The Fugitive (TV series)

The Fugitive is an American drama series created by Roy Huggins. It was produced by QM Productions and United Artists Television. It aired on ABC from September 1963 to August 1967. David Janssen starred as Dr. Richard Kimble, a physician who is wrongfully convicted of his wife's murder and sentenced to receive the death penalty. En route to death row, Dr. Richard Kimble's train derails over a switch, allowing him to escape and begin a cross-country search for the real killer, a "one-armed man" (played by Bill Raisch). At the same time, Dr. Kimble is hounded by the authorities, most notably by Police Lieutenant Philip Gerard (Barry Morse).

The Fugitive
Created byRoy Huggins
StarringDavid Janssen
Barry Morse
Narrated byWilliam Conrad
Dick Wesson (episode credits)
Theme music composerPeter Rugolo
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes120 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)Quinn Martin
Producer(s)Alan A. Armer (1963–1966)
Wilton Schiller (1966–1967)
Running time51 minutes
Production company(s)Quinn Martin Productions
United Artists Television
DistributorABC Films
Original networkABC
Picture formatB&W (seasons 1–3)
Color (season 4)[1]
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseSeptember 17, 1963 (1963-09-17) 
August 29, 1967 (1967-08-29)

The Fugitive aired for four seasons, and a total of 120 episodes, each 51 minutes, were produced. The first three seasons were filmed in black and white, while the final season was filmed in color.[1]

The Fugitive was nominated for five Emmy Awards and won the Emmy for Outstanding Dramatic Series in 1966.[2] In 2002, it was ranked No. 36 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time. TV Guide named the one-armed man No. 5 in their 2013 list of The 60 Nastiest Villains of All Time.


The series premise was set up in the opening narration, but the full details about the crime were not offered in the pilot episode; at the time of the pilot, Kimble has been on the run for six months, having exhausted all of his appeals against his death sentence. While in transit, the train carrying Kimble derails, and Kimble becomes the titular 'fugitive' in an attempt to clear his name. In the series' first season, the premise (heard over footage of Kimble handcuffed to Gerard on a train) was summarized in the opening title sequence of the pilot episode as follows:

Name: Richard Kimble. Profession: Doctor of Medicine. Destination: Death Row, state prison. Richard Kimble has been tried and convicted for the murder of his wife. But laws are made by men, carried out by men, and men are imperfect. Richard Kimble is innocent. Proved guilty, what Richard Kimble could not prove was that moments before discovering his wife's body, he encountered a man running from the vicinity of his home. A man with one arm. A man who has not yet been found. Richard Kimble ponders his fate as he looks at the world for the last time, and sees only darkness. But in that darkness, fate moves its huge hand.

This title sequence was shortened for the remainder of the first season as follows:

The name: Dr. Richard Kimble. The destination: Death Row, state prison. The irony: Richard Kimble is innocent. Proved guilty, what Richard Kimble could not prove was that moments before discovering his murdered wife's body, he saw a one-armed man running from the vicinity of his home. Richard Kimble ponders his fate as he looks at the world for the last time, and sees only darkness. But in that darkness, fate moves its huge hand.

The main title narration, as read by William Conrad, was changed for the first episode of the second season on through the last episode of the series:

The Fugitive, a QM Production ... starring David Janssen as Dr. Richard Kimble, an innocent victim of blind justice. Falsely convicted for the murder of his wife ... reprieved by fate when a train wreck freed him en route to the death house ... freed him to hide in lonely desperation ... to change his identity ... to toil at many jobs...freed him to search for a one-armed man he saw leave the scene of the crime ... freed him to run before the relentless pursuit of the police lieutenant obsessed with his capture.

It was not until episode 14, "The Girl from Little Egypt", that viewers were offered the full details of Richard Kimble's plight. A series of flashbacks reveals the fateful night of Helen Kimble's death, and for the first time offers a glimpse of the "One-Armed Man".

Cast and characters

Main cast

Dr. Richard Kimble

The show's lead, and the only character seen in all 120 episodes, was Dr. Richard David Kimble (David Janssen), based in part on the story of Sam Sheppard.[3]

Though Dr. Richard Kimble was a respected pediatrician in the fictional small town of Stafford, Indiana, it was generally known that he and his wife Helen had been having arguments prior to her death. Helen's pregnancy had ended in a stillborn birth of a son, and surgery to save her life had also rendered her infertile. The couple was devastated, but Helen refused to consider adopting children as Richard wanted. On the night of Helen's murder, the Kimbles had been heard, earlier the same day, arguing heatedly over this topic by their neighbors. Richard later went out for a drive to cool off; as he was returning home, he nearly struck with his car a man with only one arm, who was seen fleeing five blocks away from the house. Richard then found that Helen had been killed. But no one had seen or heard Richard go out for his drive, or seen him while he was out, and so he was unjustly convicted of Helen's murder and sentenced to death in the electric chair.

After the train wreck and his escape from custody, Kimble moves from town to town, always trying to remain unobtrusive and unnoticed as he evades capture and hopes to find the one-armed man. He adopts many nondescript aliases, toils at low-paying menial jobs (i.e. those that require no identification or security checks, and bring about little social attention), and has a romance with a damsel in distress. He then chooses to put his anonymity at risk by aiding a deserving person, usually a woman or child. A frequent plot device is for someone to discover Kimble's true identity and use it to manipulate him, under the threat of turning him in to the police.

Dr. Richard Kimble is smart and resourceful, and is usually able to perform well at any job he takes. He also displays considerable prowess in hand-to-hand combat. In the episode "Nemesis", he distracts, then knocks out, a forest ranger (played by Kurt Russell's father Bing), then quickly unloads the man's rifle to ensure he cannot shoot him if pursued. In the sixth episode, Kimble revealed that he had served as a doctor in the Korean War.

David Janssen's understated portrayal skillfully captured the essence of Dr. Richard Kimble's plight. He won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama in 1965, and was nominated three times for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.

Lt. Philip Gerard

Dr. Richard Kimble is pursued by the relentless Stafford police detective Lt. Philip Gerard (Morse), a formidably intelligent family man and dedicated public servant. Gerard directly appears in 37 episodes and also in the main title sequences of all 120 episodes; Barry Morse is also listed in the closing credits of every episode.

Morse portrayed Gerard as a man duty-bound to capture Kimble. Guilt or innocence was of no consequence to Gerard, whose own beliefs have been stated as follows:

"I enforce the law. The law pronounced him guilty; I enforce the law. ... Whether the law was right or wrong [in convicting him] is not my concern. Let others debate and conclude; I obey ... and when I begin to question, doubt – I can't permit it. Others found him guilty; others were about to execute him. I was merely an instrument of the law ... and am." ("Fear in a Desert City", 1963.)

In "Never Wave Goodbye Pt. I", he states again, "The law pronounced him guilty, not me." In "Nightmare at Northoak" and "Wife Killer", he states with certainty that the one-armed man does not exist and that Kimble is guilty; in "Corner of Hell", even after his own Kimble-like experience, he still scoffs at the existence of the one-armed man. ("Still the same fairy tale", he sneers.) He also tells Kimble, "The truth is, you're still guilty before the law."

Contributing to Gerard's obsession with re-capturing Kimble is the personal responsibility he feels for Kimble's escape, which happened while he was under Gerard's custody. As he remarks to an LA police captain in "The Judgment, Part 1", the show's penultimate episode, "I've lost a lot of things these past four years ... starting with a prisoner the state told me to guard."

Over time, Gerard also appeared to have gained some doubts as to Kimble's guilt. In one episode, when a woman witness remarks that Kimble killed his wife, Gerard simply replies, "The law says he did." But there is a tone of doubt audible in his voice. In the episode "Nemesis", the local sheriff (John Doucette) states, "You said he's a killer." To this, Gerard sharply replies, "The jury said that." Gerard's doubts are augmented after Kimble rescues Gerard in episodes such as "Never Wave Goodbye", "Corner of Hell", "Ill Wind", "The Evil Men Do", and "Stroke of Genius". "The Evil Men Do", in particular, played on the respect that develops between the two men when Gerard is pursued by former Mob hitman Arthur Brame (James Daly), who is rescued from a runaway horse by Kimble; Kimble rescues Gerard from Brame. When Kimble escapes from Gerard, the lieutenant, instead of pursuing Kimble, goes after, and kills Brame. In the epilogue, Gerard explains to Brame's widow Sharon (Elizabeth Allen) that he wanted to go after both men, but that Arthur was a career killer and far more dangerous while Kimble "has done the one murder he'd probably ever do." Gerard comes close to acknowledging Kimble's innocence when he concludes, "Until I find him, and I will, he's no real menace to anyone but himself."[4]

In the course of the series, Gerard's family becomes entangled in Gerard's obsession with finding Kimble. In "Nemesis", Kimble unintentionally kidnaps Gerard's young son Philip Junior (played by 12-year-old Kurt Russell). Though as concerned as any father should be, Gerard is confident that Kimble will not do his boy any real harm. After his experience with Kimble, Philip Junior questions whether he is guilty and his father openly admits that he could be wrong, though it does not change his duty. This almost inhuman dedication to his duty strains his relationship with his wife Marie (Barbara Rush) almost to the breaking point and causes her to leave him in season three's two-part episode "Landscape with Running Figures;" her actually coming into contact with Kimble (unknowingly at first) causes an emotional collapse when she realizes who he is, with her screaming at Kimble, "It began with you – it'll END with you!" It is clear that Gerard does indeed love his wife when he finally chooses to go and find her over chasing Kimble. (Gerard admits to Marie, however, that he will go again when the next time comes: "He's stuck in my throat and I can't swallow him.")

When Gerard finally captures Kimble in Part 1 of "The Judgment", he does not gloat over the arrest, reflecting his respect for his adversary. "I'm sorry", he says. "You just ran out of time." His decision to give Kimble 24 hours to clear himself in Part 2 of "The Judgment" also reflects that respect and his increasing doubts of Kimble's guilt regardless of the conviction. That leads to the climactic scenes where the truth of Helen Kimble's murder emerges along with an eyewitness, family friend Lloyd Chandler, who was at the Kimble home, witnessed Fred Johnson murder Helen Kimble, but was too cowardly to intervene. Ironically, as Kimble and Johnson fight atop a carnival ride, Gerard fatally shoots Johnson just before he can shoot Kimble. Gerard firmly tells Chandler "you can keep that man (Kimble) alive. But you won't." Gerard's comments lead Chandler to agree to testify. After Kimble is exonerated in court, Gerard encounters Kimble leaving, silently smiles and offers his hand. After hesitating, Kimble shakes it.

There are parallels to be seen between Gerard's pursuit of Kimble and the pursuit of Jean Valjean by Inspector Javert in Les Misérables, though Javert never lets go of his obsession to follow the letter of the law and hunts down his fugitive, even killing himself when he discovers that he cannot reconcile his tenets with the mercy Valjean shows him. Gerard, on the other hand, was portrayed externally as a man like Javert, but internally as more of a thinking man who could balance justice and duty. According to some of those who worked on the show, these parallels were not coincidental. Stanford Whitmore, who wrote the pilot episode "Fear in a Desert City", says that he deliberately gave Kimble's nemesis a similar-sounding name to see if anyone would recognize the similarity between "Gerard" and "Javert".[5] One who recognized the similarity was Morse; he pointed out the connection to Quinn Martin, who admitted that The Fugitive was a "sort of modern rendition of the outline of Les Misérables."[5] Morse accordingly went back to the Victor Hugo novel and studied the portrayal of Javert, to find ways to make the character more complex than the "conventional 'Hollywood dick'" as whom Gerard had originally been conceived. "I've always thought that we in the arts ... are all ‘shoplifters’", Morse said. "Everybody, from Shakespeare onwards and downwards ... But once you've acknowledged that ... when you set out on a shoplifting expedition, you go always to Cartier's, and never to Woolworth's!"[5]

The One-Armed Man

"The One-Armed Man" (Bill Raisch) is a shadowy figure, seen fleeing Kimble's house by Kimble after the murder of Helen. The series revealed little about the man's personal life, especially not how or when he lost his right arm.

In the 29th episode of the first season ("Storm Center"), it is revealed that Helen Kimble was strangled. This is not the method of choice for a man with only one arm.

The One-Armed Man was rarely seen in the series, appearing in person in only ten episodes. He also appears in the opening credits beginning with season two, and in a photograph in the episode "The Breaking of the Habit". He is seen infrequently in the first three seasons, and has almost no actual dialogue until season four, when his character begins to take a more prominent part in the plotline.

The One-Armed Man is aware that Kimble is after him, and frequently tips off the police as to Kimble's whereabouts, most notably in "Nobody Loses All The Time", when he telephones his girlfriend (Barbara Baxley) at a hospital and orders her to call the police – even though Kimble risked arrest to save her life.

Like Kimble, he uses a variety of aliases and holds down various jobs while on the run. In the episode "A Clean And Quiet Town", he is credited as "Steve Cramer" and works as a mob-employed numbers runner. In the episode "The Ivy Maze", he poses as a college janitor and groundskeeper named "Carl Stoker". He goes by the name "Fred Johnson" in several episodes; first in the season-two episode "Escape into Black", where he works as a dishwasher using this name. In the season-three episode "Wife Killer", reporter Barbara Webb (Janice Rule) discovers that the One-Armed Man carries a wide range of identification using various names. As "Fred Johnson", he has a membership in an athletic club, and a receipt for the sale of a pint of blood – this particular receipt shows that his blood type is B negative, and that he claims his age as 47. (Raisch himself was 60 years of age when this episode was filmed.) The other identities used by the One-Armed Man are not revealed in the episode, although as Barbara flips through a wallet full of I.D., she notes that he is "a man of many identities, not one of them the same."

The One-Armed Man is identified as Fred Johnson in the two-part series finale, "The Judgment". He is also referred to as Johnson in "The Ivy Maze" (where he is posing as "Carl Stoker") and at one point Fritz Simpson (William Windom) addresses him as "Fred". (That episode is where Kimble, Gerard, and the One-Armed Man all appear in the same scene for the first time). This is the only consistent name that they have to go by, and both Gerard and Kimble refer to the One-Armed Man as "Fred Johnson" in a few later episodes; in the series finale Lloyd Chandler (J.D. Cannon) also refers to him as Johnson. However, when interrogated by Lt. Gerard in "The Judgment", the One-Armed Man denies that Fred Johnson is his real name. While the character's real name is never definitively established, a case could be made that it is "Gus Evans"; as revealed in "The Judgment", that was the name that he used before killing Helen Kimble, when he would presumably have had no need to adopt an alias.

Bill Raisch played a bitter war veteran who starts a bar fight with Kirk Douglas' John W. Burns in the 1962 film Lonely are the Brave. The role was a natural lead-in to his part in The Fugitive.

Minor characters

Dr. Richard Kimble's murdered wife Helen (née Waverly) was portrayed in flashbacks in two episodes, season one's "The Girl from Little Egypt" and uncredited in season four's "The Judgment: Part II" by Diane Brewster. Brewster's uncredited voice is also heard in recorded messages of Helen's voice in season two's "The Survivors". Jacqueline Scott as Dr. Richard Kimble's married sister, Donna Taft, appeared in 4 stories, including the 2 part series finale. Her husband, Dr. Richard Kimble's brother-in-law, Leonard Taft, appeared in 3 of those stories and was played by a different actor each time: James B. Sikking in Season 1, Lin McCarthy in Season 3, and Richard Anderson in the 2 part Season 4 finale. Paul Birch appeared as Captain Carpenter, Gerard's superior at the Stafford, Indiana, police department, in 13 episodes of seasons 1 & 2. Gerard's wife, Marie Gerard appeared in 3 stories, played by a different actress each time. In "Never Wave Goodbye, Part One" she was briefly played by Rachel Ames, she was briefly played by an uncredited actress in "May God Have Mercy" who remained unidentified as of late March 2017, and in the 2 part story "Landscape with Running Figures", the only story in which hers is a major role, she is played by Barbara Rush. The nun Sister Veronica (played by Eileen Heckart) appears in two stories: season one's two-part episode "Angels Travel on Lonely Roads" and season four's "The Breaking of the Habit". She is the only character with no direct ties to Kimble's family or the murder of Helen Kimble to appear in more than one story.

In season one, episode 15, Billy Mumy and Clint Howard appear in roles as Kimble's nephews, sons of Kimble's sister Donna.

There were 4 episodes with two parts over the course of the series, all of them featuring characters in both parts. "Never Wave Goodbye" features in both parts, in addition to Gerard, Susan Oliver as Karen Christian, Robert Duvall as her brother Eric, and Lee Philips as Dr. Ray Brooks, with Karen and Richard Kimble falling in love, while Ray pines for Karen. "Angels Travel on Lonely Roads" has in both parts, in addition to Sister Veronica, Albert Salmi as Chuck Mathers, the brutish owner of a gas station who gives Kimble trouble and later tries to collect the reward money when he finds out who Kimble is; and, filling in for Gerard (this is the only two-parter in which Gerard does not appear) Sandy Kenyon as a local sheriff and Ken Lynch as a local plainclothes police detective. "Landscape with Running Figures" has in both parts, in addition to Lt. Gerard and Mrs. Gerard, Herschel Bernardi and Jud Taylor as two local plainclothes police officers assisting Gerard in the manhunt. The series finale, "The Judgment", has, in both parts, in addition to Gerard, Donna, Leonard, and the One-Armed Man, also Diane Baker as a Kimble family friend from Stafford, Jean Carlisle, and she leaves arm in arm with Dr. Richard Kimble in the final scene of the series.

Only the character of Dr. Richard Kimble is present onscreen in every episode; off-screen narrator William Conrad is also heard at the beginning and end of each episode even though he was never credited, while a different voice announces the title of the episode and the names of the episode's guest stars in the opening teaser. That announcer (an uncredited Dick Wesson) also says, "The Fugitive" aloud at the end of the closing credits leading into studio sponsorships of the series ("'The Fugitive' has been brought to you by ..."). The Untouchables, which was Martin's first series as a producer, also contained both a narrator (Walter Winchell) and an announcer (Les Lampson), as did The New Breed, the first series QM Productions ever produced, with Wesson as the announcer and Art Gilmore as the narrator.

Guest cast

With 120 episodes and typically two or more guest stars per episode, the series offered a massive who's who of stars from stage and screen, character actors, and up-and-coming talent. Many guest stars appeared as different characters in multiple episodes. Here is a partial list:

Other notable guest star appearances (in alphabetical order):[6]



The series was conceived by Roy Huggins and produced by Quinn Martin. It is popularly believed that the series was based in part on the real-life story of Sam Sheppard, an Ohio doctor accused of murdering his wife.[7] However, Huggins repeatedly denied basing the series on Sheppard.

Although convicted and imprisoned, Sheppard claimed that his wife had been murdered by a "bushy-haired man". Sheppard's brothers hired F. Lee Bailey to appeal the conviction. Bailey defended Sheppard and won an acquittal in the second trial. Coincidentally, the show's music supervisor, Ken Wilhoit, was married to Susan Hayes, who had had an intimate relationship with Sheppard prior to the murder and testified during the first trial in 1954.[8]

Another inspiration may have been another case Bailey defended, the murder trial of George Elderly. Elderly, a car mechanic, was charged with murdering his wife. When Elderly's attorney was incapacitated by a heart attack, Bailey took over the defense, and Elderly was acquitted.[9]

The show presents a popular plot device of an innocent man on the run from the police for a murder he did not commit while simultaneously pursuing the real killer. It had its antecedents in the Alfred Hitchcock movies The 39 Steps, Saboteur, and North by Northwest. The theme of a doctor in hiding for committing a major crime had also been depicted by James Stewart as the mysterious “Buttons the Clown”, who never removed his makeup, in The Greatest Show on Earth. Writer David Goodis claimed that the series was inspired by his 1946 novel Dark Passage, about a man who escapes from prison after being wrongly convicted of killing his wife. Goodis' litigation over the issue continued for some time after his 1967 death.

It has also been speculated that another part of the plot device of a fugitive living a life on the run from the authorities was loosely inspired by Victor Hugo's 1862 novel Les Misérables ,and that the Richard Kimble character was inspired by the novel's protagonist, Jean Valjean, an ex-convict living a life as a fugitive and having numerous aliases as well as helping people around him. The character of Lt. Gerard, who hounds Kimble throughout the series, is also loosely inspired by a character from the same novel, a relentless police inspector named Javert, who is obsessed with capturing the fugitive.

Other shows, such as Route 66, had employed the same anthology-like premise of wanderers finding adventure in each new place they came to. The Fugitive, however, answered two questions that had bedeviled many similar series – those of why the protagonist never settled down anywhere and of why the protagonist tried to solve these problems himself instead of calling in the police. Casting a doctor as the protagonist also provided the series a wider "range of entry" into local stories, as Kimble's medical knowledge would allow him alone to recognize essential elements of the episode (e.g., subtle medical symptoms or an abused medicine), and the commonplace doctor's ethic (e.g., to provide aid in emergencies) would naturally lead him into dangerous situations.

Musical score

Pete Rugolo, who had worked on David Janssen's earlier series Richard Diamond, Private Detective, composed the original music for The Fugitive. (Rugolo would later work with creator Roy Huggins on Run for Your Life and other projects.) Tracking music was standard practice at the time, but unlike virtually all primetime scripted series of the 1960s, no episode – not even "The Judgment" – received an original score;[10] all the original music used for the series was composed by Rugolo and recorded in London before the series was filmed. In fact, many episodes had Rugolo as the sole credited composer for the episode's scores. However, only a fraction of all the music heard throughout the series was original Rugolo music. Library music (either from other classic TV shows or from stock music libraries, as was the case with The Adventures of Superman) provided a majority of the episodes' scores. For example, Dominic Frontiere cues became common in the season four; a keen listener could find himself listening to such cues from the Outer Limits series during the climactic final episode of The Fugitive. Numerous ominous, dramatic and suspenseful cues from The Twilight Zone episodes such as "The Invaders", among others are used to strong effect throughout the series. The old pop songs "I'll Never Smile Again" and "I'll Remember April" each appear several times in the series, often associated with Kimble's deceased wife, Helen.

What little original melody was actually written and recorded was built around a fast-paced tempo representing running music. Different variations, from sad to action-oriented, would be used, with many arrangements developed for the music supervisor to select as best suited for particular scenes. There was also an original "Dragnet"-type theme for Lt. Gerard.

In the unreleased longer version of the show's pilot, a different ('canned') music score was used in the opening and closing sequences. There are also several deleted scenes, including one, with Lt. Gerard talking to Captain Carpenter, that was re-shot. Quinn Martin felt it made Gerard out to be a bit deranged in his obsession. That version also listed William Conrad as the narrator in the end credits.


SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
130September 17, 1963 (1963-09-17)April 21, 1964 (1964-04-21)
230September 15, 1964 (1964-09-15)April 20, 1965 (1965-04-20)
330September 14, 1965 (1965-09-14)April 26, 1966 (1966-04-26)
430September 13, 1966 (1966-09-13)August 29, 1967 (1967-08-29)

The Fugitive premiered in the United States on September 17, 1963. A total of 120 episodes were produced over the course of the show's four seasons, with the last original episode airing in the United States on August 29, 1967.[11]

The series aired Tuesdays at 10:00 PM on ABC.

Final episode

The two-part final episode, titled "The Judgment", aired on Tuesday, August 22, and Tuesday, August 29, 1967.

Part 1

The one-armed man, going by the alias "Fred Johnson", is arrested after tearing up a Los Angeles strip bar. When Kimble reads about it in a newspaper, he travels to Los Angeles. However, Gerard has already arrived in Los Angeles and is working with the local police, convinced Kimble will come to the city. Gerard is spotted by Jean Carlisle (Diane Baker), an old friend of the Kimble family who is working as a typist with the Los Angeles Police Department. Jean manages to reach Kimble just as the police start searching the area and takes him to her apartment.

Meanwhile, Gerard interrogates Johnson and begins thinking that Kimble may be telling the truth. After Kimble learns that Johnson has been arrested, he elects to turn himself in, hoping to confront Johnson. Before he can carry out his plan, Johnson is bailed out of jail by a corrupt bail bondsman, who plans to blackmail the person who supplied the bail money. The bondsman is killed by Johnson after revealing that the money came from someone in Kimble's home town of Stafford, Indiana. Kimble tries to head back home, but Gerard arrests him. The lieutenant does not express any triumph or satisfaction in making the arrest. "I'm sorry", Gerard tells him. "You just ran out of time."

Part 2

Kimble informs Gerard that he found something that might lead him to the truth and believes Johnson is going to Stafford to use the information for which he killed the bail bondsman. He persuades Gerard to give him 24 hours to clear himself, agreeing to turn himself in if he fails.

Kimble's key evidence is the bail bond slip signed by a man using the name "Leonard Taft", the name of his sister Donna's husband. The man is actually the Tafts' neighbor, Stafford city planner Lloyd Chandler. Chandler learns from Donna that she had received a phone call from someone who claimed that he knew who really killed Helen Kimble and arranged a meeting that night at an abandoned stable. Donna and Leonard dismiss the call as a prank, but Chandler keeps the meeting, arming himself. Johnson overpowers Chandler and then blackmails him for $50,000. Later, after learning from Donna about the phone call, Kimble and Gerard go to the stable, but find only an unspent cartridge dropped from Chandler's gun.

Chandler secretly tries to raise the money, but when his wife Betsy finds out what he is doing, he eventually cracks and tells her the whole story: He saw Johnson kill Helen, but did nothing to stop it. Johnson spotted him as he was leaving. Chandler was too ashamed to tell what he saw.

When Kimble runs out of time and is about to leave with Gerard, Donna finds a bullet hidden in one of her son's dresser drawers; Gerard identifies it as being identical to the one they found at the stable the night before. Donna mentions that the bullet must have come from Chandler, who had taken a group of boys to a shooting range the day before. Kimble and Gerard head over to the Chandler residence and learn from Betsy that he is luring Johnson to an abandoned amusement park to kill him to atone for his cowardice.

Kimble and Gerard arrive as Chandler and Johnson are engaged in a gunfight. Johnson shoots Gerard in the thigh. With Gerard's gun, Kimble chases Johnson to the top of a tower. Johnson disarms Kimble and the two wrestle. Kimble eventually beats a confession from Johnson. Johnson then grabs the loose gun, but Gerard shoots him from the ground with Chandler's rifle, and Johnson falls to his death. Kimble informs Gerard that Johnson confessed, but since nobody else heard it, the confession is worthless. Then Chandler suddenly tells Gerard and Kimble that he saw Johnson murder Helen Kimble.

In the final scene, an exonerated Kimble leaves the courthouse and hesitantly shakes Gerard's hand. Kimble and Jean walk off toward his new life.

Narrator William Conrad states, "Tuesday, August 29th: The day the running stopped."


According to Ed Robertson's book The Fugitive Recaptured (the first book written about the series), the final episode aired in Canada on September 5, 1967 with an alternate closing narration, giving that date. The "Special Features" DVD states that the final episode was interrupted in some parts of the U.S. This version was also seen in some areas in syndication and was later released on VHS tape. Both versions are available on DVD.

Part two of the finale was the most-watched television series episode up to that time. It was viewed by 25.7 million households (45.9 percent of American households with a television set and a 72 percent share), meaning that more than 78 million people tuned in.[12] That record was held until the November 21, 1980 episode of Dallas, titled "Who Done It", viewed by 41.47 million households (53.3 percent of households and a 76 percent share), which was later surpassed by the series finale of M*A*S*H, titled "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen", on February 28, 1983, viewed by 50.15 million households (60.2 percent of households and a 77 percent share). According to producer Leonard Goldberg, the network was simply going to end the series with a regular episode without any kind of denouement, as network executives were totally oblivious to the concept that a television audience actually tuned in week after week and cared about the characters of a TV series.[13] The timing of the broadcast was unusual: Rather than ending the regular season, the finale was held back while suspense continued through the summer reruns.

In 1997, "The Judgment, Part 2" was ranked No. 23 on TV Guide’s 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time.[14]



In its debut season, The Fugitive was 28th in the U.S. Nielsen ratings (with a 21.7 rating), and it jumped to 5th in the second season (27.9). It fell out of the top 30 during the last two seasons,[15] but the series finale, in which Dr. Kimble's fate was shown, currently holds the third rank for the all-time highest U.S. television household share, at 72%.

The Fugitive season rankings in the U.S. television market
Season Episodes Original air dates TV season Nielsen ratings
Season premiere Season finale Rank Rating Viewers
1 30 September 17, 1963 April 21, 1964 1963-64 #28 21.7% 11,197,200[16]
2 30 September 15, 1964 April 20, 1965 1964-65 #5 27.9% 14,703,300[17]
3 30 September 14, 1965 April 26, 1966 1965-66 #34[18] N/A N/A
4 30 September 13, 1966 August 29, 1967 1966-67 #50[19] N/A N/A


The Fugitive was nominated for five Emmy Awards and won the Emmy for Outstanding Dramatic Series in 1966.[2] In 2002, it was ranked No. 36 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time.[20] TV Guide named the one-armed man No. 5 in their 2013 list of The 60 Nastiest Villains of All Time.[21]

The show also came away with other honors. In 1965, Alan Armer, the producer and head writer of the series, received an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for his work. And in a 1993 ranking, TV Guide named The Fugitive the best dramatic series of the 1960s.

Home media

A total of 40 episodes have been released on VHS by NuVentures Video (Volumes 1–10 were later re-released with Barry Morse providing introductions to each episode, as in Volumes 11–20), with selected shows from the 40 later issued by Republic Pictures. Twelve episodes were also released on laserdisc.

Currently, Republic Pictures and CBS Television Studios own the copyrights to the series (while CBS itself now owns distribution rights); CBS DVD (with distribution by Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment) released Season 1, Volume 1 on DVD in Region 1 in late 2007. Reviews of the first DVD set have been very positive as the show appears uncut, unedited and uncompressed, digitally transferred and re-mastered from the original negatives and restored from original magnetic soundtrack, although a disclaimer by CBS mentions some episodes are "edited from their original broadcast versions" and some music changed for home video. Incidental music was altered in at least two episodes, "Where the Action Is" and "The Garden House". There are no subtitles or alternate languages, but English closed captions are provided, and the "liner notes" consist merely of TV-Guide-style episode synopses inside the four-disc holder. Season 1, Volume 2 was released on February 26, 2008.[22] Season 2, Volume 1 was released on June 10, 2008.[23] Many reviews of this third DVD set were highly negative due to the replacement of the original used music tracks with the aforementioned synthesizer music (see Musical score section above for details.) Season 3, Volume 1 was released on October 27, 2009,[24] and Season 3, Volume 2 was released on December 8, 2009,[25] with most, but not all, of the original music intact. Season 4, volume 1 was released on November 2, 2010. This volume was the first to include any extras, including a Featurette titled "Season of Change: Composer Dominic Frontiere".[26] Season 4, Volume 2 was released on February 15, 2011.[27]

On October 23, 2012, CBS released The Fugitive: The Most Wanted Edition on DVD in Region 1. This 34 disc set featured all 120 episodes of the series as well as bonus features, such as the unaired version of the pilot with different footage. The set was recalled due to possible music issues, but some sets were released.[28] The set was later re-released with 5 replacement discs, so that now all original music is intact.

On February 9, 2015, CBS Home Entertainment announced they would release a repackaged The Fugitive: The Complete Series on DVD at a lower price on May 5, 2015 but did not include the bonus disc that was part of the original complete series set.[29]

CBS' rights only cover the original series; the later productions were handled by Warner Bros. Entertainment.

DVD name No. of
Release date
Season 1, Volume 1 15 August 14, 2007[30]
Season 1, Volume 2 15 February 26, 2008[31]
Season 2, Volume 1 15 June 10, 2008[32]
Season 2, Volume 2 15 March 31, 2009[33]
Season 3, Volume 1 15 October 27, 2009[34]
Season 3, Volume 2 15 December 8, 2009[35]
Season 4, Volume 1 15 November 2, 2010[36]
Season 4, Volume 2 15 February 15, 2011[37]
The Most Wanted Edition 120 October 23, 2012[28]
The Complete Series 120 May 5, 2015[29]

In other media


In 1963, a soundtrack was issued containing the key music that Rugolo wrote and recorded for the series. In 2001, it was released on CD from Silva Screen Records. About 40 minutes in length, this CD contains mono yet hi-fidelity cuts and cues that were recorded in London.

  1. Theme From The Fugitive (1:18)
  2. The Kimbles (2:48)
  3. Tragic Homecoming (3:53)
  4. Under Arrest (1:43)
  5. Lt. Gerard (1:46)
  6. The Verdict/Train Wreck (2:07)
  7. On The Run (1:57)
  8. The Life Of A Fugitive (1:27)
  9. Main Title Theme (:39)
  10. Life On The Road (1:35)
  11. Main Theme – Jazz Version (1:30)
  12. The One-Armed Man's Name Is Fred Johnson (2:38)
  13. Brass Interlude (2:53)
  14. Sorrow (1:03)
  15. Dreams Of The Past (1:11)
  16. Youthful Innocence (1:35)
  17. Back On The Road (1:11)
  18. A New Love (2:16)
  19. Family Reunion (2:34)
  20. Watching And Waiting (1:33)
  21. Kimble vs. The One-Armed Man/Hand To Hand (5:11)
  22. The Day The Running Stopped (2:12)
  23. Freedom And Finale (0:43)
  24. End Credits (1:09)


The Fugitive was part of the original lineup on the Arts & Entertainment Network (A&E), beginning in February 1984. It ran until the summer of 1994. The show also appeared on the nationwide WWOR EMI Service and briefly on Nickelodeon’s TV Land network in 2000.

In February 2015, reruns of The Fugitive appeared on Decades, a new Digital TV (DTV) subchannel network co-owned by Weigel Broadcasting and CBS. The Fugitive was seen as part of its "Countdown to Decades", in which all four seasons of The Fugitive was played in sequence 24 hours a day. The two part finale was shown on Monday May 25, 2015, at 5 am and 6 am ET. Decades was available in over 45% of all US TV viewing households at that time, including markets where CBS owned & operated a DTV station.[38] MeTV airs "The Fugitive" on late Sunday nights/Early Monday mornings at 1 AM CT (2018)[39]

Remakes and Spin-Offs


A feature film of the same name, based on the series, was released by Warner Bros. Pictures on August 6, 1993, starring Harrison Ford as Kimble, Tommy Lee Jones as Gerard (now named 'Samuel' instead of 'Philip'), and Andreas Katsulas as the one-armed man (now called Fredrick Sykes instead of Fred Johnson). The movie's success came as Hollywood was embarking on a trend of remaking old television series into features. In the film, Kimble is portrayed as a prominent Chicago vascular surgeon instead of a small town Indiana pediatrician, while Gerard is portrayed as a U.S. Marshal rather than a police lieutenant. Kimble's wife is killed in an attempt on his own life (rather than during a robbery attempt, as in the TV series) as the result of a conspiracy involving a pharmaceutical company called Devlin MacGregor, which the one-armed man is employed by.

However, the film remained true to its source material--in particular, the notion that Kimble's kindness led him to help others even when it posed a danger to his liberty or physical safety. The film also showed Gerard pursuing his own investigation into the murder as part of his pursuit of Kimble and coming up with his own doubts as to the case. To coincide with the theatrical release, NBC aired the show's first and last episodes in the summer of 1993, and later hosted the film's broadcast television premiere in 1996. Jones received the 1993 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. The film was nominated for six other Academy Awards, including Best Picture. It also spawned a spin-off, U.S. Marshals, in which Jones reprised his role as Gerard. The motion picture was later developed into a parody film as well called Wrongfully Accused, with Leslie Nielsen portraying the lead character.

In other languages

Malayalam movie named Nirnayam was produced following same storyline which was directed by Santosh Sivan.


The Fugitive (2000)

A short-lived TV series remake (CBS, October 6, 2000 – May 25, 2001) of the same name also aired, starring Tim Daly as Kimble, Mykelti Williamson as Gerard, and Stephen Lang as the one-armed man. It was filmed in various places, including Seattle, Washington. CBS cancelled the series after one season, leaving a cliffhanger unresolved.

The Fugitive (2020)

A modern day spinoff, that will be broadcast on the Quibi platform, is set to feature Boyd Holbrook as a new fugitive, blue-collar worker Mike Ferro, who is wrongly accused of setting off a bomb on a Los Angeles subway train. He is relentlessly pursued by Detective Clay Bryce (Kiefer Sutherland), a legendary cop who is uncovering evidence that Mike may not be guilty.[40][41][42]


  • Proctor, Mel (1995). The Official Fan's Guide to the Fugitive. Stamford, CT: Longmeadow Press. ISBN 978-0-681007-54-3. OCLC 31606751.
  • Robertson, Ed (1993), The Fugitive Recaptured: The 30th Anniversary Companion to a Television Classic, Introduction by Stephen King, Foreword by Barry Morse, Los Angeles, CA: Pomegranate Press, Ltd., ISBN 978-0-938817-34-5
  • Starman, Ray (2006). TV Noir: The Twentieth Century. Troy, NY: Troy Bookmakers Press. Theme and major chapters on film noir and TV noir related to the American TV program The Fugitive


  1. Harris, Jay S. (editor) (1978). TV Guide: The First 25 Years. New York: New American Library. p. 123. ISBN 0-452-25225-3.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  2. "Nominations Search". Television Academy.
  3. "The Lies That Bind". Sun Sentinel. p. 3.
  4. The Evil Men Do (Television drama) via YouTube.
  5. Robertson, Ed (1993). The Fugitive Recaptured. Universal City, California: Pomegranate Press. p. 27. ISBN 0-938817-34-5.
  6. The Fugitive (season 1)
  7. Bailey, F. Lee; Aronson, Harvey (1 September 1972). The Defense Never Rests. New American Library. p. 67. Retrieved 2 January 2013. More than ten years later, the Sheppard card would serve as a model for the popular television show The Fugitive.
  8. Linder, Douglas. Dr. Sam Sheppard Trials: An Account. University of Missouri. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  9. Wilson, Steven Harmon (2012). The U.S. Justice System: An Encyclopedia. 1. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. p. 413. ISBN 978-1-59884-304-0.
  10. Burlingame, Jon (1996). TV's Biggest Hits: The story of television themes from Dragnet to Friends. Schirmer Books. p. 134. ISBN 0-02-870324-3.
  11. "Episode Guide for The Fugitive". Internet Movie Database. Archived from the original on 4 July 2010.
  12. "Fugitive gets huge rating in last show". Chicago Tribune. 31 August 1967. p. C-19.
  13. Pasternack, Dan (October 21, 2004). Leonard Goldberg on "The Fugitive" series finale (documentary). Archive of American Television - Retrieved April 17, 2013.
  14. "Special Collector's Issue: 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time". TV Guide. No. June 28–July 4. 1997.
  15. Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle (2003). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946–Present (8th ed.). New York, NY: Ballantine Books. pp. 1459–1460.
  16. TV Ratings > 1960's
  17. TV Ratings > 1960's
  18. Walter Spencer, "TV's Vast Grey Belt". Television Magazine (August 1967): 55.
  19. Walter Spencer, "TV's Vast Grey Belt". Television Magazine (August 1967): 56
  20. TV Guide Names Top 50 Shows
  21. Bretts, Bruce; Roush, Matt; (March 25, 2013). "Baddies to the Bone: The 60 nastiest villains of all time". TV Guide, pp. 14–15.
  22. "The Fugitive: Season 1, Volume 2 Box Art". Archived from the original on 21 December 2007.
  23. "The Fugitive: Season 2, Volume 1, Box Art". Archived from the original on 2 March 2008.
  24. "The Fugitive: Season 3, Volume 2". Archived from the original on 29 July 2009.
  25. "The Fugitive: Season 3 Volume 2". Archived from the original on 12 September 2009.}}
  26. "The Fugitive: Season 4, Volume 1". Archived from the original on 26 August 2010.}}
  27. "The Fugitive: Season 4, Volume 2". Archived from the original on 10 December 2010.}}
  28. "The Fugitive - bring him in! CBS/Paramount Announces 33 disc 'complete series: The most-wanted edition'". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 4 March 2016.
  29. "The Fugitive - new 'unlimited' DVD re-release run for 'The Complete Series'". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 4 March 2016.
  30. "The Fugitive: Season One, Volume One".
  31. "The Fugitive: Season One, Volume Two".
  32. "The Fugitive: Season Two, Volume One".
  33. "The Fugitive: Season Two, Volume Two".
  34. "The Fugitive: Season Three, Volume One".
  35. "The Fugitive: Season Three, Volume Two".
  36. "The Fugitive: The Fourth and Final Season, Volume One".
  37. "The Fugitive: The Fourth and Final Season, Volume Two".
  38. "Decades opens 'daily time capsule' today".
  39. "The Fugitive". MeTV. shows.
  40. ‘The Fugitive’ Remake Starring Kiefer Sutherland and Boyd Holbrook Greenlit at Quibi
  41. Kiefer Sutherland & Boyd Holbrook To Star In ‘The Fugitive’ For Quibi
  42. “The Fugitive”: Kiefer Sutherland, Boyd Holbrook Set for Quibi Series
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