The Fugitive (1963)

Season 1 Episode 6

Decision in the Ring

16
Aired Unknown Oct 22, 1963 on ABC
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

8.2
out of 10
Average
61 votes
  • A surprisingly frank look at race from a 1960s TV drama.

    7.9
    While not as "thrilling" as the previous "Never Say Goodbye" two-parter, "Decision in the Ring" delivers as much drama as Kimble tries to save a boxer from himself. In the process, the show presents an unflinching, complicated view of race relations that stands out as unique among most of its contemporaries.

    Like Kimball, Joe Smith has been forced to give up his dream to take on a lesser role in life and the decision has been forced by circumstances beyond his control (for Kimble, it is his conviction; for Joe, it is racism). The result is a genuine bond between the two men and an understanding. The threat to Kimble's freedom takes a backseat to the triangle of Joe, Laura and Kimble. The scenes in which Joe says he would rather die with the respect he has as a boxer than live in a world that would never give him his due as a doctor are powerful. And David Janssen's scenes with Ruby Dee are strong in their own right. The terrific guest cast results in a strong interpretation of a great script.

    On a more technical note, the stark black and white cinematography really helps to create the bleak tone of the story, and makes the fight scenes and the ringside drama come alive in the climax.
  • Kimble Inspires a Boxer to Become a Doctor

    10
    Act I opens in a boxing ring where two fighters are giving it their all. One of the boxers is cut during the match and the "cut man" isn't able to stop the bleeding. Richard Kimble is working in the gym as a sort of janitor, sweeping up after people. He sees the hurt boxer and offers his help. After he stops the bleeding, he is offered the job as Joe Smith's "cut man."

    In the course of time, Kimble discovers that his boxing friend once had aspirations of becoming a doctor. Because he is black (and in the early 1960s), he decides it is not profitable for him to be a doctor. He envisions himself working for next to nothing in low income urban areas-a thought he doesn't cherish. Kimble repeatedly challenges him to pursue his first love (medical school) and give up boxing before it permanently hurts him.

    By the end of the episode, we see a resolute Richard Kimble inspire this young man to pursue his dream and protect his health for his wife's sake. Of course Kimble's true identity is discovered and he must leave immediately, but not before one last pep talk. This was a very inspiring story and I especially enjoyed the "disguise" Kimble wore to evade those who are looking for him. A great episode!
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