The Paper Chase

CBS (ended 1986)
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  • Episode Guide
  • S 4 : Ep 6

    Graduation (Part 2)

    Aired 8/9/86

  • S 4 : Ep 5

    Graduation (Part 1)

    Aired 8/9/86

  • S 4 : Ep 4

    Suppressed Desires

    Aired 7/15/86

  • S 4 : Ep 3

    Honor

    Aired 7/8/86

  • S 4 : Ep 2

    Mistaken Identity

    Aired 7/1/86

  • Cast & Crew
  • Lainie Kazan

    Rose Samuels (1985-1986)

  • Jane Kaczmarek

    Connie Lehman (1983-1984)

  • Robert Ginty

    Thomas Craig Anderson (1978-1979)

  • John Houseman

    Professor Charles W. Kingsfield, Jr.

  • James Keane

    Willis Bell

  • show Description
  • Based on the movie, which was based on the novel written by John Jay Osborn, The Paper Chase is a classroom drama about students in an Eastern U.S. Law School (Harvard, although it's precise location isn't mentioned in the series). The two main characters are: Charles W. Kingsfield, a stern and demanding contract law professor; and James T. Hart, a student who idolizes him. The Paper Chase was voted the best new drama of 1978. Although the critics raved, the original series didn't get the viewing numbers that CBS wanted and it was canceled after its first season in 1979. Four years later, the Showtime premium cable channel picked it up and made three new seasons of episodes from 1983 to 1986.moreless

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  • kosh1956

    User Score: 162

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  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (9)

    • Kingsfield: Contract law is not criminal law. We are not out to extract a 'pound of flesh'. The purpose of the remedy of a broken contract is to make the parties whole again. To restore them to the position they would have been in had the contract been carried out. Contract law is a positive force. It does not serve the human instincts of retribution,the desire to see a person suffer unreasonably for his wrongs. The aim of contract law is restoration, reformation, rebirth. Those of you who lust for vengeance must search for that particular doctrine elsewhere.

    • Kingsfield: (to study group) There is always another question, and another, and another.

    • Bell: I just did it for us. Jenny: Us? There is no us. We were just a kind of...mutual aide society.

    • Bell to Jenny: (with Sara Lee cheesecake in hand) Do you know what my dream is? Someday, if I work very hard. I'll get to be Sara Lee's lawyer.

    • Kingsfield: There is no confusion about the idea that two parties may contract to have something rendered to a third party. Does the third party, who gave up no consideration, have the right to enforce a promise that was made for his or her benefit?

    • Kingsfield: Some people believe examinations to be cruel, inhuman and falsely revealing. These relics of a sterner past, they argue, may cause ulcers, drug addiction, and psychosis. I do not go that far. As you may have noticed, I do not subscribe to the permissive school of learning. Some day you may be defending a human life. You must be prepared. The meek may inherit the earth, but they seldom do well in my examinations.

    • Kingsfield: I intend to test minds, Mr. Brooks, not memories.

    • (Golden's car is in the middle of the Law Review office. Kingsfield had given his orders without mentioning it and is about to leave.) Kingsfield: (as an afterthought) Oh, and Golden... Golden: Yes, Professor? Kingsfield: Your left front tire needs air.

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    Notes (5)

    • This episode was originally scheduled to air on October 3rd, 1978, but it was postponed.

    • Beginning with this episode, for the rest of the first season, the opening theme music has been shortened slightly, since there is one fewer cast member in the sequence due to the departure of the character of Jonathan Brooks at the end of the previous episode, "An Act of Desperation."

    • It is established in Kingsfield's office that Chris does not have the financial wherewithall to be anywhere other than the Hamilton Society House. At the end of the episode she is packing to leave. It is not clear whether she is leaving law school (regretable, as she is a very bright and promising student) or whether she has been able to make other financial arrangements that would allow her to stay. CBS aired this episode on a Friday at 8:00 p.m., one week before it premiered "The Dukes of Hazzard."

    • It is said that this scavenger hunt is an assignment that Kingsfield gives each year in his contract law class. The students, who are tauted as an unusually resourceful bunch, would surely have found out the "point" of the exercise from students that had already been through it.

    • Returning to the series were John Houseman as Professor Kingsfield, James Stephens as Hart, Tom Fitzsimmons as Ford, and James Keane as Bell. Jane Kaczmarek and Michael Tucci joined the cast as Connie Lehman and Gerald Golden.

    Trivia (4)

    • Leanne Laski is a female President of Law review, but later on in another season Harriman is eager to be the "first female" head of the Review.

    • Logan phones Kingsfield at 3 am from jail. How would a first year law student have the personal phone number of a professor such as Kingsfield?

    • Hart and Bell are trapped in Kingsfield's closet for 2-1/2 days yet there is no mention made of having to go to the bathroom during that time. Monday morning, Mrs. Nottingham retrieves an empty coffee pot from the closet seconds after they have slipped out.

    • When Hart enters the room for Kingsfield's first seminar, Kingsfield doesn't know who he is. This is very odd, considering that Kingsfield took Hart with him to New York as his research assistant the previous year (in the episode entitled "The Apprentice" during the series' first season). Even if he hadn't spent several days with Hart, Kingsfield would surely remember such an outstanding student in his class after a hiatus of only a few months.

    Allusions (2)

    • Episode Title: Great Expectations This episode shares its name with an 1861 novel by Charles Dickens.

    • The episode title is a parody on the idiom, "tempest in a teapot," referring to an exaggerated reaction or response to a relatively minor situation.

  • Fan Reviews (1)
  • The Paper Chase was brilliantly written. John Housman's Professor Kingsfield was someone who could be a model for others to follow. It would be beneficial for all of us to "Fill The Room With Our Intelligence" Roger B Baskin

    By rbbaskin, Dec 03, 2006