No other show in the history of American television portrayed the men
in blue in as sinister a light as The Fugitive did. Protagonist
Richard Kimble is constantly menaced by them; every police station has
his mug shot tacked up to their bulletin board of most wanted
criminals, and his fingerprints are on file, too. At best the cops are
conscienceless lackeys of a
cold, unjust system, at worst corrupt,
self-aggrandizing, and even
sadistic hypocrites who posture
as upholders of the moral fabric but are in fact, quite ironically,
much worse characters than the falsely convicted man they are hunting.
In a class by himself is the most prominent police officer on the show,
Lieutenant Gerard, whose icily schoolmasterish demeanor makes J.
Edgar Hoover look like Barney Fife from the Mayberry P.D.
In accordance perhaps with a higher standard of
justice, the cops' foibles are sometimes exactly what allows
Kimble to escape their merciless clutches, for example in such
episodes as TUG OF WAR and
THE GOOD GUYS AND THE BAD GUYS.
The only way cops can be good guys on this
show is if they are too incompetent to recognize Kimble for who he
really is (as in COME
WATCH ME DIE), or if they deliberately shirk their duties and let
him go (as in WHEN THE BOUGH BREAKS). In
one episode of the series,
there is even an explicit comparison between this
almost subversive perspective on law enforcement, and the typical take
seen in shoot-'em-up crime shows with their do-no-wrong police heroes.
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Created and maintained by Joseph Rosenzweig,