It was hoped that Rollins would get his legal and personal issues resolved and return to the series full time, 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 Fox 's In Living Color. Thorne left to pursue a career as a novelist and screenwriter; his character simply vanished from the series without any explanation. After nearly three decades on the Sparta police force, Gillespie does not receive a new contract from the city council because of his open relationship with Harriet DeLong.
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. Bill's first case as Sheriff is to solve the murder of one of the richest families in Sparta—the Barons. Wade Hatton, played by Stacy Keach , is a lawyer from New Orleans who has returned to his native Sparta to revisit his childhood memories and romance Sarah Hallisey.
The prime suspect in the case is a year-old black youth, played by Wayne Brady with an intellectual disability. Gillespie eventually solves the case with the help of Hatton, Hallisey, and Judge Cully—much to the dissatisfaction of District Attorney Darnell, who feels the prisoner is being treated in a privileged status due to his disability. Forbes gets to see both the finest street in town, along which Bubba indicates that he has solved many major crimes, as well as "The Bottoms".
Chief Forbes soon realizes that Sparta is no different from Memphis, and he and Gillespie will need to work together to keep the town safe from the criminal elements. Howard Rollins returns in his new capacity as attorney Virgil Tibbs and assists on three of the Sparta PD's cases after having moved into Ben Taylor's law office. 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 inter-racial couple being stalked by a white supremacist Brent Lunay , first seen in the episode "Odessa", written by Denise Nicholas.
Other cases include Parker's being accused of police brutality, and the return of Daddy Roy and Miz Rhoda.
Both Anne Meara and Jerry Stiller make special guest appearances in two separate episodes. Gillespie must once again confront his racist past when a new synagogue moves into Sparta and the Rabbi detests Gillespie for being an anti-Semite back in the s. This both angers and shocks Harriet. Lana Gillespie 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.
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 the return of Maybelle Chesboro played by Elizabeth Ashley , the ex-madam. 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 attempting to get romantic with him.
Finally, in "Dangerous Engagement", Gillespie and DeLong tie the knot at the same sanctuary involved in the sanctuary case from season five. Father DiMarco has since died, but the new Monk agrees to marry them. Chief Forbes serves as best man. In the meantime, a newspaper misprint makes Gillespie the target of an escaped killer from Texas whose father Sheriff McComb sent to death row. His son is now seeking revenge.
Four made-for-television movies were produced during the season. Once released on DVD, these movies combined were considered to be the eighth season of the show. Series co-star Hugh O'Connor committed suicide two months before the fourth film aired. When the film was broadcast in its original, two-hour format, a black screen was added in between the intro tag and the opening title; it read "In memory of Hugh O'Connor: Some of those appearing in The Heat of the Night episodes were: Future Desperate Housewives star Doug Savant and veteran actor Kevin McCarthy also made their guest appearances on the two-part pilot episode, as well as O.
Simpson , who made a cameo appearance. The series debuted as a midseason replacement for the short-lived NBC series J. Starbuck , premiering on March 6, The series ran on the network until May 19, , then was shown on CBS until its finale after an eighth season, on May 16, However, due to licensing issues, the following episodes are missing from the box set: However, due to clearance issues, the following episodes are excluded from Season 2 and Season 3 Season 2 Excluded Episodes: However, due to clearance issues, the following episode is excluded from Season 6: Random's Child and the following episodes are excluded from Season 7: The television series also took place in a fictionalized version of Sparta, Mississippi.
While there is a real Sparta, the version of Sparta shown on television is very different from the real town. For example, the TV Sparta is situated along Interstate 20 , while the real town is nowhere near any interstate. During the first season, Hammond, Louisiana was the site of the show's production. In the second season, the show was moved to Georgia , to an area east of Atlanta and it remained there for the rest of its run. The principal area of Sparta was in fact downtown Covington, Georgia.
Rural scenes were filmed in a wide surrounding area, in the Georgia counties of Newton where Covington is located , Rockdale , Walton , Morgan , and Jasper. Decatur in Dekalb County was used as a stand-in for an episode as the Mississippi Capital city of Jackson, and Atlanta itself was used in one episode, in which Bubba worked on a case there.
In fact, during the series' run, many of the cast members had homes in the area and were often spotted in local restaurants and retail stores. The cast members would also go around to local schools to speak to students. Bill Champlin of the band Chicago sang the opening theme song for the television series. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.
Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. April Learn how and when to remove this template message. Foreground Carroll O'Conner; left middle: Howard Rollins; back row left to right: List of In the Heat of the Night episodes. Archive of American Television. Retrieved March 18, In The Heat of the Night Season 4: In the Heat of the Night by John Ball. In the Heat of the Night episodes. Retrieved from " https: Webarchive template wayback links Articles needing additional references from April All articles needing additional references All articles with unsourced statements Articles with unsourced statements from March Views Read Edit View history.
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 by the city council at the beginning of the 7th season. He would then become interim County Sheriff after the previous Sheriff became too ill to continue his duties. Gillespie would become the permanent Sheriff by the end of the series. Chief Gillespie was a World War 2 Veteran and identified himself as serving with a colored man in the th Military Police it is assumed the th was a colored unit and Gillespie was the commanding officer.
Gillespie had a penchant for wearing high-powered sidearms such as the Colt Python and later a brushed chrome Desert Eagle. Anna became pregnant - both she and their son would die in childbirth.
He also had an older daughter Lana, played by Christine Elise. 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 season that he missed while recovering from open heart surgery. Starred in the lead role of Virgil Tibbs. Virgil had grown up in Sparta but later moved north and became a police detective in Philadelphia, PA.
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 Godfather to Virgil and Althea's twins. Tibbs also initially clashed with Bubba early in the series, but after helping 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 , and Tibbs was written out of the series as having left the community following his graduation from law school and becoming an attorney in private practice. Rollins would return as a guest star several times during the 7th season in his new profession, attorney at law. Played Virgil Lawrence "Bubba" Skinner. At first 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. He was known to turn female heads - including that of Althea Tibbs who refers to him as a "hunk. He eventually became close friends with the Tibbs family, particularly after Virgil helped clear his name in a false allegation of rape. As the series progresses, Bubba is shown to be a brave and honorable man who is more complex and intelligent than people give him credit for.
Through the course of the series, Bubba became more racially tolerant, referring to bigots and racists as "knotheads. When the Sparta police needed a sniper such as when Captain Tibbs's wife Althea was taken hostage in the episode " And then you die," it was Skinner who took the shot with a scoped rifle kept in the trunk of his squad car. In Season 1, Bubba's rank seemed to be patrolman but was never explicitly stated. Just like the worm in the cornfield, said to his brother, yeah, go in one ear and out the other. Well, a buck-toothed Claire and a cross-eyed Clyde, a buck-toothed Claire and a cross-eyed Clyde, like old bow-legged Polly and a knock-kneed Paul.
Late that hot September night, as Sam patrolled the dark streets of one familiar neighborhood with his lights out and radio off, he pulled up and stopped outside one home. Inside an illuminated window, he spied upon a naked, long-haired red-headed female in her kitchen, later identified as slutty, nubile 16 year-old Delores Purdy Quentin Dean. She acknowledged the frequent peeping-tom, and non-chalantly took a swig from a long-necked glass pop bottle from her refrigerator, and then watched next to the window as he slowly pulled away.
She placed the cool bottle between her bare breasts. Wiping sweat from his perspiring face, Officer Wood switched on the radio again: Every time I see your face, it's got a way of turning me around And what you do, you tune me in, pretty baby.
Baby, that ain't love. But it sure is groovy. Yes it sure is groovy. You're out of sight, pretty baby. It sure is groovy In a dark alleyway at about 3: After touching the body, blood on his fingers identified the crime was a beating, robbery, and murder, and he rushed back to his car to report the incident. The next sequence began at the scene of the crime with flashbulbs popping by photographer Charlie Hawthorne Eldon Quick , with close-up views of the homicide victim's face from many angles.
He was identified as wealthy, prominent and powerful Northern Chicago industrialist Philip Colbert uncredited Jack Teter with his skull caved in. Stodgy and overweight, gum-chewing, fast-talking, redneck Sheriff Bill Gillespie Rod Steiger supervised the investigation. Stuart Fred Stewart noted that Colbert would have brought progressive modernity to the backward, economically-struggling, bypassed burg: Look what it got him. The Sheriff speculated that the killer might be a passing hitchhiker and ordered Officer Wood to check out the train depot and the pool hall.
At the deserted and dark train station, the officer entered and spotted an individual seated on one of the benches off-screen , and called out: The well-dressed gentleman he had removed his outer coat, but was wearing a tie , who was quietly minding his own business, was black stranger Virgil Tibbs Sidney Poitier who was awaiting a late night train to Memphis.
He was shocked to be ordered to rise at gun-point and brusquely treated like a lowly criminal "Up against that wall. Get them hands high! I want to count all Now, you move before I tell you to, boy, by God, I'm gonna clean the plow" , but was calm, obeyed and remained compliant.
After a pat-down, the officer removed the man's wallet - surprised it was so fat and filled with bills! A black man normally wouldn't be so wealthy, unless he had possibly robbed a white man - the officer's unspoken suspicions. He had been arrested as a prime suspect solely because of his color, without any questions asked.
The black "prisoner" was ushered into Sheriff Gillespie's office after first bypassing deputy Courtney Peter Whitney in the outer office. The Sheriff haughtily interrogated the nattily-dressed suspect with an insulting introductory question - his first interaction with Tibbs: Got a name, boy?
He smiled and laughed Well, I don't think we're gonna have any trouble, are we, Virgil? No trouble at all. They stared at each other. The Sheriff asked what Virgil had used to assault the murder victim. When Virgil corrected his grammar, the Sheriff inferred that Virgil was "a Northern boy. At that exact moment in the distance, the train to Memphis blew its horn. The Sheriff sat back in his swivel-chair next to a gun-rack, put his feet up on his desk, wiped his eyes, and reached for his guns: I try to run a nice, clean, safe town here.
A town where a man can sneeze and not get his brains beat out. Nominated for 7 Golden Globes. Learn more More Like This. Is this title relevant? In the Heat of the Night Marshal Matt Dillon keeps the peace in rough and tumble Dodge City. The Dukes of Hazzard — The adventures of the fast-drivin', rubber-burnin' Duke boys of Hazzard County.
Jake and the Fatman — Edit Cast Series cast summary: Althea Tibbs episodes, Geoffrey Thorne Officer Randy Goode 81 episodes, Denise Nicholas Edit Storyline Bill Gillespie is a police chief in a small town in the American South, and later becomes sheriff of the county. Edit Did You Know? Trivia The season 7 episode "Every Man's Family" was meant as the pilot for a proposed spinoff for the character of Bubba Skinner.
The network did not have any available slots at the time it was first broadcast and In the Heat of the Night ended soon after, so the spinoff never materialized. It would have been set in Atlanta.
Both Anne Meara and Jerry Stiller make special guest appearances in two separate episodes. His son is now seeking revenge. Enter Laughing Enter Laughing He scrambled over dirt and rocks, and then climbed up a maintenance ladder that led to the bridge crossing. Gillespie phones Tibbs' chief, who confirms this and recommends that Tibbs should assist them.
You know Bubba had to hit him. Like I always say, Bubba has all the fun around here! Connections Referenced in The Cinema Snob: Frequently Asked Questions Q: Why was Howard Rollins Jr.