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This Date in History Jan. The season closes with Althea upset over the stress of Virgil's job on the police force after he is almost killed by a stray bullet which he does not tell her about.
She is worried that her children will grow up without their father. She begs him to try something different. Chief Gillespie burns up the wires to get Virgil on his way to law school, and Althea apologizes for not being more understanding as she, Virgil, and Chief Gillespie share a glass of non-alcoholic champagne together.
The fifth season begins with the revelation that Chief Gillespie has a year-old daughter by the name of Lana Farren, played by Christine Elise formerly of Beverly Hills, The chief is now good friends with her mother, Georgia Farren, played by legendary actress Stella Stevens. Lana was conceived during a period where her mother was separated from her husband, and she and Gillespie had an affair. However, she was never divorced from her husband, Ken Farren.
Georgia asks Bill to help her put some of her affairs in order and to keep all of her "boyfriends" as well as her estranged spouse away from her assets, which she intends to leave to Lana. Bill immediately puts Ted Marcus on the case to assist Lana in obtaining the property meant to be given to her by her mother. In the meantime, Georgia returns to Gulfport and is murdered. The chief, who still cared about Georgia, is devastated and takes this very personally. He sets out to find her killer, who turns out to be Ken, who has returned to Sparta.
He evidently learns that Bill Gillespie is Lana's real father, which is his motive for the murder. While the Sparta P. By the end of the episode, Lana figures out who Bill really is, but does not want to have anything to do with him because he never took responsibility or attempted to have a relationship with her while she was growing up. This hurts Bill deeply, and he has a hard time dealing with it.
Ruda is the only witness to a struggle that ends in the death of a young robbery suspect, and Bubba is blamed. Darnelle wants to prosecute, but only Ruda can clear Bubba since the young man shot himself in the struggle, the same way Tyrell Gibson, her son, did. Her prejudice against the police and against Virgil clouds her memory of the incident. But after visiting Tyrell in prison, whereupon he tells her that the shooting that left him wheelchair-bound was not Virgil's fault, her memory of the incident returns, and the episode ends with Virgil and Ruda happily reconciled.
In the episode "The More Things Change", Gillespie and Harriet share their first kiss after he drives her home after attending a party, and he finally reveals his affections for her. They both lament the very likely possibility that a relationship between the two of them would not be accepted by most in Sparta.
Their time alone together is initially interrupted by Harriet's son, Eugene, who harbors a deep dislike for the Chief, whom he blames for his father's imprisonment, and doesn't want him around his mother. In "Moseley's Lot", one brother plots the death of his irresponsible alcoholic and compulsive gambling younger brother after two thugs from New Orleans follow him home to Sparta, looking for repayment for debts owed to a gangster. Other storylines include a taxidermist who is obsessed with a flirtatious schoolteacher; a game of high-stakes poker that ends in murder; D.
Darnelle's daughter is kidnapped; Bubba's finding out that Sheriff McComb's deputy is growing pot on the side; Althea's preoccupation with a college-bound student whose unstable mother is dating a drug dealer causes division between her and Virgil; Sweet is determined to discover the truth about the murder of his grandfather in and those responsible for it a story loosely based on the murder of Medgar Evers , " Sweet, Sweet Blues "  and the widow of V.
Trundel returns, trying to get custody of the son that her husband had with Harriet's murdered sister, who has been living with his aunt since the murder occurred. The recap of the Season 3 season finale, "Citizen Trundel", is shown in flashbacks. Two teens vandalizing mailboxes in Sparta for fun somehow become entwined in a murder investigation; Lonnie discovers that an old high school crush is not only an alcoholic but also a negligent single mom.
Racists sabotage a celebration honoring a Sparta civil rights pioneer in "Odessa", the first of six scripts that Denise Nicholas wrote. She enjoyed her role as Harriet, but was bothered about the lack of black writers on the show. She complained to Carroll O'Connor about it, and he had to admit she was right. He asked her to write a script, which she did. When she submitted it to him, he liked it so much that he encouraged her to write others for the series.
In the two-part season finale "Sanctuary" and "The Law on Trial", Sheriff McComb has Gillespie and Tibbs brought up on obstruction charges and harboring a fugitive after an escaped prisoner, who is an El Salvadoran immigrant seeking asylum, is given sanctuary in a monastery and the two don't arrest him when he refuses to give himself up.
The prisoner is later shot to death in a standoff with the sheriff's department. Althea fears that if Virgil is convicted, it will be the end of his career as a cop and will hinder his chances of being an attorney.
Judge Sims presides over the case, and a reluctant D. Darnelle has to prosecute his two friends. Ted Marcus represents Gillespie and Tibbs in the trial, and Father DiMarco Cesare Danova , the abbot who harbored the fugitive, represents himself at trial.
Father DiMarco's heartfelt summation to the jury contributes to the case being dismissed though that is not revealed until the start of Season 6. In between court appearances, Harriet pays Gillespie an inconspicuous visit and the two share a tender and romantic moment.
The conflict between Sheriff McComb and Chief Gillespie lingers on throughout the following season, and that conflict affects every crossover dealing with subsequent interactions between McComb's deputies and Gillespie's officers.
The episode and the season end with both Gillespie and Tibbs awaiting the verdict in their respective residences the evening the case is given to the jury. At the end of the original and final broadcast on NBC , it was revealed that the jury couldn't reach a verdict, a mistrial is declared and the two men are freed.
Bill and Harriet spend the night together for the first time. It was not publicly known at the time when Season 5 ended whether or not the show would continue. NBC had decided not to renew the series, although the ratings were still respectable and there were still some open ended plots that hadn't been resolved. A deal was made with rival network CBS to keep the show on the air. Originally, CBS opted to pick up the series for only a set of six two-hour movies.
However, it was eventually picked up for a full episode order. The first two episodes of the season see the secret romance between Gillespie and DeLong intensify. They frequently meet in a studio apartment that doubles as Harriet's art studio.
Their relationship is temporarily interrupted by a crack war involving Eugene Glendon, Harriet's son. Eugene witnesses the death of his best friend and a small-time Sparta drug dealer in a drive-by shooting by other dealers from Jackson.
Virgil and Lonnie are frustrated with Eugene's refusal to cooperate. Later on, he decides to comply with the police as a witness after seeing so many of his peers affected by what's going on. However, Harriet is strongly against it, which causes friction between her and Bill. She is frightened for the life of her son, but Bill tries to assure her that Eugene will be protected. Harriet is not convinced and in her fear and frustration, she decides to put distance between herself and Bill for a while.
He is hurt, but he honors her wishes and agrees to take a step back. Althea Tibbs witnesses the gruesome suicide of an obsessive and emotionally disturbed student, Garth Watkins Walton Goggins , causing her to suffer a near mental breakdown in a two part episode. Virgil's Aunt Ruda is in the hospital, fighting cancer. Virgil worries about her safety when several terminally ill patients who share the same physician as Ruda end up dying before their time, and murder is suspected.
Other highlights this season included a visit from LuAnn's ex-convict brother Designing Women ' s Meshach Taylor , a faded country music singer Robert Goulet who ends up committing murder; the reconciliation between Gillespie and his estranged daughter Lana; Bubba's being stalked by an obsessed admirer; Sweet's falsely accused of soliciting a bribe by two racist used car salesmen; a law school classmate of Virgil's is suspected of foul play when an ex-girlfriend of his is found dead in a river.
A friend of Althea's who is being sexually harassed by her employer takes matters into her own hands, with grave consequences. A two-part episode directed by Larry Hagman involves a white supremacist politician whose visit to Sparta has a couple of ulterior motives, including aspirations for a presidential run "The Leftover Man".
In another two-part episode written by O'Connor and Cynthia Deming, titled "Even Nice People" and "Lake Winahatchie", the mob, led by their real estate connection Lewis Alvin Epp, tries to force Gillespie's daughter Lana and her odd neighbor, Randy Calhoun, off their land, as they've done with others in the area.
Burgess Meredith in one of his last acting roles appears in both episodes as an eccentric judge overseeing the case he would return for a brief cameo in Season 7.
The season ends with Bill and Harriet forced to confront the impending execution of Harriet's ex-husband and Eugene's disapproval of their relationship. Bill goes house hunting and throws out hints to Harriet that he wants her to move in with him.
A prison bishop working with Eugene trying to help Vic get his conviction commuted becomes the target of a gunman seeking revenge for his father, who was on death row and was executed. Harriet, after seeking advice from Gillespie, reluctantly goes to visit Vic at Parchman Prison. But the visit isn't what she feared it would be, and she agrees to help join the fight to save his life along with her son by securing a new lawyer for him. Rollins was dropped from the show due to health reasons plus three outstanding warrants in Rockdale County and the city of Covington, GA.
Filming began on April 28, Rollins had not been seen on the set since January , when season six wrapped. Despite numerous attempts by the media to contact Rollins, who was believed to be living in New York City, only series star Carroll O'Connor was in contact with Rollins during this period. It was hoped that Rollins would get his legal and personal issues resolved and return to the series full-time as Virgil Tibbs to both to practice law and to assist the Sparta P.
Rollins would return occasionally as a guest star, while Johnson took a starring role on the final season of Fox 's sketch comedy series In Living Color. Thorne left to pursue a career as a novelist and screenwriter; his character simply vanished from the series without any explanation. Season 7 opens with Bill Gillespie being forced out of office and former Memphis, Tennessee Police Department Inspector Hampton Forbes Carl Weathers is hired as the new police chief by the city council.
After nearly three decades on the Sparta police force, Gillespie does not receive a new contract from the council because his romance with Harriet is now out in the open, although other excuses are made for his dismissal.
He seems to be accepting of the outcome, while Harriet doesn't hesitate to show her fury over the decision. The transition from Gillespie being in charge to Forbes taking over is slightly uneasy at the very start, but soon things smooth out.
However, Gillespie is soon appointed as the acting Sheriff of Newton County when Nathan McComb suffers a heart attack and is too ill to continue his duties. This new appointment for Gillespie angers several on the city council. They want an investigation, which is upsetting and hurtful for Harriet. Gillespie also buys a new home, which he recruits Harriet to decorate in hopes she will move in with him, but she is hesitant. Gillespie's last case as Sparta police chief is the finding the murderer of an unstable local man - whom he learns is a nine-year-old boy who the man had threatened for repeatedly trespassing on his property.
The child shot him with his mother's gun. It is suggested that the boy was influenced by a story he had been following on the news of another child who had killed someone. As Acting Sheriff, his first case is to solve the murders and robbery of one of the richest families in Sparta — the Barrons, and their housekeeper.
Wade Hatton Stacy Keach is a former lawyer from New Orleans who has returned to his native Sparta to revisit his childhood memories for a book he plans on writing, and to romance attorney Sarah Hallisey. The prime suspect in the case is a year-old black youth with an intellectual disability, Henry Ulmer, played by a young Wayne Brady in one of his first roles. Gillespie, Forbes, and the Sparta P.
Hatton declines to represent young Henry because he lost a similar case years ago and his client was executed. He, however, does agree to represent the real killer of the Barrons - if he testifies in court that Henry didn't participate in the killings, he was just on the premises when it happened and didn't comprehend the difference between what was real and what was make-believe.
Sarah Hallisey agrees to represent Henry in court. Other cases involve a friend of Bubba Skinner's being given the AIDS virus from a lover who knew he had it, a nine-year-old little girl being killed because of a drunk driver Hagman-directed , a young interracial couple being stalked by a white supremacist Brent Lunay, played by Charles Lawlor, seen in the Season 5 episode "Odessa".
Gillespie must once again confront his racist past when a new synagogue moves into Sparta and the rabbi Jerry Stiller detests Gillespie for being anti-Semitic back in the s.
This both shocks and angers Harriet, who is friendly with the rabbi. LuAnn experiences maternal feelings when she temporarily cares for an abandoned infant she finds in a crack house. Lana Farren also makes one final appearance as Bill's daughter in the Hagman-directed episode "A Love Lost", in which he must protect her from a former boyfriend who is involved in a gun-running scheme with someone in Sparta.
Bubba goes to Atlanta to look after a nephew of his who is hospitalized due to a drug overdose. Virgil reveals to Gillespie in "Virgil Tibbs: Attorney At Law" that Althea has left him and took their twins back home to Philadelphia to live, fed up with her life in Sparta and traumatized from all that had happened to her while living there.
She didn't want to make the marriage work and later files for divorce, which a heartbroken Virgil does not contest, although he has difficulty accepting his new status as a divorced man.
The episode "Conspiracy of One", where Virgil suspects that one of his law firm's clients orchestrated an "accident" which resulted in his spouse's death, marks Howard Rollins' final appearance on the show air date February 2, The episode also guest stars Jean Simmons as the dying grand dame of Sparta who also happens to be Ches's old flame and the overbearing great-aunt of Lonnie Jamison.
Another episode involves Chief Hampton Forbes mentoring a young man who had several run-ins with the law Claude Brooks as a boxing coach, but the boy can't stay out of trouble; meanwhile, at the same time, Forbes' fiancee visits from Memphis, but the two of them realize that their life goals are very different. Harriet's son Eugene once again finds himself at odds with the police, endangering his parole trying to help a friend.
Maybelle Chesboro played by Elizabeth Ashley , the ex-madam, returns. She has returned to operate a legal phone sex business. One of her employees tries to blackmail one of Holly Colmer's friends and ends up getting shot. Chesboro decides to give up working in the business for good, but not before visiting Gillespie and sharing some intimate memories and times with him to attempt to ease her way back into his life.Jan 17, · Category People & Blogs; Song I Don't Mean It; Artist R. Kelly; Album TPcom / Chocolate Factory; Writers R. Kelly; Licensed to YouTube by.