Matlock

Season 1 Episode 1

Diary of a Perfect Murder (Pilot)

1
Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Mar 03, 1986 on ABC
7.7
out of 10
User Rating
16 votes
1

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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Diary of a Perfect Murder (Pilot)
AIRED:

Atlanta lawyer Ben Matlock takes on the high profile case of a television reporter accused of murdering his former wife. The case is complicated when his daughter Charlene develops feelings for the accused killer.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • This review is for "Diary of a Perfect Murder - Parts 1 and 2."

    7.8
    This TV movie that launched "Matlock" shows the formula for the show was in place from the very beginning. However, there are some traits and aspects of both the show and the character that are similar to, but not exactly like the Ben Matlock we got to know as the series went on.



    Andy Griffith, of course, has the character nailed from the get-go. When we first meet Matlock, he's rising to get the fresh eggs from his chicken coop. Next, he's in court, using his trademark razzle-dazzle to earn an aquittal for his client. One scene more than any other, however, perfectly sums up Matlock. After Tyler beats up a man who was hassling Ben and Tyler in a bar, Matlock stops for a moment to tell the bar patrons that if they ever find themselves in a similar situation to call him - "your personal injuries can mean big money!" - and hands out his business cards. But the Matlock of the pilot is far more adversarial with the police and the D.A.'s office and can play fast and loose with the facts. In the series, Matlock was still wily, but a little less of an outright rascal.



    Also good from the start is Kene Holliday as Tyler Hudson, Matlock's occasional PI. Holliday has a hip, cool delivery and Tyler almost feels like a character from another era. He and Griffith have great chemistry together in a relationship that is similar to, but more developed than, that of Perry Mason and Paul Drake.



    Fortunately, Lori Lethin was replaced after this pilot. Her Charlene is whiny, unprofessional and spends most of the movie getting into trouble. Linda Purl was a much better choice for the character.



    Of course, a pilot is more than just introducing characters and the premise of the show; you need a good story to go along with it. Fortunately, series creator and former "Columbo" scribe Dean Hargrove comes up with a nice mystery (even if he does crib the crucial final clue from a classic "Columbo") that involves investigative reporting, a mob scheme, jilted lovers and professional rivalries.moreless
Steve Inwood

Steve Inwood

Steve Emerson

Guest Star

Jack Bannon

Jack Bannon

Paul Lockwood

Guest Star

Lawrence Pressman

Lawrence Pressman

Nelson White

Guest Star

James McEachin

James McEachin

Lt. Frank Daniels

Recurring Role

Robin Thomas

Robin Thomas

A.D.A. Burton Hawkins

Recurring Role

Richard Newton

Richard Newton

Judge Richard Cooksey

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Matlock: (to his daughter, Charlene) Stay away from lawyers. They have ethics, but no morals.

    • (Under his breath to Steve Emerson)
      Matlock: They call it selecting a jury. You don't select a jury. You kick off the ones you really don't want and what's left is the jury.

  • NOTES (2)

    • Additional Credits
      Opticals by: Howard Anderson Company
      Re-Recording and Soud Effects Editorial by: Glen Glenn Sound
      Titles by: Pacific Title
      Air Transportation Furnished by: Eastern Air Lines, Inc.
      Color by: Deluxe

    • Lori Lethin only appears as Charlene in the pilot movie. In the series, she is replaced by Linda Purl.

  • ALLUSIONS (1)

    • (To Steve Emerson and Harvey Ravenel) Matlock: Help yourself to some peanuts. I got them in barter from a client down in Plains. It's not who you think.

      The most famous resident of Plains, Georgia is Jimmy Carter, the 39th United States president (1977-1981).

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