Is "The Fugitive" the best drama series in TV history? I don't know if I'd go that far, but it certainly ranks in my Top Five. Virtually everything about this series (the music, the writing, the acting) is perfect and it is anchored by the two performances of the lead actors, David Janssen and Barry Morse.
Even if you've never seen an episode, you probably know the basic story of "The Fugitive." The Harrison Ford/Tommy Lee Jones movie is great, but it really doesn't capture what made the series so good - in my opinion, it's the length of the chase and the toll it takes on Kimble. Aside from the clothing and cars, "The Fugitive" is really timeless. It captures the quiet desperation of small towns, of people in crisis and yearning for hope. The stories (for the most part) told on the show could easily take place today and still be powerful.
Perhaps the real genius in "The Fugitive" is giving the audience two characters who are antagonists to one another, but neither one is really a "bad guy." Obviously, Kimble has the audience's sympathy as he tries to stay one step ahead of the law and find his wife's killer, but Gerard is a policeman, ostensibly the "hero." He isn't driven to catch Kimble out of vengeance or hatred, but simply because it's his job. Thus, you have two incredibly driven, smart characters who go up against each other. Janssen's quiet, introspective nature is still fiercely intense at times, especially when Kimble seems cornered. And Morse is boiling over intensity whenever he appears on screen. And though he didn't appear in many episodes, Bill Raisch was the perfect elusive menace as the One-Armed Man.
Often imitated, but never duplicated, "The Fugitive" is an absolute TV classic.