Touched by an Angel

Season 3 Episode 4

Sins of the Father

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Sep 29, 1996 on CBS
out of 10
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Episode Summary

Sins of the Father
Monica poses as a journalist to interview Luther Dixon, a teenager on death row. During their conversations, Willis, the prisoner in the adjacent cell often eavesdrops, interjecting his unwanted opinions on Luther's situation. Meanwhile, Tess and Andrew try to help Valerie Dixon prevent her younger son, Samuel from "gang banging." Despite Luther's incarceration, Sam looks up to him as a role model. Monica correctly surmises that the boys father, despite abandoning the family during Valerie's second pregnancy, has negatively influenced both of their lives. The angel is astonished to learn that Willis, who is sentenced to die shortly for a murder he committed, is Luther and Samuel's father. Tess informs Monica that years earlier she had tried to dissuade Willis from running with a gang but had been ignored. Monica then reveals herself to Willis and convinces him to tell Luther the truth that he is his father. Luther initially rejects Willis and rails at him for leaving his mom to fend for herself. The condemned prisoner, however, apologizes and admonishes his son to listen to Monica because his failure to head another angel's earlier warnings landed him on death row. Monica subsequently reveals herself to Luther, urging him to tell Samuel he regrets the murder he committed and is not a worthy role model. Monica uses her angelic powers to temporarily free Luther from jail to stop his brother from murdering Pastor George, who has incurred the wrath of a gang by preaching against violence. After Willis's execution, Tess comforts a bereaved Valerie who fears both of her sons will follow in their father's footsteps. The angel advises her to cling to God and let him help her guide Samuel's life. Andrew escorts the boy into church where he embraces Valerie, the cycle of violence finally broken.moreless

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  • Cameo by Christopher Darden

    Christopher Darden, prosecutor in the 1996 murder trial of O.J. Simpson, stopped practicing law after the trial, and became an actor. He does a nice job here as an activist preacher fighting the gang warfare plaguing his neighborhood.

    The real meat of this episode, however, is the intriguing plot of two death-row inmates who not only occupy neighboring prison cells, but who turn out to be father and son. The episode uses a little angelic hocus pocus to convince the remaining male member of that tragic family to turn away from gang life.

    The acting by all is very dramatic. Monica's inability to understand street slang is humorous at first. But she turns it into a metaphor when confronting 16-year-old Luthor, who seems to use his tough talk to conceal an unwillingness to deal with life's problems as a mature adult.moreless
Debbie Allen (I)

Debbie Allen (I)

Valerie Dixon

Guest Star

Carl Lumbly

Carl Lumbly

Willis Thompson

Guest Star

Christopher Darden

Christopher Darden

Pastor George

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (3)

    • Tess: Are all your prayer meetings like this?
      Valerie: No, some are even more useless.
      Tess: I don't quite get your meaning, trusting God doesn't seem useless to me.
      Valerie: God doesn't live in this neighborhood.

    • Tess: (Yelling at Andrew) You stole my car! You stole it then killed it. Will you look at this, the Angel of Death done killed my car!

    • Monica: It's all very impressive, you with your secret codes and your dead homies, but where has it gotten you, Luther? Into this room, alone, where you will spend the rest of your life worth no one. No one, that is, except God.

  • NOTES (0)