The Fugitive

The Fugitive

Synopsis of TV Show

“Name: Richard Kimble. Profession: Doctor of Medicine. Destination: Death Row, State Prison…”

Watching The Fugitive was an absolutely exhausting experience. On one hand, it was sheer torture—you knew Dr. Kimble was innocent, but the feds kept hounding him, never giving him a moment’s peace. But on the other hand, it was sheer joy—no matter how close Lt. Gerard came, Dr. Kimble always managed to escape, ready to hunt down the one-armed man and clear his name another day. By the end of that powerful hour of prime time drama, you may have been exhausted, but it was an exhaustion born of exhilaration, the kind that kept us coming back for more each week.

The chase began when Dr. Richard Kimble came home one night to find his wife Helen murdered, with a one-armed man fleeing the scene. Kimble was wrongly convicted and sentenced to die for the crime, but after the train carrying him to his execution derailed, the doctor escaped and headed out to prove his innocence. Lt. Gerard, who had been carrying Kimble to prison, dedicated himself to the recapture of the fugitive, setting up four seasons of cat and mouse hunting.

Dr. Kimble traveled across the U.S., taking odd jobs and new identities, but Gerard was never far behind. The plots often put the good doctor in an impossible situation, forcing him to expose himself by using his medical skills to save a life. Kimble was also a man of conscience, and he occasionally sacrificed his own safety to clear other innocents who had been wrongly accused (including even Gerard in one episode). Other times, it was old-fashioned treachery that put Kimble in jeopardy, as unscrupulous employers or rotten youths threatened to expose his identity.

As Gerard chased Kimble across the country, the doctor hunted for clues to the identity and whereabouts of the one-armed man, often enlisting married sister Donna Kimble Taft for assistance. As the seasons raced by, Kimble eventually learned the one-armed man was a certain Fred Johnson, and when Mr. Johnson ended up captured in Los Angeles, the stage was set for the series’ landmark finale. In a two-part episode, Dr. Kimble surrendered to Gerard, the one-armed man escaped, Kimble and the one-armed man faced each other down in a deserted amusement park, and Gerard was forced to decide whether the man he had been chasing all these years was really the murderer he thought he was (he made the right decision, in case you were wondering).

The final episode of The Fugitive was more than just a smash hit; it was the highest-rated program in television history, a record it held until the mid-70’s. The series remained a TV favorite for years after it left the air, and a wave of TV nostalgia in the early 90’s led to the show’s revival as a big-screen thriller, starring Harrison Ford as Kimble and Tommy Lee Jones as Gerard.

The blockbuster success of the film led to prime time reruns of a few episodes of the original show, and later sparked the creation of an all-new prime time The Fugitive in 2000. And the exhausting, exhilarating chase was once more on.

Release History of Prime Time Show

9/17/63 - 8/29/67 ABC

TV Sub Categories


Television Network


Television Studio

Quinn Martin Productions, United Artists, Worldvision Enterprises Inc.

TV Cast

Dr. Richard Kimble  David Janssen
Narrator   William Conrad
Lt. Philip Gerard  Barry Morse
Donna Kimble Taft Jacqueline Scott
Fred Johnson (The One-Armed Man)  Bill Raisch
Helen Kimble Diane Brewster
Introductory Narrator  Hank Simms

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