Friday, June 7, 2013

In The Heat of The Night TV Show. {Spoilers included!} A Continuing Post...

In the heat of the night
I've got troubles wall to wall
In the heat of the night
Must be an ending to it all, oh

But hold on, it won't be long
Just you be strong
And it'll be alright

(In the Heat of the Night)

Theme Song, Quincy Jones. 

     I am so glad that Youtube episodes of Tv shows exist. 
We recently rediscovered In the Heat of the Night
that southern detective show from the 80's. 
And we like it.
We really like it. 
Two seasons out of eight in, this show has been intense with out being graphic, occasionally humorous without being vulgar, and is steeped in morals and values that we can admire.
    The pilot episode of this show centered on breaking up a pornography business that lead to the corruption of a bunch of young girls and one girl's murder. 
The murder was then blamed on an innocent young black boy.
     I was amazed that in 1988, when this was made, pornography was still rightly seen as wicked and filthy by decent men such as Chief Gillespie. 
When they get the search warrant, and enter the house, the Chief picks up three pictures {which aren't clearly shown} shows them to Virgil and then turns them facedown in revulsion. 
 That left me astounded.
 What is readily available and even somewhat approved today was shown as a source of shame in Sparta, Mississippi in 1988.
That really reassured me that this would be a good series... 

So lets meet the characters, shall we?

Chief William Gillespie.

This man is truly Chief material.
His insights, wisdom, and the way he treats people are timeless. 

This is Chief Gillespie, comforting a witness who had been afraid to come forward after the death of her best friend. 
He sat down with her, held both her hands, and talked to her softly. He reminded her that he had known her forever, in fact he had driven her and her Momma home from the hospital when she was born. Now, she needed to talk to him. And she did. 

I love how this Chief negotiates. He is strong but not threatening. 
He is bold, but he stays controlled. 

He is at his best when his fatherly heart is showing through. 
Never maudlinly sentimental, but tender, the Chief is a very good character. 
Watch his people skills and learn. 
To an irate man whose truck was stolen: "Well I just think that if you just put that word 'blame' out of your mind, a feelin' of peace will come over you." Said with an edge of sarcasm. 

The Chief, tending Virgil after he was beat up. 
"Take this advise as if it was from your own Daddy," he said. 

And talking to Bubba after Bubba ia accused of a crime he didn't commit. 
The Chief talks to his men like they're his sons... He's tough on them when they need it, puts a hand on their shoulder when they need it, and aways has a good word for them. 

Notice him leaning forward, listening intently to Bubba try to explain what happened to him. 
The Chief is sitting on the hospital bed, listening, trying to find a way to break it to Bubba that the victim's account implicates him as the perpetrator.

He trusts his men because he makes them earn his trust. He respects them and they respect him.
He cares about them. 

And Virgil himself. Articulate. Intelligent. Educated. Professional.
Honorable. Persistent. Homicide Detective par excellence. 
Detective Virgil Tibbs. 
{Pronounced more like 'Vershil' with a soft slurring if you're the Chief.} 

Virgil and Althea. I love them as a couple. So far, their relationship has been sweet, clean, and loving. Exactly what it should be.   

This is Althea working as a mediator between Virgil and Chief... This lady has some serious diplomatic skills! :-) 
Althea: "Its been so gracious of you to share your office with Virgil until he gets one of his own." 
The Chief: "One. Of. His. Own?!" 
Althea: "Mmhmm. I think I'll go get that coffee now." 

"Life, is very...precarious, isn't it Virgil?"

"It was sweet of the Chief to send this recipe over to us, wasn't it?" 
Althea loves Virgil and she is a woman of good character. 

And Bubba Skinner, first a Lt. then a Captain.  
Throughout the show, Bubba experiences several redemptive moments, when choices he makes leave him broken and he needs to straighten up again and be redeemed. 

The first good thing we learn about Bubba is that he doesn't lie. In Episode one, after a prisoner is killed in the jail cell when Bubba is on duty, Virgil suspects that he was involved. 
Bubba is able to look at the Chief and say "I ain't never lied to you. And you know that." 
The Chief does know, and that is why he defends him to Virgil. 


This is Virgil and Bubba apprehending a moonshiner, who also happens to be Bubba's cousin. The cousin threatens to "put {Virgil} in his place," and Bubba says: 

"No. You're not." 

"First, because I think he'd take you, and second cause I'd have to write you up for assaulting an officer as well as speeding."

That look there pretty much sums up Bubba. 
He doesn't take anything from anyone, and he has the art of looking-unaffected-by-things patented. Just standing there with his thumbs hooked in his belt, staring down at anybody giving him trouble. And he almost always wears his hat. He has the hat patented too. 

The Hat. 
And a wrecked cruiser in the background. 
It was a bad day for him. 

This is a scene where Bubba was in between Virgil and the Chief, during a hostage situation where an armed fugitive escapes jail, kills three people in town and takes Althea as a human shield. 
Virgil is not fully convinced that Bubba can make the one sniper shot needed to save Althea. 
While the Chief reasons with Virgil: "Bubba is very good with that rifle," and
"She is your wife, but she's my responsibility." 
Bubba keeps looking up the shack, knowing that time is draining away for Althea.  
Bubba is sure of himself, but in a good way. 
You can tell that he is worried about doing this right. 

Note: There is an episode in Season two with too much seduction shown to watch straight through, but some final scenes worth watching twice. 
 Bubba ends up in a bad relationship with a woman who is involved in a crime. 
Everyone knows she's bad news, but he falls hard like Proverbs seven warns.  
{This show has consistently shown Biblical morality. 
Sin is never pretty in this show, and the consequences are truly shown to be death.} 
He is so torn up about it when he finds out what he has become a part of, he says he isn't fit to be a police officer anymore. He leaves his badge on the Chief's cruiser, and he runs. 
 In the one of the final scenes of this episode, the Chief talks to Bubba. 
I wanted to see what he (both of them) would say. 
The Chief reminds Bubba of some events in his youth, when his character showed through, 
and then he tells him he is one of the best men he has ever known. 
Then he tells him, with the raggedness of regret in his voice, 
"I just can't stand to see you doing anything foolish."
 And Bubba sits in silence, because he knows he already has. 
Then the Chief reaches over, and tousles Bubba's hair, and walks away. 

And Bubba finds his badge left beside him after the Chief walks away, 
a promise of purpose and dignity restored, man to man, father to son. 

And later, as the woman is taken away in hand-cuffs, Bubba is left standing there with the saddest mix of disappointment and almost self-loathing on his face: wishing he would have seen what was coming, wishing she had been for real, wishing he could forget what he had done... It almost reminded me of King David, and his sin with Bathsheba. Two 'good' men whose desires took them down and who find that only repentance will bring them back again. 

"What's goin' on?" 
This would be Junior Abernathy. 
Young, but with some experience he'll be a good cop. 

Junior, learning from Virgil.  
"Why don't we just drive it {the empty van} in?" 
"Cause its evidence!" 
"Of what?" 
"I don't know yet." 

There are a couple scenes where Junior is all but leaning over Virgil's shoulder, watching him work on something. 

Virgil, testing a substance with Junior watching him. 

'Earnest' and 'eager to help' describe Junior, along with an insanely big smile. 
He grins almost all the time. 

There is one scene when Junior and Bubba are taking turns guarding a patient at the hospital, and Althea is sitting beside the patient's bed, watching him and working on her needlepoint. {I love Althea's character, sweet and strong.} When the patient starts to wake up, Althea hurries to the front desk to get the doctor and call the Chief. Junior is walking down the hall to take over his shift at the room, and sees Althea on the telephone. He taps her on the shoulder, gives her a big grin and a wave and walks off, looking like his day has been made because he got a smile from Althea. 

Aaahh... Parker. 
Parker, to Virgil: "There's a man on the phone for you. He wouldn't give me his name."
Chief: "That's probably because he didn't want *you* to know his name." 

His name is pronounced 'Parkah' by the Chief. 

{Chief says something.}
Virgil: "I think I've heard that before."
Chief: "I told it to Parker yesterday. He probably spread it all over town by now." 

Parker, listening in on the telephone. 
Chief: "How many times have I talked to you about that?" 
Parker: "Well, I needed to know if it was business or personal, for the record." 

Parker is dependable and good-hearted.


And that's a blessing, because he knows everybody's business!

He can get dead serious real quickly. 
Parker has the right heart for police work: 
the desire to help the people and serve the town he loves.
He seems almost shy, he is hurt when people snap at him... and occasionally he acts like a kid. 
Some of my favorite scenes are Parker William's scenes.
Like when the racist men come to the house to scare Virgil and Althea away from attending the
"white" church they have been invited to attend.
 Althea is alone, and is scared to death as they surround the house.
Virgil comes home and chases the men off, but he is called away again,
and Parker comes over to help Althea clean up broken window glass
and to protect her 'til Virgil gets back.
When Virgil walks in, Parker and Althea are sitting at the table playing cards,
 and Parker is winning. "How do you do that?" she protests, as he wins again. "Just a knack," he says. He had helped calm down and distracted her for a while with the card game, and then before he leaves he apologizes on behalf of all the good people of Sparta.
'Thank you," Virgil simply says. And Parker nods, gives his smile, and replies
"No problem, Detective. More than glad to help out." 

Parker is perceptive in a way few people are. 
Season Four, episode 7, the Chief is sitting at his desk lost in thought, looking at his beloved wife's picture, a picture taken when she was pregnant with their child, right before they both died. 
Parker comes in, stands behind him, and quietly says: 
"I know what you're thinkin', Chief." 

And the Chief says "Well, what am I thinking?"

And Parker says "You're thinking about how you and your wife wanted a baby in the worst way, and you didn't have it. You lost it. 
And here we have somebody throwing a baby away. And we'll never know what that child might've become."
And he had seen right to the heart of the Chief's sadness and loss.  

Lonnie Jamison  

So far, he has been quiet. Almost pensive. 
It was hard to even find a scene with him speaking in the first few episodes. 
In real life, he was the Chief's son, and his life ended tragically.
This makes watching him in the show a bittersweet experience. 
He plays the piano in the evidence room, and does the homicide/crime scene
 photography for them. 
He strikes me as being a capable and gentle soul, 
Almost innocent.... he is a very good character. 

The Chief with Jamison, father and son in real life. 
In their exchanges, you can hear a the father/son tenderness.
"Goodnight, Chief," "Yes, goodnight."

Lonnie Jamison. 

Smiling, a beautiful smile, and laughing because they sent Parker down to the bus stop to pick up Officer Chris Rankin
who was joining the Sparta force, and Parker found out that she was a woman: 
Officer Christine Rankin! 

He is also their sniper, marksman in several episodes, 
including Crackdown and My Name is Hank

Lonnie Jamison in Season five, The Littlest Victim.
A sad but hopeful episode that really showed Lonnie's character. 

And this is Sweet, who becomes Lonnie's partner.  

Sweet was hired right in the middle of a hideous copycat murder that involved a 
young girl sucked into the abyss of witchcraft. He said, after Virgil told him to help hold up a dead man found at his desk: "I should have joined the Marines. I wouldn't have had to see half the dead bodies." Wilson Sweet has a military bearing to him, standing real straight and saying yes sir but he believes that obeying authority without question stifles his individuality. 

He becomes one of their best officers...and when he is hurt {I won't tell you how} 
you should see the way Bubba looks at the man who is responsible. 
If Bubba hadn't been needed to carry Sweet out to the car, he would have pounded that guy.
Just sayin'. 

We have Officer Christine Rankin, who adopted the Sparta Police Department as family 
the first day she met them, inheriting a whole bunch of brothers and a father in 
Chief Gillespie. She was Sparta's First Girl, and her one episode is named after her.
The scene where they welcome her in is precious. 
Parker sewing the patch on her sleeve, 
Sweet making sure that her paperwork is properly filled out, 
Lonnie helping her with her gun belt, 
and Bubba ending the welcome with prayer over her. 
What a great police department! 

Officer Rankin with brothers Parker Williams 
and Wilson Sweet. 

And this is Officer Luann Corbin, 

Sparta's second girl. 

This show is set in the south, deep south, 
meaning that we have swamps and lonely highways and red dirt roads. 
We have pickup trucks and those old, long cruisers. 
We have plenty of crime and corruption. 
We have all of the seven deadly sins in the small town of Sparta, 
just like Dorothy Sayers warned us. 
We have serious prejudice lingering in pockets of ignorance 
and we have hope that hearts and minds can change. 
We have really nice, thick southern accents. 
State-wise, I am as far North as you can go and not be in Canada. 
I love listening to Southern accents. 
"Yes, suh" instead of "Yes, sir."

They are doing remarkably well operating out of a solid moral framework. 
Pornography, adultery, sexual sin, lust, murder, greed, have all been exposed in all of their evil. 
Although there are some lines/words I will ignore so I can enjoy the show, and I am sure I will see things that were written in to appease the politically correct monster, the parts that disagree with common sense and goodness don't even fit the characters anyway.

There are dozens if not hundreds of scenes that are heart-breaking and heart-filling, where life and all its questions is examined through the eyes of Chief Gillespie and his men, where justice and mercy are shown and pondered on, where the goodness of living is displayed and the fight rages on to protect life against those who steal and destroy it.
There are scenes drenched with the Gospel and episodes brimming with the longing for redemption.

Remember the worthy stuff. 

Like Parker and Bubba. 

Like Junior and Parker

Like Virgil and Bubba. 
Watching these two work together, fight each other, and become friends is 
one of the best parts of the show. 

Like Virgil, Junior, and Lonnie. 

Chief and General Robert E. Lee's portrait on the wall behind him.

The Chief making his famous barbecue sauce with Virgil and Althea. 
Yes, this Chief makes barbecue sauce with his Chief of Detectives. 

Captain Tom Duggan, brought out of retirement 
to be acting Chief while Chief was at Quantico.

Oh yes, there is a lot worth watching. 
Now, I am a real fan of accuracy when I read FBI/Police mystery novels, 
and I know that the "45 minutes and the case is solved" model is highly inaccurate. ;-) 
However, I really watch this show for the characters. It is very character driven, with a 
background of mysteries and investigations. 
I watch it to see them interacting with each other and dealing with life. 

Bubba, Virgil and the Chief trying to get the truth out of a young, abused
prostitute. The Chief takes his jacket right off and gives it to the girl. 
And at the end, it is Virgil who convinces her to leave the streets.

Miss Lofton, witness to her neighbor's murder.

Miss Lofton, who is blind, with Officer Williams and the Chief
This episode, Laid To Waste is one of my favorites. 

Sweet glaring at Parker because he just found another stray cat that he needs to take home.
"Sweet, you got a problem with cats?"
"No. You got a problem with cats. You got Fuzz Face, Old Man and now you're taking in Wrencher." 

Lonnie and Sweet, 
radioing in to the Chief. 

The themes in this show are very serious.
After watching an episode, I am left with that full-of-the-story-and-slightly-dazed feeling that books leave me with.
A wise woman I met on her blog called it "book shock," and it happens with all stories that engage your mind and emotions, in book or Tv show form. 
These stories stay with you and make you think. 

Thank you to Infinitig2013 on Youtube for uploading and sharing all these episodes!!!
Favorite Episodes (in the order that I would watch them. :-)
Season One: 

In The Heat of the Night Pilot Episode, Parts One and Two. *

Fate. *

Blind Spot 1 and 2. *

A Necessary Evil * 

And then You Die. *

Season Two: 

The Hammer and The Glove.

Prisoners. *

Gunshot. *

Stranger in Town. *

Tear Down The Walls. *

A Trip Upstate. *

A.K.A Kelly Kay. *

Intruders. *

The Creek.


Accused. *

Fifteen Forever. *

Ladybug, Ladybug.

Missing. *

Season Three: 

Anniversary...part two of Missing. *

Rape. *

First Girl. *

Murder Most Ancient. *

Crackdown. *

Time of the Stranger. *

Epitaph for a Lady. *


My Name is Hank. *

Hello In There. *

December Days. *

A Loss of Innocence. 

Bubba's Baby. *

An Angry Woman. *

{I haven't yet seen 
Night of The Killing
or Citizen Trundle 1 and 2} 

Season Four:

Brotherly Love parts 1 and 2. *

Lessons Learned. *

Perversion of Justice. 

And Justice for Some. *

Quick Fix. *

A Final Arrangement. 

A Problem Too Personal. *

Family Matters. *
{Watch Ruda's Awakening right after this one. It gives closure
and resolution.}

Blessings. *

Shine on Sparta Moon. *

An Execution of Trust. *

Paper Castles. 

Child of Promise. *

First Deadly Sin. * 

Laid To Waste. * 

No Other Road. *

A Turning. *  

Season Five: 

A Woman Much Admired * 
(Lt. Jamison drives the Chief to Gulf Port in the episode, where Chief 
meets his daughter Lana for the first time. Sad, powerful, excellent.) 

Baby For Sale * 

The More Things Change* 
(Excellent scenes here, like at the Policeman's Ball.) 

Sparta Gold. * 

Sweet, Sweet Blues. * 

An Eye for an Eye * 
Vey cool scene when the DA is kidnapped and Bubba and Lonnie, 
the sharpshooters, ride horses into the woods to access a remote cabin and
rescue Gerard Darnelle. 

The Littlest Victim * 

Odessa * 

Love, Honor and Obey * 

The Landlord * 

A Time to Trust* 

Trundel's Will be Done * 

By Means Most Foul * 

Moseley's Lot * 

Sanctuary * 

The Law on Trial * 

(So thankful that this wasn't the end of Heat, as was planned in 1992!) 

Season Six 

A Small War, 1 and 2 * 

Brother's Keeper * 

Random's Child * 

An Occupational Hazard 

Last Rights 

When the Music Stopped *

A Step Removed * 

Falsely Accused * 

A Deadly Affection * 

Judgement Day * 

The Leftover Man 1 and 2 * 

A Dish Best Served Cold * 

Legacy * 

Even Nice People * 

Lake Winahatchie * 

A Correct Setting * 

Season Seven. 

Child's Play * 

Hatton's Turn * 

Good Cop, Bad Cop * 

Conspiracy of One * 

Poor Relations - comic. 

The Rabbi * 

Time's Long Shadow* 

Hard Choices * 

The Last Round * 

Dangerous Engagement * 

Give Me Your Life 1 and 2 * 

A list and episode breakdown can be found here: 

Note: I do not own any rights to any of these images, they are all screen shots that I created to share this series.  :-) 


  1. Hi... enjoyed your post on In The Heat Of The Night. I've been trying to find out where I can locate the episode called Anniversary. Would you happen to know where I might be able to download it? Thanks.

  2. Unfortunately, no. I watched Heat on Youtube, and I can't find it anywhere else. There are a few very cool fan clubs on Facebook where someone may be able to help. :-)