It is always a good time to start up the Fubotv again. I first got it to watch hockey… It is a serious app about sports. I enjoy it because without cable it is my cable stand in….. I have a lot of streaming services and one day… I will go over why I have each of them and how much I pay for them and why… However, this post is about how Fubotv got me reacquainted with some old shows that I enjoyed from back in the day. It is hard to find shows when they don’t come on a streaming service.
FuboTV is a live streaming service that provides access to entertainment and lifestyle channels, as well as local news and sports networks. It originally launched in 2015 as a sports-only streaming option, but it has since added more fuboTV channels to become an all-encompassing option for people looking to cut the cord on cable. Even better, it enables subscribers to watch some sports in up to 4K video quality.
So yes it is GREAT for sports… but the kicker is… I now have a lot of channels that I haven’t watched in YEARS…. So many of these shows make me feel like a kid again. One of which is Matlock on the Hallmark channel. (Which has apparently been broken down into several channels.) I have gotten stuck watching Matlock… again. It is like being 12 again over the summer. If you had an older adult in the house… then you probably watched Matlock.
You even remember the theme song… It was pretty catchy to me but I was a band nerd.
Matlock is an American mystery legal drama television series starring Andy Griffith in the title role of criminal defense attorney Ben Matlock. The show originally aired March 3, 1986 – May 8, 1992, on NBC and November 5, 1992 – May 7, 1995, on ABC. It was killing me because I did not know it ran that long… I realize that as a kid I had no concept of time. The show’s format is similar to that of CBS’ Perry Mason (both Matlock and the 1980s Perry Mason television films were created by Dean Hargrove), with Matlock identifying the perpetrators and then confronting them in dramatic courtroom scenes. Since 1991, reruns of Matlock have been shown in syndication and on TBS, INSP, Hallmark Channel, CBS Drama, WGN America, FETV, PlutoTV, and MeTV. Thank Goodness Fubotv has the Hallmark channel… because I have been hooked all week.
The show centers on widower Ben Matlock (Andy Griffith), a cantankerous attorney. Usually, at the end of the case, the person who is on the stand being questioned by Matlock is the actual perpetrator and Matlock will expose him/her. He is known to visit crime scenes to discover clues otherwise overlooked and come up with viable alternative theories of the crime in question (usually murder). Matlock aired a total of 193 episodes across nine seasons and began with a TV-movie. 12 two-hour and 15 two-part episodes of the program were aired. Six of the episodes were clip shows with mostly minor plots that paved the way for scenes from previous stories.
So in my usual fashion, I will go over the episodes that stand out to me the most. Y’all rave with me about some of your favorites too. So let’s jump into it.
- The Judge (Season 1, Episode 1) – There is something about seeing the first episode of the season. Of course this isn’t the first time we see Ben Matlock but season 1 does start with a bang. The episode starts out with Kevin Meredith and Joanne Leigh kissing in a room with Carter Addison (played by Dick Van Dyke) watching them through the window with a pair of binoculars. (It is very 80’s…. And I am too cool with that.) Apparently, his lover is cheating on him… And he plans to do something about it. (One of the things about Matlock is you know who the victim is going to be in the first few minutes.) He walks over to their apartment room, lets himself in, and waits for Kevin to go take a shower, before entering the bedroom, covering Joanne’s mouth and then stabbing her to death in her bed. He leaves the knife on the floor, goes back out into the hall and calls the front desk, saying, “There is a woman screaming for help. Something terrible has happened.” Then he takes his bag with the bloody clothes in it. Kevin comes out of the shower and finds a knife with blood all over it. He picks up the knife, looks over at the bed and sees Joanne dead, and then someone at the apartment comes in and sees him holding the murder weapon. (So… one thing that as an adult and maybe even as a kid that has always annoyed me was the fact that people always have to touch the murder weapon… Insert eyeroll.) What we find out is that Carter is a judge… and it is presiding over the trial. (Now… it was unsettling to see Dick Van Dyke in this role… HE IS THE KILLER… Normally, we don’t see who the killer is.) Matlock becomes very suspicious of Carter when he uses being an old friend of Matlock’s from their law school days, to ask him to step aside and have the son of another lawyer they are both familiar with take his place. (RED FLAG!!) Later in the episode Carter goes back and burns the bag with all of his bloody clothes in it. Matlock, however, beat him to it; he had replacements put there by Tyler Hudson and is able to present the real clothes in court. The prosecution then moves for dismissal. (I really thought that as a judge he would be better at this… but I mean… why not just get another girlfriend…? NOW YOU HAVE RUINED YOUR LIFE.)
- The Chef (Season 1, Episode 12) – A show about a chef… because murder happens any and everywhere…. Michael Edwards is a guest on his ex wife Victoria’s show. When Michael dies after testing out the dish they were cooking, Victoria is immediately charged with his murder. Matlock agrees to defend her, and gets some good home cooking in the bargain. Michael and Victoria’s estrangement had to do with how the latter gained success, from appropriating her recipes and expertise during their 12-year marriage. Michael was killed by an allergic reaction to eggs, so Ben tries to figure out who else besides Victoria could have planted the allergen in Michael’s dish. Later the police find what was used to kill him in her house, when they get an anonymous tip. Ben operates under the assumption that she’s the intended target, because other than her, no one has reason to kill her ex-husband, and normally she tastes what she cooks. And she narrows it down to three men who just happen to be at the taping. But one of Ben’s suspects is killed as well, further frustrating his attempts. It doesn’t take long to figure out that Christopher Hoyt laced with the eggs with potassium cyanide (which was meant for Victoria). Poor Victoria had a lot of enemies. And poor Michael was killed just because he was on her show.
- The Doctors (Season 1, Episode 23) – Dr. Westlake is a bully with a platform. And usually that is all they need. He is a head physician that causes a lot of trouble with his medical students and verbally abuses them. (You guys see where this is going right?) He supervises a team of doctors and threatens them with bad performance reviews before being killed. When Dr. Westlake’s body is found by student Dr. Bruce Jacobs, he abruptly flees the scene of the crime, but is spotted by the security guard and all the suspicion falls on him. Matlock, who has a pain in his hip, decides to take the case. (One of my favorite things… has to be the fact that Matlock asks everyone he encounters about his hip pain and gets all different answers.) Check out the scenes here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dMgUAHTEyk)
- The Umpire (Season 2, Episode 16) – Only Matlock could have Murder in baseball. Matlock defends an insurance salesman who has been accused of killing his boss, who is also a softball umpire, following a bad call during a softball game. It looks like the umpire is beaten to death with a baseball bat. There is spray painting people cars… and much other nonsense. Charlie and Walt have issues… (Particularly from the spray painting.) Walt calls Charlie out at the plate. Walt wants to go and talk to him about all their issues and finds Walt’s dead body. (Of course in Matlock fashion… he had to touch the murder weapon and let people see him hovering over the dead body. The guys on Charlie’s team pool their resources and get Matlock as Charlie’s attorney. It comes down to Walt going for a smoke between innings. He is killed at the end of the 8th inning and the killer takes his place at the start of the 9th Inning. The kicker is when our killer is on the stands… the key piece of evidence is Charles catching him with his cleats. Walt doesn’t have a bruise on him at the autopsy… Ben asks him to show his leg on the stand and the killer refuses. (It blew my mind as a kid… and it still does now.)
- The Black Widow (Season 3, Episode 10) – This one was wild… And they just treated this man any kind of way… Also I have many questions as an adult. Being convicted for seven years for killing his wife Ann, Ken Wilson approaches a woman in Los Angeles, only to discover that she is Ann, still alive under the name Kelly Manning. When she is killed a second time, Ken is arrested again, forcing Ben, who originally defended him seven years earlier, to travel to Los Angeles to defend him again. I mean… isn’t this double jeopardy??? Ann colluded with her brother to fake her murder and run off with her $1 million insurance. Ann changed her name to Kelly Manning and began working in a real estate office, serving as part owner, while making off with her ill-gotten money. After his release, Ken found out about Kelly sending checks and went to the office to meet her, only to recognize her as Ann. Ken realized his wife’s evil deeds when he found the necklace he gave her as a wedding gift, and when he confronted her, Kelly denied ever knowing him, claiming that Ken had made a mistake. Later on, Kelly was stabbed to death in her home by Bob King. (I wanted to muster up some sympathy for the lady… but she really let her ex husband spend time in jail and she wasn’t dead. I wanted Ken to sue the state.)
- The Other Woman (Season 3, Episode 11) – This one stands out to me… particularly my reaction to the ending. Matlock agrees to defend psychiatrist Lucas Forbes when he’s arrested for killing Adam Whitley, the husband of one of his patients whom Lucas was reportedly having an affair with, according to the woman’s diary. (But that woman is delusional.) Matlock soon realizes that Erin Whitley has a host of deep-rooted psychiatric problems. After a few chance meetings with a woman named Shannon, Matlock is shocked to realize the extent of the connection between Erin and Shannon. ( I remember when she switched up on the stand and took off her glasses…. I was blown away.)
- The Clown (Season 4, Episode 6) – This is probably the one I remembered seeing the most. I remembered the dead clown in the clown car. Homer Fleming, a circus clown, asks Ben Matlock to represent him, as he has been accused of killing his partner, Simon Le Simple. After asking Conrad to go undercover as a roustabout at the circus, Matlock starts to realize that everyone had a very good reason to hate Simon Le Simple. (Here is another one where the culprit pretends to be the person they killed… And it never works out. I mean… more than just being in Matlock cross hairs.) This killer put on the clown wig that he was allergic to, pretending to be Simon and thought no one would notice. (All that damn sneezing he was doing.) He almost made it through his time on the stand without sneezing.
- The Parents (Season 5, Episode 15) – Here is something that happens everyday. You know minus the murder. Women think they want to put their child up for adoption and then change their mind. In this case… Howard and Amy Boggs have their prayers answered when Jill Lambert plans to give them her child that she was carrying for adoption. She decides after giving birth that she wants to keep her child and wants to back out of the adoption. (I am not sure what that means for the people who have been paying for her prenatal care? I may have to look that up on my own.) The adoptive parents and the bio mom have an argument and agreed to meet at her apartment to further discuss the issue. (A common theme with Matlock… A meeting between the patsies and the victim.)Of course they show up to the meeting… and Jill is dead… (Howard and Amy obviously get the baby now and now they are murder suspects.) Ben figures out who the child’s real father is… and yes he is the killer. The catalyst… A baby blanket. You have to laugh.
- The Marriage Counselor (Season 6, Episode 5) – Okay…. what kind of counselor sleeps with his patients. And the way he was talking to the men. I could see why he was shot down early on. Ridiculous. Ben is annoyed by his insurance salesman because really he talks too much. He claims that his marriage is better than ever because of marriage counseling. Cut to the marriage counselor… Dr. Fletcher. He is in a session with a couple… and it is clear that he is siding with the woman… And the husband seems to be trying to take his comments to heart. The wife is trying to take Dr. Fletcher to bed. When the insurance salesman finds out that his wife is sleeping with the therapist… he loses it… Rightly so. When Dr. Fletcher ends up dead… Ben has to defend his talkative insurance salesman. It ends up being very Murder on the Orient Express… when 3 women all conspire to kill the doctor and all shoot him to death in his office. Ben pieces it together and secures an acquittal.
- The Suspect (Season 6, Episodes 7/8) – This is a 2 parter… and goodness gracious is it a real nail biter. Matlock represents a rich widow, Roxanne Windemere, who is charged with the murder of her husband by poisoning his insulin, but he already was assigned a case by a judge to defend a father accused of killing the drug dealer who got his child hooked. He is attracted to Roxanne so he turns over the father to Michelle. Matlock discovers that, while the rich widow was innocent of killing her husband, she has several dirty secrets up her sleeve connected to the drug-dealer case Michelle is working on. Roxanne duped Matlock into unwittingly covering for her, while her real alibi was that she was murdering the dealer. He seeks revenge, but finds that convicting her of her other crimes will be nearly impossible thanks to attorney-client privilege issues, and that he must find a legal loophole. It is legit a hairy situation. Ridiculous. She tried to play him but he got her in the end. I am not sure that he would be able to do it.
- The Foursome (Season 6, Episode 11) – This is was even more ridiculous. I was suspicious of the prosecutor from the very beginning. (I often worried how Julie and the other prosecutors kept their jobs when they couldn’t beat Matlock.) Matlock reluctantly represents Ellis Blake, a disagreeable millionaire who’s accused of murdering his daughter’s gold digger fiancee, Jeffrey Holden. Holden spent his time trying to get Blake’s daughter to marry him and then blackmailing people. In taking this case, he must deal with a young, new assistant district attorney, Lauren Richmond, who, on the surface, seems to idolize Matlock, but turns out to be very unethical and sneaky; despite Ben’s best attempts, Lauren, having deluded herself into being sure Ellis is guilty, plants evidence to ensure his conviction. Like she actually secures a conviction. Blake should have sued the county for her actions and had them pay him. I would not have let that go. However, ADA March and Matlock manage to catch a fluke, and working together, they expose both Lauren’s duplicity and Holden’s real killer, saving Matlock’s client.
Funny for me… It is still as captivating for me now as it was then. It reminds me of hanging out with my grandmother. And that is always a fond memory for me. Reminds me of being young during summer vacation. It was fun to realize anyone who was anyone guest starred on Matlock (and Murder, She Wrote.) Much like the heavy hitters… guest start on one of the Law and Orders now. So that is all for now. Let me know your thoughts.