The Big Valley

Season 1 Episode 10

The Murdered Party

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Nov 17, 1965 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (3)

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out of 10
32 votes
  • "Justice is blind"

    Stellar episode featuring Heath Barkley witnessing a murder in a darkened alley, and brother Jarrod going through a deeply emotional process of coming to the conclusion that he must oppose his own brother's testimony by defending the despised accused.

    This was an excellent episode for all the expected reasons - engaging plot, vivid characters, and surprise ending - but also for another. The deep respect Jarrod has for the law is depicted in an astonishingly convincing manner. You can't help but feel for him as he wrestles with the familial and societal pressures closing in on him, not to mention the repugnant nature of the accused and his family, and yet in spite of all of it he's attuned to the calling of due process.

    The most intelligent part of the episode is when Jarrod cross-examines Heath, and gets Heath to admit after intense questioning that Heath isn't sure beyond the shadow of a doubt that Heath saw what he claims he witnessed. The look that is exchanged between the two telegraphs self-understanding and mutual respect, despite the weighty circumstances and intense grilling.

    And I like the ending - Jarrod had to see the system perform, and even though he was defeated, there is a sense that he was victorious after all.

  • I like AND dislike this episode.

    The ending is a bit of a surprise, because it leads you to think that Jarrod's faith in his client will be substantiated. I think it frustrates me that Jarrod could be so wrong, and it makes me wonder why the writers spend about 50 minutes having us follow the life of a guest character that turns out not to be redeemable. I suppose there is a point in there somewhere...the west was filled with all sorts of dangerous, shady men..and they couldn't all be good, all the time. Still, I find this story a bit disappointing, and I don't know if it really gives us any clear insights about why Jarrod could be so easily fooled. But what I do like about it is that Jarrod is determined to do his job to the best of his ability, and I think Richard Long is very good in this episode, especially during the jail scenes where he first visits his client and they discuss guilt and innocence.
  • Jarrod defends a man accused of a murder. The main wiitness is his own brother Heath.

    Heath after hearing a quarrel goes into an alley and witness a murder. The man he believes to have done it is Korby Kyle. Jarrod decides to defend the man, when no one else would defend him. It was done in the shadows and Heath chased a man that he thinks is Kyle. He is beat up by Kyle's relatives who don't want Heath to testify. It goes to trial and Jarrod turns Heath's story around until he believes he might not have seen it. Then there is another witness who can say that he did it for sure. He was running a train and saw it all with the light from his train. Kyle gets mad and tries to run out of the court room. Kyle is found guilty. At the end Jarrod goes home and goes into the room. Gets a drink and proposes a toast. It is a very good story of how a family will fight against each other, either be it with fist or to defend a man who is accused. But in the end they love each other.
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