The Fugitive’s ‘Survivors’

Every Saturday, The Savvy Screener’s Boomer Box is counting down “The 50 Greatest Television Episodes of the 1960s,” in reverse chronological order, as researched and written by Todd M. Pence. (This series ran originally in the Classic 1960’s TV Facebook group.)

#32: The Fugitive: ‘The Survivors’

This week we visit Richard Kimble of ABC’s The Fugitive as the series neared completion of its second season. In “The Survivors” (March 2, 1965), the good doctor learns that the family of his murdered wife Helen is having severe financial difficulties.

Kimble (David Janssen) remembers that his wife maintained a bank account of her own and believes that the information regarding the account might be somewhere in his in-laws’ house. After eluding police who are on the watch for him, Kimble manages to reach the house and hides within.

The Survivors, The Fugitive
Janssen, White
The survivors, The fugitive
Sorel, Gough

The situation is extremely awkward. His father-in-law (Lloyd Gough) is less than thrilled about harboring a fugitive convicted of killing his daughter. But his mother-in-law (Ruth White) is absolutely convinced of Kimble’s guilt and harbors vindictive feelings towards him. All this is further complicated by Helen’s younger sister, played by Louise Sorel, who is deeply infatuated with her erstwhile brother-in-law.

“The Survivors” emerges as one of the best and most memorable episodes of The Fugitive because of the heightened dramatics and memorable scenes set up by its storyline and the fact that Kimble makes yet another of his patented hairbreadth escapes in a truly nailbiting scene at the conclusion.

About the only shortcoming of the segment is the lack of Barry Morse’s Lt. Gerard. The detective was usually in on the best episodes of this series, and his absence in a case so close to home is truly puzzling.

The Fugitive, which is not streaming, airs Sunday nights/Monday mornings at 2 am ET on MeTV.

(Source for photos: IMDb)

About Todd M. Pence

Todd M Pence has been an amateur historian and scholar of American television for the past 35 years. “The 50 Greatest Television Episodes of the 1960” is the product of decades of research, not just in active viewing but in extensive combing of newspaper and magazine archives to read the original reviews of programs at the time they aired. He has also reached out to fellow television researchers to get their opinions. Pence maintains that the decade of the 1960's constituted the zenith of American primetime television drama, and that we will probably never see its like again. His purpose in compiling this list was to preserve this history and to spotlight many exceptional programs which have been forgotten and consigned to the dustbin of history. Pence holds a BA in Journalism from West Virginia University and has worked for the past 20 years in the Fairfax (Virginia) County Public School system

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