Bonanza

Season 9 Episode 4

Judgment at Olympus

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Aired Saturday 7:30 PM Oct 08, 1967 on NBC
7.6
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Judgment at Olympus
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Candy stands accused of murder in the town of Olympus. The victim's father, the town "boss", is determined to see Candy hang,a so pays off a witness and the district attorney. Then Joe is locked up on suspicion of murder as well. It's up to Hoss to figure out what's going on in that town and free Joe and Candy.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Candy is on trial for murdering the son of A.Z. Wheelock. His defender? Wheelock's personal counsel.

    9.0
    "Judgment at Olympus" makes very little attempt to hide the motivations of its plot and characters; It's not a whodunnit, though the guilty party isn't immediately revealed, but soon enough, the audience is in on the fix and who's responsible for it.



    The story is simple: Candy has been arrested for the murder of Jed Wheelock, by most accounts a bullying, spoiled brat, whose father, A.Z. (Arch Johnson) possesses all the wealth and power in his town of Olympus that Ben Cartwright does in his own little corner of the world.



    The case seems open and shut: Candy and Jed tore up Olympus' main street whilst brawling over money and before the day ended, Jed was the victim of a gunshot wound just before Candy headed back to the Ponderosa.



    There are two twists here: 1. A.Z. Wheelock insists that he wants to be sure Candy is the killer, so as to prevent the railroading and hanging of an innocent man for his son's murder. 2. Wheelock's lawyer, Dayton Fuller (Barry Sullivan) offers to defend Candy (whom he insists is guilty) and guarantees that by defending him, Candy will get the best possible defense. Both Wheelock and Candy accept Fuller's offer and the trial begins.



    As I've said, it's not long before the shady motivations become clear: Fuller is obviously working to ensure Candy's conviction by paying an "eyewitness" to come forward and testify against him. But, why? Is Fuller the real murderer here? It doesn't seem so, but if not Candy, who is guilty?



    That's what Little Joe and Hoss ride into town to find out.

    When the "eyewitness" is shot dead, Little Joe gets collared and Hoss determines to straighten things out, once and for all.



    There's a seemingly innocuous sideline about Fuller's daugher Mary Elizabeth (the comely Brooke Bundy) going off to school in the East, but we all know, as Hoss does, that seemingly innocuous sidelines are usually direct routes to answers in shows like this, and in his gentle, dawdling fashion, ol' Hoss untangles the deceitful web, thus bringing the story's ingredients to full boil.



    Walter Black's script is alternately formulaic and prosaic, as befitting a prolific,highly regarded TV writer and John Rich's direction keeps things moving at a lively pace, but there's no getting around certain shopworn plot developments, chiefly the pivotal "confession" scene by Ms. Bundy, who may be a charming and photogenic actress, but certainly wasn't up to the task this time around.



    The result of her efforts here is hands down this episode's most painful moment.



    Conversely, the key to the program's triumphant power is the strength of performances by Dan (Hoss)Blocker and Arch Johnson. Both men here invest their characters with iron conviction and steely determination to settle for nothing less than true justice.



    While Blocker is certainly a well-known and (deservedly) much-beloved quantity, Johnson is more enigmatic: one of those guys you invariably recognize by sight but not name. He worked constantly on TV for four decades, usually playing a heavy and often as not working with mediocre material, as many TV series scripts tend to be.



    How refreshing to see this well-trained character actor (who honed his craft with live theatre work, including turns on Broadway) get a chance to show off his abilities and breathe such depth and complexity into what might have been a "throwaway" part in less expert hands.



    Expertly guided by cast and crew, this episode may or may not be among the long-running series' ten best, but it is irresistibly watchable and rewarding for the gems described above.moreless
Dan Blocker

Dan Blocker

Eric "Hoss" Cartwright

David Canary

David Canary

Candy Canaday

Lorne Greene

Lorne Greene

Ben Cartwright

Michael Landon

Michael Landon

Joseph "Little Joe" Francis Cartwright

Barry Sullivan

Barry Sullivan

Dayton Fuller

Guest Star

Brooke Bundy

Brooke Bundy

Mary Elizabeth Fuller

Guest Star

James Griffith

James Griffith

Deputy Sheriff Gibbs

Guest Star

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