All in the Family

Season 5 Episode 17

Prisoner in the House

Aired Unknown Jan 04, 1975 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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out of 10
40 votes
  • Good, but not great.

    When the Bunkers hire a plumber, Edith befriends his assistant - who just happens to be a felon on work-release.
    Humorous interaction and reaction from Edith and the plumber give this episode a favorable rating, but that is compromised somewhat by the ridiculous message preached at the audience through the plot. That is, that civilians should be completely trusting of criminals who happen to be in their home, and to be in any way cautious is to hinder their "rehabilitation." What nonsense, and yet the television audience applauds when the con makes a speech about going back to the slammer "until you people on the outside get rehabilitated" after discerning Archie's concern about him being in the house alone with his daughter, who is sick upstairs.Who in their right mind would be completely okay with a revolving-door felon alone in their home, who openly states his preference for being in prison? That is not compassion - it's foolishness. So is the notion that we the public have a duty to "rehabilitate" criminals. That was never the intent of the criminal justice system in America, nor is it possible. People simply do not change; it takes something - or Someone - monumental to change them.
    The faulty preachiness of this episode irked me in particular because my husband and I have been through this - we have allowed prisoners on work-release (misdemeanors, not felons) to do our yard work through a neighborhood program, and it's very nerve-wracking having people around your house and your family who have been incarcerated for who-knows-what. Reaching out to other petty criminals and down-on-their luck people in our neighborhood has been eye-opening, and we've inevitably always gotten burned. They are seldom - if ever - trustworthy, and yet there is an attitude of entitlement about them.