Knight Rider

Season 1 Episode 11

The Final Verdict

Aired Friday 9:00 PM Dec 03, 1982 on NBC
out of 10
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Episode Summary

The Final Verdict
A shy accountant who "cooked the books" can help clear a friend accused of murder, if Michael can find him before the police do.

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  • When an old girlfriend of Michael's is jailed for killing her boss, her only alibi is a meek accountant whom she met in a bar. But the accountant is being hunted by the Police after fiddling the books for his shady employer. A bland, unmemorable episode..moreless

    'The Final Verdict' has always stuck in my mind as bringing to an abrupt end to a great run of 'Knight Rider' stories. Previously we had the very strong 'Inside Out', the classic 'Trust Doesn't Rust' with K.A.R.R. before that, and – although not perfectly executed – the decent 'No Big Thing' before that still. But with 'The Final Verdict', things really plummet, with a very dull and not particularly likable instalment.

    Marty, the mild mannered accountant at the centre of the whole situation, feels like he should be a fun, memorable character, but it just doesn't happen on-screen. Often in such 1980s series, episodes would feature "lovable nerd" characters, and here Marty is even compared to Woody Allen, but for whatever reason, the character just isn't that likable. If he had been pulled off in the way of say, the (wonderful) Murray in Stephen J. Cannell's 'Riptide', he might have worked, but sadly, Marty just comes across as distant, and even slightly creepy at times.

    The character is played by Marvin Karon (who at times looks like Dwight Schultz's Murdock from 'The A-Team'). Whilst he might have been able to pull off a small guest spot in such a role, for an entire episode, it doesn't happen; I can't decide if it is down to poor writing, poor direction, or Karon just not having a handle on the character. Maybe a bit of all three.

    But that's not me placing the entire blame at Marty/Karon's door. The story is just so limp and uninteresting; by about 25 minutes in I was rather wishing it would hurry up and be over with. The fact that we are never really given much indication as to why Marty's boss, Farlan, is such a supposed villain and what he is tied up in, doesn't help matters any. And when the opening trailer struggles to give any exciting moments from the episode (and all it can come up with is to spoil the villain's car crashing from the climax), you know it's not gonna be one of the show's best outings!

    K.I.T.T. unusually has very little to do in this one, and there are MANY filler scenes, including several long driving montages (which are sometimes fun when inserted into stronger stories, but here in an already dragged out tale, started to irritate me). Michael and Marty's escape from the factory, pursued by the villains in fork-lift trucks, is mildly entertaining, but not enough to lift the overall weak proceedings. And it's rather hard to fathom why Michael, who so effortlessly took the place of an infamous mercenary and infiltrated a criminal mastermind's gang in the previous broadcast episode, has so much trouble keeping hold of a simple, meek accountant here!

    Things limp along until a rather contrived "final chase", which doesn't put an end to the case a moment too soon.

    I haven't sat through 'The Final Verdict' for many years (I don't think I've watched hardly any of it since I recorded it from Channel 5 circa 1997/8, not even re-watching my 1995 recording from Meridian before that), so when I came to watch it on DVD today to review, part of me hoped it would turn out to be a forgotten gem that I'd overlooked; sadly, I don't really enjoy it any more now than I did all those years ago. So I'm pretty amazed to see that currently (as of April 2011) it holds a surprisingly high 8.7 rating here on; obviously other see something in this story that I don't.

    There are one or two other first season stories that I recall were rather routine and uninspired in nature (mixed in with some real greats, of course), but 'The Final Verdict' does stand out in my memory as one of my least favourite episodes. The fourth, final season was a much more mixed bag that contained many weaker episodes, but certainly of the first three seasons, 'Verdict' ranks amongst my least favourite. Maybe the likes of 'The Rockford Files' or 'Magnum, p.i.' (both of which I am a huge fan of) could have pulled off such an effort, but in terms of 'Knight Rider', this episode just doesn't work in my view.

    For a series that is still only in the first half of its first season, 'The Final Verdict' almost feels like half-hearted filler, to me. I'm afraid this episode does so little for me that I can only bring myself to give it a much lower score than usual of 6/10 – and even that's maybe being generous. Sorry folks; I'm certain there are some out there who will completely disagree with me.moreless

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Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • On all versions of this episode (including the DVD release), the backing music behind the opening trailer noticeably "gets the wobbles" at one point.

    • When KITT Turbo Boosts over the obstructing truck during the climatic chase of the episode, the shot of the KITT's underside clearly reveals it to have some kind of extra bodywork application underneath, possibly to protect the underside of the car.

    • On the opening teaser, a sequence for the climatic pursuit shows Marty saying "I think I'm going to be ill"; he does not say this line in the actual episode.

    • This episode's credits feature a memorial to co-executive producer R.A. Cinader, who died November 16th, 1982, stating "He was an original."

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Michael: I have a problem.
      Devon: My dear boy, don't be modest. You have a multitude of problems.

    • Michael: KITT, if we're not back in an hour, call the police.
      KITT: Certainly, Michael.
      Marty: Who are you talking to?
      Michael: I'll explain later.
      Marty: Are you a ventriloquist?

  • NOTES (5)

    • This episode is the last time that the Knight Industries truck is seen with a white trailer. It is next seen in a few episodes time, in "Hearts of Stone" with its familiar black design with gold Knight chess piece logo, that would remain for the rest of the show's run.

    • Music: Cover versions of Johnny Lee's "Highways Run Forever", Kenny Rogers' "Love Will Turn You Around", Diana Ross' "Work That Body", Musique's "Keep On Jumpin'", and Janie Fricke's "It Ain't Easy Being Easy"

    • This is the first of Don Gordon's two, unrelated appearances on Knight Rider. He can also be seen in season three's "Knight by a Nose."

    • This is the first of Ramon Bieri's two, unrelated appearances on Knight Rider. He can also be seen in season three's "Junk Yard Dog."

    • Bob Schott has a dollar sign in place of the "S" in his name in the credits at the end so it reads: "Bob $chott as Dink"