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In the Heat of the Night (TV series)

In the Heat of the Night (TV series)
Television
NameIn the Heat of the Night
FormatCrime / Drama
Created byJohn Ball
Developed byJames Lee Barrett
StarringCarroll O'Connor
Howard Rollins
Alan Autry
Anne-Marie Johnson
David Hart
Geoffrey Thorne
Hugh O'Connor
Carl Weathers
Crystal R. Fox
Denise Nicholas
Randall Franks
Theme music composerQuincy Jones
Alan Bergman
Marilyn Bergman
Opening themePerformed by Bill Champlin
Ending themeOne World Stephen Arnold Music
ComposerQuincy Jones
Alan Bergman
Marilyn Bergman
Country of originUnited States
LanguageEnglish
No. of seasons8
No. of episodes150
List of episodesList of In the Heat of the Night episodes
Production
Running time60 minutes
Production companyThe Fred Silverman Company
Juanita Bartlett Productions
MGM Television
Broadcast
Original channelNBC (1988-1992)
CBS (1992-1995)
First airedMarch 6, 1988
Last airedMay 16, 1995
StatusEnded

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'In the Heat of the Night' is a television series based on the motion picture and novel of the same name. It was broadcast on NBC from 1988 until 1992, and then on CBS until 1995. Its executive producers were Fred Silverman, Juanita Bartlett, and Carroll O'Connor.

Heat starred Carroll O'Connor as the white police chief William Gillespie, and Howard Rollins as the African-American police detective Virgil Tibbs. In the premiere episode, Tibbs, a proud, intellectual, Philadelphia police department detective, has returned to his childhood home (the fictionalized Sparta, Mississippi) for his mother's funeral. He is eventually persuaded by local politicians to remain in Sparta, as they are desperate to improve the local squad's reputation of being anti-Black and underskilled.

In the Heat of the Night (TV series) Video

2010 International Bluegrass Music Museum Legend Randall Franks, "Officer Randy Goode" from TV's 'In the Heat of the Night,' remembers the late Grand Ole Opr...
4.43 min. | 4.0 user rating
Finally finished mine. All the drums were played live and edited slightly in the piano roll. Decided to take the Mcknight route with this one with a video in...
4.67 min. | 4.84 user rating
1992 CBS ad for "In the Heat of the Night"
0.35 min. | 3.4 user rating
Ron Perlman wins the Best Actor in a TV Series Drama award for "Beauty and the Beast." The award is presented by Valeria Golino & Peter Strauss. In his thank...
2.30 min. | 5.0 user rating
1989 NBC ad for the Tuesday night lineup of "Matlock," "In the Heat of the Night" and "Midnight Caller"
0.52 min. | 1.0 user rating

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Writing Staff : Eighth season
Actor Role
Carroll O'Connor Starred in the lead role of William O. "Bill" Gillespie. Gillespie was a crusty but honorable small town police chief. At first somewhat resentful of Virgil Tibbs, he would later become very close to Virgil and the rest of the Tibbs family. It should be noted that their relationship in the TV series is much less adversarial than it is in the film version. For the first six seasons he was the chief of the Sparta Police Department until he was fired at the beginning of the 7th season. He would then become interim Sheriff after the previous Sheriff became too ill to continue his duties. Gillespie was married at one time to Anna, his Italian war bride that he brought home from his WWII service in Italy. Anna became pregnant - both she and their son would die in childbirth. He also had an older daughter, Lana, by Georgia Farren. Gillespie eventually fell in love with Harriett DeLong. Throughout the series run, O'Connor was one of the actors to appear in every episode of the series on both networks (NBC) and (CBS), with the exception of four shows near the end of the 1988-89 season that he missed while recovering from open heart surgery.
Howard Rollins Starred in the lead role of Virgil Tibbs. An African-American, he had grown up in Sparta but later moved north and became a police detective. He would later return to Sparta after being offered a job as chief of detectives and the rank of Captain with the city police department. At first Tibbs and Gillespie butted heads, but would soon become close friends - Gillespie even became a godfather to Virgil and Althea's twins. He also initially clashed with Bubba early in the series, but after Virgil helped Bubba clear his name during a case where he was falsely accused of rape, they became good friends as well. Even though some city council members wanted to make him chief, Tibbs firmly rebuffed their offers, preferring to work with Gillespie. After continued legal problems, Rollins was dropped from the series in 1993, and Tibbs was written out of the series as having left the community following his graduation from law school. Rollins would return as a guest star several times during the 7th season in his new profession, attorney at law.
Alan Autry Played "Bubba" Skinner. Bubba was something of a redneck. Intimidating and physically powerful, he was never afraid to use force when needed, but despite his rough exterior, he was a good man deep down. He was also a sort of ladies man around Sparta as he always seemed to have a new girlfriend on hand. Bubba was deeply resentful of Virgil's presence on the police force at first, clashing with him on several occasions. He eventually became close friends with the Tibbs family, particularly after Virgil helped clear his name in a false allegation of rape. Bubba was also from a large family. Eventually he rose to the rank of Captain after Gillespie left the Sparta Police. In Season 5, it is revealed that Bubba's first and middle initials are V.L. Bubba also always wore "white socks" with his uniform.
Anne-Marie Johnson Starred as Virgil's wife Althea Tibbs. She starred in that role for six seasons. Althea's life in Sparta was very rough, having been raped at the beginning of the third season, and suffering a mental breakdown later after witnessing the suicide of one of her students. Althea did not reappear for the seventh season, and her character was written out as Althea had been separated from Virgil and moved back to Pennsylvania. Johnson left the show for a role on the Fox Television sketch comedy show In Living Color.
Lois Nettleton Played Joanne St. John from 1988 to 1989. She was the owner of the Magnolia Cafe, a popular eatery in Sparta (as seen in the show's opening). After it was revealed that Joanne was once a prostitute, she eventually left Sparta.
David Hart Played Parker Williams. Parker generally sat behind the dispatcher's desk, although he would also be assigned to patrol duty. He finally in 1994 rose to the rank of Senior Sergeant. Parker was a Vietnam veteran. As a comic relief Parker would always have a Mason jar of sweet tea on his desk
Christian LeBlanc Portrayed Junior Abernathy, a patrolman seen only during Season 1.
Geoffrey Thorne Joined the cast as Wilson Sweet in 1988. Aside from Tibbs, Sweet was one of the first African Americans to join the force. His ambition was to rise in the ranks of the Sparta police force and become Sparta first black Police Chief-a part which was played by Carl Weathers. The character disappeared in Season Seven after Thorne left the show and was never mentioned again.
Hugh O'Connor Played the role of Lonnie Jamison, an officer and senior investigator on the Sparta police force. Lonnie eventually rose to the rank of Lieutenant and Acting Chief of Detectives. Lonnie was a very capable officer and took his job seriously. He usually had a serious and straight-forward personality, but was an amiable and friendly person overall. He was also the coach of Sparta High School's track team and good friends with Harriet DeLong's son, Eugene. Hugh was the adopted son of Carroll O'Connor.
Carl Weathers Joined the cast in the final season as Hampton Forbes. He was picked to lead the department after the controversial firing of Bill Gillespie. Forbes was the first African-American chief of the department. Forbes became friends with Gillespie, and would often work closely with him when Gillespie became sheriff.
Crystal R. Fox Played Luanne Corbin. After the first African American woman to join the force died in the line of duty on her first day on the job, Corbin was recruited to take her place. Crystal was featured in the episode "Singin' the Blues" which gave her the opportunity to display her talent as a singer, as well as a fine actress.
Denise Nicholas Played Sparta City Councillwoman Harriet DeLong. Harriet's relationship with Chief Gillespie was deeply adversarial in the beginning, due to his somewhat racist personality and the two clashed often when she first appeared on the show. But over the course of the series, Harriet saw Gillespie's softer, more caring side and began to think more fondly of him. By the time Denise Nicholas became a series regular, Harriet and Gillespie were becoming a couple, much to the disapproval of her son, Eugene. It was shown in the two-part episode, "Citizen Trundle", that Harriet's sister, Natalie was the mistress of conniving businessman, V.J. Trundle, who later had her murdered. They had a son named Eric from their illicit affair and Harriet eventually gained custody of him after Trundle committed suicide by deliberately crashing his private airplane after a confrontation about the murder with Gillespie. Emily Trundle, V.J.'s estranged widow attempted to gain custody of Eric in the following season, but only succeeding in gaining visitation rights, something Harriet deeply opposed.
Randall Franks Played Officer Randy Goode (1988 1993) Randy Goode began his work on the series as a partner to Willson Sweet in "The Creek"; he soon began driving Chief Gillespie and Detective Tibbs around.
Harvey E. Lee Jr. Played Officer Ken Covey. ( Joined the show in the sixth season.)
Mark W. Johnson Played Luke Everett. (Joined the show in the sixth season. )

Recurring cast :
Actor Role
Jen Harper Dr. Day
Thom Gossom Jr. Ted Marcus
Fran Bennett Ruda Gibson
Karen Carlson Sarah Hallisey
Rugg Williams Eugene Glendon
Wallace Merck Colmer
Christine Elise Lana Farren - Gillespie's daughter by Georgia Farren as the result of a long ago love affair. They had no relationship while Lana was growing up.
Bob Penny Alvin Epp
Scott Brian Higgs Randy Calhoun
Afemo Omilami Jimmy Dawes
Burgess Meredith Judge Cully
Stuart Culpepper Judge Henry Sims
Joe Don Baker Captain Tom Dugan - A retired police captain, Dugan appeared on the last four episodes of the second season. Baker was brought in as a stand-in for Carroll O'Connor while O'Connor was recovering from open heart surgery. Dugan was placed in the department by the FBI to uncover a plot by white supremacists to assassinate a civil rights leader. Dugan was murdered by these same white supremacists at the end of the second season. His nephew, who had become involved with these people, later agreed to help the police.
Ron Culbreth Sheriff Nathan McComb - the former county sheriff. Culbreth appeared on nine episodes as Sheriff McComb. In the 7th season, McComb became too ill to continue his duties, and Gillespie was appointed as acting sheriff in his place. Prior to his appearances as McComb, Culbreth also appeared on the episode Missing in another guest role.
Maureen Dowdell Tracy Boggs
Pat Hingle Roy Eversole - Parker Williams' father. Hot tempered, Eversole had a great deal of difficulty maintaining steady employment. Eversole was once a murder suspect after getting into a heated argument with a former employer, who was subsequently found dead a short time later.
Tonea Stewart Virgil's aunt Etta
Dee Shaw Dee Shepard



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