door and accidentally scared Catherine's daughter, Susan McKay. She was sent to Matlock, about the afternoon her mother was murdered for real, and said she was doing research for her book about her mother, being the vain, cruel, parent that she was. It turned out to be Jack Burns, who represented Catherine's career.
In "The Informer", Conrad works with Ben's client's partner/investigator, Angela Page, to work on a case on the night one of David's clients got murdered. After Matlock's client abruptly fires Angela, she turns to Conrad, who would then figure out who actually killed Sam Chandler while traveling in Jacksonville, who happened to be Al Brackman.
In "The Secret", when Matlock sends him to Chicago to talk to Sherry Brown in questioning her about the negatives he is supposed to find, he receives word that she died from jumping off the apartment building.
In "The Cover Girl", he had a short fling with Carla Royce, a model. When Carla's boss and head of a modeling agency, Jackie Whitman, is murdered, Conrad asked Carla if Jackie and Bobby Michaelson (Paul Lieber), who had informed Conrad he owned part of a modeling agency in New York, got along with each other, Carla told Conrad that Jackie and Bobby “fought like cats and dogs.” Carla then explained it wasn’t easy being Jackie’s partner, much less one of her models. After Conrad asks why, Carla explained that Jackie was a control freak and always had to have the last word in everything, which Carla referred to as “infuriating.” When Conrad asked her why she went along with Jackie’s advice, Carla explained that nine out of ten times, Jackie was right. However, Conrad breaks up with her before she is found guilty of Jackie’s murder.
In "The Game Show", while looking at the credits for the game show It's About Time, he asked his friend Marjorie Wood, a contestant coordinator, to give Conrad many tickets for the show, along with Matlock, who would meet hostess Kari Summers for the show, and asked Michelle Thomas to become a contestant, when she refused, who literally changed her mind when she met the eligibility requirements. Producer Larry Fisher was, at one point, going to replace the old host, Dennis Blake, with a much younger host when his show was dropping in the ratings. Kari was arguing with Larry, before Dennis showed up, his career would've been over. For every show, Kari attached the tiny device to the lighting board, and that the lights would go out prior to the taping of the show, and nobody would see anything. The hostess was found guilty for killing the producer, after taking a break, whilst the host was found innocent.
In "Mr. Awesome", when Anne Johnson's ex-boyfriend, Dwayne Meeks, is murdered, he besought Matlock to represent the hard-working waitress and mother, accused for her killing. Matlock and Conrad both found out that Anne's ex-boyfriend was a liar, jerk and a cheater towards the many women who were afraid of him. Her son Jimmy draws the pictures of people to model on his own so much and was so good at it, because he had nothing else to do. Conrad's friend was found innocent of her ex-boyfriend's murder, and that the culprit was Lorraine Ortega (A.K.A. Sissy Lockwood), a bartender, who was also a fugitive from Texas; she gave Dwayne all that money, and later used the stun gun to kill him when she entered the apartment on the same day.
Clarence Gilyard Jr. appeared in nearly every episode of the show, for his 3 seasons, until he reduced his role, for his fourth season, in 1992. He left the show in 1993 to star in Walker, Texas Ranger, where he stayed on the show, for 8 seasons.
Lewis is an attorney, but is described as Ben Matlock's friend in the season eight episode, "The Godfather". He lies once to the people from Mt. Harlan, saying that he is a full partner with Ben, but he later confesses that Ben Matlock does not have any partners. Cliff is the son of Billy Lewis, Matlock's high school girlfriend's brother, who he had known back in Mt. Harlan.
- Charlie Matlock (Andy Griffith), father of Ben Matlock, gas station owner; his only appearances are set in flashbacks before the series timeline began (appears in the episodes: The Dame season 6, The Legacy Parts 1 and 2 Season 7, and "The Diner" Season 8)
- Young Ben Matlock (Steve Witting) in episodes "The Dame" and "The Diner"
- Lt. Bob Brooks (David Froman; 58 episodes), Atlanta PD detective and friend of Ben Matlock (seasons 1-6 and 1 appearance in Season 9, where he was murdered)
- Lloyd Burgess (Michael Durrell; 54 episodes), D.A. seasons 1-6
- Richard "Richie" Cooksey (Richard Newton; 24 episodes), judge seasons 1-6
- Judge Clagett (Al Wiggins; 17 episodes), judge in the 7th-9th seasons
- Les Calhoun (Don Knotts; 16 episodes), Matlock's neighbor in seasons 3 to 6
- Billy Lewis (Warren Frost; 16 episodes), friend/nemesis of Ben Matlock and brother of his old high school girlfriend; the father of Cliff Lewis seasons 6-9
- Irene Sawyer (Lucille Meredith; 15 episodes), judge seasons 1-6
- Arthur Beaumont (Jason Wingreen; 13 episodes), judge seasons 1-6
- Lt. Harmen Andrews (Jordan Rhoades), friend of Ben Matlock; works in the Atlanta PD Season 8
- Lt. Frank Daniels (James McEachin; 8 episodes), friend of Matlock; works in the Atlanta PD season 1
- Cynthia Justin (Aneta Corsaut; 7 episodes; played Helen Crump on The Andy Griffith show), judge
- Ed Wingate (J. Kenneth Campbell; 3 episodes), FBI agent
- Sarah (Betty Lynn; 4 episodes; played Thelma Lou on The Andy Griffith Show) (Matlock's Secretary in 4 episodes of Season One)
- Ms. Hawkins (Diane Shalet) (Matlock's Housekeeper season 5)
- Mrs. McCardle (Marge Redmond) (Matlock's Housekeeper season 5)
- Billy Wheeler (Randy Travis; 2 episodes), in "The Big Payoff" (1992): a guitar-playing wanderer who travels around doing odd jobs. Matlock hires him to paint his house, but then encourages him to try music after hearing him play. In "The Mark" (1993): now an aspiring country singer who wins the lottery and shortly thereafter finds himself framed for the murder of his cheating business partner.
Notable one-time characters
- Carter Addison (Dick Van Dyke), in "The Judge" (1.2), a judge who murders his lover and then presides over the murder trial in which Ben is trying to clear someone else's name for.
- Laura Miller (Laura Robbins), who appeared in "The Godfather" (8.19), is the goddaughter of Ben Matlock. The last time she saw her godfather was 11 years before her wedding, when he was at her mother’s funeral. She no longer lived in Mt. Harlan at this point; instead, she was working in an Atlanta-area mall in a clothing store as an assistant manager in Marietta.
- David Sears (silent film actor Eddie Quillan) made his last acting appearance in the season one episode "The Author".
- Hazel (Alice Hirson) appeared in the pilot Diary Of A Perfect Murder. Hazel is Matlock's secretary.
- Diana Huntington (Christina Pickles) in the "Picture" (6.12-13) is Matlock’s annoying cousin.
- Harvey Chase (Milton Berle) is favourite comedian of Matlock who Matlock defends when he is accused of murdering a younger rival.
- Terrace, Vincent (29 October 2003). "Matlock". The Television Crime Fighters Factbook: Over 9,800 Details from 301 Programs, 1937-2003. Jefferson, NC: McFarland. p. 96. ISBN 978-0-7864-1533-5. Retrieved 26 October 2015.