Double Exposure: ‘The Fugitive’ (1963-1967)

Nova Clark

“Double Exposure” is a column dedicated to bringing attention to classic film and television of note.

Have you ever felt the sting of being blamed for something you didn’t do?

What about being sentenced to die for a crime you didn’t commit? This is the dilemma of Dr. Richard Kimble, protagonist of ABC’s 1960s television series “The Fugitive.”

The backstory is conveniently relayed in the opening credits of each episode: Kimble (David Janssen) is returning home one night when a disheveled man with one arm flees from his house. Upon entering, Kimble discovers that his wife has been killed and immediately knows the one-armed man is to blame.

Lacking any alibis, Kimble is charged with murder — only to be freed by a train wreck on the way to his execution.

Now on the run, Kimble knows the truth: but no one else does. Particularly convinced of Kimble’s guilt is Police Lieutenant Philip Gerard (Barry Morse), who will stop at nothing to bring him in.

Gerard’s icy, stone-faced determination is a sharp contrast to Kimble’s mild-mannered persona, making Kimble a likable figure you can’t help but root for as he dedicates his days to finding the one-armed man.

In his ongoing journey across the nation through small towns and big cities alike, Kimble balances his search with odd jobs.

One day he’s tending the bar at a nightclub, and the next, he’s working as a farmhand. Regardless of the scenery, he always appears to be on the verge of getting settled with a new group of people when something leads the cops to his doorstep yet again.

Thrilling chase sequences add an exciting dose of action to the show, often backing Kimble into corners that will make you ponder the age-old question: “How will he get out of this one?”

A former doctor, Kimble also can’t help but step in when someone needs medical help; a risk that he consistently takes despite his own troubles.

Despite Kimble’s obvious generosity, Gerard believes (or wants to believe) that he is guilty. What results is a seemingly endless game of cat-and-mouse filled with close calls and plenty of tension.