This review contains spoilers.
Although it often seems to get overlooked, I personally think that "The Big Heist" is a great first season instalment of the series, and, beyond the excellent original five episodes filmed in Georgia, is actually probably one of the best episodes of the remainder of the season.
By this point, the comic template that would dominate most of the rest of the show's run is starting to set in place, but – while some of those late examples may be a little too heavy on the slapstick – thankfully this one still has a decent and plausible enough plot to keep viewers engaged.
Ben Jones (Cooter) does not appear in this episode, making it the only first season story where he, or any of the main cast, does not appear. (Although remaining as one of the main billed cast, Jones would become more of a semi-regular in late seasons). It doesn't matter as it doesn't affect the story in any way; although it is odd when we see Rosco pull up to the Garage for gas, to see some other, unknown mechanics working there (maybe Cooter left them in charge whilst he was out of town?).
Of course, as the show went on for a number of subsequent seasons, there would be *many* more armed holdups in Hazzard, but here in the first season, with it's more varied plots, this is the original, and handled with much more care as a result. Plus, at least here, Boss and Rosco believe they have a valid reason for pursing Bo and Luke, instead of the sometimes flimsy reasons given in later stories.
When Bo and Luke escape from jail (the first of many times in the series, by the way), they tie Enos up and hang him on the wall; Although episode continuity wasn't usually that strong in the series, this event was referred to in a number of future episodes – even by Cletus, when he replaced Enos in the third and fourth season.
Throughout the story, we are given clues that the real robber, Neil Bishop, may not be as bad as is assumed – he comes across as shifty, but innocent seeming; so it almost comes as a relief when in the final act, he reveals that he robbed Boss of money owed to him after Boss sold him some duff farming equipment. Cue a fun "reverse robbery", where the Dukes return Boss's money (from illegal moonshining), but call in revenuer Harvey Essex to ensure that the cash won't be back in Boss's hands for long.
As part of this rouse, this is also the first time that we get to see Daisy driving the General Lee, and, as with some future examples, it is even subtlety suggested that she might even be a better driver than Bo and Luke! It certainly seems she may be, as she drives the General on two wheels around Hazzard Square.
All-in-all, "The Big Heist" is a really likeable tale, with a fun plot, and a satisfying payoff that wraps the story up nicely. As I say at the top, it is an episode that often seems to get overlooked, and it might not necessarily make it onto any Top 10 episode lists, but even so, I've always enjoyed watching this episode enough to give it a solid 10/10.