The male heroes of this generation exhibit an unabashed toughness; a predilection for violence and coarseness in order to get the job done. While I've enjoyed watching Jack Bauer torture Middle Easterners as much as the next guy, there's something to be said for getting things done in a kinder, gentler, older fashion.
And when I'm in the mood for a more laidback approach to justice, Ben Matlock is my guy.
Matlock's fifth season is now out on DVD and fans can relive all the fun over and over again. With his trademark folksy style and affection for hot dogs, Matlock is the quintessential defense attorney. The series' lazy charm helped it become a hit and the iconic portrayal of the title character by Andy Griffith didn't hurt either, keeping Matlock a hit long after the series' conclusion.
The fifth season of Matlock aired in 1990-1991 and contains 22 episodes. It features a two-hour episode and a couple of two-parters.
As soon as the big lazy swing of the theme song rolls through, Ben Matlock is set to get down to business. Clarence Gilyard Jr. is back for his second season as Conrad McMaster and Matlock's relationship with Julie Sommers' Assistant D.A. Julie March cofntinues to evolve sweetly. Michelle Thomas (Nancy Stafford) is also along for the fun.
The fifth season has Matlock stretch his legs a little bit with a trip to Los Angeles. In the two-hour "Nowhere to Turn" episode, Matlock must get out of a sticky situation after a judge finds him in contempt of court. Later, that very judge winds up dead and Ben winds up on the hook for the murder. James Cromwell guest stars as the judge.
Identical twins come into play in "The Brothers" and Shari Headley, Eddie Murphy's object of affection in Coming to America, plays a model in "The Cover Girl." Things get complicated in "The Parents," an episode that deals with surrogate and adoptive parents. And, of course, there's a clip show as Matlock gets delayed on his way to a lunch in his honor in "The Man of the Year."
Those looking for a different change of pace in their legal dramas would do well to check out Matlock - Season Five on DVD, a release which contains no bonus features. This season finds the show well into its stride. It's a comfortable, easy-going television program, a far cry from the highly caffeinated shows of today. While Jack Bauer may remain the leading cause of death in Middle Eastern men, Ben Matlock shows us that butt-kicking looks better in a seersucker suit.