The Fugitive (1963)

Season 1 Episode 1

Fear in a Desert City

Aired Unknown Sep 17, 1963 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (3)

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  • Seminal Elements for the Entire Series

    A soothing voice introduces the viewers to the main character of the series with these words: "Now six months a fugitive, this is Richard Kimble with a new identity, and for as long as it is safe, a new name: James Lincoln." Dr. Richard Kimble is a man on the run. His running will continue for the next 4 years. This pilot episode introduces us to the major players of the series: the fugitive (Richard Kimble) and the relentless police lieutenant obsessed with his capture (Philip Gerard). We learn that Kimble takes odd jobs to meet his meager financial needs and lives in cheap motels when he's not working. In order to conceal his true identity, he dyes his hair and keeps out of view when officers of the law are present. He has a likeable personality. He's considerate and caring with most people and can be tough when needed with those who oppose him. In his travels, he's looking for a one-armed man. A man he saw running from his house the night Kimble's wife was murdered.

    Philip Gerard is a man possessed. He was accompanying Kimble to his execution when a train wreck freed him. Gerard somehow feels responsible for his escape and will stop at nothing to see him behind bars again. Gerard is a cool, calculating man with a single-minded mission: to uphold the law (with all its weaknesses).

    A recurring theme of the series is also introduced in this episode. Dr. Kimble befriends and helps someone in need. When they discover his true identity, (believing his innocence) they help him escape from the police. It makes for compassion and high drama.

    The episode ends with Kimble quickly leaving before the authorities come to investigate a shooting. Not long afterward, Gerard is on the scene asking questions. But he's too late. Kimble has escaped to continue his search for the true murderer of his wife. This is the life of an innocent man on the run. This is the fugitive.